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The English Springer Spaniel (ESS) is a dog breed that attracts attention in many ways. Be it because of their beautiful coat, their incredible energy and skill in sports, and how devoted and loving they can be in a family environment when they get along with people of all sizes as well as pets. They are part of everything you can look for in a pet, being such a loyal and loved companion by so many people, reaching homes even of important figures such as George W Bush, Grace Kelly, and last but not least, Oprah Winfrey. But like everything in life, the English Springer Spaniels have its pros and cons, being some that really can and should be reason enough for some owners to end up going for a breed with different demands that are more adapted to their needs. Their level of hyperactivity and their susceptibility to separation anxiety is a mixture that can end up being a disaster with a dog that ends up bored, unhappy, or sad. For this reason, I invite you to read this article about this incredible breed before you make any decision. 

HISTORY

The Spaniel dogs of the British have been present for many centuries, where man began to experiment and crossbreed to achieve specific aspects in each one so that they could give birth to certain breeds that are known today, among which they were initially described as “cockers” or “springers” giving rise to sports and hunting breeds such as the English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, and the English Cocker Spaniel. These dogs quickly earned the love and respect of the British thanks to their qualities that made them excellent companions and assistants in activities, such as a small game, especially with birds. The ESS not only learned quickly to carry out their work with hunters but also adapted easily to the innovations that came with this type of activity. Being a breed that loves to please and share with their owners, they would first get to where the bird was to get it out and make it easier for people to grab it with nets or whatever utensils they used for hunting. Later, with the introduction of the rifle, they became reliable and amazing gundogs, indicating the place where the bird was so that the hunter could hit his target and later look for his prey or prize. Their sense of smell is one of the qualities that not only stands out the most but continues to be enormously appreciated by man, as well as taking advantage of that innate need to please, help, and work together with man.

Some historians and/or breeders even mentioned among their writings, that the ESS was capable of spending all day in the fields working and then returning home, with their family and the love that could only come after a good day’s work. For what was the beginning of the 19th century, one could say that it is the beginning of this breed since previously it was exhibited and recognized together with the Welsh Springer, being a breed so close that they were taken as one. It was many years later that they came to have their groups or specific identification by being recognized by the American Kennel Club (England). Later, in the 1900s, the England Springer Spaniel arrived on American soil, gaining well-deserved fame, just like in Canada. Later, in 1927, the English Springer Field Trial Association (ESSFTA) was created, being the parent club of the breed and the one that ultimately catapulted the fame and popularity of this wonderful quadruped companion, although he did not need any help in this regard 

Among the many things that the ESS has to offer and provide, currently, in addition to being used in various sports activities, it continues to be a great support and help for man in activities related to K-9 detection work, search and rescue, all thanks to its robust, athletic body, energy, intelligence and of course, its nose that does not let anything slip away. But don’t worry, even if you come home smelling like a dead man, I can assure you that your English Springer Spaniel will continue to love you in the same way, even if it means putting his precious nose at risk. 

An interesting fact is that there are “two categories” or types of ESS, one being the version that is exhibited in competitions is known as Bench or Shows ESS, where they focus on a more elegant body with a greater height and longer coat. The other is shorter but faster and more athletic, being the one used for working or field/type ESS. The Bench usually has a calmer and more bearable personality than its counterpart, so it can give you a little advantage over the other one, but it all depends on the preference you have, and having more hair you will have to work a little harder to keep it in optimal condition. 

DESCRIPTION

The English Springer Spaniel is considered to be a medium-sized dog within the sports and gundog group, which has certain characteristics in its conformation that make it somewhat peculiar. Its coat, despite having a short, smooth and soft layer that will rarely give you problems, also presents a long coat in certain areas of the body, such as in its limbs, chest, and ears, being able to resemble the coat of the Schnauzer because of a cut or style that this breed is usually well known as the cowboy. Long and pendulous ears that could be a problem in case he has access to water, big and too expressive eyes for many, and a docked tail. As I mentioned before, the English Springer that is more focused on contests has a coat that is not only longer but also a bit denser, but indifferently you should comb it with some frequency to avoid some problems especially in those areas where the hair is longer. They tend to shed their hair moderately but having long hair in these areas makes it prone to knots. As for the coloring of their hair, it is liver or black with white, blue or liver roan, or tricolor.

