English Springer Spaniels appeared in England in the early 1500’s and were used for hunting birds and hares. Many times, Cocker Spaniels and Springers were born into the same litters thus making them closely related in modern times.
As late as the early 1800’s, they were still known for one main purpose, which was hunting. They would spring the birds into the air after the kill, which is how they got their name "springer". The Springers of the early 19th and 20th century were shorter than the dogs seen today, and they had stubby legs, wider noses, and larger ears.
Former presidents George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush both had English Springer Spaniels (Millie and Spot) that were known as active and competitive canines.
Sporting Dogs and Superb Companions
Although they have a medium-sized stature, English Springer Spaniels are compact dogs. Most grow to around 20 inches and can weigh up to 50 pounds. They have wavy long fur, extended muzzles, and wide, wet noses. Their ears are long and flop down by their muzzles. They are classed by the AKC as sporting dogs just like the ever popular Labrador Retrievers or English Setters.
Springers are usually seen in coat colors that are black and white spotted, red and white patched, or brown and white. It is rare to see a Springer with an all black or white coloring but it can happen due to genetics. Compared to Cocker Spaniels, they are much thicker boned and sturdy, which makes them not tucker out as fast when they are doing vigorous exercise or hunting.
As with any purebred dog, English Springers can cost in the thousands of dollars. However, some breeders may price puppies in the $500 dollar range with mixed breed Springers costing even less at around $200 to $100.
English Springers definitely need to be in an active family as they may get destructive if left in the same spot for too long. They become lonely quickly and will bark if they think no one is around. Despite their need for attention 24/7, they are a perfect family companion that gets along great with children or even cats. However, small rodents and birds should not be in the same household as a Springer because of their highly developed hunting instincts.
As with most active dog breeds, English Springers are prone to health problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis as they age. They can also get retinal diseases like progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to blindness.
Because of their floppy ears, they may be prone to ear infections, which can be treated easily with antibiotics. Some Springers have been known to have allergies to certain pollens and grasses and may need medication. A healthy English Springer can live up to 14 years, which is a great lifespan for a dog of their size.
Is an English Springer spaniel the right dog for me? Before you make that final decison, consider that these dogs need lots of activity and attention. They are perfect for a family that will give them the love and consideration that they crave as well as plenty of exercise.