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The English Springer Spaniel

Guest Author - Sandy Moyer

The AKC describes The English Springer Spaniel as a "medium-sized, outgoing, and attractive dog with a strong sense of fun and a deep-seated devotion to its human family." Since I long ago had the privilege of knowing and loving Tootsie and Stormy, our two very sweet English Springers, I can vouch for that! As pets, Springers are extremely affectionate and thrive on attention. As sporting dogs, they are enthusiastic, tireless, and skilled.

The English Springer Spaniel was officially recognized as a distinct breed by the Kennel Club of England in 1902. The first Springers came to North America in the very early 1900's and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1910. At that time, a well-bred Springer would compete in both field trials and conformation shows. Field trials are canine sporting events that demonstrate performance in the field. In confirmation shows, dogs are judged by how well they conform the breed standards. Today, a Springer Spaniel competes in either in field trials or in the conformation show ring, but not in both.


Dillon and Nat are beautiful black and white Show Springers
Since the 1930's, the breed has really been split into two distinct varieties. "Show-bred" or "Bench" type Springers conform to well defined breed standards. "Field-bred" Springers were developed for performance. Dogs from these bloodlines have superior hunting abilities such as a keen sense of smell, a strong retrieving instinct, speed and endurance. The most obvious visual difference between the two types is in the coat. Field Springers have more white coloring. Sometimes they're nearly all white with a dark head and ears or with a few areas of variegated coloring. When they have ticking, it's heavier then the ticking on Springers from show lines. Show Springers have longer hair with more feathering and darker coloring. Both types have docked tails, which are typically left a bit longer on Field Springers.

Many show Springers retain their inherent desire to hunt and dogs from some confirmation breeding programs do earn AKC Hunting Test titles. Though their performance shows that they can be useful hunting companions, serious hunters and field-trial enthusiasts should still choose a Field Springer. Field-bred English Springer Spaniels excel at hunting!


The function of a hunting Spaniel is to seek, find, flush out and retrieve. Field Springers love to do it all. They're superb gun dogs, performing equally as well whether hunting small game or hunting waterfowl. Their style of hunting is to "spring", or flush the game and skillfully retrieve it to the hand of their hunting companion. Having a "natural" instinct does not mean this all comes "naturally" though. If you buy a Field Springer, or any field dog for that matter, and you're new to the sport, both you and the dog will need training. You'll both need to work with a trainer or join a club or organization that offers classes. Contact your local kennel club for information about what's available in your area.

Which kind makes the best pet? Field-bred or show-bred?.... Either type can be an extraordinary pet and a loving companion. The same qualities that make Springers so good in competition are the qualities a dog needs to be a good pet. Springers are eager to please, quick to learn, and willing to obey!

Monty is a Field-Bred English Springer Spaniel

Field Springers sometimes need more exercise than show Springers. They make good pets for active families and people who love the outdoors.

Most Springers are great with kids. They're playful and full of fun, but gentle and tolerant. If you've adopted an adult dog that has no experience with kids, close supervision is a must until you are absolutely sure they're fine together.

Springers can be happy and content with people who enjoy country life or city life. Like all active dogs, a Springer thrives in a house with a big back yard or open fields to run and play. But... with regular walks and adequate exercise, the average Springer will adjust to city life, even apartment life.

With insufficient exercise and lack of training, Springers can easily become problem chewers no matter where they live. They're very loving and extremely affectionate dogs who bond closely to their humans. Separation anxiety is quite common. Early crate training can prevent destructive behavior.

Monty again - at work

Tru is a black and white tri-color
English Springer Spaniel.
Farley is liver and white.
Both are Show Springers.
Springers are moderate shedders - at best. They need regular brushing and at least some clipping. For field dogs, light trimming inside the ears, on the feet, between the pads and around the toes might be all that's needed. Show Springers require frequent brushing and more extensive trimming. Owners who want to keep their dogs looking neat with coats in top condition should look for a professional groomer who has experience with the breed. In addition to the areas mentioned above, hair is trimmed on top of the head, above the ears, and on the throat. Thinning shears are used on the body coat.

Springer Health....
The Springer's floppy ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent chronic ear infections.

With proper health care, including regular exams and immunizations, an English Springer's average lifespan is about 12-15 years. The breed, in general, is not plagued by serious health problems, but there are concerns over possible hereditary conditions.

Springers can inherit Hip Dysplasia and several serious eye diseases. Prior to breeding, Springers should be checked for these common hereditary problems. Breeders should have eye and hip certifications for both parents of a litter to show prospective puppy buyers.

Canine PFK Deficiency is another genetic disease that affects English Springer Spaniels. Carriers of the defective gene that can cause this energy zapping disease can be easily identified by a DNA test. Before being bred, Springers should have this test. Dogs that are found to be carriers of the gene should never be used for breeding.

Breeding for temperament must always be a top priority! Aggressive tendencies have been noted in some Springer Spaniels, as they have in almost all breeds of dogs. When a pet suddenly becomes unstable or threatening to a family member or snaps at someone, unprovoked, it's frightening - especially when children are involved. Aggression, whether it's related to bad breeding or improper training is usually a form of dominance aggression, fear-related aggression, resource guarding, or territorial behaviors. Talk to your Vet... Rule out a possible physical disorder first. Discuss it with a good trainer, or consult an Animal Behavior Therapist. Inform the breeder. A reputable breeder would want to know. Reputable, responsible breeders will only use physically sound, mature dogs of stable temperament for breeding.


