Choosing a Dog Breed: Is an English Springer Spaniel Right Choice for You?
One look into the happy smiling face of the English Springer Spaniel and it is love at first sight! Originally bred in England as a hunting dog, this dogâ€™s ability to flush game from the brush earned the Springer title. In 1902, the American Kennel Club first recognized the breed and this spaniel is now a favorite family pet as well.
The English Springer Spaniel is one of the larger spaniel breeds. Height is usually 19 to 20 inches and weight is typically around 40 to 50 lbs. This dog has an undercoat that is short and dense to protect against the cold during hunting season. The longer topcoat is wavy with thicker curly hair on the ears. The chest, legs, and underside of the dog is draped in the feathery fringe. The English Springer Spaniel comes in a variety of colors with the most popular ones being liver and white or black and white. With the angle in which the ears hang and the slightly upturned face in a half pant, the dog appears to be wearing a happy grin.
Happy, playful, and all ways in a good mood, the English Springer Spaniel makes an affectionate and loyal companion. However, a common condition referred to as â€śSpringer rageâ€ť is often aggression related to dominance. Early socialization and proper obedience training will ensure the well-rounded family pet that this breed is definitely capable of becoming. Because the English Springer Spaniel is energetic and entertaining, they make excellent pets for children when both children and dogs are educated to respect each other. This dog is also good with other animals, again, with careful handling.
The English Springer Spaniel does best in a home which allows the dog frequent access to outdoor exercise. Self-proclaimed â€ścouch potatoesâ€ť who live in a city high rise should not even consider this breed. The playful attitude of the Spaniel makes him enjoy a good chase. He will also enjoy assorted toys that make noises such as squeaking or rattling. Retrieving is also popular with this pooch and a good game of fetch with a tennis ball will provide an outlet for his moderate energy level.
Socializing of the English Springer Spaniel should begin as quickly as the pups are born. Handling the puppies early will help ensure their ability to bond affectionately with humans. Early socialization is also valuable in evaluating the personalities of each pup. Interaction with other pets during these early stages of life is also advisable to develop tolerance for other animals.
Spaniel puppies should begin structured basic obedience training about the time they are weaned. The time that the dog becomes dependent on the human for his food supply is an excellent time to introduce the idea of obeying commands from the food source, the human. Many pet stores, as well as humane societies, offer beginning obedience classes for very young puppies.
These classes also serve to further socialize the pup with other dogs outside the home. Professional dog trainers will also offer in-home private lessons if you prefer. The English Springer Spaniel has an uncanny attention span and good concentration skills that a good sporting dog requires. This breed also excels at agility training as well. If you are a city dweller with a sedentary lifestyle, this is not the dog for you.
Part of the initial impression of the English Springer Spaniel is the beautiful wavy coat with feathery trim on legs and belly. This dogâ€™s coat begs to be touched. To maintain that eye appeal, the Spaniel should be physically inspected daily for matted hair or debris caught in the coat that will lead to a nasty mat. A thorough brushing on a weekly basis will remove loose hair and dirt, keep the coat oiled and shinny, and remove any matted hair before it becomes too large or painful to comb out.
Depending on how much outside dirt the dog gets into, bathing can be done on an â€śas neededâ€ť basis. Generally, bathing about every three months should suffice. An annual trim by a professional groomer will keep the Springer Spaniel in top condition.
At this point, if you are still smitten with the English Springer Spaniel and wish to continue pursuit for a pet, choose the source of your new pet carefully. Puppies should be purchased from a reputable and experienced breeder. Such breeders are listed in the national directory found on the American Kennel Club website. Do not overlook the possibility of adopting an adult Springer Spaniel if you had just as soon skip the puppy stages.
As with any new pet introduced to a household, do not hesitate to consult a professional trainer or animal behavioralist with questions and concerns. The right English Springer Spaniel puppy or adult dog makes a valued and beloved family member!