Springer spaniels are bred as gundogs but they are excellent in other disciplines as well.  There are two types, the English springer and the Welsh springer.  They are very similar to each other but the Welsh springer only comes in the red and white colour like the one below.

Springer spaniels are bred for flushing out game birds for the gun.  They make excellent retrievers and they can be quite speedy in the agility ring.  Their height is around 20ins (51cm) although I have seen some that are quite a bit smaller than this.  The weight is about 50lb (22.7kg) or less for an agility dog or a smaller example of the breed.

If you are considering getting a springer or a springer cross I would suggest that you speak to the breeder and other people who know the breed first.  They are very strong and active dogs and they need a lot of exercise.  As with all spaniels they need a fair amount of grooming to prevent tangles, especially behind the ears.  They also come into the greedy dogs category so you will need to keep an eye on the weight.

Thanks to Dawn Turner for the puppies photo.

The majority of springers are friendly and biddable and the one that I'll always remember was called Boot.  Boot was a somewhat hyperactive dog and he used to run all the time, even in his sleep.  For a pastime he'd jump a fence into the horses' field and run around yipping.  The horses could never resist this and eventually they would start to chase him.  As soon as they came after him, Boot would hurtle round the field three times baying at the top of his voice, and then he'd take a flying leap over the fence again.   It was a bit of exercise  for the horses and the dog but not to be encouraged unless you know the horses and the dog very well.  Still risky though.

As for agility dogs, a good springer can be very good.  I find the springer half of Jilly tells her to jump whatever's in front of her.  Even as a puppy, if something got in the way she just jumped it and I couldn't stop her.  People who responded to the survey said they were fairly easy or fair to middling to train.  They all recommended them as agility dogs. 


Peter McConnell:

Thank you. 18 months, a vandal to say the least!!! As a puppy the kids loved her and still do!! but walking becomes a big problem when your under 10 stone!! my neighbour Gerry, a dog lover tried on several "mental times" to walk Lily!!! a x top indo Chinese cop until 2005!!!! Anyway he owned a German Shepherd called “Addoff" I can spell, but my baby is so much " stronger" he said" then again he is 70!!. Lily will " stay " wait until I give the order to eat!! but go get a stick??? anything!!!! no chance. A perfect liver and white bitch !!! she is another member of my family!!!! and is there a law that says you can’t love your dog? that will be the next tax!!!!!


I have a two year old springer she is such a clown and loves people!! I do agility with her and she listens very well. I recommend a springer to any one. ( they love snow, and off-leash hiking in the woods)


Just had my first agility competition with Jessie my springer we had 3 third places and the 4th was a clear round but not placed..she is not the fastest but knows what is wanted from her an ideal dog for agility if you are not so active as they work on in front well


My 4 year old dog is very nice dog but can be very energetic dog and I cannot get her to do agility but I love her to bits.


I have just got TWO! springer spaniel's Eddie(?) & Dillan, they have already settled down and are wrecking the place, and they're already part of the family. I would just like to say how glad I am I got 2 for the company, to see them running along the fields together is just an adorable sight. x


My Springer Scarlett is four in October and is a simply lovely creature. Like all springers, she's very energetic and bouncy, but she's really well behaved and has calmed down a lot since having pups in '06. Despite her exuberance, Scarlett is trained to heel and walks very well off her lead. She's as bright as a penny and very affectionate. The whole family thinks she's the best dog in the world and my mother treats her like the third child she never had, the baby of the family, despite the fact she 'doesn't like dogs'!

Springer handler:

Have just started agility training and he loves it. He's built quite well for it as he's the working type, so not so chunky and has nice long legs!

Springer fan:

I have an is fab, he picked up the basics within a month and was putting many older more experienced dogs to shame within 4 months! He loves it and is very brave on the course. As soon as he gets on the course he calms down, focuses and is ready for his job. Although I will say there are about ten other ESS at the club and many struggle to keep control of their excited ESS but they didn't start with agility until their dogs were older. So start em young, springers need firm instruction, smelly tasty titbits (strong cheese, cooked liver I find best) bags and bags of praise when they get it right. Springers live to please. I'm starting agility this year with my one year old English pointer, she is far more difficult wish me luck!

