English Springer Spaniel

35-40 lbs
18-21"
England


The English Springer Spaniel is a classic gundog breed. It’s famed for its high energy levels in the field and impressive scent detection which makes it a popular choice as a service dog or therapy dog. The Springer’s amiable nature also means it’s a family-friendly breed, relaxed and calm around the home — providing it gets the exercise it needs to stay physically and mentally satisfied.

English Springer Spaniels are a lovely dog, but can also be demanding in some ways, like most breeds. Here, we’ll talk through everything you need to know about this loveable spaniel, including its breed history, temperament and common health issues to flag.

Our instant expert guide to the English Springer Spaniel will reveal:

  • Their name is inspired by their ability to ‘spring’ to help flush out birds and game for hunters
  • English Springer Spaniels can be prone to a few different eye problems
  • There are two types of Springer Spaniel — a field type and a show type have different coats
  • Lively and energetic, an English Springer Spaniel loves off-lead activity


English Springer Spaniel breed overview

There’s no mistaking an English Springer Spaniel. Typically seen with its tail not so much wagging as thrashing from side to side in excitement, and head (and nose) usually down, tracking scents — there’s an exuberance about this breed that makes it so loved. Watch a Springer in full flow, and it’s very difficult not to break into a big smile.

The Springer Spaniel is part of the Sporting group of breeds, similar in stature and character to others, such as the American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Field Spaniel and Brittany — to name just a few.

The name ‘Springer’ comes from the breed’s ability to flush out birds by springing forward into undergrowth and thick grass, thus scaring the game into flight — and making them visible to waiting hunters. 

Consistently popular in the US, English Springer Spaniel puppies are always widely available — this isn’t a rare breed. But, you should always use a reputable breeder to source one and we strongly recommend using the American Kennel Club (AKC) to find a puppy. You can also rehome a Springer Spaniel that’s been rescued; look up English Springer Rescue America (ESRA) for more information.


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purpose Purpose
Gundog, Retriever
history Date of Origin
1800s
ancestry Ancestry
Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel Health

Sketch of English Springer Spaniel
Average Size
Male English Springer Spaniel size stats
Height: 19-21 inches Weight: 45-50 lbs
Female English Springer Spaniel size stats
Height: 18-21 inches Weight: 35-40 lbs

English Springer Spaniel Breed History


The origins of the Spaniel as a breed can date back to Spain, and possibly introduced to the UK by the Romans. As with many breeds, their development becomes much clearer in more recent history and they really came to prominence in the 19th century (the 1800s).

To begin with, there wasn’t really an ‘English Springer Spaniel’ as such — just two spaniels of different sizes that participated in the same type of sporting role; flushing out game and then retrieving fallen birds and bringing them to their masters. At one stage, it’s believed they were called the Norfolk Spaniel, because of an association with the Duke of Norfolk.

It wasn’t until 1902 that the UK’s Kennel Club made a distinction between the two ‘Springer’ types of spaniel; the English Springer Spaniel became an official breed, as did the English Cocker Spaniel. The English Springer Spaniel was then recognised as a breed by the AKC in 1910, and in the 1920s its popularity increased in Canada and North America.

The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA) became the breed’s parent club in 1927.

English Springer Spaniel Breed Appearance


The English Springer Spaniel size is medium, though its build can vary. Some are shorter and stockier, others leaner and rangier. There are, in fact, two different types of Springer Spaniel, with differing physical characteristics — the Field-bred and Bench-bred variations.

The Field Springer Spaniel has been bred to work (even if they’re not actually used in a working capacity) and has a lighter, shorter coat. The Bench type has a thicker coat, which might be styled longer in places; these English Springer Spaniels have been bred for show purposes and so look ‘glossier’. The AKC doesn’t separate the two types in its breed standard, though it does explain why you might see two slightly different-looking Springers.

