English Springer Spaniel The showstopper!
One of the world’s best show dogs, English Springer Spaniels are intelligent and fun-loving pooches…eager to be an inseparable part of your family.
Evolved with time
“I have been blessed with many wonderful Springers over the past forty years. My first was perhaps my most special. He was born in 1972 and went home with me when I was just twenty years old. He became my best friend and constant companion, my bed dog, my protector, puppy raiser, and my ticket into the world of the English Springer Spaniel. He finished his Championship at a year old, on my 21st birthday, and went on to be a multiple Best In Show dog and the sire of 66 champions, which made him the top producing black and white sire in the history of the breed. Another world was opened to me in the early 90’s when I sent Am. Ch. Ocoee Raven’s Child to Australia. She was the first ESS female CH ever exported from America to Australia. Sine then, there is no looking back, yes, I am in love with the English Springer Spaniel,” tells Kathy Lorentzen, a well known breeder of English Springer Spaniel.
Look at me!
The English Springer Spaniel is a moderate-sized sporting gundog. He is a member of the flushing spaniel family. Their origins are based in the old ‘setting and springing’ spaniels, which were eventually divided into the Setters and the Springer Spaniels. Hence, they are the tallest and longest legged of the flushing spaniel breeds.
They are compact, medium-sized dogs with a proud expression. “Springers are one of the most beautiful breeds. Their long, lean heads with deep set, dark eyes are stunning and their glossy, flowing coats make them a show-stopper,” says Kathy Lorentzen.
English Springers can be found in different colours like liver and white, black and white, white and liver, white and black, with or without ticking and roaning, and with or without tan tri-colour markings.
The average height of a male English Springer is 18–20 inches and weight is 23–25 kg while females are around 17–19 inches high and weigh around 16–20 kg.
We are different: field and show dogs
English Springer Spaniel is one of those breeds who have extremely different types of show and field dogs. In other countries the separation is not as distinct, but in America and England the two types are rarely, if ever, bred together. The field-bred dogs are selected totally for performance, while the show bred dogs are selected for conformation according to a breed standard, health and temperament. Field dogs tend to be more refined, with far less coat. They have been bred to be a speed dog rather than an endurance dog, which is what the ESS was originally meant to be. Field dogs also tend to be too ‘hot’ in temperament for the average pet owner because great desire has been bred into them for generations in order to get the fastest and boldest hunting performance out of them. While there are lines of show bred Springers who are very successful hunting companions, there are no lines of field bred Springers who are successful in the conformation show ring. There also are no show bred Springers that compete in actual field trials, but they do compete successfully in Hunting Tests.
I am happy-go-lucky!
Springers are happy, outgoing and intelligent dogs who need a lot of human interaction. They are agreeable and easy to train but do not do well with any sort of heavy-handed discipline. But, they respond well to a positive reward system.
We are a family!
English Springers are wonderful family dogs. They love children and love to be a real part of the family. The only thing that pet parents need to be careful about is making sure that the dog knows, he is not the alpha in the relationship.
“Perhaps their most striking characteristic is their sense of humour and innate desire to please their people,” adds Kathy.
Walk, run and play with me!
Springers are active, especially as puppies and adolescents. “They should have access to a large yard to run and play in, or should be taken for several walks a day if a yard is not available,” advices Kathy.
Springers are always up for games. They are natural retrievers, learn tricks easily and most of them love to swim.
Am a sweet puppy!
“Raising a Springer puppy is no different than raising any other puppy, they should have a crate for naptime and mealtime, a regular schedule of going outside to learn to be housebroken, and a puppy training class to learn basic manners. Also, they should be exposed to children as puppies to make them fond of them,” tells Kathy.
Groom me beautiful!
Springers grow a fair amount of hair and need to be brushed weekly, bathed frequently and trimmed at least four times a year. Their head, feet and tail should be trimmed and their topcoats stripped. “For people not showing their dogs, their backs can be clipped and their feathering shortened to make it easier to take care of,” Kathy gives a sound advice.
They shed a lot of hair. “They are a double-coated breed, and rotate coat on a seasonal basis, but if kept brushed and combed, the shedding will be minimal,” she adds.
My health issues!
As in any breed, English Springers too have their share of hereditary issues, which include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, retinal dysplasia and retinal atrophy. Springers can also be prone to skin and ear problems.
(Kathy Lorentzen breeds and exhibits English Springer Spaniels under the Ocoee prefix, in conjunction with her daughter, Melanie King. She is an independent consultant for United Kennel Club. She also worked as judge at American Kennel Club for a short period of time and was in the panel of West Kennel Club where her Best of Breed Golden went on to win the Sporting Group.)