Pat comments: Good luck


I have just lost my beautiful springer spaniel cross bitch in jan this year. She was nearly 13 years old. I had her since a pup she was a lovely dog a good companion my best friend that I ever had, my soul mate, my guardian. She had everything good about her she only ever was destructive once when she was a pup which is natural. she lived with 3 cats and never went for them. I just loved everything about her. If I was to have another dog I would have to go for the same breed because spaniels are a very loving dog. I like the breed she brought me so much joy and happiness. I am heartbroken on loosing her I just wanted her to live forever but it is impossible.


Main problem issue is maintaining focus, but for someone who just enjoys agility, rather than being v keen to win, a springer is lovely. She and I enjoy it all and it has improved her general obedience etc, and provides much needed stimulation.


Zeb my springer loves agility and learning, so caught on to the idea fast. Being very excitable though means we need recall practice!


My springer is only just into large and can sometimes struggle with the jump heights. As for the other comments about sniffing - Meg is certainly a sniffer! She has been known to be in the ring for over 10 minutes because she has got a great smell that she is following!

Julie Bradley:

I would try and get a smaller breed, as my dog struggles at large, there are some very competent springers who are measured in medium, unfortunately my dog is of the leggy variety!!


My Springer is scared of the jumps but when she does do them she jumps amazingly well. I just don't understand it .

Pat comments: If a dog seems to be scared of jumps I would go for a physical check up. The dog might be hurting somewhere especially on landing. If there's nothing obvious then it's really worthwhile to go to a masseur. They will spend around half an hour massaging the dog and will find any places where the muscles are tight or where there is something a bit painful. Vets are amazing but they don't have time to go over every muscle in the same way as a masseur. If the dog is ok physically then I would go back to the baby stage and put out some pieces of guttering between jump wings and try going over these. If the dog is still afraid then take away the jump wings and see if that makes a difference. If the dog is afraid of the wings then use shaping and clicker training to get him used to them.


My Ess and I have been training for a year and a half now. Inside training is great and we are both progressing well, but when we get into competition if there is a sniff to be picked up, then she will, she then follows the smell and we get eliminated ! Ah Well that's what Ess's are for!

Pat comments: Do some training outside and don't allow your dog to sniff. Teach the dog to get his nose up and be really encouraging over the course. If the trainer stops to speak to you don't allow the dog to wander off and start sniffing. You are both still working.

Jilly was a terror for sniffing but if I see her head starting to go down in the ring then I have to really encourage her with lots and lots of praise even if I do sound a bit mad in the ring.

Spaniel Handler (ESS):

Spaniels are easy to train because they are genuinely hard working and energetic dogs who love to please their owners


Springers can be aggressive, ours was. Just needed her own space really, and lots (and lots) more running about than she got at her old house.


My ESS is probably just in the large category, she would do much better at medium. Seems to me collie and shelties are the big two. Maybe a collie cross that was medium would give better prospects for advancement.  

Pat Comments:  Now that we have an intermediate height the smaller large dogs are finding it much easier.


Springers are bright, enthusiastic and full of energy. Agility is a great way to channel their working nature into something fun and addictive for both them and their handlers. Both of mine love it!

Lynne Kelly:

Springer's are working dogs by nature and have the drive energy and enthusiasm for the sport.

Springer handler:

My Springy is a handful but she is bright, athletic and fast.  Now that I have understood how to 'channel' her energies we're making excellent progress - and she loves it!! 

Kay Elliott writes:

My dog loves agility.  She has lots of energy and is intelligent and it gives her a fun challenge that we both enjoy.  We have been training for a year and she is beginning to know what she is doing, and when I give her the right signals she is brilliant.