The Springer Spaniel

A Complete Breed Guide for Springer Spaniel Dogs

Last Updated 20 DECEMBER 2022

This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski, BVSc (Hons)

Known for their silky floppy ears, adorable puppy dog eyes, and happy nature, the Springer Spaniel will make a loving addition to any family. Springer Spaniels are great in family environments with young children and also make wonderful companions for the elderly. With an eager to please attitude, keen intelligence and high level of obedience, they are very easy to train.

The name 'Springer Spaniel' may refer to either the English Springer Spaniel or the Welsh Springer Spaniel. These two breeds are very similar; in fact, At the first British dog shows in the 1870s, English and Welsh Springer Spaniels were shown as the same breed. It wasn't until 1902 when the Kennel Club recognised the two breeds separately.


1. Springer Spaniel Facts

2. History

3. Personality

4. Best Toys for Springer Spaniels

5. Best food for Springer Spaniels

6. Health Concerns

7. Related Breeds

Further reading

Springer Spaniel Facts

Photo by Tory from Pexels.

Breed size: Place of origin: Intelligence
Medium England Very high
Breed group: Energy level: Weight range:
Spaniel (Gun Dog) High 18-25kg
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Height to shoulder:
12-14 years Moderate 43-56cm
Drool factor: Ease of training: Coat type:
Low Easy Double coat, silky and lush, sheds year round
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Colours:
Moderate Low Black & White, liver & white, tricolour.

How big do Springer Spaniels get?

The average adult weight of a Springer Spaniel is 18-25kg. Their height ranges from 45-56cm at shoulder. Males tend to be a little taller and heavier than females. The best way to estimate your dog's expected adult weight is to have a look at their mother and father.

How much does a Springer Spaniel cost?

Springer Spaniel pups in Australia may cost anywhere from $500-$3000. The pandemic has significantly increased demand for Spaniel puppies and the price of a pure bred pup can occasionally even exceed this. Of course, as with any breed, it is cheaper to adopt an adult dog from a rescue.

Do Springer Spaniels shed hair?

Springer Spaniels do indeed shed hair. They are a double-coated breed with medium wavy hair. Light shedding occurs throughout the year. Shedding fur can be controlled with regular brushing (a daily brush is ideal) with a general plastic bristle brush or a grooming glove. Many Spaniel owners choose to use a deshedding comb like the Furminator to take the 'fur' out of their 'fur-niture'!

Are Springer Spaniels good pets?

Provided you can provide them with the company, exercise and mental stimulation they require, Springer Spaniels can make wonderful pets! Remember they were bred for sporting and hunting - and not designed to be a lapdog, child's plaything, or backyard ornament. They thrive on company and can become anxious if left alone a lot. They are best suited to active owners that engage with their dog and involve them in fun activities.

How much exercise do Springer Spaniels need?

Springer Spaniels need a lot of exercise, as well as mental stimulation. Bred to accompany hunters on a shoot, they require at least 1 hour of stimulating exercise every single day - not just for their physical needs, but for their mental health too. Springers love ball games and interactive play. Simply leaving a Springer Spaniel in a yard to 'run by themselves' is not enough, and can actually lead to behavioural issues from extreme boredom. Springer Spaniels are particularly prone to nuisance barking if neglected.

How long do Springer Spaniels live?

The Springer Spaniel lifespan is 12-14 years on average. As with any breed, they will live much longer if you take good care of them, never let them become overweight, and keep their teeth in top condition!

How do I choose a Springer Spaniel breeder?

When looking for a Springer Spaniel, your options are to: a) adopt from a rescue (this is our top recommendation!) b) buy from an or online marketplace or pet store (NOT recommended!), or c) Research a reputable breeder. Never purchase a puppy without inspecting the breeder's premises and asking the 10 Breeder Checklist Questions first. Good breeders socialise their animals, house them humanely, allow you to inspect their premises, and select for healthy traits and good temperaments. Read our Guide to Finding a Good Breeder for more tips.

