Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a working dog whose job is to ‘spring’ game so that the birds can be shot by the hunters. He is a somewhat smaller and lighter dog than the English Springer with a dark red coat on a white background. More recently the Welsh Springer has drifted away from his working life and become a family dog. It should always be remembered that he is at heart an intelligent, energetic working dog who needs to have his energies channelled in the right direction. He will need to live in a house with a garden and have access to the open countryside. Ideally he should have around two hours exercise every day. His fine, medium length, glossy coat will need grooming regularly to keep it in good condition and free from debris.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 12.4% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS36.45
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)
The Welsh Springer’s longish ears can harbour a build up of wax and can be liable to ear infection if not regularly checked and cleaned.
- Hip dysplasia: (abnormality of hip joint causing pain and disability) breed mean score 17 (parents should be lower)
- Eye disease: Goniodysgenesis/Primary glaucoma (a painful and sight threatening disease) (annual testing); Hereditary cataract (HC) (annual testing)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Welsh Springer Spaniel clubs have formed a Joint Health Group:
Contact Julie Revill (secretary) for more information.
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)
- Atopic dermatitis (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles, causing intense itching)
- Grass awn migration into external ears
- Distichiasis (double row of eye lashes)
- Basal cell tumour (trichoblastoma) (head and neck)
- Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia
- Heart disease: Patent ductus arteriosus (duct between aorta and pulmonary artery fails to close, causing a heart murmur) can occur but rare
- Ventricular septal defect (an opening in the division between the heart ventricles – varying degrees of severity, causes exercise intolerance and shortness of breath) can occur but rare
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: