English Springer Spaniel Breed Guide
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English Springer Spaniel Information & History
Although the origin of the English Springer Spaniel is unclear, similar spaniel breeds are believed to have originated from Spain. These dogs were also recorded in Welsh law as early as 300 A.D., which means this breed has been around for quite some time!
Later during the 16th and 17th centuries, Spaniels were presented in prestigious artwork throughout European countries. Back in the day, the English Springer Spaniel was used for their unique hunting skills. They would target smaller game and “spring” at them, which would expose them so they could be easily captured.
In the early 1900’s, English Springer Spaniels gained a spot on England’s Kennel Club and became a distinguished breed. Shortly after, the English Springer Spaniel was imported to the United States, where they quickly gained popularity and became one of America’s most favorite breeds.
Beginning in the 1940’s, English Springer Spaniels were characterized by two different qualities. Some breeders wanted an athletic field dog while others wanted to use them for shows and competitions. Even to this day, the English Springer Spaniel traits are is categorized by field dogs and show dogs, which may vary greatly depending on their personality, temperament, and appearance.
English Springer Spaniel Temperament & Personality
It is very easy to see why the English Springer Spaniel is one of America’s most favorite breeds. They adapt very well to any household setting. The English Springer Spaniel personality is also extremely affectionate to both family members and strangers. At the end of the day, the English Springer Spaniel will be the happiest when they get attention from their human companions. Whether you are grilling in the backyard or watching a movie on the couch, expect your dog to accompany you wherever you go.
In order to have a well-tempered canine, make sure to socialize them with as many people, places, and experiences during puppyhood. This will help them feel more comfortable with other humans and animals later on in life. If a Spaniel is not properly trained, they may become timid or shy with people they’re unfamiliar with.
An important note to remember about a Spaniels is their need for human companionship. This is not the type of breed that is content with spending hours by themselves. In fact, when an English Springer Spaniel is left alone for too long, they are at a high risk for developing separation anxiety or depression. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure to allot a sufficient amount of time each day for your dog.
Training an English Springer Spaniel
When it’s time to train an English Springer Spaniel, it tends to be an enjoyable experience for both the dog and the owner. Between their high intelligence and strong desire to please their owners, this breed takes very well to their owner’s training efforts.
Just like with any other breed, persistence is key when training your dog. Never use harsh training tactics to get your dog to obey you. The English Springer Spaniel is especially sensitive and will become emotionally distressed if they sense their owner is mad at them. Using positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage your dog.
If you are a new pet owner and are having difficulty training your dog, Puppy classes are highly recommended for them to learn appropriate English Springer Spaniel behavior. These classes will not only teach your dog basic commands, but they will also socialize them with other dogs at a young age.
Exercise Requirements for English Springer Spaniels
The English Springer Spaniel is a very athletic dog with high levels of energy. Long walks or outdoor activities are a must to keep this breed both happy and healthy. Many English Springer Spaniel owners engage their pets in agility training, tracking, hunting tests, and obedience training to keep them both physically and mentally stimulated.
As previously stated, the English Springer Spaniel is a highly intelligent breed and needs to be continuously entertained. If they are not getting enough exercise on a daily basis, they will become bored and restless. Once this happens, expect them to create their own entertainment by chewing up your sofa or digging up your flowers in the backyard.
When taking your dog on their daily walk, make sure to always keep them on a leash or in an enclosed area. Since they are a part of the hunting group, they tend to have an instinctive drive to chase small animals, and will go running off when given the chance.
English Springer Spaniel Life Span & Longevity
On Average, the English Springer Spaniel has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
Are English Springer Spaniels a Popular Breed?
Obedient, affectionate, and athletic- the English Springer Spaniel is consistently a family favorite. Whether they are bred for their strength or appearance, this breed is the perfect companion when properly trained. Today, this dog is ranked as the 26th most popular breed in the United States by the AKC.
English Springer Spaniel Feeding Requirements
Due to their medium size and athletic built, an English Springer Spaniel should be fed 1 ½ to 2 cups of high-quality food a day, split into two separate meals. With that being said, it’s always important to consider your dog’s metabolism, age, weight, and activity level before deciding on a specific feeding regimen.
When looking for the right food, try looking for products that are made with all natural sources of protein and vegetables. Avoid preservatives, soy, gluten, or corn, which are difficult for your dog to properly digest.
Lastly, be sure to provide your pet with fresh water at all times. Their dish should be cleaned once a day and topped off when needed. Staying hydrated is a key factor for your dog’s overall health.
English Springer Spaniel Grooming
In order to keep your English Springer Spaniel at its best, make sure to properly groom them on a regular basis. Their thick double coat moderately sheds, and should be brushed several times a week to prevent matting or tangles. Brushing will also help mitigate the shedding, and free any dead hair that may be trapped in their coat. An English Springer Spaniel’s coat grows at a faster rate compared to most breeds, so a professional trim every couple of months is highly recommended to keep it neat and tidy.
Aside from regular brushing, clean their teeth once a week to avoid tartar and bacteria from building up. Along with this weekly cleaning, check their ears, eyes, skin, and nose for inflammation or infection. Since this breed has longer-hanging ears, they are at a higher risk for an infection. Use a veterinarian approved solution to clean their ears regularly.
The last English Springer Spaniel grooming step is to trim their nails once every two weeks. Your dog may experience painful breakage or infection if they do not have their nails trimmed on a regular basis. As a general rule to follow, if you can hear their nails tapping against the hardwood floor, that probably means it’s time for a trim!
Are English Springer Spaniels Good with Kids?
As long as your English Springer Spaniel has been socialized with children at a young age, they should have no problems living within a family setting. This breed is gentle and affectionate by nature, and love the attention that children so often provides them. Once both the child and the dog understands how to properly interact with one another, they will be able to create a lasting friendship for years to come.
No matter how calm your English Springer Spaniel may be, parent supervision is always recommended in any child and dog interactions.
English Springer Spaniel Health Issues
Even though the English Springer Spaniel is a healthy breed, they are still prone to several health complications. Below is a list of English Springer Spaniel health problems that commonly affect this breed.
Retinal Dysplasia: This disease causes a malformation in the retina of the eye. One of the most common symptoms of retinal dysplasia is when your dog develops strange behaviors or becomes clumsy. Normally, a dog’s vision will not be seriously affected when diagnosed with retinal dysplasia.
Hip Dysplasia: This malformation of the hip joint restricts the thighbone from properly fitting into its socket. Hip Dysplasia is inherited and is known to cause discomfort, lameness, or immobility in many breeds. This health complication normally affects one or both of the rear legs and can be properly diagnosed through x-rays and physical examinations.
Entropion: There are several English Springer Spaniel eye problems to be concerned about. Entropion is an abnormality that occurs when the eyelids roll inwards, causing irritation and corneal erosion. This complication is a hereditary disease that can be very uncomfortable for many breeds
Otitis Externa: Other common issues include English Springer Spaniel ear problems. Otitis Externa is caused by severe inflammation of the external ear canal. This health complication is usually due to other underlying issues such as disease or infection. Common symptoms include redness, itchiness, pain, and in extreme case, it can lead to a ruptured eardrum.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This genetic disease causes deterioration of the retina. Symptoms begin when the dog has difficulty with their vision at night. PRA progressively worsens until the dog loses complete sight. Since this is a gradual loss of vision, most dogs are able to adapt quite well to blindness before they completely lose their sight.
National breed website: English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association