English Springer Spaniel
Get to know your Springer
English Springer Spaniel
(Excerpts taken form dogtime.com and AKC webpage)
The English Springer Spaniel dog breed was developed as a gun dog to flush, or spring, game in the field, but he's also a popular companion. Athletic and versatile, he's been known to participate in agility, hunt tests, tracking, obedience trials and more, and he's a great pal to have along when you go hiking or camping.
Spaniel-type dogs are thought to have originated in Spain — hence their name — many centuries ago and were probably taken to other parts of the world by the Romans or via trading ships. Spaniels were mentioned in Welsh law as early as 300 A.D. That's more than 1,700 years ago!
Spaniels that look similar to today's English Springer Spaniel are depicted in 16th and 17th century artwork. Before guns were invented, the spaniel was used to flush gamebirds or small animals by springing at them and driving them into the open so they could be captured by hunting hawks, coursing hounds, or nets flung over them. When firearms were invented in the 17th century, spaniels proved to be especially adept at flushing game for shooters.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries in England, dogs of the same litter were classified by their hunting use rather than their breed. Smaller dogs in the litter would be used to hunt woodcock, and therefore were called Cockers. Larger pups in the same litter would be used to flush game and were called Springers.
In 1902, England's Kennel Club granted a special place in their Stud Book for the English Springer Spaniel, and a separate classification at their show in 1903. At that show, Mr. William Arkwright judged the breed. He awarded the dog Challenge Certificate to Mr. Winton Smith's Beechgrove Will and best of opposite sex went to Mr. Harry Jones' bitch Fansome. By 1906, Beechgrove Will became the breed's first Champion.
In 1913, an English Springer Spaniel was imported by a Canadian breeder. A little more than 10 years later, the breed had become one of the most popular breeds registered by the American Kennel Club. The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, the parent club of the breed in the U.S., was formed in 1924. At that time, English Springer Spaniels that competed in field trials on one day might be shown in conformation dog shows the next day.
That changed in the early 1940s when field trial enthusiasts began breeding dogs with qualities that would produce top results in the field, and show enthusiasts began to breed dogs that were both consistent with the breed's standard, and had the "flash" to win in the show ring.
Field-bred dogs are bred for a keen sense of smell, speed, style, working ability and endurance above all, and today the two types are not interbred. Both types have the instinct to work and can be trained to the gun, but very few English Springer Spaniels work in both field and show events. The last dual champion (meaning that it was a champion in both field and conformation events) was a dog named Green Valley Punch in 1938.
Whether he's a field or show dog, however, today's English Springer is a popular breed, ranking 26th among the breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.
English Springer Spaniels weigh between 45 and 55 pounds and stand 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder. Field-bred Springers are generally a bit lighter than those bred for the show ring.
Springers need early socilization and training. Like any dog, they can become timid if they are not properly socialized — exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Springer puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Right Breed for You?
Cheerful and affectionate, Springers love their families and like to stick close to their owners. They make excellent house pets, but require daily exercise and need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and free of mats.