Springer Spaniel (English)

Lifestyle Needs

English Springer Spaniel
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.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 9.7% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


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.
  • Prone to obesity

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • 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: breed 5 year mean score 10.7 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow Dysplasia (medial coronoid process and humeral intracondylar fissures)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Fucosidosis
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA cord 1/crd 4)
  • Glycogen storage disease V11
  • Acral Mutilation Syndrome (AMS)
  • Long QT Syndrome
  • Phosphofrucktokinase Deficiency

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening 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)

  • Atopy
  • Lipoma
  • Mammary tumours
  • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA) (females)
  • Epilepsy

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.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds