English Springer Spaniel
The Springer’s name comes from his work which is to startle game birds so that they spring upwards. He is energetic, generally intelligent and commonly used as a sniffer dog and search and rescue dog. His medium size and attractive appearance has also made him a popular pet dog. His thick coat is weather resistant so he is happy to go out in all weathers. Many Springers love water and will jump in and out of streams on the coldest day. Note that he will need daily grooming to keep his coat clean and tangle free. Also, close attention needs to be paid to his ears to remove matting and debris which will find its way to them from his countryside forays.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 9.7% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS45.08
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
Ear infections caused by pendulous ears and excessive hair in and around the ears.
- Eye Disease: Goniodysgenesis /Primary glaucoma (G) (annual testing), Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) (litter screening), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (annual testing); Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy (RPED) (annual testing)
- Hip Dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 12.9 (parents should be lower)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Fucosidosis (Fuco)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA cord1)
- Phosphofructokinase Deficiency (PFK)
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
- Acral Mutilation Syndrome (AMS)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Breed Health Survey 2013: www.englishspringerhealth.org.uk – this is a major initiative by the ESS Breed Clubs to collect data on health, mortality and temperament. The survey questionnaire can be completed online, or downloaded and submitted by email or post, by 31 July 2013.
- Bitches under 20 months not to produce a litter
- Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12 month period
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cruciate disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- IOHC (Incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle) is a condition in which there is a weakness in the humeral condyle –part of the elbow joint in the forelimb.
- Immune mediated conditions (particularly Atopy, Haemolytic Anaemia, Thrombocytopenia, Masticatory Muscle Myositis)
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (Cutaneous asthenia)
- Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Eye disease: Primary Glaucoma
- Cancer: mammary tumors; anal sac adenocarcinoma; histiocytoma; basal cell tumors; trichoepithelioma
- Endocrine conditions (particularly Hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, Cushings disease)
- Chronic Hepatitis (autoimmune liver disease)
- Incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: