Height at the withers: Males 46 – 51 cm, Females 43 – 48 cm
Average Weight: Males 23 – 25 kg, Females 16 – 20 kg
Whether Show dogs or Working dogs, English Springer Spaniels are nicely put together dogs, with strong and compact bodies. They boast being the tallest of all UK land Spaniels and are one of the purest and oldest, native gundog breeds in the land. They are medium in size and extremely well-balanced looking dogs that boast a gentle, intelligent expression. Although both working and show dogs fall into the same breed category, there are some quite noticeable physical differences between them.
Show dogs have longer, softer coats and longer ears than working dogs. They are heavier than their working counterparts and have dewlaps (droopier lower lips) and longer flews (upper lips are longer). Both types of Springers have longer muzzles than their Cocker Spaniel cousins and their eyes are closer together being almond in shape and dark in colour giving a dog their kind, doleful yet intelligent look.
Ears are lobular, wide and quite long being neatly feathered and lying close to a dog’s head, giving them a “neat” appearance. A Springer always boasts a strong jaw with a perfect “bite”, their heads are nicely rounded and quite broad with powerful, muscular necks which are ever so slightly arched. Springers are strong in the shoulder with nicely proportioned bodies and a well-sprung ribcage. Backs are slightly arched with their hindquarters being strong, well developed and muscular.
Their legs are strong and muscular going down to well-rounded, compact feet that boast full pads. Springers carry their tails level to their bodies, they are nicely feathered and always wagging much like their cousins the Cockers. Springers really do have a unique way of moving unlike any other breed of dog which makes it so nice to watch these dogs being put through their paces whether in the show ring, when they are at play or at work.
A Springers coat is close-lying, straight and super weather resistant being soft to the touch and not coarse at all. They have moderate feathering on their ears, body, front legs and bodies as well as on their hindquarters. When it comes to colours, the following is acceptable under the Kennel Club breed standard:
- Black & White
- Black White & Tan
- Liver & White
- Liver White & Tan
To describe an English Springer Spaniel in a nutshell, they are wonderfully proportioned looking dogs that boast deep chests and a feathered tail that they carry level to their bodies with the Working Springer being slightly lighter and finer than their show cousins.
Since the new regulations on docking tails came into effect in 2006/7, it is illegal to dock a Springer Spaniel’s tail, unless special permission has been granted by the right authorities for this to be done.
This is something worth bearing in mind when looking at litters and there is a heavy fine for anyone who has the procedure carried out without the correct documentation having been granted by the correct UK authorities. In rare cases, working English springer spaniels may be granted an exemption to permit tail docking, if their owner can demonstrate appropriately that this is in the best interests of the dog and carried out by a veterinary surgeon in accordance with the law.
However, if you do view a puppy with a docked tail, ensure that you check the veracity of any claimed exemption before proceeding with a purchase.
The English Springer Spaniel has a unique gait which is very much their own where their front legs swing forward from a dog’s shoulder so they throw their feet in an easy, free manner well forward. When moving slowly, a Springer paces which is a stride that is typical to their breed type. When they move, they cover a good amount of ground with an easy, flowing action.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from an English Springer Spaniel’s breed standard with the seriousness of the fault being judged on how it affects the health and wellbeing of a dog and their ability to work.
Male Springer must have two testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it worth noting that a Springer may be slightly smaller or larger, they may weigh a little less or a little more than stated in the KC breed standard which is outlined as a guideline only.