One small aspect that may discourage some pet owners is that they tend to drool slightly but this is not something you might consider a reason not to adopt an ESS. Under proper care and management, you can expect to have this wonderful dog by your side for an average of 15 years, but like any other living thing, there may be certain complications that could well change that time. When they reach maturity, they average 20 inches in length and weigh between 40 and 53 lbs. Some people and owners consider the English Springer Spaniel as a breed that is very comfortable and appealing since it is in the middle of so many other characteristics and differences with other breeds, which may well be the same or less popular, but without a doubt, it gives you the best of both worlds, between those small breeds and the big ones.

PERSONALITY

This breed, as I have already mentioned, is an excellent companion and addition to the family, thanks to his dedication to the people he loves so much. They are overly active, full of life, but they are also very loving, adaptable, and get along quite well with other pet breeds. In fact, according to the data, people who usually adopt an ESS are a family that already has another pet and/or has children at home. The best thing to do in these cases is to adopt an English Springer puppy, as this way you can avoid certain problems and inconveniences at home. Although in most of the websites you visit to get information about this breed and read how wonderful they are for such environments, you should take into account their history, their ancestors, and their nature. If one of the pets at home happens to be a small one, you should try to keep an eye on your Springer Spaniel for safety, since its hunting instinct can come out at any time if this issue is not addressed in time. The problem with the little ones of the house will not be the same, but being such an energetic dog, it may not be the size of other working breeds such as the Weimaraner or Saint Bernard, he may be clumsy and will not know how to measure his actions towards these fragile humans. This type of attitude requires intervention at an early age since besides this type of problem, later you will not be able to control their overexcitement that to some lead them to be predisposed to piddling. In some cases, it will be due to some genetic problem in terms of the bladder but you must take advantage of their intelligence, their desire to please, and work for you while training them. 

They usually learn quickly what you want to teach them but there will be times when you must be very patient and insist as many times as necessary. Taking advantage of his personality you can use the rewards to make the training time more enjoyable that without a doubt, your ESS will enjoy spending that time with you or some other family member. You must understand the need this breed has to socialize. What I can recommend most is that you keep someone who can keep your Springer Spaniel company for the duration of your absence. Other people may understand that you must go out to work or do other activities but sadly pets have a hard time dealing with this sort of stuff. Speaking of activities, another excellent reason why you should adopt a Springer Spaniel is if your family is a very active one, to take it camping, climbing, going out for exercise or to be able to do those activities related to pets such as canicross, flyball, agility, as it happens with the Samoyed and Finnish Spitz. It will all depend on your preference or the family but you must comply with this requirement. Separation anxiety can completely change a pet and you could even lose the control you could have over him, being a smart dog he can change to a rebellious one due to boredom and unconformity. The best thing to do in these cases is to consult with your veterinarian to establish a daily portion of food that allows you to use certain amounts of rewards. Besides, you must have a lot of patience when working on his overexcitement since this can hinder his learning process and can be very annoying and even more so when the problem can be accompanied by piddling. 

CARE & HEALTH

Your pet’s health is not always based on keeping its vaccinations up to date or deworming, it is also influenced by the care and management you give your pet and this is something owners tend to overlook. Something very common in this type of breeds is the problems in the ears, being pendulous and hairy are somewhat prone to get dirty so you should check and clean them whenever you see it necessary to avoid knots, accumulate dirt and avoid creating a wet environment that can evolve into an ear infection. Something else in terms of handling would also be dental hygiene. Many think that animals don’t need the care of their teeth but this may well end up causing serious problems if overlooked. Although a veterinarian can perform a dental cleaning on your pet without any problems, it is best to avoid it at all costs, because this procedure requires sedation and/or anesthesia which can be harmful and even traumatic for your pet in the long run. You can save a lot of money by avoiding this procedure by using toothbrushes with toothpaste for pets, as well as toys that will help your furry companion maintain the oral hygiene he or she so richly deserves.  