Most common English Springer Spaniel colors are black or liver with white. Some dogs may have patches of the two color combinations, others may be predominantly black or liver, with just a splash of white. The dominant feature of a Springer Spaniel is usually those spectacular ears, hanging gloriously long and wonderfully soft. Springers who do work in the field may have theirs trimmed shorter — to reduce the chances of snagging in bushes — but generally, they’re left long.

An English Springer Spaniel also has hugely expressional eyes, often soft brown in color. They tend to have a ‘happy’ face, especially when alert and playful. English Springer Spaniels generally just seem to be loving life!


Similar breeds to the English Springer Spaniel

A bouncy and enthusiastic English Springer Spaniel can bring a lot of happiness and joy into your life, but if it isn’t quite right for you, you might like to consider other similar breeds. Those that bear some of the same qualities as a Springer Spaniel include:


English Springer Spaniel Breed Maintenance



English Springer Spaniels need a bit of looking after. They’re moderate shedders, so will need a decent brush once a week — you’ll need to do this more often if he or she has been out and about, running off lead in fields or parks. Springers aren’t fussy about where or what they run through, so don’t be surprised to find twigs lodged in those furry ears, or small branches stuck near their rump and upper hind legs.

Check your English Springer Spaniel over and remove any debris. Brush out ears regularly, to avoid any clumping and matting — especially if they’ve been in water. Also, be sure to look inside your dog’s ears to examine them for any dirt and accumulated gunk.

You may choose to have your Spaniel groomed a few times a year, especially around the warmer months and their coat can get too long, particularly around the underbelly. Because of its relatively short legs, that belly hair can get wet and muddy in bad weather, so your Springer might need a bath now and again.


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English Springer Spaniel health

Like many sporting breeds and energetic dogs, English Springer Spaniels are susceptible to certain health issues. If you’re the pet parent of one, it’s worth knowing what these are. They include:


Eye disorders

English Springer Spaniels can inherit hereditary eye disorders, so if you’re buying a puppy from a breeder, do ask about this; Springers with any of these conditions shouldn’t be bred. Those eye disorders can include entropion, which is when the lower eyelid rolls inwards and causes irritation and even ulcers.

Retinal Dysplasia is a genetically inherited condition that isn’t painful but is a malformation issue that might make your dog bump into objects, appear more clumsy, or seem hesitant or uncertain walking into darkened rooms or up and down stairs. Progressive Retinal Atrophy — PRA — also affects the retina, in both eyes.

It progresses gradually, beginning with a loss of night vision and moving on to a reduction in day vision, eventually leading to total sight loss. It’s not painful but can’t be cured, though dogs can adjust well to a loss of sight.


Ear infections

One of the most attractive physical features of an English Springer Spaniel are his or her long ears, but those ears can be prone to infection. Spaniels aren’t typically shy about plunging into water or shoving their faces into bushes, so there’s a chance of getting dirty, debris and muddy water lodged inside the ears. They can also get hot inside as they’re so heavy.

Check the inner ear frequently for any signs of dirt and clean gently using a cotton pad, with lukewarm water. Look out, too, for grass awns and seeds, which can cause serious problems if they penetrate the ear. Read our tips on cleaning a dog’s ears here.

Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia

Both hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are painful conditions that can restrict a dog’s movement and cause pain when walking. With hip dysplasia, the hip joint’s ball and socket hasn’t formed correctly, so it rubs and grinds instead of moving smoothly. It can affect both hips, or just one.

Elbow dysplasia is arthritis of the elbow joint and leads to lameness in a dog’s front legs. For both conditions, x-rays may be needed to determine the extent of the injury, followed by various treatment options including medication, physiotherapy and surgery. 


What to feed an English Springer Spaniel


English Springer Spaniels love their feed and are typically fast eaters. With that in mind, it’s important to give them the right type of food and practice sensible portion control. This can help to manage an English Springer Spaniel’s weight; a highly active younger dog will burn off calories very easily but an older dog that slows down and takes less exercise is at risk of becoming overweight.

