As with its smaller cousin, the Cocker Spaniel, the English Springer was prominent during the Tudor reign of Henry VIII, being widely utilised as a versatile gun dog over difficult terrain. The Renaissance saw an increase in the prevalence of the breed, with many aristocratic figures owning an English Springer as a companion dog. The breed derives its name from its early usage as a game flusher, 'springing' furred and feathered game from the bush in order for the hunter to shoot it. Able to work tirelessly in a variety of working fulfillments, the English Springer Spaniel falls within the 'gun dog' branch of canines, sharing its classification with the Pointers and Setters, Retrievers and Spaniels.
With a proportioned body, the English Springer Spaniel is an athletic-looking breed possessing large, pendant ears, dark ovular eyes, a moderate-length muzzle and a deep chest for enhanced lung capacity and thus, enhanced stamina. The coat of the English Springer Spaniel is typically wavy and feathered, common in colours of white and liver, usually with black, liver or tan markings. Despite being an illegal practice in most countries across Europe, tail 'docking' is commonly observed in the breed. The Springer Spaniel loves water and is enthusiastic in exercise and play, especially if mud and wet land is involved.
Often described as the ideal family dog, the English Springer Spaniel possesses an amiable and relaxed temperament, displaying affection and loyalty towards its family, whilst acting fearlessly to safeguard it in the presence of potential threat. Engaging well with children, the English Springer is well suited to the domestic setting, making a great addition to active family life. Generally, a healthy, fully mature Springer will weigh 18-25 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 12-14 years when cared for accordingly.
Susceptible to various health complaints that are partly genetic, the English Springer Spaniel has been known to suffer from optical disorders including glaucoma and cataracts, as well as issues relating to hips and elbows. More serious conditions specific to the breed are cardiac weakness, epilepsy and liver disease, whilst deafness is common in the breed due to the ears hanging low against the ground. Additionally, the Springer Spaniel is prone to easy weight gain, so feeding human foods is not encouraged as even the smallest amount of fat can be detrimental to the general health of the dog.