English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is an all-around and tough sporting dog bred in England centuries ago. It’s an easy-going, teachable and smart breed, willing to obey without any second thought. It needs lots of physical and mental stimulation to avert boredom and therefore suites best for sport-minded people.
The English Springer Spaniel has been around for quite a while since spaniel-type dogs with resembling appearance were portrayed in artwork of the XVI and the XVII century. Its ancestry can be traced back to original Spanish Spaniels, which were most likely introduced to other countries by the Romans or via trading ships. The Welsh Law of 300 A.D. already contains references to this canine variety.
Before invention of guns the English Springer Spaniel was utilised to drive feathered game or other small animals out of their hidings by springing at them. It would then direct the prey to the open space so the hunter could catch it by coursing hounds, skilled hawks or nets. When hunting with shotguns prevailed over these traditional hunting styles, the breed was successfully retrained to perform flushing tasks for shooters.
During the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century the single litter of spaniels could include puppies of various sizes and hunting talents. That’s why more compact specimens were entrusted with hunting woodcock and other small game birds. Gradually they became known as Cockers. Larger pups in the same litter were more effective at flushing game and therefore they were named Springers. In 1902, English Kennel Club (KC) eventually separated these two varieties into unique breeds and one of them was called the English Springer Spaniel.
The first pups of this breed were brought to Canada in 1913. American fanciers got to know the English Springer Spaniel even earlier and in 1910 it gained recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC). At that point its specimens often combined hunting duties with the role of a show dog. This situation began to change in the early 40s of XX century when hunting fans started breeding dogs with characteristics that would make them successful in the field. On the other hand, conformation enthusiasts sought to produce dogs that would satisfy the requirements of the breed’s standard and would also have excellent exterior to win dog shows.
Presently both types retain their exceptional hunting drive but very few English Springer Spaniels serve simultaneously as working and show dogs. This sweet-natured, docile and amicable dog also acquired reputation of a superb family companion.
The English Springer Spaniel is remarkable for the classical character of a gundog. However its docility, even temper and invariable loyalty to the hunter also allow it to become a great family pet. In fact this dog usually gets so attached to its human masters that it can’t stand being separated from them even for a few hours. So one shouldn’t buy this breed if he or she has a full-time job or simply can’t provide the dog with sufficient amount of attention and care. As a rule this breed demonstrates deep affection towards children and will patiently put up with a great deal of maltreatment from them. But it’s still important to explain kids how to behave themselves around dogs.
With the exception of several particular lines the English Springer Spaniel is extremely affable with unknown people and without some basic obedience training it may turn into an improper greeter. With its keen senses and attentive nature it usually makes a wonderful watcher. Nonetheless it’s much more likely to lick an unwelcomed guest to death than to show any intention to frighten him off. So it’s very unwise to charge this breed with guarding responsibilities.
The English Springer Spaniel has few issues with its counterparts although some of its specimens may display aggression towards the dogs of the same sex. This tendency is especially noticeable in unneutered males. This dog has never been used to kill game and therefore it can be easily socialised with individual cats and other small non-canine domestic animals. However it still remains an avid chaser and should stay securely leashed while being walked.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· ear infections;
· rage syndrome;
· canine hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· eye problems;
· phosphofructikinase deficiency;
· excessive weight gain;
· autoimmune disorders.
The grooming of the English Springer Spaniel is a time-consuming task. Its thick and semi-long hair requires daily brushing in order to remain tangles-free. It’s essential to regularly trim excessive hair around the dog’s rear end, feet and ears. It can be successfully done by the master but most of them prefer to entrust with this work a professional groomer.
Since this breed is predisposed to ear infections it’s a must to pay regular attention to cleaning ear canals of your pet. It sheds average amount of hair and needs only infrequent bathing (unless it likes to romp in the mud).
The English Springer Spaniel characterises with outstanding trainability. This dog virtually exists to please its owner and can master very complex commands with trivial amount of repetitions. Some of its members even proved to be highly effective service dogs and substitute Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds that are traditionally considered to be the best option for this role.
Moreover the English Springer Spaniel usually achieves superb results in agility, obedience and other performance disciplines. This sensitive dog is irresponsive to any type of negative reinforcement so stimulate interest of your pet to training exclusively with its favourite treats and kind words.
The English Springer Spaniel is an athletic and very robust hunting dog that got accustomed to very strenuous physical exercise. It needs at least an hour of vigorous activity each and every day in order feel itself fully satisfied with its life. Ideally, apart from a long daily walk this dog should have an opportunity to jog and play in a securely enclosed yard on a regular basis.
The English Springer Spaniel is a great choice for those canine fanciers who would like to engage their pets in such outdoor activities as camping or hiking. Remember that insufficient amount of physical exercise is at the bottom of such behavioural issues as over-excitability, nervousness, destructiveness and unreasonable barking.