One thing I’ve already mentioned is the issue of their weight. Just because it’s an athletic breed doesn’t mean your English Springer Spaniel is free of obesity or diabetes problems. Being an active dog will need good quality and well-balanced food or nutrition to cover its energy requirements, but it is something you must keep in balance, both everything it eats and the time it will spend throughout the day exercising. Not only is it important that you keep him active by doing some type of exercise or play because of his weight, but also because of his mental health. It is important for the breed and you must deal with this issue if you want to keep your Springer Spaniel happy and in good condition. It is a commitment that not all owners are willing to make for such a long period. There is the possibility that you can get one that is quiet and does not match what you can find on other sites, but that will depend on their personality and possibly genetics. However, not all puppies will be the same and this is something you will see when you adopt your English Springer Spaniel. A puppy that is far from the pack could mean that it is sick, while one that doesn’t seem to have an off switch will certainly be the most problematic or difficult to treat due to its level of hyperactivity. Even the adoption process is something that takes some work, where you have to carefully observe the pack and know what you are either seeing or looking for among so many puppies to get just one home. The English Springer Spaniel breeder of your choice should be based on his history and reviews. You must contact a reputable breeder to save you problems in the future as they will be able to provide you with information about the rest of the litter as well as their parents and possibly even the grandparents of your new puppy. 

This type of information will be of great help to the veterinarian to establish a health plan to ensure as much as possible good quality of life for your new English Springer Spaniel. Some breeders will hide certain information from you to ensure that they can complete the adoption process, there will even be some who will tell you that the diseases do not exist within their litter or among their animals, this is certainly a warning sign and it is best to thank them for their time and attention so you can leave their premises. This type of people are not thinking about the welfare of their pets or litters, since they will only be interested in the monetary part, and there will even be some who will sell you a purebred SSE according to them, but without a certificate that endorses this information, their word is useless. Of course, this is only important if you are interested in having a dog with a pedigree or for competitions. In case you are not, I insist that you look for one that is sincere to avoid problems with your pet’s health or at least prevent those that may be predisposed diseases.

Despite being a breed that is considered very healthy, it still has the same problems as other breeds as well as humans. Despite being very different, they both share genetic problems or the likelihood of inheriting or being born with some imbalance in their genes, such as phosphofructokinase (PFK) deficiency. Although it is a very rare condition, it can be inherited by both parents. Nonetheless, you should be aware of certain pathologies such as hip dysplasia or other musculoskeletal injuries, since a spirit as free as the English Springer Spaniel will seek to play and remain active to his heart content, which makes him prone to certain injuries or accidents. Eye problems such as retinal dysplasia, entropion, and even progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can occur. 

Now, back to the nutritional issue, this is something you have to take care of and do adequately. Not all foods or presentations are the best for your English Springer Spaniel. One may think or trust that you can even give stones to your dog and he will eat them very happily, but the idea is that you also know what you are offering to your pet and the way you are feeding him. During his puppy stage, this is something very crucial along with his protection or immunization program, both of which can be carried out with a veterinary doctor who will tell you all the steps to follow, so that your pet has the least possible risk of suffering from any disease. Of course, it’s up to you to maintain routine checkups throughout the year even if your Springer Spaniel is in optimal condition to your eyes. Some things may be normal for you, but your doctor may be able to detect them or your pet may be stoic and not show any signs of discomfort, sickness, or decay until it’s too late.

It may look like a lot to you to keep a pet but it’s very similar to a baby, only a baby doesn’t shed as much hair and your pet won’t be a pudding machine. Both are delicate beings that require knowledge, time, and dedication so that they can have a quality of life that they deserve so much. Don’t be afraid or feel sorry for seeking help from a professional to raise your English Springer Spaniel, both a breeder and a doctor will be able to guide you in the right direction, so that you can carry out proper training that will ensure you a happy and educated dog. You must take into account the needs of your pet as well as those of your family so that neither is forced to please the other. The idea is that everyone is in tune so that there can be harmony and love in the family environment. If you are an active person, with a family that usually accompanies you to all kinds of activities, that some members can stay at home for a long time to keep him/her company, then the English Springer Spaniel is the best dog for you. In case you are not very active and think that a walk in the morning before going to work will be enough, please find another breed before you make a poor Springer puppy waste his time, and possibly leave him with some resentment.

I hope this article about this wonderful breed has been useful to you and you can give him everything he needs to be the happy pet his fans love so much. In case you still have doubts about this breed I can recommend these two that are similar in certain aspects; Dalmatian, Mudi. If you think I have missed something or have any doubts, please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers

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