English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed
Aliases: Earlier known as the Norfolk Spaniel.
|Life Span:||12 - 14 years.|
|Litter Size:||5 - 7 puppies.|
|Group:||Sporting Group or Gun Dog|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Liver and white; black and white; either of those combinations with tan markings on the eyebrows, cheeks, inside of the ears, and under the tail; and blue or liver roan. The white portions of the coat can be ticked or freckled. Field dogs are typically dominantly white, whereas show dogs are dominantly liver or black.|
|Male Height:||19-21 inches tall|
|Male Weight:||45-55 pounds|
|Female Height:||18-20 inches tall.|
|Female Weight:||40-50 pounds|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The English Springer Spaniel is an adaptable dog and can do well living in city or rural lifestyles. They can do well in apartments, as long as they get proper exercise and mental stimulation. This breed should not be kept tied up or penned alone very long. They are prone to separation anxiety, and such time away from human contact will only lead to destruction and mental anxiety. Springers that have been left tied or penned are known to develop aggression issues.|
The name English Springer Spaniel has been used since 1900. The English Springer Spaniel is a hearty, medium sized dog. Their tails are usually docked in American lines, and undocked in European lines. There is a major divide in the two types of springers: the field bred or working springer, and the show or bench bred springer.
Field bred springers are bred with the original purpose in mind, to hunt. There is not much room left for looks or even a standard. They are usually smaller and more compact than the show bred dog, with a much thinner, shorter, and coarse coat. The ears are smaller and less pendulous. They are dominantly white with a liver or black face and some ticking. This makes them easier to spot in the field. Field bred springers have more energy, making them more able to work. A well bred dog will be able to settle down in the home to save his energy for work, making them an excellent companion as well as a hunter.
Show bred, or bench bred springers are bred to place in the conformation ring. While some are able to hunt, the majority have had most, if not all, hunting instincts bred out of them, or they are too laid back to be able to hunt efficiently. Bench bred springers are heavier and are thicker boned than field bred springers. Their coats are much longer and thicker, making them more aesthetically pleasing. They are usually dominantly black or liver, with little or no tickings. The ears should reach all the way to the top of the nose when pulled forward. Eye color depends on coat, ranging from hazel to dark brown. Yellow eyes are a fault. The tails on the show bred dog are docked shorter than the field bred.
The English Springer Spaniel\'s outer coat is of medium length, flat or wavy, and sometimes curly. The undercoat is short, dense, and soft. The ears, chest, legs, and belly are furnished with a moderate length of feathering.
Colors such as lemon, red, orange, or sable, are faults and would be disqualified in a show ring. Such colors come from inbreeding and are not considered genetically healthy.
The original spaniels started to appear as early as the 1600\'s. Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels were considered the same breed until the 1800\'s. England started to divide the dogs into two groups. The Cocker Spaniels were considered under 25 lbs and used for woodcock, and the English Springers were considered about 45 lbs. Their purpose was to "spring" a game bird into the air, and a hawk would retrieve it. This was before guns were used. Today\'s springer spaniel\'s flush and retrieve their game.
In the mid twentieth century, the English Springer Spaniel started to divide into two groups, the field and show bred dog, while still being considered the same breed.
The typical English Springer Spaniel is a happy-go-lucky and eager to please dog. They should be friendly, sociable, playful, and gentle, making them an excellent family dog. They are extremely intelligent and can learn very quickly.
Although the typical springer spaniel loves children, any dog that is not socialized with them from puppy hood will not act predictably around them. Puppies should be handled by children from birth, and taught to always be gentle and easy.
English Springer Spaniels are very comical dogs. They are known to entertain their owners during their play. Rolling in mud, jumping into water, chasing after birds, and giving lots of kisses are among a few activities springers enjoy. Even more known among springers, is their endless tail wag. Some even wiggle their butts when they are happy.
Springers should never be shy, timid, or aggressive. During their "teen" years, they can be very testing and will want to establish dominance. The handler should have knowledge on how to remain a pack leader. NILIF, or Nothing in Life is Free training, should begin when the dog is a puppy. This means the dog must work for everything: food, toys, going outside, playing, etc.
Some people believe springers are prone to something called "rage syndrome". The ESSFTA (English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association) has maintained that this "syndrome" is an old term and not factual. Any dog has the potential to become aggressive. Proper training, mental stimulation, and good breeding, will prevent aggression in the springer spaniel.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The English Springer Spaniel ranks #60 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
The English Springer Spaniel is prone to a few genetic defects. Among those include
- Hip Dysplasia, an abnormality of the hip joints
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA, a disorder causing blindness
- Retinal Dysplasia, a malformation of the retina
- Epilepsy, a disease causing seizures
- Phosphofructokinase Deficiency (PFK), a blood disorder. PFK is more common in European lines than American lines.
These diseases and disorders can be bred out of a line and prevented by doing genetic testing. Most breeders use OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and/or CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) to test their dogs genetic health. It is desirable to have a hip rating of "fair", "good", or "excellent". Eyes should test "clear" or "normal", yearly.
A new DNA test for PRA came out in early 2007, provided by the Canine Genetic Disease Network. Over 1,100 English Springer Spaniels were tested at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 42% of the dogs tested "affected", and 38% tested as "carrier". Only 20% tested "normal" for this defect. PRA does not show up until the dog is older, so it is important to know the DNA of your puppies parents.
Springers are also prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. The air is not always able to circulate properly, causing a build up of bacteria or yeast. Allergies to food and environment are not common but do show up in the breed.
This breed tends to gain weight easily, so obesity is another common health issue. Obesity can lead to broken bones, diabetes, and can even shorten your pet's life.