About Spaniel Dogs
Spaniels are a type of gun dog originating from Spain, but British canine historian Colonel David Hancock has also traced the line back to the Romans. The name Spaniel came from the French verb espanir, “to crouch or flatten, and also from the Italian ‘spinare’ meaning to flatten or flatten out. It is believed Spaniels were named to describe a hunting style of crouching and springing to flush game into nets for the falcons or sighthounds to take.
Spaniels were divided into the type of game they were used to hunt for. Cockers flushed out woodcock which is how they became Cocker Spaniels and Springers, partridge, pheasants, and hares.
All lines of Spaniel below have derived from inter breeding of the Cocker and Springer and today we have a number of different breeds with the English Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel being the most popular. The extended Spaniel family are:
* Clumber Spaniel
* Welsh Springer Spaniel
* Field Spaniel
* American Cocker Spaniel
* Sussex Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is an enthusiastic, busy and happy little dog – their tails never stop wagging. They love human companionship and are very affectionate and sociable with people and other dogs. They make good family dogs, but do need strong leadership. They are high energy, can be very excitable and need to be kept mentally stimulated with plenty of exercise, preferably off lead so they can have a good run and sniff around. There are two strains of Cocker; Show and Worker. The show cocker has a calmer temperament and has a thicker, longer coat which will need regular grooming and clipping. The coat of the working cocker is much more silky and not so thick, but will still need regular grooming to remove matting and tangles from pushing through bushes and undergrowth, particularly so if they are full working dogs. The working cocker will also have a docked tail to prevent injury whilst working. Tail docking is illegal in the UK unless the dog is a working breed and likely to be used as a gun dog and/or for hunting and retrieving. Tail docking can only be undertaken by a vet within a few days of birth. Coat colours can be variations of Liver, Black, Orange, Red and Lemon and also in parti-colours with White either in clear colour or with roan effect.
The Springer Spaniel The English Springer is more popular than the Welsh Springer which is slightly smaller and more reserved than the English. The English Springer is a medium sized, affectionate, good natured, high energy dog who loves water so they are often wet and muddy!. They need a lot of physical and mental exercise and an authoritative handler or they will believe it is their role to take over the leadership. Springers can make good family dogs and child companions. Coat colours are mainly white with liver or black and the working Springer will have a docked tail.
The Sussex and Clumber Spaniel are a much heavier and sturdy spaniel and unfortunately are in decline. They have lower energy levels and are great companions for the less active family.
Spaniels in general are strong dogs and have a tendency to pull on the lead, mainly because they are high energy and are very distracted by a stimulating environment. Whilst trainers will not agree, many Spaniel owners will use a harness for training to control this behaviour, otherwise a good leather collar and flat lead is suitable. For a working spaniel, the handler is mostly likely to use a slip lead for ease of use whilst in the field.
To keep their coat in good condition, a daily brush down with a pin or stiff bristle brush will keep them looking good and an occasional bath with a good quality anti-tangle shampoo. Their ears need to be regularly checked and kept clean as they are prone to infection and can get very matted. After being out in the field, always wash the dog down to remove mud, grass pollen and seeds, especially if your dog has allergies. The Aquasorb dog towel is a great item to keep handy to dry your dog off.
After a day out in the field to keep your Spaniel warm and dry the fleece dog coat and jumpers are really useful as they wick away moisture and are weatherproof. They are very easy to wash and dry.
Spaniels are great little dogs, good companions and fun to have around and who are always willing to please. For more information on which spaniel to choose a helpful guide can be found here
We are always willing to help in choosing your next dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us