Meet the Springer Spaniel, a dog breed that has been a staple in English households (followed by the world) for centuries. This unassuming dog scores high in the looks, brains, and personality department, and it is one of the most versatile breeds around. In this breed profile, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the beloved Springer Spaniel breed, including information on its history, temperament, lifespan, coloration, and more.
1. Springer Spaniels Are Expert Retrievers
The Springer Spaniel, also known as the English Springer Spaniel or the English Springer, has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The breed was originally developed as a gun dog, used for flushing and retrieving game in hunting. Specifically, this breed was known for “springing” game into flight, so that their human companions could take their shots. After, the dogs would retrieve the game from where it fell.
Over the years, Springer Spaniels garnered a reputation for being a true working dog and have been put to use in many other ways since. They have an exceptional sense of smell and are renowned for their sniffing abilities. They are the most common breed of dog used as sniffer dogs for the police and military to detect explosives and drugs. Less commonly, they are used in search-and-rescue missions, to detect traces of blood at crime scenes, and to sniff out bumblebee nests.
Springer Spaniels are also acclaimed for their show-dog ability. The breed excels in hunting, competitive obedience, and agility tests. Overall, the Springer Spaniel breed has won the third most “Best in Show” awards at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
2. The Springer Spaniel is a Medium-Sized Dog
Now, let’s take a look at how big Springer Spaniels get. This breed is officially classed as a medium-sized dog breed. Though the definition of medium-sized dogs varies slightly across the board, the consensus is that dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds (9 kilograms) are small breeds, and those that weigh more than 60 pounds (27 kilograms) are big breeds. Therefore, anything that falls in the middle of this range is categorized as a medium-sized breed.
Typically, a Springer Spaniel weighs between 35 to 50 pounds (16 to 23 kilograms) and stands 19 to 22 inches (28 to 56 centimeters) tall. Male Springer Spaniels are larger than females and tend to have a slightly deeper chest and more muscular build.
Springer Spaniels are a great example of a medium-sized dog, falling perfectly between a small dog and a large one. Unlike some other medium-sized dogs, Springer Spaniels are not good dogs for apartments because of their intense exercise requirements and extremely high energy levels.
3. Springer Spaniels Are Intelligent and Beautiful Dogs
With their long, floppy, fluffy ears and their large, expressive, soulful eyes, there’s no denying that Springer Spaniels are beautiful dogs. But this breed is more than just a pretty face, that’s for sure. In fact, Springer Spaniels have been identified as one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. In the book “The Intelligence of Dogs” written by Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology, in 1994, Springer Spaniels ranked 13th out of 130 breeds.
Springer Spaniels are highly intelligent dogs that respond especially well to positive reinforcement training. They’re known for their ability to learn quickly, retain information, and have an excellent understanding of new commands, only requiring five to 15 repetitions. They obey the first command 85% of the time. These statistics are impressive, to say the least.
On top of being able to learn, the Springer Spaniel is incredibly eager to do so. This breed is known to be very eager to please, which makes training them a pleasure. This is yet another reason why they make ideal show dogs and contenders in breed-specific dog sports.
4. Springer Spaniels Are an English Dog Breed
As you may have guessed by their name, English Springer Spaniels come from England. The Springer Spaniel is a well-known English breed, but it is actually just one of 57 officially recognized native English dogs.
Out of all the countries in the world, England and France are tied for having developed the most amount of dog breeds. The reason for this is intricately linked to the history and expansion of England, but the overall gist is the same: English people have a tendency to love breeding dogs. From big to small breeds, here are just a few other dog breeds that are native to England:
- Airedale Terriers
- Bedlington Terriers
- Border Collies
- Bull Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- English Pointer
- Golden Retrievers
- Jack Russel Terriers
- Old English Bulldogs
- Old English Sheepdogs
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers
5. The Average Life Expectancy for Springer Spaniels is 12 to 14 Years
Springer Spaniels have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, which is completely normal for medium-sized dogs and is in line with other breeds of the same size. The boundless energy and playful nature they’re known for doesn’t subside as they mature, and elements of this will still be evident once they become a senior dog.
The Springer Spaniel has no real predisposition to serious health issues. That being said, according to the ESSFT, compared to other dog breeds, they are slightly more susceptible to developing ear infections, as well as inheriting hereditary eye disorders, like Progressive Retinal Atrophy and entropion. Seizure disorders and skin disorders are also possible, though rare.
While there is no way to prevent your beloved dog from passing away, ensuring they get sufficient exercise, eat a high-quality diet, and receive proactive veterinary care can prolong the dog’s life – sometimes pushing them past the usual lifespan by a long shot. The oldest Springer Spaniel on record was a Sheffield-based old boy by the name of Basher, who died of old age at the ripe old age of 19 years.
6. Springer Spaniels Are Ultra Affectionate
Another factor that makes this breed so popular is its wonderful temperament. Springer Spaniels are massively affectionate and fiercely loyal to their owners and family. While most working dog breeds have a can-do attitude, the Springer Spaniel takes it to a whole new level with how eager to please it is.
Springer Spaniels are a popular dog breed for families with children mainly due to their plethora of positive personality traits. The breed is known for being:
- Of high intelligence
It’s safe to say that this lovable family dog has a lot going for it. But as is the case with all breeds, the Springer Spaniel has its flaws. This breed is notorious for bonding with one or more specific family members. While strong bonds between dog and owner are nothing short of incredible, the Springer Spaniel breed is particularly prone to suffering from separation anxiety when apart from their special person or people. They have the nickname “Velcro dogs” for a reason.
7. Springer Spaniels Come in Many Colors
Springer Spaniels have double coats that grow to medium length. The Springer Spaniel’s official breed standard describes the Springer Spaniel’s coat as: “Moderately long with feathering on his legs, ears, chest, and brisket” and its appearance as “clean, glossy, and live.”
When it comes to the colors of their coats, Springer Spaniels are very rarely one solid color. Though not unheard of, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll come across a Springer Spaniel with a solid-color coat, as this breed is known for having two to three color combinations on its coat. The American Kennel Club has laid out the accepted breed standard color combinations as:
- Black & White
- Black, White & Tan
- Liver & White
- Liver, White & Tan
- White & Black
- White & Liver
It is possible for Springer Spaniels’ coats to be off-colored. This includes shades of orange, yellow, and red, but these shades are not common at all and are not recognized as being part of the breed standard.
8. SPLASH! Springer Spaniels LOVE The Water
Last but not least, let’s talk about how Springer Spaniels are complete and utter water babies! Like all breeds of Spaniels, this specific Spaniel breed is naturally drawn to water – most likely because of their history of retrieving waterfowl. After all, retrieving can be wet (and muddy!) work, but someone has to do it, and that someone is the Springer Spaniel.
Springer Spaniels are the perfect example of dog breeds that love to swim and will do so at every opportunity. As long as there’s a source of water nearby, be it a river, lake, pool, pond, or muddy puddle, the Springer Spaniel is likely to take a dip. Not only do they enjoy swimming; they’re built for it. Springer Spaniels have water-resistant coats and webbed feet.
When it comes to the exercise requirements of this breed, Springer Spaniels need 1.5 to two hours of exercise per day. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, and Springer Spaniels will enjoy it thoroughly.