According to AKC registration statistics, the English Springer Spaniel ranked at #28 in popularity among all registered breeds in 2003. Back in 1992, Springers were the 19th most popular breed. The peak was largely attributed to the popularity of the most famous “First Dog” in U.S.history. "Mildred Kerr Bush" - aka "Millie" - was the English Springer Spaniel who lived in the White House with President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, from 1988 to 1992. She made history by co-writing "Millie's Book", an account of her life in the White House. It was on the bestseller list for 29 weeks! On March 17, 1989, Millie gave birth to a litter of puppies in the White House!

One of those puppies was Spot "Spotty" Fetcher Bush. Spot made history by moving back into the White House and becoming the first - second generation presidential pet. She moved back into the White House with her owners, President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.

Spot, who passed away in 2003, was a loyal companion and a beloved member of the Bush family for nearly 15 years. You can see some great pictures of Spot and read more about her at the online Presidential Pets Museum.

Millie's Book



Springer pups are adorable!
These 5 week old cuties are from
NANJAY Perm. Reg'd English Springer Spaniels



Springers frequently outshine other breeds in conformation shows. English Springer Spaniels claimed top honors at Westminster in 1993, in 2000, and now, again in 2007. Ch Salilyn's Condor (Robert) won Best in Show in 1993. Seven years later, in 2000 - his daughter, Ch Salilyn-N-Erin's Shameless (Samantha), won Best in Show. And... Ch Felicity's Diamond Jim (James) was awarded the 2007 Best In Show Trophy. That's three wins since 1993... for one breed out of 155 AKC breeds. That's pretty amazing!!!!

These versatile Spaniels are very competitive in Obedience competition too. English Springer Spaniels are also participating in and excelling in Agility, Tracking, and Flyball. They are the ultimate show dog, the ultimate gun dog, and the ultimate companion! Springers put their heart and soul into everything they do!!!


Springers are wonderful pets, but as with any breed, these dogs are not for everyone. Much thought must go into a decision to bring any new dog into your life. It's a very long term commitment! If you make the wrong choice, that's a big problem. Pets are not throw-away objects, but far too often, that's what they become.

If you're thinking about the possibility of sharing your life with an English Springer Spaniel, please read the article written by my friend, Arlene Blum ("Mom" to Dillon and Nat - above). Click on the banner below.....


Springer Links

AKC English Springer Spaniel History and Breed Standard

English Springer Spaniel Information

ESSFTA English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association

The English Springer Spaniel - Is It The Dog For You?

The Difference Between A Show Bred & Field Bred English Springer Spaniel

The Westminster Kennel Club

Grooming Your English Springer Spaniel Puppy

Grooming Your English Springer Spaniel

Read Breed Reviews or Write Your Own Review

An on-line Field-Bred English Springer Spaniel Pedigree Database

English Springer Spaniel Pedigree Databases

National Gundog Association

The Springer Showcase

Springers In Law Enforcement: Mindy & Bonnie's Stories

The English Springer Spaniel Museum

"Rage Syndrome"- It's an old term, essentially a misnomer.

VetGen's DNA Test to Detect PFK Deficiency in English Springer Spaniels

Missy's English Springer Spaniel Page

Felicity English Springers


Springer Rescue

English Springer Rescue America

English Springer Spaniel Rescue News in the Carolinas

Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue

New England English Springer Spaniel Rescue

English Springer Rescue Association of Canada

More Springer Links

The English Springer Spaniel Club of Canada

The English Springer Spaniel Club of Great Britain

Wild Rose English Springer Spaniel Association of Alberta, Personality Profiles

The UK Kennel Club Breed Standard


Forums & Webrings

Yahoo English Springer Spaniel Group

Dog Hobbyist English Springer Spaniel Forum

English Springer Spaniels Webring

Springer Spaniel Ring

Field Bred English Springer Spaniel Ring

The Spaniel Ring


Springer Fun

Max and Annie

Biography of Spot "Spotty" Fetcher

When it's Time to Unwind, Bush Goes to the Dogs

Spaniels R Us

Nathaniel & Dillon's Merry Christmas Adventure


Picture Credits

NANJAY English Springer Spaniels

  • Tru and Farley
  • Puppies

    Meadowdale Gundogs

  • Monty

    Nathaniel and Dillon's Merry Christmas Adventure!

  • Dillon and Nat


  • Get T-Shirts and Sweatshirts for English Springer Spaniel Lovers at Choice Shirts.com

    Select from a variety of English Springer Spaniel breed items at Personal Creations.com

    For stuffed dogs, welcome signs and more gifts and accessories for
    English Springer Spaniel lovers, see Animal Den - Gift Shop for Dog Lovers!


    To learn much more about training and caring for your English Springer Spaniel, see ....

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    Content copyright © 2014 by Sandy Moyer. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Sandy Moyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bettina Thomas-Smith for details.

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