The English Springer Spaniel was first recognized as a distinct breed in 1902, by the Kennel Club (England). Before that time, the English Springer and the Cocker Spaniels came from the same litters, with the smaller Cockers being used to hunt woodcock and the larger English used to “spring” larger game. The English Springer Spaniel was bred to find, flush and fetch game and is known to work tirelessly all day and be happy to return to the easy companionship of home and family. This breed is thought to be the ancestor of most other contemporary spaniels and makes an excellent family pet if given sufficient exercise as an outlet for its enormous energy.
English Springer Spaniels came from England to Canada and to the United States starting in the early 1900s. In 1924, the breed became better known in this country when the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was founded. The association became the breed’s parent club three years later. In those early days, it was not uncommon for English Springers to compete successfully in the show ring one day and in the field the next. However, over time, there has become a “field” Springer Spaniel and a “show” Springer Spaniel in terms of type. Most hunters feel that show fanciers have inappropriately exaggerated the breed’s physical traits by focusing on appearance rather than character. There is only one breed standard for this breed, and it describes the ideal conformation and characteristics of all English Springer Spaniels.
Today’s English Springer Spaniel continues to excel in field and hunting tests, obedience trials, agility trials and conformation shows. The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association promotes all of these disciplines for the breed and remains the parent club with the AKC. The most recent breed standard was updated and approved in 1994.
The English Springer Spaniel retains its unique type: moderate size, substance and balance, with a beautiful chiseled head, an endearing expression and endless devotion to its people. Potential owners must remember the breed’s true purpose as a hunter and make sure that it gets enough attention and exercise to keep it satisfied.
The average life span of the English Springer Spaniel is 12 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include ear infections, epilepsy, patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, food hypersensitivity, psoriasiform-lichenoid dermatosis, cutaneous asthenia, secondary megaesophagus, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, lysosomal storage disease, entropion, plasmoma, keratoconjunctivitis (Dry Eye), chronic superficial keratitis (pannus), refractory corneal ulceraction, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, cataracts, trichoepithelioma, melanoma, cutaneous hemangioma, anal sac adenocarcinoma, hip dysplasia, phosphofructokinase deficiency and progressive retinal atrophy.