Do Springer Spaniels bark a lot?

Springer Spaniels have a moderate tendency to bark. They may bark to alert their owner if a dog passes by, when a visitor comes over, or other new stimulating situation arises. As with any dog, they can be conditioned not to bark incessantly with proper training and exercise. To reduce your Springer Spaniel's barking, ensure you train with positive reinforcement from a young age and reduce problem behaviours before they begin!

Are Springer Spaniels good with kids?

Yes! Springer Spaniels are known for being excellent family dogs and love playing with kids of all ages. In fact, due to their gentle nature, they can often suffer greatly at the hand of well-meaning children who don't know when enough is enough. It's vital to educate your children on proper dog etiquette and ensure supervision is provided around young or boisterous children.

Should Springer Spaniel Tails be Docked?

Absolutely not. Surgical procedures performed on animals for purely cosmetic reasons are unacceptable under any circumstances. Tail docking is illegal in every state in Australia, unless it is an amputation for a medical purpose such as tumour or injury. Even when we don't consider legal restrictions, a natural tail is simply lovely - it allows your dog a satisfying wag when they're happy! (And what's better than a big waggy tail to come home to?!) Read the Australian Veterinary Association's statement on tail docking here: Cosmetic Surgery to Alter the Natural Appearance of Animals

Springer Spaniel History

From left: English Springer Spaniel on a cushion by Sawrey Gilpin, 1807; Norfolk Spaniels by Cassell, 1881; English Springer by W. E. Mason, 1915. Source: Wikipedia commons.

Ancestral Spaniel dogs likely originated in Spain, however a firm presence on mainland Britain has been recorded from as early as 300 AD. The Springer, Cocker, and Field Spaniel were all considered the same breed but their abilities eventually divided them.

The first Springer-type spaniels were first seen in England a few centuries ago, around 1600-1700, to assist with hunting game birds. Before the invention of the firearm, 'springing' spaniels accompanied hunters who brought down their prey with bows, nets, or falcons. After the invention of the hunting rifle, Springers adapted quickly and became known as 'gundogs'.

The Springer Spaniel's purpose was to detect game birds hiding in vegetation, flush or 'spring' the birds out, then point and retrieve the felled bird. Springers are known to work relentlessly all day in the field and then, as one historian describes, 'retire to the easy companionship of family, hearth, and home after a good day’s hunt.'

Springer Spaniel Personality

Photos by the adorable @danielthespaniel2017 on Instagram

The loving, friendly nature of the Springer Spaniel makes them an ideal family dog. They are equial parts energetic and affectionate, which makes them great for children. Even around small children and other pets, you can enjoy the peace of mind that a Springer Spaniel will be gentle and kind, provided you ensure proper socialisation of both kids and dogs from an early age.

However, the Springer Spaniel does have a sensitive side. They feel lonely easily and are prone to separation anxiety. They can become anxious with the wrong handling and feel stress more than some other breeds. This means that you'll need to give them a lot of patience, love and include them in daily activities. They are not an ideal pet for families who cannot dedicate endless attention to their dog.

With their 'springing' watts of energy and high level of intelligence, a Springer Spaniel needs long walks and games every day. They need at least two hours of exercise every day, and tonnes of mental stimulation with games like fetch.

Always be sure to provide your Springer Spaniel with sufficient exercise. Springer Spaniels perform well in dog sports such as agility or rally training. As they are natural hunting dogs, they may chase after birds or small animals - so a leash is essential when out walking!

Don't forget to keep that busy mind of theirs stimulated. Interactive toys such as KONG, automated ball throwers, or fetch toys are perfect for Springer Spaniels. See our section below for the best toys for Springer Spaniels. Similarly, long lasting treats like the Ziwi Deer Shank are great to keep your Springer Spaniel's mind active when they are not physically exercising.

The Best Toys for Springer Spaniels

Springer Spaniels are intelligent, athletic, and love to learn. They love fetch toys and keeping their mind busy at mealtimes with a puzzle toy feeder.

