Let's talk English Springer Spaniels

With their ultra-soft floppy ears and ever-present enthusiasm for just about anything you propose – because it’s you - the English Springer Spaniel is a most amenable breed. Bred to hunt, English Springer Spaniels still have a strong prey drive so be aware that they may bring you ‘presents’ as a token of their esteem. Packed to the rim with energy – and muscle - your Springer will need a decent amount of activity to burn it off each day. However, they are equally content to snuggle at day’s end with their favourite humans as well. 

Official name: English Springer Spaniel

Other names: Springers

Origins: United Kingdom

Black and white close-up portrait of an English Springer Spaniel
 Drooling tendencies


Warm weather? High
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Low
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* High Family Pet?* 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets High
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of an English Springer Spaniel
51 Height
18 - 23 kg Weight
48 Height
18 - 23 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years


Get to know the English Springer Spaniel

All you need to know about the breed

Brains, beauty, and oodles of personality are just the tip of the iceberg of positive traits for the English Springer Spaniel. With their kind, knowing eyes fixed on you and that natural intelligence, training the English Springer Spaniel is a breeze – the breed aims to please above all. 

And, once trained, English Springer Spaniels make wonderful family pets. They are loyal, affectionate and even polite with their humans and other animals – to note, they were bred to hunt so they do have a strong prey drive. The good news is that, with that aforementioned training, they can be taught to await your ‘okay’ before heading off to chase something.

Rugged and generally healthy, the English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized dog that comes in any combination of three colourings: White. black and the brownish hue known as liver. They have lots of energy, energy that you will need to help them burn off with one to three hours of exercise each day. Mental stimulation too, please. If you are couch potato-ish, this is not the breed for you. Having said that, after their exercise needs are met, your English Springer Spaniel will enjoy nothing more than snuggling up with you.

Fiercely protective, the English Springer Spaniel will always bark to let you know if anyone is approaching. However, they are far too docile and friendly a breed to be any kind of guard dog, preferring to lick someone to the ground rather than engaging in anything more sinister.

Three brown and one black English Springer Spaniels sat in a line on grass


2 facts about English Springer Spaniels

1. The ears have it

With some of the floppiest ears in the canine world, English Springer Spaniels need a little extra TLC in the area. Their hearing organs can block air circulation, so ears must be checked and cleaned weekly to head off infections. Use sterile gauze rolled up or cotton moistened with a vet-approved cleaning solution to gently clean in and around the ears, sticking to the parts you can see. Cotton swabs are a big no-no! Let your vet know if you see redness, or your pooch shakes or scratches a lot.

2. I know you

Their talent and good breeding means English Springer Spaniels have plenty of celebrity paw-bassadors. Oprah Winfrey has English Springer (& Cocker) Spaniels as did Princess Grace of Monaco. U.S. President George H.W. and First Lady Barbara Bush owned Millie – full name Mildred "Millie" Kerr Bush – while in the White House. She was the first presidential pet to top the NYT nonfiction bestseller list with her book, “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush”, and also the mother of President George W. Bush’s dog, Spot.


History of the breed

Named for the way they would “spring” game birds to flush them out, the English Springer Spaniel was bred as a partner for sports(wo)men.

In existence for centuries, English Cocker Spaniels and the dogs we know and love as English Springer Spaniels were often born in the same litter. It was only generations later  that careful breeding gave way to distinct types of spaniels, the Cocker being the smaller of the two. 

In 1812, a pure strain of English Springer Spaniel was started – even so, in the 1870’s, Welsh and English Springer Spaniels were grouped as one at British dog shows. This continued up until 1903, when the UK Kennel Club recognised them as distinct breeds. 

To make things even more confusing, there are two types of English Springer Spaniels – Show dogs and Field dogs. While they are part of the same breed category, they are quite different in both physical characteristics and temperament.

In 1921, The English Springer Spaniel Club was established as were many reputable kennels devoted to breeding this exceptional dog. The AKC soon recognised the breed in 1927.  

Black and white portrait of an English Springer Spaniel sitting up


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of English Springer Spaniels

1. Ears

Large ears set high on head, well apart.

2. Body

Medium-sized, long, sturdy broad and muscular body.

3. Coat

Silk-like single coat, varies in length.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your English Springer Spaniel
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Them bones, them bones

As a highly active and fast breed, the English Springer Spaniel can be prone to some common orthopaedic issues, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and intervertebral disc disease. Your vet can screen for these conditions and walk you through any treatments for your English Springer Spaniel should the need arise.

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Mental stimulation

Active and full of enthusiasm, English Springer Spaniels need lots of activity each day – but they also need mental stimulation to thrive. Clever, bred to work, boredom and a lack of attention do not make for a contented, healthy English Springer Spaniel. Exercising their mind and body with obedience, tracking, agility, rally and other activities will go a long way to keeping your dog in optimal good health and spirits.


Caring for your English Springer Spaniel

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Despite their double coat and longish, flowing hair, the English Springer Spaniel’s grooming needs are quite straightforward: weekly brushing or comb throughs will prevent tangling and remove dirt and loose hair. Nails should be clipped regularly and teeth brushed. Professional grooming every so often will help that gorgeous coat stay looking good. As a former hunting dog, the English Springer Spaniel needs a decent amount of regular exercise. Think hikes and long walks, even a good run. Play sessions and mentally stimulating activities will also go a long way to keeping your Springer springing. A word of caution – if they are anywhere near a body of water, their bodies will most likely end up in it. So keep a dry towel handy before they go bounding back to your abode. Training an English Springer Spaniel is a satisfying endeavour. Intelligence could be their middle name. Puppy classes and early socialisation will help ensure you have a well-adjusted, well-mannered pooch at all times. Or most of the time, anyway.

All about English Springer Spaniels

They sure are. English Springer Spaniels are known for their keen intelligence, ranking 13th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. They pick things up very quickly during obedience training and are eager to learn.

As with any spaniel, English Springer Spaniels shed moderately throughout the year, with more noticeable hair loss in the spring and early summer. Brushing regularly will help catch loose hairs. And you were going to vacuum anyway, right? What they lose in hair, English Springer Spaniels more than make up for in devotion.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/