English Springer Spaniel Traits

I am a spaniel owner and fan of this dog breed. I aim to share stories through writing and spread my knowledge about these great dogs.

English Springer Spaniels are Unique Dogs

What is interesting about Springers is that they seem to have some unique personality and trait tendencies. Before my first field Springer, Lady, I didn't have much knowledge about this great breed of dog. Through my many years of having Lady, that changed. I learned how they are a warm, caring animal that would do anything for their owner. I also learned they have some traits that make them one of a kind.

My Dearly Beloved Lady

When I had my Lady, who I unfortunately lost, I used to wonder why she would "sprawl" all the time. She would have her legs straight out, knees bent, while directly on her back. She would also be curled as if trying to make herself into the shape of the letter S!

The "Springer Sprawl"

Sure, I had seen dogs laying on their backs before, but this one was different. As I became more familiar with the breed, I came to notice other Springer owners had the same term that I was using for the behavior, the Springer sprawl. As well as inviting a nice belly rub from their masters, the sprawl is also a sign of trust.

Keeping Them Away From Mud Is a Futile Effort

Lady was a pretty lucky girl. Nearly every day, she had the opportunity to go to a horse farm, where she would roll and play in the mud and, well . roll in other things, too. The inside joke was that it was the "self-cleaning spaniel" as it would come home and shed the day's contents all over the house. Needless to say, thank you for the existence of vacuums.

Even after a bath, she would demand to go outside and roll that nice, clean fragrance right off herself. Lady was for sure a mud and dirt aficionado extraordinaire and could not control the temptation.

Lady Doing Some Scenting


Another common behavior in Springers is the need to stick their noses out of the window when riding in the car. Lady would go to the top of the door and patiently wait for someone to put the window down. We would open the window a crack, and she would get that nose right out there and instantly sniff the air while going down the road. Springers have one of the best noses in the dog world, and they use it collect information about their surroundings at all times—not only when in the car.

Separation Anxiety

Unfortunately, one common trait of Springers is separation anxiety. This breed needs to please and be one with their owners and does not react well when not given enough attention. While it is sometimes necessary to be apart from your dog, certain breeds do not react well to being left alone for long periods of time, and the Springer is a prime example of this.

Barking, chewing, and destruction can be the aftermath, and when I personally hear a story of a neglected Springer or any dog, it is very upsetting. So please, even though I highly recommend adopting or getting a Springer, please think of these important considerations.

Having a Springer Is Fun!

I love the spirit of these dogs. I enjoy learning new things about the breed and listening to people's stories. I want everyone to know and learn about how great a breed these dogs are. Springers are highly trainable, good with children and adapt well with cats if introduced properly. There are dogs in need of a wonderful new home, and various Springer rescue organizations work hard to get the homes that these animals need.

Older animals have experience being great dogs, too, and this could be the avenue to meet your new Springer friend. These dogs want to have fun, and we want to have fun . what could be better?

Cute Springer Spaniel Doing Tricks

Be Sure to Also Check Out:

  • English Springer Spaniel Varieties and Characteristics
    From home to farm and everywhere in between, the hearty springer has carved quite the niche for itself.
  • ESSFTA - English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association
    The ESSFTA is comprised of and dedicated to people who love English Springer Spaniels. This web site aims to provide you with current and accurate information

Springer Traits

© 2016 The Write Life

Denise Dean on September 18, 2019:

lost my Springier in May of this yr she was 15 we just got a 2 1/2 month old so so smart but very attached to me only cant leave the room without her crying and having a hard time crating her I have her coming to work with me am I creating a monster ?

Ruth on May 11, 2017:

My Dylan dog had all the typical springer traits too. I unfortunately lost him aswell. Life just isn't the same without them xx

Su Gowdey on May 03, 2017:

Thanks for this page! I have two springers (1 an ex-table top boy and the other is a "failed" worker). Both came to me when they were in their 3rd year. Was brought up on a farm with working collies then Mum decided she liked poodles and we had a couple (and she bred them). Years later, when I was settled and "grown up(!)" I happened across a springer looking for a home - have been addicted since then (currently have 2 rescue boys). A few weeks ago took in a foster girl (Brittany spaniel)

Eleanor McMillan Goff on February 24, 2017:

I have a springer spaniel in my live since my dad brought home my first one for my 16th birthday....they have my heart..my family and I have 2 right now and if we had room for more....we would have them....they are the best breed in the world in my opinion....but....I am just a little biased :)

Leonard Tillerman from Toronto, Canada on February 17, 2017:

Thank you for the wonderful article.

