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The English Springer Spaniel

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I have owned three English Springer Spaniels, all female and all working dogs.

I love Springers, they have great personalities, are friendly, intelligent dogs that make great pets, and, their temperament makes them ideal working companions for the shooter, regardless of the type of work that you do.

If you are considering a spaniel as a pet, a worker, or a shooting companion then an English Springer is an ideal, all rounder dog. They are loyal, friendly an an ideal dog to have around for a family. With lots of energy and love for life, English Springer spaniels are great dogs.

Where do English Springer Spaniels originate?

The true origin of most of the spaniel breeds is not fully known but there is a clue in the name that many people suggest may divulge the origin as Spain.

If this is so then as dog owners we own the Spanish a massive favor and thank you.

As a general type of breed the spaniel is thought to have originated in Spain and was introduced to Great Britain by the Romans.

The spaniel is thought to have been present in Britain as early as 300AD .

By the 17th century the spaniel was becoming successful at flushing game for the new invention, the firearm, so that game could be shot.

By the 19th century the smaller spaniels in a litter were use for flushing smaller game birds such as Woodcocks – these spaniels became known as Cocker Spaniels.

The larger puppies in the litter were used to hunt and flush and ‘spring’ larger game birds, these spaniels became known as ‘Springers’‘.

In the United States Springers became a popular breed following the import of an English Springer into Canada, from the United Kingdom in 1913.

Since then many changes have taken place through breeding and the show Springer spaniel and the working Springer, in both the USA and the UK, have become almost different breeds.

For the true spaniel enthusiast there is nothing better than seeing a fit, competitive English Springer Spaniel , they are athletes and frequently display the ultimate in performance and fitness.

English Springer Spaniel

Are English Springer Spaniels Easy to Train?

Modern spaniel breeds are extremely intelligent, biddable and easy to train.

Having owned Springers, trained them and competed in numerous field trials and working tests, as well as worked with Springers on shooting days, I can testify that this breed of spaniel are very easy to train if you pay attention to the basics.

In the past, spaniels used to be difficult dogs, head strong and tricky to manage.

Years of good breeding and investment by many experienced and capable gundog trainers, have resulted in a breed that possesses all of the required criteria for a competent shooting companion or well behaved pet.

If as an owner/trainer you are prepared to learn and understand dogs then you’ll have little if any difficulties training a Springer Spaniel.

There are many resources available to help you to learn how to train a spaniel and Training Spaniels by Joe Irving, available on Amazon, is, in my view one of the best.

You can get the latest price of the book here.

Do English Springer Spaniels Make Good Family Dogs?

This is a really easy answer. Yes.

Springers are great family dogs. I can fully vouch for the breed as being a great addition to a family.

If you have children then having a Springer in the family will be like having an extra child.

They are great with kids.

When my twins were born I had three English Springers, they were great with my children, even when they were babies.

Although I would never dream of leaving any dog alone with young children, not once did I have any concerns about my spaniels, Bess, Twig and Fern.

In fact as my children grew older, if they were naughty and I had to tell them off, the three dogs would stand between my children and myself and bark at me, protecting the kids.

My children were brought up around spaniels and they truly are wonderful dogs for a family.

You do need to remember that they are lively animals, full of energy and, as an owner, you need to help them to get rid of that energy.

But, if you are looking for a dog that will make a great family member, and you have children, then an English Springer is a great dog to take a look at and consider.

How Much Exercise Does a Springer Spaniel Need?

The Springer spaniel is, to all intents and purposes, a working dog that enjoys the great outdoors.

Like all of the spaniel breeds his genetics steer him towards hunting and chasing his nose.

He likes nothing more than a light coating of rain on his coat, running free in an area where he can get his nose down and smell whatever has been around. 

As a spaniel owner you will need to be aware of his needs as a dog.

A Springer, like his Cocker Spaniel cousin, is a high energy dog, he loves to run, explore and get muddy and if you can fulfil his desire to get out and about then you will have a great relationship with this breed.

This is not a dog for the person who likes to sit by the fire with his slippers on. Spaniels do enjoy some downtime but this is limited and he will need to run his energy off.

If you have time ( and the space ) to allow a Springer to run free for about 30 minutes, twice a day ( and you enjoy it) then you’ll do okay with a Springer.

If, on the other hand time and facilities are limited then why not consider one of the other spaniel breeds that are just as loveable but, in some cases, like the Clumber Spaniel, are less concerned about exercise?

Are Springer Spaniels Expensive to Look After?

There are costs with any dog and a responsible owner or prospective owner will consider the financial impact on family finances before commiting to getting any dog breed.

English Springer Spaniels are no exception to this need for consideration.

As well as the initial cost of purchasing a puppy or adult dog, there are the costs associated with vaccinations and annual boosters. 

Registration of the dog with authorities may be a requirement in the area in which you live and there may be costs to do this.

There is the added cost of food, equipment such as bowls and leads and maybe crates or boxes for the home and car.

Veterinary fees for illness and injuries can be substantial in some cases and the responsible owner may consider some form of pet insurance policy to help with vet’s fees.

Of course, there will be a cost for this too.

A well cared for Springer, that is fed good quality dog food, groomed, exercised and kept fit and healthy, should experience few ailments.

One word, the working bred Springer, due to it’s breeding heritage is less likely to have any heriditary health issues – these can be prevalent in show bred animals.

How Much is an English Springer Spaniel?

This is a difficult question to answer accurately as it is always changing and, sadly is partly driven by the popularity of a breed as opposed to a person’s desire to own a dog for the right reasons.

Human vanity is a big problem for dogs.

If you are thinking of getting a Springer Spaniel ( and they truly are great dogs ) then, before you get concerned about the cost of a puppy, I would like to ask you to take a step back and reflect for a moment.

Please ask yourself if you can dedicate the time and effort that will be needed to bring up a puppy from such an active and loving breed.  

Do you have the interest in dogs to learn about them and are you able tp adapt your lifestyle to accommodate a dog that will need good levels of exercise and mental stimulation in the form of training and /or games?

I’m not trying to put you off but there are thousands of dogs globally that end up in shelters because owners simply cannot cope or did not think things through properly.

It’s unfair to you and it’s unfair to the dog if you make a hasty decision.

Please don’t get a dog for the wrong reasons. 

The average lifespan for a healthy English Springer Spaniel is between 13 to 16 years and you’ll need to commit to that.

Currently a well bred Springer Spaniel, in the UK is anything from £600 upwards.

In the USA these figures are from $500 to upwards.

Final words

The English springer spaniel is a great dog both as a worker and as a pet.

If you are looking for a great all rounder shooting dog then you’ll be hard pushed to do better than a Springer.

For an active family or person a Springer makes a great companion, ideal for long walks, hikes and adventures.

They are great with children with their playful character and ability to learn.

However, with ownership comes responsibility and getting any breed of dog should not be a decision that you rush into.

With an active dog, such as a Springer, you need to make sure that you can meet his exercise and mental stimulation needs and that you can dedicate the time, effort and cost to look after him properly.

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