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English Springer Spaniel Breed Profile

English Springer Spaniel fact file

KC Group: Gundog
Size: Medium 
Height:
Between 48 - 51cm
Weight:
About 25kg
Average lifespan:
12 years
Temperament:
Extrovert, incredibly friendly, and extremely eager to please
Good with children?: 
Yes
Exercise requirement: 
Lots
Good guard dogs?:
 No
Moulting level: 
Medium
Grooming: 
Moderate
Colours:
Black and white or liver and white, or either of these with tan markings (tricolour) 
Jogging partner: 
Yes

Health

In general Springers aren’t troubled by serious health problems, and hereditary diseases in the breed aren’t widespread.

However, they can be prone to the following conditions:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA (cord 1) mutation is the most common form found in the breed.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Fucosidosis.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow dysplasia.

Hip and elbow dysplasia affect the hip and elbow joints; PRA is an inherited, untreatable eye condition that results in blindness; glaucoma is increased pressure within the eye — it’s extremely painful and if not treated promptly will result in blindness; fucosidosis is a progressive disease of the nervous system that is severe and ultimately fatal.

The disease, which affects young adult dogs, is caused by an absence of an enzyme called alpha-L-fucosidase. It can affect all Springer Spaniels, whether working or show — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Health tests

All parent dogs must be DNA tested for the PRA (cord 1) mutation and fucosidosis; dogs who are carriers shouldn’t be bred from.

Clinical eye examinations should be carried out regularly to identify any potential problems early on.

It’s recommended that you get a puppy from parents who have been hip and elbow scored.

Temperament

  • A natural extrovert, but shouldn’t be hyperactive.
  • Loyal and friendly.
  • Obedient and extremely eager to please.
  • Happy and lively.
  • Very sociable.
  • Good family dog.

Lifestyle

  • A lively, energetic dog best suited to an active lifestyle.
  • Adapts to urban life, but will thrive in the country.
  • Loves human company and craves his owners’ attention.
  • Must be stimulated or may become very hyper.
  • Not a lap dog.
  • Needs a good two hours of exercise a day.

Trainability

  • Very easy to train, but must start straight away.
  • Can become naughty if not trained at an early age.
  • Once training has started it must be carried through.
  • Incredibly versatile and will try anything with great enthusiasm.

General care

  • Due to his feathered coat a Springer requires a lot of grooming.
  • Grass, twigs, seeds, and other debris are easily picked up in the coat. A Springer needs a good daily brush through. If knots and tangles aren’t tackled promptly they will form painful mats.
  • Ears need checking and cleaning regularly otherwise they will be prone to infection.
  • A fairly hardy breed that is easy to feed. If you opt for a show Springer don’t feed him a high-protein diet unless you intend to work him sufficiently to burn it off.

Working or show Springer?

Working Springers, although less highly strung, are incredibly energetic and always on a mission. In appearance they can vary, but tend to be of lighter build, and longer than they are tall. They can be quite small, their ears are set higher on the head, and their coats are much shorter and less feathered than their show counterparts.

While working Springers are often cheaper, they aren’t recommended for the average pet dog owner. It’s best not to choose a working Springer unless you intend to work him.

Pros

  • Good temperament.
  • Versatile.
  • Good all-rounder.

Cons

  • Some hereditary problems.
  • Above-average exercise needed.
  • Above-average grooming requirements.