English Springer Spaniel breed is a gun dog breed. Traditionally used to flush out birds and small animals such as rabbits, it may also be used to retrieve prey after shooting. There is a vast difference between the Springer breed as a working dog and the Springer bred as a show dog. Over time they have developed into almost separate breeds.
The working dog is less heavy than the show dog. Its coat will be shorter and much coarser and its ears will be less floppy. In addition to this, in countries where docking is still permitted, the tail of the working dog will be docked or surgically cut much closer to its body. This is to prevent injury or severing when in the field. The show dog maintains a longer tail and will display it like a flag when standing in a show position.
Both working dogs and show dogs can be found in a wide variety of colours. These are black or liver. This type would have white markings. There is also white with black or liver markings. Others include blue or liver roan and tricolour. Tricolour is black and white or liver and white. Both have tan markings
The Springer Spaniel is a friendly and enthusiastic dog. They often display high levels of energy and require plenty of exercise to keep this in check. They are intelligent and very eager to please, and this is what makes them popular and suitable family pets across many parts of the world, especially in the USA, Europe and Australia. Their wish to please humans makes them respond very well to training, which can be used to control their natural desire to jump and bounce. They are extremely playful and easily pleased with simple toys and attention.
Aside from being good hunting dogs and popular family pets, a new field of work has opened up to the Springer spaniel over recent years. Their keen sense of smell and ability to seek out has seen them used extensively in searches for weapons and explosives. This breed has seen action in Iraq and is used by the London Metropolitan Police to search for explosives in the London underground system amongst other places.
As with all breeds, some ailments are more likely to occur. Ear problems are common in spaniels,. This can be kept under control in most cases with regular cleaning and by keeping the hair around the ears short. Eyes and hips are also areas where problems occur. These issues are believed to be genetic, and retinal atrophy and hip dysphasia are reasonably common. Allergies and autoimmune diseases have also been reported, but are less common.
This intelligent and friendly breed lends itself successfully to working environments, as well as being show dogs and family pets. Their enthusiastic and energetic disposition makes them a popular choice.