Russian Spaniel

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black, brown, tan; white with black, white with brown, white with tan markings; brown & tan or black & tan, with white marks
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Download standard:
Pros Cons
  • excellent gun dog
  • wonderful family companion
  • friendly
  • needs a lot of physical activity
  • prone to ear infections and diseases
  • chases other animals


The Russian Spaniel is a proficient medium-sized gun dog, which was created in Russia in 50s of XX century. The breed appeared as the result of decades of careful and purposeful breeding and suits perfectly for local hunting conditions. This dog is also distinguishable for its cheerful and lively demeanour and usually makes an excellent family dog.

Although the official history of the Russian Spaniel began in 50s of the XX century, its actual development was initiated much earlier. First spaniels were brought to Russia in the end of the XIX century and quickly gained wide recognition not only for their cuteness but also for superb hunting drive. Nevertheless unique hunting environment in Russian territories required more solidly built and hardy hunting dogs than existing varieties of the Spaniel. Such a necessity stimulated multiple breeding experiments, which finally led to the creation of the Russian Spaniel.

By the end of 30s of XX century mixed Spaniels had already been a popular hunter’s companion. These dogs were especially appreciated for their compact size, which made it easy to transport them to hunting sites. The initial standard of the breed was developed in 1951. The progenitors of this dog were mostly English Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels, although it’s highly probable that other types of Spaniels were used in its development. Some experts also propose that pointer’s blood may have been added to the mix.

Revised standard of the Russian Spaniel was accepted in 1966 and since 1972 crossbreeding with other spaniel breeds was no longer eligible. Thanks to extremely meticulous approach to the breeding practices the current version of the breed can easily operate in the wide array of hunting conditions of the Russian territories and neighbouring countries. During the hunt its specimen should locate the bird, flush it out from its shelter, and retrieve the shot feathered game on command of the hunter. It possesses all necessary features to make a perfect gun dog: endurance, highly sensitive nose, relentlessness in the search, and eagerness to retrieve.

The Russian Spaniel also has a reputation of a docile and cheerful companion animal in its homeland. The breed’s population locates almost exclusively in Russia although some of its specimens immigrated with their owners to the United States or Canada. This dog is rarely referred in canine literature and hasn’t earned yet any international recognition.

The Russian Spaniel is not only extremely successful in the field but also enjoys being a part of its human family. This dog is known for its communicable and loyal nature and usually wants nothing more than to be in the constant company of its master. Thanks to its moderate size it will make an excellent hunting companion for a weekend hunter. Kids love this breed for its playful and adventurous demeanour. It usually tolerates a fair amount of teasing from their part.
The well-socialised Russian Spaniel will behave itself politely with unfamiliar people. At the same time this energetic and friendly dog tends to express its feelings too exuberant and without timely obedience training can grow into an inappropriate greeter. With its sharp nose and alertness the Russian Spaniel can be tasked with responsibilities of a watchdog. It’s worth to remember that this dog is incapable of resorting to necessary aggression when the situation calls for it. That’s why it won’t be useful in the role of a guardian.

The Russian Spaniel is accepting of other canine animals and will be grateful for a regular opportunity to interact with them. It can co-exist with other dogs with fairly few issues, regardless of the breed. As a hunting dog it is prone to view every moving object as a potential prey. At the same time it won’t disturb a household cat or other pet with which it has been brought up since its puppyhood.
Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

• obesity;
• ear problems;
• food allergies.

The Russian Spaniel has somewhat longish straight coat, which requires insignificant maintenance. Systematic brushing will be sufficient to keep its hair neat and healthy-looking. Its coat naturally rejects water so it is recommended to bathe this dog as rarely as possible.

Dirt and debris tend to stick to the coats’ surface after each hunting expedition but they can be easily removed with a brush (as they have dried). The dog is a moderate shedder. Big hanging ears of the Russian Spaniel need especially thorough care as they can collect grime and various particles and get easily irritated and infected.

The Russian Spaniel is an incredibly trainable breed, which is prized for its obedient nature and inquisitive mind. This dog doesn’t require any sizeable training as far as it concerns performing its original hunting duties. Actually it can master extremely sophisticated tricks if the handler reveals calm and patient attitude towards its occasional mistakes.

It is prudent to encourage the Russian Spaniel to training with mild encouragement and kind words. Forceful methods and physical punishment will only intimidate this good-natured dog or make it totally unruly.

The Russian Spaniel can endure very intensive physical exercise with minimal discomfort so it should be provided with decent amount of chances to expand its energy surplus. It should be taken on a daily long and energetic walk every single day. Ideally the dog should have at its disposal a big and safely enclosed yard where it can explore and play to its heart content.

Needless to say that the Russian Spaniel will be absolutely happy to spend its exuberant energy in regular hunting trips with its master. The dog, which passes its life as a coach potato, will not only be prone to obesity but will also demonstrate its frustration with destructive actions and hyper activity indoors.