English Springer Spaniel Dogs 101
First developed as a gun dog, the English Springer Spaniel, named for the way he “springs” to flush out prey, has long been a favorite with sportsmen, but this lively, beautiful dog also makes a wonderful family companion. He’s highly intelligent, he’s eager to please, and his enthusiasm and sense of humor will undoubtedly steal your heart. Let’s get to know this bouncy breed.
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10. Evident from the name, Spaniel-type dogs are thought to have originated in Spain many centuries ago and were probably taken to other parts of the world by the Romans or via trading ships. Spaniels were mentioned in Welsh law as early as 300 A.D.
Before guns were invented, the spaniel was used to flush game birds and other small animals by springing at them and driving them into the open where they could be caught. When firearms were invented in the 17th century, the Spaniel proved to be especially adept at flushing game for shooters.
9. Until the early 20th century, Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels were one Spaniel breed with two varieties that would appear together in litters. Cockers were the smaller dogs of the litters and were so named because they were used to hunt woodcocks. In 1902, the English Kennel Club officially designated the two types as separate breeds. The English Springer Spaniel was first recognized by the AKC in 1910.
8. Though he may not have gone by the name “Springer Spaniel” in the 16th century, there are many paintings of dogs that look very much like the English Springer Spaniel from that time period. These paintings were likely of dogs called Land Spaniels, which were at the time divided into to the Crouching Spaniel and the Springing Spaniel.
7. According to the American Kennel Club English Springer Spaniels come in nine coat color combinations: black and white; black, white and tan; liver and white; liver, white and tan; white and black; white and liver; lemon and white; orange and white; and red and white. Markings can include roan, spotted and ticked.
6. Though they are considered one breed, there are two distinct varieties of English Springer Spaniels, one bred for working/hunting, called a field dog, and one bred for show called a bench dog. The division began sometime in the 1940s. Working Springer Spaniels are bred smaller and more energetic. Show Springer Spaniels are larger, with longer ears and fur for a bolder and more eye-catching appearance. It’s rare for a modern English Springer Spaniel to excel in both hunting and show. There hasn’t been one that was the champion in both since 1938. Both are considered equally great pets, although the field dog requires less maintenance. As a breed, English Springer Spaniels have won the third Best in Show awards at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. With 6 titles, they fall behind the Scottish Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.
5. William Wallace was the commander of the Scottish army during the First War of Scottish Independence back in the late 13th century. Wallace apparently had a pet spaniel named Merlin that rode into the Battle of Stirling Bridge with the commander in 1297. Although it would have been too early to classify Merlin as an English Springer Spaniel, Wallace almost certainly owned a spaniel that would be developed into the English Springer Spaniel. In the modern day, both Presidents Bush owned Springer Spaniels as well as Oprah Winfrey and Princess Grace.
4. The English Springer Spaniel is very intelligent and extremely active. Be prepared to increase your activity level and spend upwards of 2 hours daily exercising your spaniel. Boredom can lead to destructiveness. This is not a breed that enjoys a sedentary lifestyle or to be left alone. He is at his happiest when working with his owner.
3. The English Springer Spaniels is known for his LOVE of water. He enjoys a trip to a beach or lake. He is a little obsessed with it and enjoys getting into puddles and water bowls just as much. Be prepared for mud and water to be tracked through the house and for lots of doggy baths! This is not a dainty breed, nor one for overly proud housekeepers.
2. Any springer spaniel owner will tell you that their dogs are smart, and the facts bear this out. The English springer spaniel is ranked 13 overall in the list of canine breeds by intelligence. It is certainly fair to say that Springer Spaniels are smart, good at problem-solving, and keen to work hard!
1. The talented English Springer Spaniel has one of the best senses of smell of all dog breeds. Because of this, they’ve found steady employment in the modern era as detection dogs operating under countless police and military forces. English Springer Spaniels have been used to sniff out things like bombs, drugs, counterfeit cash, dead bodies and more.
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