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English Springer Spaniel

Our guide to the breed

English Springer Spaniel

My ideal owner | Exercise | Temperament | Health | Appearance | Cost | History

Key facts

Height: 43cm – 56cm

Weight: 16 – 25 kg

Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

Exercise Needs:  High

About English Springer Spaniels

Hey there! I’m an English Springer Spaniel. I’m one of the UK’s favourite dog breeds, thanks to my affectionate and happy nature. We can be grouped into ‘working’ and ‘show’ types, with both looking pretty different these days. Our intelligence, agility, and workmanlike attitude make us a favourite with the police, where we work as sniffer dogs, and hunters, where we help to flush out the game with a spring, giving us our name. We make excellent family pets as long as we get enough exercise and socialisation and we excel at canine sports like agility, flyball and fieldwork.

My ideal owner

I’ll make a great companion for someone who is able to give me the exercise and mental stimulation that I need. I don’t like being left alone for long periods of time, so I’d prefer a family who can be with me most of the time. If you give me a job, I’ll be your best employee – whether that comes in the form of canine sports, obedience training or the fieldwork I was bred for.

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Active lifestyle

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Families with kids

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Constant companionship

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Homes with gardens

Temperament

I’m an intelligent and cheerful companion, with plenty of cuddles to give at the end of a long day full of play. I need plenty of exercise to keep me from getting bored and plenty of socialisation from an early age and throughout my life. If you can meet my needs, I’ll be a loyal companion that you’ll be proud to own.

Springer Spaniel Temperament

Health

Since we’ve got a pretty broad gene pool, us Springers are a pretty healthy bunch, on the whole. There are a couple of conditions that we tend to be more prone to, but most can be easily tested for we are young.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition affecting many different dog breeds, including some English Springer Spaniels. It’s described as a genetic malformation and occurs when a dog’s thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip socket.

In mild cases hip dysplasia can cause inflammation, eventually leading to arthritis. In the most severe cases, a dog could lose all use of their rear legs.

How is it diagnosed?

Hip dysplasia cannot be evaluated by a vet until a dog is two years of age. Even then the dog will need x rays to determine whether they have inherited the condition. If you buy a Springer puppy, check that the breeder has had both parents tested, which should reduce the risk of inheriting the condition.

What are the treatments for hip dysplasia?

The only absolute treatment for hip dysplasia is a total hip replacement. This would usually only be used in the most serious of cases. Otherwise, vets may recommend a range of treatments to give relief, including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, weight management, painkillers, supplements, and brace supports.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is elbow dysplasia?

Elbow dysplasia is an inherited condition that commonly affects medium to large breeds. It causes a dog’s elbows to develop abnormally, causing pain and leading to swelling, instability and eventually, arthritis.

How is it diagnosed?

A vet will be able to diagnose elbow dysplasia based on some physical and behavioural signs, including:

  • Limping or stiffness, particularly after exercise
  • Front paws pointing outwards or elbows held at a strange angle
  • Swollen elbows
  • Less enthusiasm for exercise or play
  • X ray showing abnormalities in the elbow

What are the treatments for elbow dysplasia?

There are a variety of treatments for elbow dysplasia that your vet may recommend, based on the severity of the issue. These include painkillers, rest, or surgery in the most severe cases.

Symptoms are usually worse if your dog is overweight. Additionally, elbow dysplasia can limit their levels of activity. As a result, your vet will usually recommend a controlled weight and exercise plan to ensure your dog stays slim whilst being conscious of their reduced mobility. This can include using an activity tracker to monitor your dog, feeding a calorie-controlled diet, and physical therapies, such as hydrotherapy.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What are ear infections?

Ear infections can occur throughout a dog’s life and are often the result of a build-up of bacteria, yeast or mites. English Springer Spaniels are at a higher risk due to their long ears, especially those bred from show lines.

How are ear infections diagnosed?

There are a few major symptoms of an ear infection that you can look out for. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, you should visit your vet as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis and get treatment.

  • Your dog starts itching their ears more than normal
  • Your dog is shaking their head
  • Their ears become red and inflamed
  • Their ears develop a strong smell
  • A black or yellowish discharge is seen coming from their ears 

Once at a vet, they will use an otoscope to look into your dog’s ear canal to assess if an infection is present, and if it has been caused or exacerbated for foreign bodies, such as a grass seed, that have become wedged in the ear.

Your vet may also take a sample of ear wax and/or discharge for assessment in a laboratory. This will help your vet understand the type of ear infection and the appropriate treatment.