A general rule is to choose the best quality dog food you can, avoiding recipes with too much cheap ‘filler’ content and looking for those with the right levels of proteins and nutrients. You may have to pick a specialist food for senior dogs as yours ages. The average English Springer Spaniel lifespan is between 12 and 14 years and an older dog may need food with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to help with joint issues.

Our guide to choosing the right dog food for your pup can help you to make a decision, while we have advice on how to read a dog food label — so you know exactly what’s in any recipe — here.


For detailed ingredient-by-ingredient reviews of dog food, visit our online partners Dog Food Advisor.

English Springer Spaniel Temperament


Placid, happy-go-lucky and dedicated sums up the English Springer Spaniel temperament accurately. Treated properly and raised correctly, the Springer Spaniel will be a terrific companion and a loyal member of the family.

To get the best from any English Springer Spaniel, you should make sure it gets adequate exercise. That doesn’t mean you need to take up shooting game birds but it does mean walks at least twice a day, with ideally some time spent off lead. Of course, you should only release a Springer Spaniel if they’ve been trained well and their recall is perfect. 

An English Springer Spaniel won’t run away from you to be mischievous, but in its excitable state it’s likely to charge off, nose to the ground, picking up scents. It can get lost in whatever mission it’s on, so needs to know it should return to you when you call. You might find your Springer checks on your whereabouts every few minutes anyway; as a breed, they don’t like to be too far away from their owners for long.

It’s important to reinforce recall training when young. English Springer Spaniel puppies respond really well to training — as most sporting breeds tend to — especially when rewarded for good behavior with a treat. Once good training routines are established and boundaries are set, these skills will stay with a spaniel for its lifetime.

They may act a little crazy — they can run and run, until told to stop — but once they’ve had the exercise they need, an English Springer Spaniel can be very calm around the home. They’re affectionate and just generally like people rather than becoming attached to one individual; while not overly cuddly, they like to stay in close proximity to their family. English Springer Spaniels tend to follow their pet parents around the home. They don’t like being left alone for too long.

While they make lovely, friendly, companion dogs, don’t expect an English Springer Spaniel to be a reliable watchdog or guard god. Relatively quiet, they don’t tend to bark often and will usually greet strangers with a wagging tail.


Top English Springer Spaniel Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable English Springer Spaniel breeders of 2024.
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Northgate Springers
Northgate Springers
Broad Run, Virginia
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder kayndee English Springer Spaniels
kayndee English Springer Spaniels
York, Pennsylvania
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Mentmore Spaniels & Brownwell Kennel
Mentmore Spaniels & Brownwell Kennel
Springboro, Ohio
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Chivalry English Springer Spaniels
Chivalry English Springer Spaniels
Thompson, Connecticut
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Soaring English Springer Spaniels
Soaring English Springer Spaniels
Hudson Falls, New York
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Wallylama English Springer Spaniels
Wallylama English Springer Spaniels
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Paradise Springer's
Paradise Springer's
Brooksville, Florida
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Downs Lake Kennel
Downs Lake Kennel
Spokane, Washington
Top English Springer Spaniel breeder Ramblewood English Springer Spaniels
Ramblewood English Springer Spaniels
Pasco, Washington

