Roan English Springer Spaniel
Did you know that the Springer named Merlin rode into battle with his owner, William Wallace. In fact, the Springer Spaniel is considered the fastest of all the Spaniels and has the highest work drive of many breeds.
Springer Spaniels, they remind me of Lance Armstrong, very driven. They can flush game, they can retrieve game, they point game. They’re considered to be one of the quintessential hunting dogs.
But look closely, because there are two very distinct Springer Spaniels. One type called the Bench type is typically bred to charm his way through the show ring. He has a longer darker coat, which requires more grooming. He’s bigger boned and weighs more. The field variety of Springer comes with boundless energy. A keen nose for chasing birds and has a shorter lighter coat colour. Confused? Don’t be. Everything else about the Springer spaniel is straight forward.
This is a dog that is going to run to you, its going to smother you with kisses. Those light furry paws, are going to get all up on you. Get yourself an English Springer Spaniel and you have a pool or lake or pond by, don’t be surprised if you find your dog trying to jump in.
The English Springer Spaniel is the oldest of the Spaniels. It was brought to England from Spain in around 1570. Sometimes litters of the past contained dogs that greatly ranged in size. The smaller spaniels were used to hunt a bird called the Woodcock and were dubbed the “Cocker Spaniel.” Larger litter mates could easily flush or spring game out of its hiding spot and so were called “Springers.”
They were finally classified as separate breeds in the 1880s and have gone down diverging paths every since.
The Springer is the fastest of all the Spaniels and his gait will tell you why. At full speed, his whole body acts like a bow, the spine curving as his long legs meet underneath. When the bow is released, both front and back legs snap into full extension, allowing him to successfully surprise birds out of hiding.
The original purpose of this companion gun dog is evident in many of the traits of today’s Springer. For example, his soft mouth allowed him to pick up birds without damaging them and while the Bench or show dog variety traditionally has a fully docked tail, the field type often has a partially docked tail in order for his master to better locate him far field.
Most Springer’s tails are wagging constantly. Whether black and white, liver and white, blue roan or liver roan or tri-colour, his double-layered coat renders the Springer vitally weather-proof, water-proof and throne-proof. He also has what’s called, feathering, a fabulous fringe or longer fur on his ears, chest, legs and belly.
Although all English Springer Spaniels are different, they do share some common traits, starting with being a great family dog. Keep in mind that if you want this dog to be around children, you need to make sure that they’re very carefully supervised and at a very young age they’re socialised to well mannered and considerate children.
These are mostly healthy dogs, but have a few problems like hip dysplasia and retinol atrophy. That can be avoided by buying through a reputable breeder or adopting from a reputable shelter.
As far as grooming, if you have a bench or show dog, you’ll have to do a bit more work. The top of their head and their back is shaved smooth and then they have feathering, sort of like a blanket or curtain on the sides of their body. Most people don’t feel confident doing that, so keep in mind, probably every five to six months you need to go to a professional groomer. But if you have a field variety, the short Springer coat is remarkably self-cleaning.
Training these dogs is a pleasure. The more that you fill this dog’s mind with complex games and complex tasks, the happier the dog’s going to be.
For environment, make sure you can provide this dog with room to run. To recap, the Springer Spaniel needs to let off steam by exercising, he has few health problems. Needs moderate grooming and is a breeze to train. While he needs to be socialised early with children, he makes a good family dog. All in all, the Springer Spaniel is a dog that will go to the ends of the earth for you and love every minute of it.