English Springer Spaniel - Temperament & Personality
English Springer Spaniels are happy, smiling dogs with a great zest for life. They are full of energy and enjoy spending time with people of all ages – even kids. Built for hunting, English Springers still enjoy working in the field, but will also have fun tracking and stalking birds in the backyard. They can be a bit messy, tracking dirt and water throughout the house, but their smiling faces and constantly wagging tails makes staying mad at a Springer nearly impossible. They will bark to let you know someone is at the door, but don't expect these friendly dogs to protect you from an intruder, they love people too much to be a threat. They get along well with other household pets, but birds may be in peril, as Springers are bird hunting dogs. For active families, English Springer Spaniels make excellent pets.
English Springer Spaniels need to run every day. They were built to spend long periods of time hunting birds, and have more energy than they know what to do with. If they aren't allowed to run daily, Springer Spaniels can be a handful to live with – bouncing, barking, chewing and making a general nuisance of himself. As puppies, they are naturally rowdy, but if not properly exercised they never really “outgrow” their puppy tendencies.
Springers enjoy long walks, jogs, hikes, and some enjoy the occasional dip in the water. Kids willing to spend an afternoon playing catch with a Springer can expect a best friend for life.
English Springers are intelligent dogs who need to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. Your dog will appreciate being enrolled in agility, flyball and tracking actives as an outlet for exercise, thinking and extra bonding time with someone he loves.
English Springer Spaniels are relatively easy to train. They are smart and possess a strong desire to please, they just have a touch of doggy ADD, which can be frustrating. Keep lots of treats on hand for motivation, and be ready to hand out lots of exuberant praise. Springers do not respond well to harsh discipline – they will shut you out if they start to mistrust you – so it's best to positively reinforce good behavior and ignore the bad.
In recent years there has been indiscriminate breeding of English Springer Spaniels. This practice had caused some very uneven temperaments, serious aggression and rage issues in dogs that is unfortunately not evident until the dog is about two years old. Some believe these rage episodes are due to brain seizures, but the cause is still unknown. It is very important to adopt an English Springer from a reputable breeder, and if adopting from a rescue, adopt a Springer older than four years of age. Do as much research as you can on the bloodline and background of an English Springer before bringing one home.
Separation Anxiety is a common trait in English Springer Spaniels. They love human companionship and hate to be left alone for long periods of time. This problem is almost always made worse if a Springer isn't getting enough exercise every day. Let your Springer run before you leave the house, and give him plenty of interesting things to occupy his time while you are gone. People who work long hours should not consider this breed. Springers will show their displeasure with being left alone by chewing destructively and barking obsessively.