English Springer Spaniel Owner Experiences

Molly
10 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Chase
Molly is our 10 month old english springer spaniel. She is very hyper and likes to jump.She isn't potty trained yet so she can't go upstairs.
1 year, 4 months ago
Bella
5 Months
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Bella is learning quickly and trying her best. Very lovable but very high energy.
2 years, 3 months ago
Chase
2 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walks
Tug-of-war
Cuddling
Fetch
Playdate
Chase
Chase is my adorable 2 year old springer spaniel who is full of energy and loves walks. He barks whenever someone walks by our comes near our house but once they walk in he'll be bouncing for your attention. He loves to play and is probably the friendliest dog you'll ever meet. He loves to play with his dog friends as well as his human ones and if you play with him,give him food and stroke him he'll be your friend for life
2 years, 9 months ago
9 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Exploring
Sniffing
The dog I walked was a bit of a slow walker but very sweet and happy to be outside.
6 years, 5 months ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The typical Spaniel is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey.[6] In the right circumstances they can be an affectionate and easy-going family dog. Its alertness and attentiveness make it a good hunting companion. A typical Springer Spaniel will often choose one person in the family to be most loyal to and stick with that person as much as possible. The English Springer Spaniel ranks 13th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, considered an excellent working dog. It has exceptional stamina and needs moderate amounts of activity, to focus its mind and to provide exercise, although this is different for each dog. Its long-legged build makes it among the fastest of the spaniels.
6 years, 5 months ago
Rooster Raising Rosie
6 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Runs, Walks, Hunting, and Swiming
I have had Springer Spaniels since 1979. Love them and their personalities.
6 years, 4 months ago
8 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Bella is an older dog with some arthritis so she isn't super energetic on walks. But she seems to enjoy being outside and sniffing the ground and trees. She is obviously well trained and smart. She is friendly but not overly affectionate and not at all aggressive. She doesn't pull on the leash and has no triggers to cause her to bark or be startled. She gives the impression that she would be well behaved around children and other animals.
6 years, 5 months ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Running
Sniffing
Fetch
I walk Cooper the Springer spaniel a few times a week. He has a gorgeous coat and curly ears. He’s extremely intelligent and high energy. He’s also very anxious and can be very reactive on walks. If he sees a person he doesn’t like he’ll sometimes bark at them. It’s tough because he’s super adorable and people want to pet him, but he doesn’t really allow anyone near him other than me and his family. He’s so sweet and affectionate to those he trusts. He smells everything in sight during walks.
6 years, 5 months ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Run
The English Springer Spaniel I walked was so much fun! He was young and incredibly full of energy. We spent almost our entire walk in a sprint, but he was very agreeable and easy to guide – he never resisted when we needed to change direction. He was just so enthusiastic about life, it was adorable. He especially loved looking for squirrels and birds in the park. He was incredibly friendly and it felt like we were friends as soon as I came through the door. He did bark when I knocked and cried after I left him on his own. Overall, a very sweet breed, from my experience. They just need a lot of exercise! Take them out multiple times a day, and they will be so grateful.
6 years, 5 months ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Most Springer Spaniels I've encountered are incredibly high-energy, some to the point of not listening or responding to commands. While being generally friendly, they can also be serious leash-pullers and jumpers due to their excitement. They mean well though
6 years, 4 months ago
Merlo
3 Months
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chase
Tug-of-war
Running
ESS is an affectionate, intelligent, funny and high enrgey dog. we have ours for 3 months now and she has completely changed our lives. We are now regular with our exercise, diet and sleep schedule.She is not a good guard dog and tends to get scared easily, so we are extra careful when we walk her as big dogs get her into a panic. She loves water and no matter how hard we try to keep her clean and dry ,, she always finds a way to get soaked and muddy.
5 years, 10 months ago
Togiak
12 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Intelligent, active, but not hyper. One-person dog. He be unrestrained and he wouldn't run/wander away. Needed lots of socialization when he was young to be confident around other dogs of any size. Super quick learner in training.
4 years, 10 months ago
Milly
15 Years
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Milly the English springer spaniel is one of the most affectionate and tolerant dog I know. She is currently 15 years her birthday is on 14/12. She was adopted from a rescue centre at the age of 9 and has been here ever since. She is quite old so isn't as active as most springer spaniels are known to be. She isn't too well at the moment as she has alot of health concerns. She is such a kind dog who would let you do anything to her, As she is a springer spaniel she is generally a family orientated dog. Sadly in June 2020 she passed away at the vets. This was just Milly's story.
2 years, 12 months ago
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