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A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

NZKC - Breed Standard - English Springer Spaniel - Gundog

English Springer Spaniel


Group: Gundog
Size: medium
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Exercise: high
Grooming: high
Trainability: very high
Watchdog ability: high
Protection ability: low
Area of Origin: England
Date of Origin: 1800’s
Other Names: none
Original Function: bird flushing and retrieving
The English Springer Spaniel is a land spaniel (versus water spaniel) whose primary function was to "spring" game from thick brush for sportsmen. It descends from Spanish dogs, hence the name "spaniel"; these dogs being brought to Britain as early as 1570. It is the oldest of the spaniel breeds and is considered the forefather of all other land spaniels with the exception of the Clumber. Despite its long history, the breed was not officially recognised until 1902 in England, although it was exhibited there since the 1850's under the name Norfolk Spaniel.
The English Springer Spaniel is energetic and friendly. An intelligent dog breed, the English Springer Spaniel is easy to train.
As an energetic and inquisitive dog, the Springer needs daily mental and physical exertion. Hunting is the first choice to satisfy both needs, but an outing in the field, long walk on leash and good obedience lesson can go far to making the Springer a calm and well-behaved house dog. This breed does best if allowed to live in the house with access to a yard. Its coat needs brushing or combing one or two times weekly plus clipping and scissoring every three months. Springers from field lines, rather than show lines, tend to have less coat.

Official Breed Standard

The English Springer is the oldest of our Sporting Gundogs and the taproot from which all of our sporting land spaniels (Clumbers excepted) have been evolved. It was originally used for the purpose of finding and springing game for the net, falcon or greyhound, but at the present time it is used entirely to find, flush and retrieve game for the gun. The breed is of ancient and pure origin and should be kept as such.

The general appearance of the modern Springer is that of a symmetrical, compact, strong, upstanding, merry and active dog, built for endurance and activity. He is the highest on the leg and raciest in build of all British land spaniels.

Head and Skull:
The skull should be of medium length and fairly broad and slightly rounded, rising from the foreface, making a brow or stop, divided by a fluting between the eyes gradually dying away along the forehead, towards the occiput bone, which should not be peaked. The cheeks should be flat, that is, not rounded or full. The foreface should be of proportionate length to the skull, fairly broad and deep without being coarse, well chiselled below the eyes, fairly deep and square in flew, but not exaggerated to such an extent as would interfere with comfort when retrieving. Nostrils well developed.

The eyes should be neither too full nor too small but of medium size, not prominent or sunken but well set in (not showing haw), of an alert, kind expression. A mouse-like eye without expression is objectionable, as also is a light eye. The colour should be dark hazel.

The ears should be lobular in shape, set close to the head, of good length and width, but not exaggerated. The correct set should be in line with the eye.

The jaws should be strong, with a perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e., the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

The neck should be strong and muscular, of nice length and free from throatiness, well set in the shoulders, nicely arched and tapering towards the head - thus giving great activity and speed. A ewe neck is objectionable.

The forelegs should be straight and nicely feathered, elbows set well to body and with proportionate substance to carry the body, strong flexible pasterns.

The body should be strong and of proportionate length, neither too long nor too short, the chest deep and well developed with plenty of heart and lung room, well sprung ribs, loin muscular and strong with slight arch, well coupled, thighs broad and muscular and well developed.

The hindlegs should be well let down from hip to hocks. Stifles and hocks moderately bent, inclining neither inwards nor outwards. Coarseness of hocks objectionable.

Feet tight, compact and well-rounded, with strong full pads.

The Springer's gait is strictly his own. His forelegs should swing straight forward from the shoulder throwing the feet well forward in an easy and free manner. His hocks should drive well under his body, following in a line with the forelegs. At slow movements many Springers have a pacing stride typical of the breed.

Customarily docked. The stern should be low and never carried above the level of the back, well feathered with a lively action.

The coat should be close, straight and weather resisting without being coarse.

Any recognised land spaniel colour is acceptable, but liver and white, black and white or either of these colours with tan markings preferred.

Weight and Size:
The approximate height should be 51 cm (20 in) The approximate weight should be 22.7 kg (50 lb).

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

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