English Springer Spaniel

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

English Springer Spaniel

The Spaniel is thought to have originated in Spain and is known as the oldest sporting dog in the world. It is believed that the Romans brought the Spaniel from Spain to England. The Sporting Spaniel Society of Britain decided upon the separation and recognition of the “Cocker” and the “Springer" Spaniels in 1902. The British would use Cocker Spaniels to hunt woodcock, gaining the name "Cockers." Springer Spaniels were used to flush (or "spring") game, therefore appropriately being called "Springers."

The first English Springer Spaniel in North America was imported from England to Canada in 1913. In little more than a decade, the breed had risen in popularity to become one of the breeds eligible for American Kennel Club registration. Early breeders were thorough and cautious when developing and expanding their breeding programs. Some breeders had different interests with their growth of their Springer Spaniel programs. Many decided to fine-tune their hunting companions for field trailing competitions while others enjoyed exhibiting their Springers in conformation competition. The diverse appearance of today's show vs. field bred Springers is due to focusing breeding efforts on different features of the canines. Competitive field trial Springers are a picture of strength, endurance, camaraderie and teamwork. Competitive conformation Springers are pure models of beauty and elegance. The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, the parent club of the breed in the United States, was founded in 1924.

AKC Breed Standard

General Appearance
“The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog, with a compact body and a docked tail. His coat is moderately long, with feathering on his legs, ears, chest and brisket. His pendulous ears, soft gentle expression, sturdy build and friendly wagging tail proclaim him unmistakably a member of the ancient family of Spaniels. He is above all a well-proportioned dog, free from exaggeration, nicely balanced in every part. His carriage is proud and upstanding, body deep, legs strong and muscular, with enough length to carry him with ease. Taken as a whole, the English Springer Spaniel suggests power, endurance and agility. He looks the part of a dog that can go, and keep going, under difficult hunting conditions. At his best, he is endowed with style, symmetry, balance and enthusiasm, and is every inch a sporting dog of distinct spaniel character, combining beauty and utility.”

“The Springer is built to cover rough ground with agility and reasonable speed. His structure suggests the capacity for endurance. He is to be kept to medium size. Ideal height at the shoulder for dogs is 20 inches; for bitches, it is 19 inches. Those more than one inch under or over the breed ideal are to be faulted. A 20 inch dog, well-proportioned and in good condition, will weigh approximately 50 pounds; a 19 inch bitch will weigh approximately 40 pounds. The length of the body (measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks) is slightly greater than the height at the withers…”

“The Springer has an outer coat and an undercoat. On the body, the outer coat is of medium length, flat or wavy, and is easily distinguishable from the undercoat, which is short, soft and dense. The quantity of undercoat is affected by climate and season. When in combination, outer coat and undercoat serve to make the dog substantially waterproof, weatherproof and thornproof. On ears, chest, legs and belly the Springer is nicely furnished with a fringe of feathering of moderate length and heaviness. On the head, front of the forelegs, and below the hock joints on the front of the hind legs, the hair is short and fine. The coat has the clean, glossy, "live" appearance indicative of good health. It is legitimate to trim about the head, ears, neck and feet, to remove dead undercoat, and to thin and shorten excess feathering as required to enhance a smart, functional appearance…”

”All the following combinations of colors and markings are equally acceptable:(1) Black or liver with white markings or predominantly white with black or liver markings; (2) Blue or liver roan; (3) Tricolor: black and white or liver and white with tan markings, usually found on eyebrows, cheeks, inside of ears and under the tail. Any white portion of the coat may be flecked with ticking…”

”The typical Springer is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey. Such traits are conducive to tractability, which is essential for appropriate handler control in the field. In the show ring, he should exhibit poise and attentiveness and permit himself to be examined by the judge without resentment or cringing. Aggression toward people and aggression toward other dogs is not in keeping with sporting dog character and purpose and is not acceptable…”

For more information about the Breed Standard for the English Springer Spaniel visit the AKC website at: www.akc.org.

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