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Why I Love Field-Bred English Springer Spaniels

The English Springer Spaniel

Having trained many different breeds of gundogs over the years, we still only reproduce one breed. That breed is the field-bred English Springer Spaniel. Knowing the nuances of the different breeds has always kept us solidified with producing field-bred Springer Spaniels.

People ask, “Why the Springer?” My answer has always been as follows: “The Springer Spaniel has a look in their eyes displaying a connectiveness with you and asking, ‘How can I please you today?’” Field-bred Springer Spaniels are active, need a job, and have a strong desire to do what is right. Granted, if allowed, they will make decisions on their own and, if not trained properly, those decisions will get them into trouble.

English Springer Spaniel
Saturday training with Turner.

Acquiring a Springer does not mean that you put it in a kennel and take it out for hunting. They thrive as house dogs and family friends, and they need training from the start. They need a job early on in life and they adapt well to all of the dog sports—not just for finding, flushing, and retrieving game birds as they were developed to do.

The average size of a field-bred Springer is 35–50 pounds. They can be liver and white, black and white, and on occasion, tricolor. They thrive at working their way to the top of the hierarchy in a household, but are extremely easy to imprint; to guide and keep them in their family rank in the household. One needs to “parent” over them; not with a heavy hand, but showing them the boundaries, training the desired behaviors, and making the right things easy (and the wrong things difficult) for them to do.

From the very beginning, Springers will be looking at you, sizing you up, checking you out, and learning your “tell.” Springers are very observant of little body movements, actions, sounds, and twitches that you (consciously and unconsciously) do. A Springer will be “reading” you, so make sure that you send the right messages to develop a Springer into a happy, healthy family member.

English Springer Spaniel
Etta Thompson

Springers are gifted at noting their training partner’s (your) movements, mood, and demeanor. With a Springer, one needs to be consistent in your actions, voice, and movements. Springers are not good with heavy-handed training, harsh words or neglect.

Springers can vary in their intelligence level, from breeding to breeding. Some pick up on things quickly whereas others need repetitions. Some can overthink situations; they know what you are going to do, and react (good or bad) to the desired outcome. In selecting a Springer, make sure that you find a litter that is going to have a pup that fits your lifestyle.

Springers love a routine and they quickly adapt well to one. The routine that you develop with your Springer needs to be the correct routine for developing a happy family member with a likable personality; obedient and trusting. The personality of the Springer determines the correct routine to follow. Some Springers with a soft, easy-going mentality that pick up things quickly will adapt to soft, easy treatment. A quick thinker, high-energy Springer needs someone who is on their toes all the time, to stay consistent and ahead in the learning curve. One might need to change a bit to adapt to your new Springer pup as it develops.
English Springer Spaniel

A well-trained, well cared for English Springer Spaniel will live, on average, 13-15 years. Good Springer breeders are aware of any negative reproducible issues such as eye, hip or mouth problems, and will do the testing for these defects. Ethical Springer breeders will not reproduce these negative traits, no matter the titles earned by
the dogs.

Having a Springer in your family is a rewarding adventure, and the time spent with one is always too short.