Breed GroupGundog
Life Span12-14 years
Height45-50cm (18-20in)
Weight18-23kg (40-50lb)
OriginGreat Britain
Best ForActive households

Springer Spaniel Breed Guide

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Springer Spaniel Overview

Dog Breed:
Springer Spaniel
Breed Group:
Excitable, Affectionate, Lively. Loves diving into hedgerows!
45-50cm (18-20in)
18-23kg (40-50lb)
Life Span:
12-14 years
Coat Colors:
English Springers: Black & White or Liver & White, sometimes with a little Tan sprinkled in. Welsh Springers: Red & White
Area of Origin:
Great Britain
Best For:
Active households

Springer Spaniel Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Springer Spaniel

  • Lively and affectionate

  • Often very outgoing

  • Easier to train than some other breeds

Springer Spaniels are lively, excitable but affectionate dogs that can make good pets for active households who have the time to exercise them properly. They are generally friendly with all members of the family, though they may have one person who they are particularly attached to. Some Springers are outgoing and keen to meet new people, but others can be slightly shy or anxious around new people, so it is important to give them space in new situations.

Springer Spaniels are intelligent and generally eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They will do well with general obedience, but are still used today as working gundogs, as well as finding jobs as sniffer dogs hunting down drugs, weapons, and explosives for the police and armed forces.

Springer Spaniel Breed History

  • Ancestors present in Britain for centuries

  • Springer and Cocker Spaniels used to come from the same litters.

  • Now a separate breed with two sub-types – “show” and “working”

Spaniels have been living and working in Great Britain for hundreds of years. The Treatise of Englishe Dogs, published in 1576, contains a description of “…gentle Dogges seruing the hauke, and first of the Spaniell.” The author, John Caius, writes that they are commonly red and white, or occasionally red and black, with some “novelty” black and white ones having been imported recently from France. They were used for hunting both on land and in fresh water (marshes or lakes) and as such were sometimes called “Land Spaniels” and “Water Spaniels”.

The breeding of the modern English Springer Spaniel started in the 1800s, when the Duke of Norfolk became interested in developing his own line of game dogs. Initially these were called “Norfolk Spaniels”. Until the late 19th century, both Springer and Cocker Spaniels would come from the same litters. The taller, heavier dogs were called Springers as their job was to “spring” into shrubbery and flush out any birds hiding there, and then retrieve any downed birds. The smaller dogs were called Cockers and used to retrieve smaller game birds such as Woodcock, hence the name. However, these two breeds eventually split completely, and The English Springer Spaniel was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1902, followed by the American Kennel Club in 1910.

Welsh Springer Spaniels probably also has their origins in those red-and-white “Spaniells” that John Caius wrote of. They have, at various times, also been known as the Welsh Starter and the Welsh Cocker, but were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1902 as the Welsh Springer Spaniel. The American Kennel Club followed suit in 1906.

There are two different varieties of the modern English Springer Spaniel – field, and show. “Working” or “Field” springers are generally slightly shorter and sleeker, with a medium-length coat and shorter ears, and are bred primarily for their ability to flush out and retrieve birds. “Show” Springers are larger and heavier, often with a long coat and longer ears, and are primarily bred to conform to the Kennel Club’s breed standard on how an English Springer Spaniel should look. However, even show dogs will retain many of the instincts of their working ancestors, and can be very successful working gundogs in their own right.

Springer Spaniel Size & Weight

  • English Springers are slightly larger than Welsh Springers

  • Show-type Springers are slightly larger than Working-type Springers

  • Prone to obesity, so their weight should be monitored closely

English Springer Spaniels can be between 45 and 50cm (18-20in) tall – the Show variety are towards the taller end, and the Working are towards the shorter. Welsh Springer Spaniels are typically 46-48cm (18-19in) tall. Healthy English Springers usually weigh around 18-23kg (40-50lbs), whereas Welsh Springers are a little lighter at 16-20kg (35 -45 lb).

Springer Spaniel Personality & Temperament

  • Loyal and loving

  • Active, and enjoy social exercise

  • Keen to learn new tricks

Springer Spaniels are loyal dogs who are generally loving to all members of the family. Some are also very outgoing and enjoy visitors, but others can be a little shy or hesitant, and prefer to stick with their owner rather than going to new people. Their enthusiastic nature also means that care should be taken to supervise them around young children, as they may unintentionally knock over those who are unsteady on their feet. However, their boundless energy can make them a great playmate for active older children.