What are the treatments for ear infections?

Treatment for ear infection will depend on the type of ear infection your dog has, and its severity. At your first vet’s appointment, they will often clean and syringe the ear canal, and if possible, remove any foreign bodies. 

Your dog will usually be prescribed medication based on the type of ear infection they have, which will often be in the form of ear drops. Your vet will show you how to administer these properly and give you instruction on how regularly and for how long you need to use them.

In the most severe circumstances, where the ear infection has gone untreated for a long time, surgery may be required to provide relief for your dog.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is progressive retinal atrophy?

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the term for a group of inherited diseases that affect your dog’s vision due to the deterioration of certain cells in their eyes. It can lead to night blindness, and eventually complete blindness.

How is it diagnosed?

It can be difficult to diagnose PRA in its early stages. If vision loss is suspected, your vet will look for sluggish responses to light from your dog’s pupils, and unusually dilated pupils. They will usually then refer you to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis using an ophthalmoscope or electroretinogram (ERG). Genetic testing for PRA is also available to identify carriers of the disease.

What are the treatments for PRA?

There are currently no effective treatments for PRA. In some rare circumstances your vet may recommend surgery to prevent the retina from detaching.

If you find out your dog has PRA, the most important thing you can do is to help them transition into blindness confidently and comfortably. Consider the arrangement of furniture and other hazards in your household and keep them on a lead when outside the home in an unsecured environment.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

Exercise needs

High

I’ve got tons of energy to burn and if I don’t get enough exercise I’m ready to make my own entertainment – woofing loudly at the neighbours, chewing your favourite pair of shoes, tearing apart your garden – you get the idea. My daily walkies are essential, but it’s even better if you can get me involved in agility, fieldwork or any other sport once or twice a week to challenge me.

Get your dog’s tailored exercise goal by downloading the free PitPat app

Appearance

Even though I’m a purebred dog, there’s still plenty of variation amongst our ranks. I can be grouped in two types – show type dog, who are bred for the show ring, and field type dogs, bred for our working capabilities and agility. Those of us considered show type dogs tend to be larger, have longer ears that are held lower on their head and are heavier set than their field type peers.

I have a double coat that keeps us warm and dry in long days outside. It is a magnet for mud and burrs and sheds year-round, so I need regular brushing to keep it in tip top condition. Whilst professional grooming isn’t essential for those of us who are purely companion dogs, the occasional visit can have me looking great and serve to make me more comfortable in the summer heat. Because of my dense double coat, you should never shave us.

I come in two main colours – liver and white and black and white. You’ll also occasionally see me with additional tan markings, though this is more uncommon.

Springer Spaniel silhouette

Colours

Liver and White

Black and White

Tricolour

Grooming needs

Brush Daily

Bath when necessary

Hypoallergenic?

No. I shed my coat year-round.

Costs

One off costs

£1603

This includes the average cost of a puppy, and all the gear they will need, like their collar, bed and grooming tools.

Ongoing costs

£27 per week | £116 per month | £1392 per year

This includes your ongoing costs such as insurance, food, toys, and standard veterinary care, but not dog sitting, training or veterinary costs not covered by insurance.

History

Us English Springer Spaniels go back years. In fact, Spaniel type dogs were mentioned in Welsh law back in 300 A.D. Spaniels that look like more we do today started appearing in artwork in the 16th and 17th centuries, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that we started to properly develop into the breed we are today.

Up until the 19th century, both Springer and Cocker Spaniels came from the same litter. We were given the roles of ‘Springer’ Spaniels or ‘Cocker’ Spaniels based purely on our abilities and size, rather than being of two distinct breeds, as we are now. 

Back then, Springer Spaniels were the larger dogs in the litter, and we were used to flush out or ‘spring’ game birds into the air to be either collected by a trained bird of prey or shot with guns. Cocker Spaniels were used to hunt woodcock.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the two types of Spaniels started to become more distinct. Two larger Spaniel breeds started to emerge, the Norfolk Spaniel and the Shropshire Spaniels. These dogs were accomplished Springers and eventually developed into the modern English Springer Spaniel.

We were recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK in 1902 but by the 1940s breeders had begun to separate ‘show’ lines and ‘working’ lines. These days it’s very uncommon to see an English Springer Spaniel who is shown in the ring that can also produce results in the field. Whichever line you choose, you can rest assured that we’ll be loving and intelligent companions for you as long as you treat us well, make sure we get plenty of exercise and more.

Springer Spaniel

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