Originating in England in the 1800s, the English Springer Spaniel was a gundog that hunters used to flush and retrieve the woodcock. In fact, their name came from their ability to spring woodcock from the brush for the hunters. Today they are still used for flushing and retrieving but they are also used as show dogs and companion pets. They are a lovable and loyal dog with a good temperament and excellent intelligence. English Springer Spaniels are about 18to 21 inches high, between 40 and 50 pounds, and live about 10 to 14 years. The Spaniels were divided by size long ago; the Cocker Spaniel was the smallest of the litter, English Spaniels were the medium sized pups, and the larger were later named setters. They are now bred in two varieties: the field dog and the show dog, and they are not interbred.
The first description of an English Springer Spaniel came from Dr. John Caius in 1576 but the breeds of Spaniels were not separated by function until 1801. According to the AKC, when the Spaniel was brought to England from Spain, they divided them between two types: land and water Spaniels. Americans discovered the Spaniel in the 1700s, started the American Spaniel Club in 1880, and they separated the breeds into the Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels by size. The Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel were both born of the same litter (land Spaniels) but they were separated by size to perform different duties. The smaller Cocker Spaniels would hunt the woodcock. Once found, the larger English Springer Spaniels would chase the woodcock so a trained hawk or falcon could bring them to the hunters. Later, the litter would be divided further and the largest would be called Setters. In the 19th century, more Spaniel breeds were developed, named after the areas they originated such as the Shropshire Spaniel and Norfolk Spaniel. Although the Spaniel club was started in 1899, it was not until 1910 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) acknowledged the breed. One of the most famous Springers was the Norfolk Spaniel, which was bred by the Duke of Norfolk and this type of Spaniel was named the Norfolk Spaniel because of this occurrence. They are friendly and energetic dogs that work hard and play harder so they need plenty of exercise every day. Although they like children, younger kids should be supervised. Also, they can become nuisance barkers if left alone too long with nothing to do.
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium sized dog with a medium to long length coat that may be flat or wavy. The body is compact with a docked tail, dangling ears, a gentle expression, and a friendly disposition. They have muscular and strong legs of medium size that give your dog a powerful, agile, and durable look. The oval shaped eyes are medium sized and match the color of your dog’s coat. Ears are separated widely with a broad, flat skull, divided by a groove in the middle between the eyes. The English Springer Spaniel’s muzzle is the same length as the skull and half the width, and the nose is the color of the coat as well. They have flattened cheeks, a squared mouth with full lips and strong teeth to carry game. English Springer Spaniels have a long, muscular neck, sloping shoulders, and a long and slightly elevated tail that is almost always moving. They have six color combinations, which include black and white; black and liver; blue roan; liver roan; black, white, and tan; and liver, white, and tan. Their double coat is designed for protection. The outer coat is the longer fur that provides the first line of defense from the elements and the undercoat is a soft dense fur that makes the English Springer Spaniel virtually waterproof. The thickness of the undercoat depends on the climate where you live as they can adapt to a warm or cold climate as well. Their coat is clean and glossy, giving your dog a healthy appearance.
The English Springer Spaniel is not hypoallergenic since they are constant shedders, although they do not shed too much. And while they are not major droolers, they are known to slobber just a bit. They are not smelly most of the time, but after a long day of hunting and jumping in water to retrieve birds, they may need a bath. You will need to brush your English Springer Spaniel at least once or twice a week with a hard bristle brush to keep the coat conditioned. Also, you may want to give your dog a bath at least once every few months or as needed. Keep an eye out for burs and thorns since your dog romps around in the brush a lot. They need plenty of physical and mental stimulation and appreciate a daily walk or trip to the dog park. If your English Springer Spaniel is left alone too long, barking can become a problem, especially if you live in an apartment or condominium, which is not recommended.