Springer Spaniels were named for their job of “springing” into shrubbery to flush out birds – essentially, to scare them in to running away. This bouncy nature is still obvious in modern Springers who are kept as pets – they are enthusiastic and can be quite excitable, especially when young. They will still chase after birds and other small moving targets such as rabbits, so good training is essential to make sure they do not run off out of sight or earshot. They enjoy being active with humans, and often with other dogs, too.

As a gundog, Springer Spaniels have been bred to train and work, and are generally quite eager and willing to please, which makes them easier to train than some other breeds. They have above-average intelligence for dogs, and will enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with obedience training. They also do well as working dogs.

Springer Spaniel Health & Grooming

  • Generally, a healthy breed

  • Some recognized issues, particularly with joint and skin conditions

  • Need grooming regularly, and fur around the paws should be kept short

Both English and Welsh Springer Spaniels are generally healthy breeds, but there are some recognized inherited health conditions, most notably hip dysplasia (where the hip joint does not form properly) and several eye conditions. Breeding animals should be health tested to make sure the risk of them passing on any health conditions is low.

Springer Spaniels are more prone to developing skin allergies (“atopy”) than many other breeds. This can lead to them developing red, itchy skin, particularly between their toes, around their face or in their groin. They may also develop recurrent ear infections. There is no cure for skin allergies, but they can be effectively managed with medication, shampoos and special diets. Any Spaniel with itchiness that does not settle within a few days should see a veterinarian for examination.

Springer Spaniels have medium to long coats that need regular grooming to prevent them becoming matted or dirty. They should be brushed once or twice a week, depending on how long their coats are. In the summer, the fur on their feet should be clipped short to prevent grass seeds becoming trapped. Some owners choose to clip the rest of their coats too, to keep them cool or prevent them from becoming matted. They do not need bathing more than once a month, unless they are very dirty or have a medical condition.

Springer Spaniel Training

  • Easier to train than some other breeds

  • Strong instincts to chase, which means teaching good recall is important

  • Often trained to work as sniffer dogs

Springer Spaniels are intelligent and keen to please their owners, and so they are easier to train than some other breeds. They enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with training, and keeping their brains active will help to “wear them out” as much as exercise will.

As Springer Spaniels are bred to be gun dogs, they have instincts both for beating (scaring birds out of hiding into the open) and picking up (collecting birds that have been shot and bringing them back to the owner). As pets, this means that they are more likely than other breeds to run off into hedges or across fields in pursuit of birds, rabbits or other small creatures that are moving fast. Good training is very important to make sure that Springer Spaniels do not run off and get themselves lost, or chase the wrong things (like small children, or the family cat!)

Springer Spaniels are an intelligent breed that can learn many different commands, meaning they are regularly used as sniffer dogs.

Springer Spaniel Exercise Requirements

  • Easier to train than some other breeds

  • Strong instincts to chase, which means teaching good recall is important

  • Often trained to work as sniffer dogs

Springer Spaniels are active, enthusiastic dogs who need a good amount of exercise to keep them happy. They will benefit from at least two hours of exercise per day to keep them satisfied.

As well as physical exercise, Springer Spaniels also need mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied and happy. This can involve playing obedience games, varying walking routes, or interactive toys such as puzzle feeders to keep them interested.

Springer Spaniels will often enjoy chasing a ball whilst out on a walk, but this should not be their only form of exercise. Ball throwing is high-intensity, and also increase a dog’s anxiety levels as they are constantly on alert. It may also cause increased wear and tear in the joints, making them more prone to develop arthritis.

Springers generally enjoy swimming, and it can be hard to keep them out of water. Swimming is excellent exercise for Springer Spaniels, but you should take proper safety precautions and train them carefully to ensure their safety.

Springer Spaniel Diet & Feeding

  • Some are keen eaters, but others may be fussy

  • Prone to obesity, especially if neutered

  • A consistent feeding routine is important

Some Springer Spaniels can be very keen eaters, especially if they have been neutered, and sadly obesity is a common problem in the breed. These Springers should have their food carefully measured, and may benefit from special diets to help them lose weight.

Other Springers can be fussy eaters. Establishing a routine is key to getting them in to good habits. Feed at least two meals a day, and offer food for half an hour before removing it again. Do not feed treats between meals, as this will encourage them to beg.

Springer Spaniel Rescue Groups

As English Springer Spaniels are a popular breed, it is common to find them at general rescue organizations such as the RSPCA ( ), Dogs Trust ( ) or Wood Green (

Breed-specific rescue groups include:

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