The English Springer Spaniel is a family dog first and foremost with a happy, lively personality. They demand to be an integral part of the family and deserve this inclusion; they are one of the most loyal and compassionate breeds. In addition to their sweet demeanor, their versatility makes them popular for a variety of activities: hunting, field trials, the show ring, and all kinds of dog sports.
~ The English Springer Spaniel at a glance ~
Temperament: Friendly, playful, affectionate and obedient
Size: Medium (Height 19 - 20 inches and Weight 40 - 55 pounds)
Coat Length: Medium
Coat Colours: Black or liver with white, blue or liver roan, tricolor
Grooming Needs: Moderate (requires weekly brushing)
Exercise Needs: Moderate to high (requires regular exercise)
Trainability: Relatively easy to train, quick to learn and eager to please
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
~ Notes of Distinction ~
Any quick google search on the English Springer Spaniel may leave one a little confused, with results sometimes being inconsistent or even conflicting. That is because the English Springer Spaniel can look very different in different countries,
and even within the same country. Here's why...
Field and Bench
In North America (and in England) the ESS has been bred to serve 2 functions: showing and hunting.
The bench-bred dogs are those that are used in the show ring. These dogs have been bred to have longer and fuller coats with more feathering. They are larger boned and are have calmer dispositions.
The field-bred dogs are those that are used for hunting. These dogs have been bred to have shorter, lighter coats. They are stocky, muscular and have more drive and longer stamina.
While researching the origins of the English Springer Spaniel, I learned about the evolution of the breed in North America. Since its introduction here in 1913, our selective breeding practices have resulted in some significant alterations to the breeds appearance and functionality. We've essentially divided the breed into 2 distinct types: the bench-bred and field-bred. And after more than a century of selective breeding, the english springer spaniel here doesn't resemble the old photos of the breed that go as far back as the 16th century. Many of what I consider to be the most appealing traits, have been bred out of the North American english springer spaniels. The bench-bred now have very little markings on their white fur and have uncharacteristically thick coats, while the field-bred now have a very different appearance all together. Neither are dual function dogs, you would be hard pressed to find a field-bred who got anywhere in the show ring or a bench-bred that was capable of hunting.
North American and European
I stumbled across some European english springer spaniels and was delighted to see that they still resemble the look of the breed from hundreds of years ago. Their appearance is of course a bit different than either the North American field-bred or bench-bred types. The European english springer spaniels have prolific ticking on their white fur, long pendulous ears, a less dense & straighter coat, and a slightly bigger stature. Not only that but the European english springer spaniels are still dual function dogs: they compete in both field trials and the show ring, quite successfully!
~ Breed Standards ~
A breed standard may include the history of the breed, a narrative description of their externally observable characteristics, and their original use or purpose. The description is a distinct picture in words, outlining the ideal size, weight, colour, length of coat, tail, structure, temperament and movement. It may also describe faults or deficiencies that would disqualify an animal from registration or indicate that the dog should not be used for breeding purposes. Breed standards help define the ideal specimen of that breed and should serve as a guide for breeders to base their breeding goals on.
All recognized dog breeds are ordered into distinct groups which serve to identify the function that they were bred to perform. In essence a breed standard is a blueprint for a specimen fit for the function it was bred. The English Springer Spaniel (ESS) is part of the Sporting Dog Group (in Canada and the US), as it was originally bred to work with hunters to flush or "spring" birds from their cover.
Breed standards vary from association to association, and from country to country, even for the same breed. There is no one format for breed standards, and they are periodically changed or updated over time. Different countries have variations on their breed standards, even for the same breed.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
breed standards for the English Springer Spaniel can be found below.
This delightful short video by Jackie, shares her first hand experience of getting an English Springer Spaniel puppy and how Dolly the dog has changed her life. She discusses the temperament of this breed, and tells us why to get an English Springer Spaniel.
This in-depth video review by Dogs 101, gives the lowdown on the English Springer Spaniel Breed. The video shows various springers both of the field and bench variety, with different coat colours. The video covers the top 10 facts about the English Springer Spaniel.