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Welsh Springer Spaniel

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a medium sized gundog, built for endurance and hard work in all weathers. Shorter in the leg than some spaniel types, the Welsh Springer is a little more compact and moderate, with shorter ears and less feathering to ears, legs, body and tail. The coat is silky, flat and glossy, with rich red markings against a white background. 

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight:  16 – 20kg 
Height:  46 – 48cm 
Colours:  Deep, rich red and white. White areas can be flecked with red ticking
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog 

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Spaniel (Welsh Springer) standing near the water

Personality

With the appealing soft-eyed faithfulness of all spaniels, the Welsh Springer is a friendly and merry breed. A good-natured companion and hardworking partner, they are devoted to their owners but can be a little reserved with strangers.  

Easy to train with a positive reinforcement-based approach, the Welsh Springer thrives on plenty of exercise and engaging work in the form of traditional gundog work, or other scent-based sports and competitions. A definite workaholic! 

Spaniel (Welsh Springer) runs at field with grass

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Wales

The Welsh Springer may be the oldest surviving breed of Spaniel, with mentions of ‘Welsh Spaniels’ and references to red and white spaniels dating back as far as the 10th Century. It must be understood however that there were many localized types of land spaniel and working ‘bird dogs’ originating from similar dogs brought from western Europe and across the UK. The various spaniel breeds were not recognised and separated from one another until the mid to late 1800’s onwards and so there is very much a ‘shared ancestry’ within the spaniel breeds.

The Welsh Springer Spaniels versatile working ability and strong hunting instincts made them popular world-wide however and by the 19th century they were regularly exported abroad and became known around the world as both working dogs and show dogs.

Health and Common Issues

The Welsh Springer Spaniel can suffer from hereditary eye diseases and so screening is advised. Hip testing is also recommended as hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems) can also occur. 

The breed club monitor the health of the breed carefully and should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and details of any DNA or additional testing they recommend. Breed Clubs can be found on the Kennel Club website. 

Exercise Needs

Two hours or more per day, in the form of walking, running, following scent and retrieving toys or game. Welshies often love swimming and retrieve well from water. This is a busy, active dog and though they can relax and be calm at home, this is unlikely without sufficient and varied exercise, both mental and physical.

Space Requirements

The Welsh Springer is not hard to house in terms of space but a secure garden is a must and access to long countryside walks with a variety of routes is important. Their long coat and ears can pick up debris and carry a lot of water so space to dry and groom a Welshie is useful. Better suited to country and rural suburbs than inner city, as this is a busy dog who likes a lot of outdoor space and may well find the constant sounds of traffic and city noise stressful.

Nutrition and Feeding

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Spaniel (Welsh Springer)

This breed does not need a lot of grooming but the feathering will need regular combing, brushing and trimming – two or three times a week. The ears should be trimmed regularly to prevent infections and the paws checked daily for foreign bodies and matted fur between the paw pads.

Training Spaniel (Welsh Springer)

The Welsh Springer adores their family and will be easy to train with the right motivation. Expect an eager and active dog who wants to be with their person, doing something fun most of the time, whether that’s walking, running, or taking part in canine sports. Positive reinforcement-based training will get the best out of this bright, clever dog and they actively enjoy learning new tasks. 

Like all Spaniels, Welsh Springer’s love to carry items in their mouths and this breed trait must be understood and training given from an early age to retrieve to hand and swap found items for acceptable substitutes or treats. Resource guarding can be an issue if this is not understood or if the dog is punished for collecting and carrying objects. 

Best Family Dog Breeds

Due to their desire to locate and carry around found objects, the Welsh Springer is better with older children who understand not to chase or chastise the dog and can keep belongings tidy. A well-trained Welsh Springer makes a good family pet for outdoor active families, as long as their training and exercise needs can be met.  

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them. 

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Welsh Springer Spaniel has been known by many names, including Welsh Spaniel, Red and White Spaniel, Welsh Cocker and the welsh word ‘Tarfgi’ which means ‘dispersing dog’ referring to their job of flushing game toward waiting guns. 
  • They have webbed feet which makes them excellent swimmers. 
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel’s are the oldest recognised Spaniel breed of dog. 
  • Dog’s which look like Welsh Springer’s appear in images around the Renaissance period in the 16th century. 
  • They’re often referred to as ‘Velcro’ dogs and will follow their people around the house. 

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