All About English Springer Spaniels

close-up of an english springer spaniels face

English Springer Spaniels are lively and friendly dogs that are always ready for a new adventure. These pups are excellent family dogs, and they can thrive in nearly any living environment, from an apartment to a farm. Before adopting one of your own, read on to learn more about what it’s like living with a Springer Spaniel.

About the Breed

English Springer Spaniels are an ideal choice for families because these dogs get along wonderfully with children, especially when they are introduced starting from a young age. If given the opportunity to grow up alongside one another, it’s practically a guarantee that your dog and child will become best buds. While older English Springers can still get along with kids, it will be a much larger adjustment if they have never spent time around a child before. With this in mind, even if you do not have kids living in your household, it can still be beneficial to socialize your dog with kids of all ages.

English Springer Spaniels are also known to get along well with other animals in the house, including other dogs and cats. That said, these dogs were initially bred to help hunt birds, and that instinct may still be present in most of these Spaniels. If you have both a bird and an English Springer Spaniel in the same household, it is best to keep them separated and never let them interact without supervision.

The typical English Springer Spaniel temperament is easily likable. Although lively, these dogs are not out-of-hand energetic or necessarily hyper. It’s critical that English Springers receive plenty of daily exercise, which can come in the form of walks, fetch, various games, or running time off the leash. By being given a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy, these dogs are less likely to become bored and destructive.

Springer Spaniels are undoubtedly happiest when they get to spend time around their family. If you have a hectic schedule or consistently work long hours, then this is probably not the right dog for you. Springers do not enjoy spending endless hours, every day, alone in their kennels.

Breed History

Spaniel-type dogs have been around for centuries, and they have always been a popular choice for hunting dogs in England. It wasn’t unusual for dogs of different sizes to be born into the same litter, but hunters began using the various sized dogs for separate tasks. The smaller Spaniels were used for hunting woodcock. Thus, these dogs earned the name Cocker Spaniels. The larger dogs were used to “spring” game, flushing birds out for the hunters—these dogs acquired the name Springer Spaniels.

Over time, the English Springer Spaniel breed was divided into two groups: field (hunting) and show (conformation). Though both types of dogs are still considered the same breed, there are slight differences between these two groups.

Hunters used English Springer Spaniels before guns were readily accessible, but even after firearms became more common, hunters realized how valuable these dogs could still be. Though these canines now had new jobs during a hunt, they proved to be still just as helpful.

Around the early 20th century, Springers made their way to North America and gained immense popularity and attention in just a few years. Today, these pups remain a common choice for individuals and families throughout the United States.

two english springer spaniels dogs playing in a plastic pool in the backyard

Attributes

English Springer Spaniels are beautiful dogs. They have lush, double coats, primarily black or liver (deep red-brown) with white markings, mainly white with black or liver markings, or blue or liver roan (a mixture of white and pigmented hairs). Springers can also have tri-color coats, which are black and white, or liver and white, with tan markings.

There are a few physical differences between the field (hunting) and show (conformation) English Springer Spaniels. For instance, the English Springer Spaniel weight can vary. Field Springers are slighter in build and typically weigh 35-45 pounds, meanwhile show Springers are a bit stockier and weigh 40-50 pounds. After a quick look at both dogs, you will also notice that the show-type dogs have longer and thicker coats, which means more grooming is required. Though possibly not quite as noticeable, these two dogs also have different muzzles. Field dogs have a pointier muzzle, while show dog’s muzzles are more squared-off.

Many future Springer parents wonder, “How long do English Springer Spaniels live?” The expected English Springer Spaniel lifespan is 10-15 years. Although this is the average life expectancy for dogs of this breed, every dog is unique and may have the possibility to live above or below this predicted timeframe. A dog’s lifespan can be affected by numerous factors, including their living environment, dietary habits, exercise routine, and overall health.

How to Train Your English Springer Spaniel

Properly training your dog is an implemental part of raising a certified “good boy.” English Springers are intelligent dogs, capable of learning an impressive list of commands and tricks, even from a young age. Don’t wait until your dog is six months old to begin their training, as they will most likely be more stubborn and already have poor habits developed. Puppy obedience classes can be a helpful resource to consider.

