This short article deals with some of the initial choices you will need to make, and how to go about finding a breeder when you decide to become an owner of one of these terrific companions.
You may have firm opinions on colouring, and with the English springer there are two main colourings – black on white or liver on white (chocolate). Either of these colours could be combined with tan markings. Wanting a particular colour will reduce your choice of breeders and may lead to a lot of travel. You should visit at least a couple of breeders before you decide. Then you will return when the litter and pup is ready, to bring your springer puppy back to your home.
Which – dog or bitch? Springers are loyal and affectionate, so the males are not a huge diffculty when it comes to going awol. With a bitch, you have to plan for the obvious – keeping her away from males when she is in season; there will be hygiene aspects to consider at home. Spaying has side effects, such as a tendency to getting fat. If you do want to breed springer pups, then there is only one way to go.
Working Dog, Show Dog or Family Pet?
Do you want a gundog or a show dog? For an English Springer Spaniel, these are distinct genetic lines and could influence your choice of breeder. Both types are good as family pets provided you are able to exercise them adequately. There is no lineage difference for Welsh Springer Spaniels.
How to Find your Springer Spaniel Pup
If you want a pure springer spaniel puppy with no doubtful genetic background then avoid ‘puppy farms’. This is important because all pure breeds are susceptible to hereditary conditions (the Springer is pretty good in this respect). So, you need to find a dog with a fully documented bloodline and pedigree certification which is not falsified. By choosing a fully certificated pedigree (which can usually be checked online), you would be able to show your springer in class at a dogshow – well, you never know, the kids might like that!
How to Find Breeders
The main ways to find breeders are through:
- Going to shows and talking to owners and breeders
- Specialist dog magazines and papers
- Online web search
- Newspaper advertising
- Kennel Clubs
- Yellow Pages
- Springer Spaniel Breed clubs
Do be cautious about the small ads in your local newspaper. ‘Springer spaniel puppy for sale’ may be genuine, or not. Make sure you see proper documentation.
Official Kennel Clubs usually operate a Breeder Accreditation scheme. Kennel Club websites or Breed Clubs will provide you with the Breed Standard (there are some differences from country to country). It is well worth reading up on these and preparing a summary, so that when you visit breeders you will be able to have informed discussions about particular pups and bloodlines.
Of course, the better breeders (those with the best show records) will want more money for their spaniel puppies, but that’s to be expected.
You might consider a Rescue Dog. Using a rescue centre requires more care and preparation, but can be a good way to go if you don’t want to go through the ‘house training’ stage.
Phil has been a long-term springer spaniel owner, both English and Welsh springer spaniels.