Let's talk English Springer Spaniels

With their ultra-soft floppy ears and ever-present enthusiasm for just about anything you propose – because it’s you - the English Springer Spaniel is a most amenable breed. Bred to hunt, English Springer Spaniels still have a strong prey drive so be aware that they may bring you ‘presents’ as a token of their esteem. Packed to the rim with energy – and muscle - your Springer will need a decent amount of activity to burn it off each day. However, they are equally content to snuggle at day’s end with their favourite humans as well. 

Official name: English Springer Spaniel

Other names: Springers

Origins: United Kingdom

 Drooling tendencies


Warm weather? High
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *: High Family pet? *
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets High
Can stay alone? * Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age: 1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years


Origins of the breed

For many enthusiasts, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular all-round dogs worldwide. It’s thought that Labrador Retrievers originated from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where fishermen used dogs of this appearance to retrieve fish. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

The Labrador Retriever Club was founded in 1916 and the first standard followed soon after, predominantly tailored to working Labrador Retrievers who found early fame, having been originally introduced to the U.K. in the late 1800’s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.


2 facts about English Springer Spaniels

1. The ears have it

With some of the floppiest ears in the canine world, English Springer Spaniels need a little extra TLC in the area. Their hearing organs can block air circulation, so ears must be checked and cleaned weekly to head off infections. Use sterile gauze rolled up or cotton moistened with a vet-approved cleaning solution to gently clean in and around the ears, sticking to the parts you can see. Cotton swabs are a big no-no! Let your vet know if you see redness, or your pooch shakes or scratches a lot.

2. I know you

Their talent and good breeding means English Springer Spaniels have plenty of celebrity paw-bassadors. Oprah Winfrey has English Springer (and Cocker) Spaniels as did Princess Grace of Monaco. U.S. President George H.W. and First Lady Barbara Bush owned Millie – full name Mildred "Millie" Kerr Bush – while in the White House. She was the first presidential pet to top the NYT nonfiction bestseller list with her book, “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush”, and also the mother of President George W. Bush’s dog, Spot.


History of the breed

Named for the way they would “spring” game birds to flush them out, the English Springer Spaniel was bred as a partner for sports(wo)men.

In existence for centuries, English Cocker Spaniels and the dogs we know and love as English Springer Spaniels were often born in the same litter. It was only generations later that careful breeding gave way to distinct types of spaniels, the Cocker being the smaller of the two.

In 1812, a pure strain of English Springer Spaniel was started—even so, in the 1870’s, Welsh and English Springer Spaniels were grouped as one at British dog shows. This continued up until 1903, when the UK Kennel Club recognised them as distinct breeds.

To make things even more confusing, there are two types of English Springer Spaniels—Show dogs and Field dogs. While they are part of the same breed category, they are quite different in both physical characteristics and temperament.

In 1921, The English Springer Spaniel Club was established as were many reputable kennels devoted to breeding this exceptional dog. The AKC soon recognised the breed in 1927.


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of English Springer Spaniels

1. Body

Medium-sized sporting dog, with a compact, strong body.

2. Coat

Moderately long coat with feathering on legs, ears, chest and brisket.

3. Neck

Neck is moderately long, muscular, and slightly arched at the crest.

4. Length

Length of body slightly greater than height at the withers.

5. Legs

Rear legs reach well under the body, on a line with the forelegs.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your English Springer Spaniel


Caring for your English Springer Spaniel

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Despite their double coat and longish, flowing hair, the English Springer Spaniel’s grooming needs are quite straightforward: Weekly brushing or comb throughs will prevent tangling and remove dirt and loose hair. Nails should be clipped regularly and teeth brushed. Professional grooming every so often will help that gorgeous coat stay looking good. As a former hunting dog, the English Springer Spaniel needs a decent amount of regular exercise. Think hikes and long walks, even a good run. Play sessions and mentally stimulating activities will also go a long way to keeping your Springer springing. A word of caution—if they are anywhere near a body of water, their bodies will most likely end up in it. So, keep a dry towel handy before they go bounding back to your abode. Training an English Springer Spaniel is a satisfying endeavour. Intelligence could be their middle name. Puppy classes and early socialisation will help ensure you have a well-adjusted, well-mannered pooch at all times. Or most of the time, anyway.


All about English Springer Spaniels

They sure are. English Springer Spaniels are known for their keen intelligence, ranking 13th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. They pick things up very quickly during obedience training and are eager to learn.

As with any spaniel, English Springer Spaniels shed moderately throughout the year, with more noticeable hair loss in the spring and early summer. Brushing regularly will help catch loose hairs. And you were going to vacuum anyway, right? What they lose in hair, English Springer Spaniels more than make up for in devotion.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/