Springer spaniels

Springer Spaniels – Interview with an owner

Springer Spaniels – they’re bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun!

This week’s breed is the English Springer Spaniel (Springer). They are from the Gundog group of breeds, which means they are scent driven, being bred to flush out prey and return it to their owner.  I asked Kate to talk to me about them, because she has had three; two from puppies and one as a rescue.

Springer spanielsKate says she originally chose a Springer, as many people do when looking for a first dog, because she knew someone who had one!

“I was essentially looking for a dog that I could walk with, that would get me out and about and be a companion when I was working from home.  My shortlist included labs (too big especially if I wanted more than one), retrievers (same reason), Yorkies, Westies (both too small) and cocker spaniel (it was close!).”

Springer by name, Springer by nature

When talking about Springers, the word ‘bonkers’ seems to come up quite a bit.  Full of energy (crazy energetic), but after a good walk are happy to chill out.  Great temperaments and good with children of all ages… and mad as a box of frogs.

Springer spaniels
I think it’s over there mum

“Springers are active, outdoor dogs, with lovely friendly natures.  They are loving, loyal, gentle, people pleasers.”

Kate says she was once told it was ‘impossible to train a Springer to walk to heel’, but she does not believe this.  They are pretty trainable as they are quite bright and very food orientated, although walking to heel does not come naturally to them.  They do tend to ‘go off’ on a walk, as there is always another interesting smell to chase down, just over there.

Regular exercise required

Just like all active breeds, Springer Spaniels benefit from regular exercise.  Kate walks twice a day for 45 minutes, whatever the weather.  Springers tend to run everywhere, but never in a straight line!  They can be just as focused on a ball as a collie, but Kate has never found that to be the case with hers.

As well as regular walks, off lead, where they are able to use their noses, Springers need play.  Kate does this from time to time at home.  This means she doesn’t spend hours and hours glued to a computer and can get on with work when she needs to.  While working she has an accompaniment of gentle snoring!

Despite walking and training, Kate daily has to cope with ‘zoomies’ – loopy time when the excitement takes over and they run around like a lunatic!

Demanding and muddy

Spaniels can by hyper and intense, so if you can’t exercise them this probably isn’t the dog for you.  They are field dogs and explorers that love water (and mud even more).

I spend quite a bit of time pulling sticky weed and seeds out of them during the summer and washing mud off all year round.  Even in summer it can seem strange to come home with a clean dry dog!

Springer spanielsKate says she has never found an ‘indestructible’ dog toy and is on a constant mission to find a chew that lasts for more than a minute.  Although she has not experienced it, Kate has been told that socks, slippers, shoes, underwear, skirting board and carpets are all fair game.

Selective hearing, especially when out on a walk, is a definite trait. They moult, so watch out for dog hair – oh and don’t forget the added dust.

Robust health is typical

Springer Spaniels are another old breed, like Greyhounds, so health issues are rare.  During the summer, ears and toes need to be checked daily for seeds – it’s expensive if they get embedded and infected.

Best home for a Springer?

You need to have the time and lifestyle to provide the exercise they need.  Kate says

“I’ve done basic training with all my dogs – with an emphasis on recall and distance work because they are rarely by my side.  If I’m honest this has been more of a challenge with my rescue than with the puppies but essential to ensure their safety.”

Springer spanielsYou know you have a Springer when…

  • “You have to spend 15 minutes brushing the sticky balls out”
  •  ”Your home is happy, but muddy”
  •  “You’re sitting watching the telly and suddenly a ‘flash’ zooms in and out of the room over all the sofas and out again.  All suddenly ending in cuddles”
  •  “You never eat alone”
  •  “You can’t go on a dry, mud free walk as they find mud in the desert!”
  •  “You can’t find one of your shoes”
  •  “The shoe you can’t find is in the dog’s bed”
  •  “The house looks like a baby’s playpen”
  • “You go one a walk and nobody comments on how ‘beautiful or cute’ he is, because he’s covered in mud and won’t stand still”
  •  “When you see someone with a dry dog and think that it’s odd”
  •  “You wake up in the morning with a tennis ball in your face”
  •  “When you’re out on a walk and they don’t walk in a straight line”
  •  “When you can’t say the word car [or walk or food] without it resulting in zoomies”
  •  “You have a constant show”
  •  “There’s a racetrack round the edge of the lawn”
  •  “You can’t open a food source without one appearing as if by magic”

In the end though, owning a Springer means

“You actually found out what loyalty, friendship and soulmate really means”

Springer spanielsThank you to Kate for the information and the beautiful pictures.  If you want a real treat, please go to Kate’s website for plenty more gorgeous photos?

Ask for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into owning Springer Spaniels?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?  What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

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