Paws for Life Snuffle Puzzle Mat

Hide some of your dog's kibble or treats in the nooks and crannies to keep their mind busy and occupied.

iFetch Too Ball Launcher

The iFetch shoots tennis balls three, seven or twelve meters, and will continue to shoot balls so long as your dog fetches them and returns them to the top of the chute.

Chuck It Classic Long

An extra long ball thrower to help you launch your Border Collie's ball further than ever before to satisfy those intense fetch cravings!

Kong Flyer

Ideal for games of fetch, this toy is made from durable rubber for a dynamic bounce!

Springer Spaniel Diet and Nutrition

Photo credit: @springerspanielbailey on Instagram

Springer Spaniel Puppies

Some points to note about Springer Spaniel puppy ownership include:

What To Feed A Springer Spaniel

A Springer Spaniel should eat a premium dog food designed for 'medium' or 'all breeds'. Always be sure to seek a high quality diet, as this can help keep your Springer Spaniel's coat soft, healthy, and shiny. Many Springer Spaniel owners like to seek an Australian-made dog food, such as Advance, Black Hawk, or Instinctive Bite.

When should you transition a Springer Spaniel from puppy to adult food? As a general guide, Springer Spaniel can usually be transitioned from a 'puppy' food to an 'adult' food at around 12 months of age. This does, however, vary depending on your dog's body condition score - if your pup is underweight, they may require a puppy food for a little longer. Likewise, if they're starting to show a bit of 'pudge', it may be time for a lower-in-calorie 'Adult' diet.

Best Food for Springer Spaniel Puppies

Springer Spaniel puppies are so full of energy that they need excellent quality nutrition to help nourish their growing bodies and help them develop a strong immune system. Plus - many premium diets contain beneficial omega fatty acids to promote that soft, shiny and extra sleek Springer Spaniel coat!

Advance Puppy Growth All Breed

This Australian made, high quality puppy food is designed to support healthy growth and development of all breeds of puppies, including Springer Spaniels.

Royal Canin Medium Breed Puppy

This very high quality diet tailored for the needs of medium breed puppies is high in fish oil which is a natural source of omega fatty acids to support healthy skin, a shiny coat and optimal brain development.

Eukanuba Puppy Medium Breed

A complete and balanced puppy food with the correct balance of energy and nutrients to promote healthy digestion, skin and coat health and brain development.

Hills Vet Essentials Puppy

This premium puppy food is designed alongside Hill's world class research, to ensure a complete and balanced diet for growing puppies.

Best Food for Adult Springer Spaniels

Springer Spaniel adults are prone to a number of health conditions including hip dysplasia and skin allergies, and so the following diets have been recommended to help support healthy joints and skin.

Instinctive Bite Kangaroo and Sweet Potato

Grain free and made in Australia, this kangaroo-based diet is perfect for Springer Spaniels. With high quality lean protein, it will keep your dog nourished and happy.

Advance Active

Perfect for especially active working dogs, this super premium, Australian made food is suitable if your dog is competing in agility or dog sports.

Ziwi Peak Venison

Ziwi is the perfect choice for high energy breeds, with high levels of protein, fat and bone from real raw meat and organs.

Pro Plan Performance

This Aussie-made, grain free food contains functional ingredients from nature like blueberries, dandelion and rosemary.

Springer Spaniel Health Problems

In general, Springer Spaniels are quite healthy. However, they can be prone to a number of different diseases, including elbow and hip dysplasia, ear infections, progressive retinal atrophy, and phosphofructokinase (pfk) deficiency.

1. Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is common among medium and large breed dogs. This heritable condition occurs due to differing rates of bone development in the elbow. It leads to decreased joint mobility, pain and lameness. Less severe cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, however surgery may be required for serious cases.

2. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia refers to a condition where the conformation (physical structure) of the hip joint is abnormal. A healthy hip joint operates as a smooth 'ball and socket' type joint, whereas hips affected by dysplasia typically have a flattening of the 'socket' component of the joint, resulting in a shallow joint where the 'ball' or head of the femur is not held securely. This leads to instability of the joint which may cause pain in the young dog (juvenile hip dysplasia) and ultimately causes development of osteoarthritis.

3. Ear infections

Due to their long fluffy ears, Springer Spaniels are very prone to recurrent ear infections (otitis externa). Long, floppy ears restrict airflow, and this creates a moist and warm environment which is the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Signs of ear infections include head shaking, scratching at the ear, and a smelly discharge.

4. Phosphofructokinase deficiency

In PFK deficiency, the cells struggle to convert sugar into energy and the Spaniel becomes weak and sluggish. They may also appear jaundiced. Affected dogs will always pass on the condition to their puppies, so all Springer Spaniels should be DNA tested before breeding.

5. Progressive retinal atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is a condition that gradually results in the loss of vision through deterioration of the retina. First observed as a night vision loss (night blindness) it eventually progresses to full blindness. No treatment exists however as with any changes to vision a veterinarian should always be consulted. A genetic test is available for this condition.

Best health products for Springer Spaniels

Due to their propensity to develop hip and elbow issues, many Springer Spaniel owners are advised to provide joint care preventatively. Suitable joint care methods for Springer Spaniels may include joint care supplements, a joint care diet, or even simple things like ensuring your dog maintains a slim physique. I also suggest investing in a good ear cleaner like Epiotic to use weekly and after bathing.

4cyte Joint Support

A premium quality, vet recommended joint supplement containing green lipped mussel and epitalis to help support joint health and ease the symptoms of arthritis.

Sasha's Blend

Sasha's Blend powder and chews contain green lipped mussel, abalone and marine cartilage which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and glycosaminoglycans to support joint health.


Available as powder or tasty chews, Glyde contains glucosamine, chondroitin and green lipped mussel to support joint health and mobility.

PAW Osteosupport

This vet-recommended ear cleanser is gentle and easy to use. It is perfect for long, floppy Springer Spaniel ears.

Related Breeds

The Springer Spaniel is classified as a spaniel, within the 'Gun dogs' breed group. Gun Dogs consist of pointers, retrievers, setters, spaniels, and water dogs. Dogs in this group were bred to aid farmers with hunting game birds and retrieving felled prey. The closest relatives of the Springer Spaniel include the Cocker Spaniel, the Water Spaniel, German Pointer breeds (longhaired / shorthaired / wirehaired), and Irish Setters.


Cocker Spaniel

Known for being sweet, gentle, and affectionate dogs with a characteristic sleek and shiny coat, the Cocker Spaniel is a beloved companion breed all over the world. It's no coincidence that the female lead in 'Lady and the Tramp' was a Cocker Spaniel - Lady is a the very image of an affectionate, prim and pampered pooch. Cocker and Springer Spaniels are so closely related, they were considered the same breed for centuries.


You might be surprised to hear that the Papillon is actually a Spaniel. This pint-sized toy breed originally sported dropped ears before it was selectively bred to have characteristic butterfly-like ears. The Papillon may be one of the smallest spaniels but it is far from merely existing as a lapdog. They are one of the smartest toy breeds, known for being energetic, alert and friendly. Due to their high level of intelligence and ability to learn quickly, Papillons are often masters at performing tricks.


The Pointer group includes the English Pointer, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Vizsla, and the Weimaraner. Bred for several hundred years to accompany hunters and 'point' to birds and small animals, the Pointer is a versatile field dog and wonderful family dog breed. They are energetic and fun-loving and well suited to active homes where they can receive plenty of exercise.


Setter breeds include the Irish, Gordeon, English, and Irish Setters. They gained their name and popularity as hunting dogs due to their instinctive tendency to crouch, or "set," when they find their quarry. Typically, a setter will take a low stance with their body nearly touching the ground. As pets, they are excellent family dogs and mellow housemates, with a high requirement for exercise.