I always had a springer spaniel while I was growing up. I loved them. They are lots of fun and they literally never stop! So energetic.



Ed Schofield from Nova Scotia, Canada on February 16, 2017:

Hi Jesse. Boy, that guy in the video really made his dog work for that cookie. But it shows you how smart he is. And I'm okay with teaching them tricks. I taught my Lucy many things that are quite useless (for instance a little bark -barely audible, and a loud bark) for the sole purpose of showing people that there is a thought process going on inside their little heads. It might not do math but it sure can think. (google and watch video Dogs Can Fly, video of rescue dogs flying a Cessna in a figure 8 with visual cues)

Before I decided on Labs, I classified dogs as having certain behaviors:

1) The Herding dog, chases animals to round them up. Shepherds, Collies, Border Collies, and so on. Extremely intelligent. Loyal to the master. Easy to train. Will take time to get over past owners due to high loyalty.

2) Terriers. Hunters, diggers. Very loyal. Intelligent. Not always obedient, training so-so.

3) Retrievers. Fetching dogs. Hunting. Very trustworthy. Will not chase a 50 dollar bill. Highly intelligent. Easily trained. But not so loyal/would adapt to another family quite easily. Gentle. Labs, Goldens, Duck Toellers, etc...

But when I read your article I was unable to classify the Springer Spaniel. I think it's a type of retrieving dog but I'm not sure it would fit. Perhaps my classing system needs a few tweaks.

What people get from a good dog when they treat it right is a great companion. Almost everyday with a good dog is like a day in heaven. When I heard that Lady had passed away, I also know you understand the price to be paid for that happiness is the day they leave us. My condolences. There isn't a worse thing that can happen in the human experience, other than losing a child. A dog, well treated and loved, will break your heart, but what she left you with is worth the sorrow.

Good luck on your next one. I know Lady looks down on you from above, and she wants you to be happy, and wants another puppy to have a happy home.

I have always rescued my Labs. Amazingly, two of them were purebred and came with paperwork. The other was a mix with a Newfoundland. In all three cases, all I could think was that people who gave up these dogs were insane, but thankfully, I got them.

My Lucy has been ill for four years, something the doctor cannot figure out after much expensive testing, and her symptoms are degrading daily. But she was a great joy. There's a sad day coming soon. I have videos of her posted on YouTube that I'll probably be watching in sorrow after she's gone. (Lucy and the Vacuum Cleaner, Lucy Remembers Her Ball, forgive the spam at the end please) In one I use the vacuum cleaner to clean her and she's lying quietly throughout. Not many dogs will let you do that!!!

I enjoyed your hub, and look forward to reading your work.

Debbie on April 22, 2016:

I have a 4 month old SS .Lily !Lost my 11 yr old in Nov,2015!Will always miss her she was my heart !I've been looking for a trace of her in Lily and today she got in my pocket and stole my tissue.Now that's what I've been looking for.And she's started that famous spring from mid floor onto the couch .Started puppy classes and we will work on the couch thing to .Much energy ......

Barbara Kay on March 15, 2016:

Our last dog was a Springer.

The Write Life (author) from The United States on January 31, 2016:

Thank you, Jodah! That is a lot of dogs you have so I can see you are a fellow animal lover. I knew someone who had a Staffordshire and I am familiar with poodles as well. All great dog breeds.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 31, 2016:

The English Springer Spaniel sounds like a lovely dog. I didn't really know anything about the breed before. They seem to have many of the same traits as my own three dogs (except for the Springer Sprawl). I have a Staffordshire Terrier x Kelpie, and two toy poodles. All three suffer separation anxiety and love to roll in, well if not mud, other yucky stuff like cow manure, kangaroo droppings, dead animal carcases..especially if they have just recently been bathed. Thanks for sharing about this breed.

    Already have a dog? If you are aiming to add an additional dog to your existing brood, you'll like to find a pet dog that blends well with others.

There are canines that are friendly with human beings but that does not necessarily mean that they are friendly with other dogs. Hence, it is important to know more about the breed's temperament and traits when choosing the best addition to the family.

It makes sense - if you want numerous dogs in your home (and we can't blame you if you do!), of course, you would want them to be friendly.

The top 5 dog friendly breeds, we think to be the friendliest with their fellow canines are listed below.

