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Breed profile: English springer spaniel

This is Sophie’s blogging debut (pictured below). Sophie is now 2 years old, but look at her as a puppy. There are not many dogs cuter than a springer spaniel puppy. She belongs to my parents, and Ace and I visited her last weekend. Ace and Sophie have a great time whenever they are together.

English springer spaniels are very friendly, affectionate dogs. They were bred in England during the 1800s to hunt game, mostly birds, according to the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile. They were useful for flushing birds, or getting them to “spring” out of the grass and brush. In my opinion, the name springer fits the breed because of its endless energy, playfulness and bounciness. A springer without enough exercise is like a 6-year-old on a sugar high. And their tails never quit wagging.

Springers weigh between 40 and 50 pounds, which makes them a nice, medium-sized dog. They are white with either black or liver markings or tricolored. Their tails are docked to meet AKC standards. If their fur is not trimmed, their coats grow to be long and flowing.

Advantages to owning an English springer spaniel:

1. Springer spaniels have great athletic abilities. They make great hunters, running companions and do well in agility.

2. These dogs are easy to train. They succeed in obedience trials, agility and hunting.

3. Springer spaniels love everyone. They are always happy. The continuous tail wagging will bring a smile to anyone’s face. Even when they are being scolded, the tail wags as if to say, “But you forgive me, right?” They are playful and affectionate and get along great with kids and other pets.

4. They are a manageable size. At about 45 pounds, most people will be able to lift a springer. They are not as big and powerful as many of the other sporting dogs.

5. Springers make good watchdogs. They aren’t big barkers, but because of their alertness, they will warn their owners of approaching strangers or animals.

Disadvantages to owning an English springer spaniel:

1. Their endless energy will get annoying if they don’t get enough exercise. Springers need more than an hour of physical and mental exercise every day or they will get bored. Obedience training, a long daily walk and a big yard will pay off big time if you own a springer.

2. Their coats will require brushing, and they will also need trimming every two to three months or so. The breed also sheds.

3. Health issues common with springer spaniels include ear infections, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, according to Coile.

4. A springer’s tracking and flushing instincts are enough to drive a person nuts on a walk. Without proper training and leadership, a springer won’t know when to quit and can easily become fixated on squirrels, rabbits and birds.

5. Although springers make good watchdogs, they are also likely to make friends with any stranger. There is not an aggressive bone in a springer’s body.

Liver and white freckled springer spaniel puppy sitting in the grass

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Linda Robinson

Friday 22nd of February 2019

We love Springer “Millie”. She gorgeous on the inside and outside! Our only concern is her separation anxiety that just started when we both retired and are together so much. I think we are doing good at retraining her again.

Also for some reason she doesn’t like children. She’s scared or jumpy st them. Any suggestions?

Thank you. Linda

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 22nd of February 2019

This article on dog anxiety covers both separation anxiety and a dog's fear of children: https://www.thatmutt.com/2019/02/18/dog-anxiety/

Mary M

Tuesday 26th of March 2013

Your parent's Sophie is beautiful. I also have a Springer named Sophie. I read somewhere that Springers answer better to names that start with an S. She will be 4 years old this April She is the center of our family and I don't think she realizes she is a dog...This is my 2nd Springer and my dad is on his 4th one. They are wonderful pets!

Leah Fry

Thursday 25th of July 2019

To you springer owners have you ever had a springer with Cushings Disease? I now have my second female, it is terrible. My first was a rescue and not related to Sassy (who has it now) I have been reading and it seems there is nothing to cure it, just try to keep her comfortable the medication is very pricey over $3 per pill and she needs two a day, so if anyone has any ideas or suggestions it would be appreciated, I am just sick about this, it has been a few yr since my last female with it but that didn't end well and neither will this, I am struggling to keep her semi healthy and am beginning to question my reason for allowing her to suffer any at all. I have had to make this choice before as I have owned multiple springers for over 20 yrs but it gets harder every time. Thanks in advance for suggestions and prayers.

Waseeka Pinkerton

Thursday 23rd of February 2012

Breed developed mid to late 1500's. The Springer bounces/springs into vegetation to flush the bird, the bird does not spring.

For the past 40 years, all I have ever raised are Springers. There is nothing this breed wont do for it's family. The psycology of Springers are more receptive to counceling, than humans, Springers are more human and have more humanity than most people I've met around this world. You can absolutely teach a Springer anything. I have retrained gun-shy Springers to look forward to gun shots, fireworks, and other loud noises. I have councled many Springers with "Springer-Rage", and their parents on corrective behaviors. I have been deep into the minds of these beautiful people, and one of the biggest mistakes humans make is that they treat Springers like dogs. Yes, I know their canines in body, but what makes them so unique is how they feel, how they think, how they reason. Truely, when God made the Springer, he made the Springers' soul in his own image.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 24th of February 2012

I definitely disagree with most of what you said about springers being more humanlike than other dogs and created in God's image! But I appreciate your comment.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 28th of September 2008

Thanks Tim. You're right about the physical differences.

Behavioral issues are probably more common with the show type just because they are bred more carefully for their looks rather than temperament. But I am generalizing. There are plenty of field bred springers with behavioral issues as well. And many show dogs that do not.

Tim

Sunday 28th of September 2008

There are HUGE differences between show/bench and field bred Springers. Almost all behavioral issues occur in the show 'type'; field-bred springers just don't have a shorter, easier-to-care-for coat, they have shorter ears with less ear problems, tighter eyelids for less eye problems, far fewer temperament issues, they aren't "high strung" like many of the show type...just better dogs.