Adopting An English Springer Spaniel

History and origin: The English Springer Spaniel was developed in 19th century England and is the oldest of the British Spaniels except for the Clumber.  He is named after his early task of “springing” game for the hunter’s nets.  This breed has become a popular house pet in addition to still being an important gundog.

Description: The English Springer Spaniel stands 19 to 20 inches at the shoulder and

weighs 42 to 55 pounds.  The flat or slightly wavy coat is of moderate length, shedding little but requiring daily brushing and periodic clipping.  The color may be black-and- white or liver-and-white.

About the breed: A well-bred English Springer is loyal, great with children, and makes a wonderful house pet as well as a gundog.  He is also an attentive, hardworking, and affectionate dog.  However, this is also the breed with the highest incidence of dogs euthanized for aggression toward their owners.  The aggression seen in this breed almost always arises over an issue of possessiveness, particularly over food, a favorite toy, or a sleeping place.  Do not give this issue a chance to develop.  Starting from day one, make sure you handle the puppy’s food dish often.  While the puppy is eating, pick up the dish, place a piece of cheese or a treat in it, and then set it back down.  This will teach the puppy that having you handle his dish is something to look forward to.  Some Springers will bite their owners if the dogs are awakened too suddenly or if they are surprised in some way.  This aggressive behavior often is not evident in the puppy, making it hard to predict if the adult dog will show this tendency.  Springers sometimes bond too closely with their owners and consequently suffer from separation anxiety when the owner leaves.  This can result in incessant barking and destructive behavior.  Remember that this sporting breed needs to release energy through regular exercise.  This will help reduce stress and destructive behavior.  Do not overdo greetings and departures with this breed.  Greet him the way you would a member of the family and do not patronize him.  The same goes for departures.  Good English Springer Spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, and they do well in the obedience ring.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 — 1 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 3 cupfuls of complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: The English Springer Spaniel needs a house with a fenced yard.  Families with children should avoid this breed.  In addition, this is not a breed for the elderly or the disabled. The owner of an English Springer needs to be a strong leader and obedience training should start from day one.  Springers are smarter than most dogs and learns quickly.  Hunters would find this breed an excellent working companion.  Never spoil this breed; he needs consistent rules and needs to know he is not the center of attention.  Consider getting a female because they tend to have a much lower incidence of aggression.