About the Breed
The English Springer Spaniel is a dog for all seasons, an endearing energetic companion for the owner who is willing to give it the time that it deserves. Highly thought of by the police as sniffer dogs, well known in the field trial world for their tireless enthusiasm, many a rough shooting man's friend, a joy to behold when moving round the show ring in their own distinctive style, a wonderful family pet and a good companion for young and old alike.
Do not run away with the idea though that the breed is a paragon of virtue, the breed standard states "Symmetrically built, compact, strong, merry, active. Highest on the leg and raciest in build of all British land Spaniels". Strong, merry and active are three important words here and it should be remembered that this is a breed that was developed to work, therefore Springers benefit from being trained, be it for a formal discipline or merely to take a place in the family home.
All puppies need time and patience, and Springers need as much as any other, perhaps a little more than some of the less energetic breeds, but they will reward you with love and devotion, not to mention a great deal of fun, if you give them the right grounding. They are equally well suited to living in the town or country providing that you have a well fenced garden and once they are grown, the time to exercise them both in body and mind. As with any other breed of dog, English Springer Spaniels are not recommended to anyone who is planning to be out all day leaving the dog on its own; dogs are pack animals and therefore do not take kindly to solitary confinement.
Do remember that English Springer Spaniels vary considerably in size and appearance, dependent upon the purpose for which they are bred. It is important, therefore, that you
decide what you personally require from your English Springer Spaniel and then purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder, whose dogs fit those needs as closely as possible.
The breed is generally considered to be a healthy one but, as with any other breed, there are a few hereditary problems which you should be aware of prior to purchasing a puppy. Find a reputable breeder who will be happy to discuss these with you, and whose stock has been tested for them.
The English Springer Spaniel is registered with The Kennel Club as being one of the ‘Top Ten' most popular dogs in the United Kingdom. It is a medium sized dog of moderate substance. They are loyal, relatively docile, but always willing to do anything asked of them. In general, they are of equitable temperament, with a willing heart, warm dark and appealing eyes and ever wagging tails. They can mean all things to all people from whatever walk of life they might come.
The Spaniel's ability to work as a Gundog has always made the Breed appealing to the shooting fraternity, but they are equally as popular as a rough shooting companion or, with their energetic and endearing personality, as a household pet, where their happy and very biddable temperament lends itself well to family life. For the most part, their main in aim in life is to please, adoring as they do the company of both humans and other animals with whom they may work or live.
As the oldest of the sporting gundogs, the English Springer Spaniel has long been admired by the sporting fraternity for his use to flush and retrieve game. He is a first class worker, combining agility and versatility to act on all types of land and in all weathers, with his excellent sense of smell, loyalty, balance, easiness of learning and permanent willingness to work in the field to the instructions of his owner.
Over the centuries the Breed has evolved so that it can now fit into any role chosen for it that suits its personality, however, as we mentioned earlier this also means that the breed falls into two distinct types of English Springer Spaniel i.e. the ‘working type' and the ‘show type' - both types make equally good family pets and are equally well suited to living in the town or the country, as long as there is a well fenced garden and they are regularly exercised.
The ‘show type' English Springer Spaniel is a little larger than the ‘working type' and with more substance to its make-up, i.e. bone and body - conforming more towards the description in the Kennel Club Breed Standard. Their popularity as a show specimen can be seen by the success of the Breed with several English Springer Spaniels having been winning for many years in top competition both in the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia.
The ‘working type' English Springer Spaniel appears smaller in size, has a high ear carriage with the length of ear appearing shorter than the ‘show type', and is usually of a lighter overall substance showing its suitability for the agility and versatility required as a working gundog.
English bloodlines from top 'show' and ‘working' kennels having been exported for many years all over the world.
Both types of English Springer have the same coat colours, i.e. liver and white, black and white, or either of these colours with tan markings.
Normal life expectancy of the English Springer Spaniel is 12 - 15 years.
The Breed's versatility can be seen in many walks of life, other than the ones for which they were originally bred. They are the popular choice of the Emergency Services, Customs & Excise and Armed Forces for enhancing all aspects their work.
In December 2004, ‘Buster', the English Springer Spaniel received the Dicken Medal, the highest award for animals serving the British and Commonwealth forces in war. This is the animals' version of the Victoria Cross (VC). The medal is inscribed: ‘We Also Serve'.
The English Springer also takes part in many other canine related activities such as Obedience, Tracking and Agility, where they can provide a lot of fun and interest both for themselves, and their owner. For the most part it is their ‘sense of fun' (everything is a ‘game' to the English Springer Spaniel) that makes them successful in all fields of canine activity.
You will not see many English Springer Spaniels refusing to curl up in a comfy chair, dog bed or warm kennel, to sleep at the end of a busy day.
© 2016 Ian Thomas.