English Springer Spaniel Grooming

The English Springer Spaniel is a pretty easy dog to groom. All you need is some weekly brushing to remove loose hair and dirt and keep his coat looking shiny and healthy. If there are any tangles, you can easily work them out with a metal dog comb or a slicker brush.

You can also give it a bath every once in a while to keep it clean smelling fresh and trim its nails regularly to avoid overgrowth. Teeth should also be brushed regularly as part of the healthy upkeep process.

Length: Medium
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Black or liver with white, blue or liver roan, tricolor
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

AKC Classification: Sporting
UKC Classification: Gun Dog
Prevalence: Common

The English springer spaniel is a medium-sized dog, ranging in height from 19 to 20 inches and in weight from 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23 kilograms). This dog is a sturdy one for his size with quite a bit of bone and large paws.

The English springer spaniel has the classic "spaniel" look to him: large and expressive eyes, a moderate muzzle with a definite stop to the forehead, long-hanging ears with some feathering, and a docked tail. The lips can be long and may lead to drooling in some dogs. The dog is the tallest of the spaniel breeds, with a fair amount of leg for covering rough ground quickly.

The English springer spaniel has a medium-length coat, which can be flat or wavy. Extra hair is on the ear fringes, feathering on the rear of all four legs, and on the chest. The colors most commonly seen are liver and white or black and white, but tricolored and ticking are variations.


English springer spaniels were selected as fairly close-working hunting partners and have a strong desire to be with people and to be working. Energetic and lively dogs they have a fair amount of intelligence and are reasonably easy to train. Most spaniels have a retrieving urge, and the English springer spaniel is no exception. This urge can lead to chewing problems if the dog is left alone for long periods of time.

Socialize English springer spaniels to other dogs and people right from the start, even though most are fairly outgoing and friendly. Most English springer spaniels do not do well with kennels or sedentary lifestyles. Digging can be a problem with bored dogs.

Living With:

The English springer spaniel is a fairly easy keeper, so too many treats can lead to obesity. These are dogs that do best with plenty of exercise, be that hunting, jogging with you or training in agility. As intelligent dogs, they are happiest when working with you and respond well to training. English springer spaniels are often seen competing in hunting, obedience and agility tests. These dogs are hardy and often live into their teens.

English springer spaniels can be surprisingly good watchdogs, offering a loud alarm bark and at least some protectiveness. They do well with children if raised with them. These dogs do best with early socialization and training. A few English springer spaniels may be content as "couch potatoes," but most prefer to be active. English springer spaniels do seem to like water work as well as land work, and may be attracted to puddles.

Grooming can be a bit of a chore with an English springer spaniel, though this dog requires less work than the smaller cousins. Most owners clip their English springer spaniels at least somewhat and certainly trim around the legs, feet and ears. The show clip requires a steady, skilled hand with the clippers. Daily brushing out of the feathers and long coat is important to prevent matting. Weekly cleaning of the ears is important.


The English springer spaniel comes from the spaniels that were popular as far back as the 1500s as hunting companions in England. Spaniels were considered dogs that flushed out game, sometimes actually causing the game to "spring." Initially, all the spaniels were interbred and distinctions were made only on adult height.

In the 1800s, the Duke of Norfolk became interested in the spaniels and developed his own line, initially called the Norfolk spaniel and now the English springer spaniel. The English springer spaniel has separated again somewhat into field (hunting) and show lines, but many dogs can do both. Most English springer spaniels today are valued family members that may occasionally get the chance to hunt.

With victories in Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club competition, including the first show of the new millennium, the popularity of the English springer spaniel is destined to grow.

English Springer Spaniels are an active, athletic breed and should be exercised regularly. It’s important to take advantage of their hunting instincts and allow them to roam free in open areas, making them well-suited for the country life. Taking your dog to a park if you live in the city would be advisable – if you can handle this on a regular basis, then your English Springer Spaniel should have better overall mood and weight regulation.

The overall personality of the English Springer Spaniel is very dog-like: loyal, ready to obey, happy to play.

The American Kennel Club’s description of the English Springer Spaniel calls this breed “cheerful and affectionate.” Additionally, they are regarded as good pets to have around the house.

With a longer coat, the English Springer Spaniel does require some regular brushing but won’t require maintenance as some of the more extreme-haired dog breeds might.

Watch the video: Differences between an English and a Welsh Springer Spaniel

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