Welsh Springer Spaniel
Other names: Welsh Springer
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is an outstanding athlete, who is just as happy playing ball in the garden as he is flushing birds, as a hunting sport. Sometimes the breed is confused with an English Springer Spaniel, but the remarkable red and white coat distinguishes this dog. He is brilliant with children and can certainly improve the family’s fitness levels with his athletic and energetic requirement levels.
Key facts about the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Origins and history
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is thought to be the oldest recognised Spaniel breed of dog. Although it was first recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1902, images and depictions of similar dogs with red and white hair have been discovered dating back to the Renaissance period around the 16th century. He is understood to have ancestry from Roman dogs, meaning he is from an ancient breed.
During the 18th century, many Welsh gentry owned one of these gundogs, however their popularity boomed in Britain and Europe in later years. They were originally named Welsh Cockers, however this changed to the Welsh Springer Spaniel, when recognised by the UK Kennel Club.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 2 : Flushing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Female : Between 17 and 18 in
Male : Between 18 and 19 in
Female : Between 33 and 40 lb
Male : Between 40 and 44 lb
Kennel Club registration only accepts Welsh Springer Spaniel canines with the coat colour rich red and white.
Type of coat
Medium length hair.
This breed has a stunning, silky coat, which feels flat or wavy when touched, rather than wiry. It is also quite dense to provide protection against the chilly and wet weather. Feathering is present on the dog’s tail, ears, underbody, chest and legs.
This dog’s eyes are medium to dark brown in colour.
Certainly a working dog, the Welsh Springer is of a medium size with a compact body. His slightly rounded head sports a square muzzle and either a brown or black nose. He has oval-shaped brown eyes and long ears that hang down the side of his face. The dog’s stunning, soft coat appears in a red and white pattern, often with ticking shading too. There is feathering around his tail and ears, belly, chest and on the back of the legs.
Good to know
The Welshie takes his name “Springer” from his movement to “spring” at any game he is hunting out. Because of his hunting capabilities, he has been a fond favourite of many sportsmen for over 200 years.
Initially, these canines were bred as working gundogs and as such are lively and active dogs. However, during more recent years, this affectionate breed has found its way into the homes and hearts of many dog lovers. This is of course, due to their charming looks and reliable temperaments and also the fact that they are brilliant and sociable around children. A Welsh Springer Spaniel will be totally devoted and loyal to his owner.
Although this breed is a little mischievous at certain times, on the whole they are very playful dogs. They love to entertain and enjoy any interactive playtimes.
Above all else, these are working dogs, but they also have very gentle mannerisms. However, this mild-manner also makes them detest any harsh treatment or criticism, as they are sensitive dogs too.
These Welshies are very intelligent dogs and their aim is to please their master. In the correct environment and in the right hands, they are a delight to train. In addition to their working gundog skills, they also excel in obedience trials.
Although the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a very sociable pet, he also has an amazing nose that allows him to track down prey very easily. However, with the correct training routines, you can teach him to answer to the command “leave it” when requested.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This breed can be quite reserved around anyone other than his immediate family. To overcome this issue, early socialisation as a young puppy is imperative. This will prevent him from being shy and timid around strangers.
Due to the nature of the work they are required to do in the hunting field, these dogs often look to their masters for guidance, rather than working independently. Because of this, although they are eager to please, they are not usually strong, independent canines.
Behaviour of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
A Welsh Springer will form a strong bond with his family and likewise, he thrives on human contact. When left on his own for long periods of time, he won’t be very happy. This breed of dog is much better suited to a family where someone remains at home during the day, so the dog isn’t left for lengthy periods. He may become stressed and be destructive around the home, as a way of venting his anxieties.
Easy to train / obedience
Providing the pup’s training begins at a young age, this dog will be quite happy and eager to learn new tasks. The Welsh Springer is known to excel at a variety of canine agilities, including obedience skills, agility sessions and fly-ball, too. This dog loves nothing more than to train with his handler and to take part in joint tasks. A very smart dog who will be very focussed and keen to learn new skills, although try to avoid repetition and make sure to keep the training sessions interesting. Positive reinforcement is preferred, rather than any heavy handed methods. As they can sometimes be rather stubborn at times, too, lots of understanding and patience on the handler’s part is needed.
In normal, everyday circumstances, this breed isn’t known to bark unnecessarily. However, a dog left alone for long periods can quickly become bored, often with the resulting bark to gain attention.