When training your dog, try to use positive, relaxed tones and reward your pup with praise and treats. Most dogs do not react well to harsh or raised voices, and little progress will be made if your dog does not see training as a fun activity. On your end, it’s essential to remain patient with your pal. Training is an ongoing process, and your dog may need more time to improve upon certain commands.

Along with training, your English Springer must be properly socialized. Socialization should also begin at a young age (after your puppy has received all necessary shots) and continue throughout their life. Socialization opportunities exist around every corner and include anything from going to a dog-friendly restaurant to visiting a dog park. Socialization is mainly centered around your dog being exposed to new people, places, sights, and sounds. The result of socialization will, ideally, be a dog with a well-rounded temperament that feels comfortable in new environments.

Each dog is different when it comes to socialization, so you may need to tailor your outings around what your dog is initially comfortable with.

Care

When it comes to taking care of a Springer, one of the most influential items is providing them with plenty of daily exercise. Physical exercise helps keep your dog’s weight under control, plus it allows your pal to burn off any extra energy they may have—the last thing you want is an energetic and bored dog cooped up inside your home.

These dogs will be in their rambunctious puppy phase for about 18 months, after which many tend to calm down—at least a little. Additionally, many dog parents have found that field Springer Spaniels tend to have more energy and require more exercise than show Springers. Just remember never to let your pal off their leash outside unless they are in a securely fenced-in area.

Another implemental part of caring for a Spaniel is giving them a nutritious, age-appropriate diet. To help maintain a healthy weight, limit how many treats and people-food scraps your best bud receives. That said, you don’t have to eliminate treats—you can make healthy, homemade treats instead. If you ever have concerns about your dog’s food or weight, talk with your veterinarian about recommendations.

english springer spaniel dog curled up on a brown couch

English Springer Spaniel Grooming

Many dog parents wonder, “Do English Springer Spaniels shed?” If your dog has a longer coat, chances are they will need brushed multiple times a week, or possibly every other day. Field Springers, which typically have less hair, will not need to be brushed as often, though a few times a week is still ideal. English Springer Spaniels tend to shed all year round, not just during spring and fall, so keep in mind that brushing and sweeping will become a part of your weekly schedule. Plus, the more frequently your dog is brushed, the less hair will be on your clothes, furniture, and floor—at least that’s the hope.

Weekly, your dog’s teeth will also need to be brushed with dog-safe toothpaste. Frequent brushings can help reduce the chances of periodontal disease and, as a bonus, can lessen that stinky dog breath smell.

On a biweekly basis, it’s helpful to check your dog’s ears. If they appear dirty, clean them out with a cotton ball and a dog-safe ear cleaning solution. Be sure never to use a cotton swab or clean down into the ear canal, as these could cause accidental injury or pain. In the instance that you notice any unusual redness, discharge, or bad smell from your dog’s ears, this could be the sign of an ear infection, in which case it’s necessary that you take your pal to the veterinarian.

Around every four to six weeks, your pal may need a bath, though this can entirely depend upon how much time your dog spends outside and whether they visit mud puddles while outdoors. Typically around the time that your Springer requires a bath, they will also need their nails trimmed. As a dog parent, you can determine, based on your schedule and budget, whether you want to do each grooming item yourself or if you’d prefer to take your dog to a professional dog groomer.

No matter which you choose, the same general rules of training and socialization apply to grooming. Until your dog becomes more comfortable with their grooming routine, it may, at first, be necessary to use lots of positive reinforcement, many treats, and to take things at a slow pace.

Common Health Issues

English Springer Spaniels are generally considered to be a healthy dog breed. However, just like any other dog breed, Springer Spaniels can still be susceptible to developing some health issues. According to our claims data,** the top conditions that affect this breed include:

While these are common health problems for this breed, there is no guarantee that your Springer will develop any or all of the issues listed.

One of the best ways to keep your dog in tip-top shape is to take them for annual check-ups with their veterinarian. These regular appointments provide an excellent opportunity for you to bring up any questions or concerns you may have about your pet’s health. Not to mention, in the instance that your dog does have a medical problem, regular check-ups will allow your veterinarian to better monitor your dog’s condition.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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