An English Springer Spaniel may NOT be the right breed for you
An English Springer Spaniel may NOT be the right breed for you

According to Michele Welton, author of Your Purebred Puppy

If you want a dog who:
  • Is medium-sized, with a feathered coat
  • Is a cheerful, playful, high-spirited tail-wagger
  • Makes a good watchdog, but not a guardian
  • Is gregarious with other animals (in most cases)
  • Is eager to please and responds well to positive methods of obedience training
... then an English Springer Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with:
  • Frequent brushing, combing, and clipping
  • Exuberant jumping on people (requires training)
  • Rambunctiousness and destructive behaviors when not exercised enough or given enough attention and companionship (requires training and exercise and loving companionship)
  • Persistent affection that can make him clingy and demanding of attention, and prone to "separation anxiety" when left alone (requires training)
  • Serious dominance/aggression lurking in the background of some lines
... then an English Springer Spaniel may NOT be right for you.


Things you should know before choosing a Springer for a pet:

According to Dogs In Canada's 2001 Dogs Annual, the best selling, made-in-Canada guide to dogs, published by the Canadian Kennel Club, the English Springer Spaniel can be found in two categories:

1. Good dogs that are hard to find, and
2. The high-input, high-output dog

Good dogs that are hard to find

In this category you will find some of the most wonderful breeds in the canine world. So wonderful in fact, that they are extremely popular. Popularity is no favour to any breed of dog, as some people will breed unstable dogs to unhealthy dogs just to get those precious income-generating pups!

In every breed, ethical breeders struggle against this riptide, but the sheer numbers of animals produced each year puts these ethical breeders in the minority. Thus, finding a healthy, stable dog from the most popular breeds is a challenge.

Proceed with great caution! Take your time; visit puppies without your chequebook or cash in hand. Walk away and think about your decision. All puppies are cute. You need more than a cute puppy. You need and deserve a healthy, stable companion. Buy only from a reputable breeder or look into rescuing a good dog who needs a new home. Avoid pet shops and puppy mills..

The "good dogs that are hard to find" are:
American Cocker Spaniel
Basset Hound
Doberman Pinscher
English Springer Spaniel
German Shepherd Dog
Golden Retriever
Great Dane
Miniature Schnauzer
Labrador Retriever
Poodle (all sizes)
Shetland Sheepdog
Shih Tzu
Yorkshire Terrier

The High-Input, High-Output Dog

The high-input, high-output dog, is the get-up-and-go dog, the run-five-miles-then-play-a-game-of-Frisbee dog, the triathelete and the marathoner. Do not get one of these dogs unless you already have an active lifestyle!

These dogs want to be with you as much as possible. If you want a dog to lie at your feet, amuse itself, and be happy alone nine-to-five after a short morning walk --- look elsewhere. If you want a dog that lives life to the fullest and wants you to too, these are the canines for you!

Many of these dogs are extremely intelligent. Owning one is a "use it or lose it" situation. Either you harness that intelligent mind through training or he will use it to develop behaviours that you would rather not see.

Common problems associated with these dogs are largely management issues that can be attributed to inadequate exercise, improper socialization or poor training/management habits; chewing, wandering, nuisance barking, hyperactivity, attention-getting behaviours, digging, jumping up, mouthing.

The "high-input, high-output dogs" are:
Airedale Terrier
Alaskan Malamute
Australian Shepherd
Bearded Collie
Belgian Sheepdog
Border Collie
Brittany Spaniel
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
English Springer Spaniel
Flat-coated Retriever
German Short-haired Pointer
Jack Russell Terrier
Miniature Poodle
Newfoundland (believe it or not!)
Norwegian Elkhound
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Portuguese Water Dog
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Shiba Inu
Siberian Husky
Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Standard Schnauzer
Tibetian Terrier
Welsh Springer Spaniel
Welsh Terrier


In conclusion:

The bottom line is ... you must be totally committed to providing enough exercise and training and grooming for your breed. You must do your homework, research your breed of choice, find an ethical breeder, very possibly having to wait for "the right dog", or find a suitable dog in a rescue situation. Otherwise, the Springer may NOT be right for you.

The English Springer Spaniel can be incredible companions BUT please don't get a Springer and leave him or her in a crate for 9 straight hours, or worse, relegate him or her to living alone in the back yard. Your dog will be miserable and so will you. Springers truly need to interact with you, use their wonderful minds and superior bodies.

If you can't provide the right home life, PLEASE find a breed that can cope with your particular life style. There are enough dogs in shelters as it is. Please do not contribute to the situation by buying the wrong breed of dog, then dumping it because you made the wrong choice.