English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of spaniel. Known for its energetic and friendly personality, the English Springer was first bred for use as a spotter and a flusher in game hunting. English Springers have also long been popular domestic pets, and there is an entire line bred for show purposes.
Origin and Brief History
The English Springer first appeared as a distinct breed about two hundred years ago, claiming descent from the Shropshire and Norfolk Spaniel. Closely related to the Cocker Spaniel and the Welsh Springer Spaniel, English Spaniels often came from the same litter as the aforementioned up until about a century ago. The name comes from their use as “springers”, flushing game out of hiding so that the master could take aim. Used primarily as a hunting dog, Springer Spaniels played different roles depending on their size, with smaller dogs trained to hunt small game such as the woodcock and their full-size brothers and sisters trained to flush game. Today, they are often utilized as sniffers by authorities, as their exceptional sense of smell can be directed at a large variety of targets such as explosive, drugs, and people during manhunts or rescue missions.
Like most dogs bred for the hunt, the English Spaniel combines both exceptional intelligence and physical prowess. English Spaniels are among the most intelligent of canines, ranked 13th according to “The Intelligence of Dogs”, and are very obedient once properly trained. English Springers are very affectionate animals who will coexist peacefully with small children and other house pets. They are a very playful and energetic breed which enjoys running and swimming. They typically need a fairly moderate amount of exercise, both to keep them fit and to prevent them from becoming destructive in their boredom.
English Springer Spaniels have thick coats, generally of medium to long length, and requires quite a bit of attention, especially if the dog spends a lot of time outdoors or gets into underbrush. Use a slicker brush to loosen the dense undercoat, followed by a stiff bristle brush to remove tangles and any detritus which might collect from outdoor activity. Bathe vigorously with good dog shampoo, drying first with a towel and then with careful application of a hair dryer on low heat, making sure not to concentrate on any area to prevent burns. Consider trimming long-haired Springers to maintain appearance and cleanliness.
Specification of Breed
English Springers are of medium size and heft, and share much in common with the English Cocker Spaniel in terms of appearance. The size and bone density may vary depending on whether the Springer is of the show or working line. Show line Springers tend to about 50-55 pounds when fully-grown, with working line Springers about ten to fifteen pounds lighter. Both lines stand about the same height, around 20 inches for males and 18 for females. Show-bred dogs tend to have longer and finer coats than work-bred dogs. Both varieties shed one or two times per year, usually in the spring or summer.
English Springers make ideal pets, and should have no problem getting along with other pets or children. If considering the breed as a pet, bear in mind that Springers have a lot of energy and require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are very social and are prone to misbehave if ignored or neglected. Springers are prone to arthritis in the hips and loss of vision as they age. Their long ears are also prone to infections.
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