Cash-hunting Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dogs Helping to Collar Criminals –

Yet another job for springer spaniel sniffer dogs! I think it’s 8 jobs now and still counting. They are amazing dogs – I wish mine would sniff out some cash for me!

Edinburgh Evening News

Cash-hunting sniffer dogs helping to collar criminals

Sniffer dog Roddy at work in Edinburgh Airport

Published on Thursday 16 February 2012 12:10

POLICE today carried out a search operation at Edinburgh Airport with sniffer dogs deployed to track down criminals smuggling cash abroad.

The operation by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) saw specially trained dogs check passengers in the airport’s departure area as they prepared to take flights from 6am today.

The crackdown was mounted in a bid to detect money being taken out of Scotland to avoid tax, or to be hidden in foreign bank accounts.

Around 1800 passengers departing on international flights between 4am and 8am today were checked for cash.

A Lithuanian man flying out to Kaunis was stopped after a dog detected money in his jacket. The man was found to be carrying £2000 and interviewed by officials, but was released after officials determined he was taking the money back to his homeland after working in the UK.

Passengers departing on flights to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Tenerife, Krakow, Prague, Alicante, Budapest, New York and Copenhagen were searched as part of the operation.

Security personnel, assisted by officers from Lothian and Borders Police, separated passengers leaving on domestic and international flights into sections, with the dogs a yellow labrador called Marley and a springer spaniel called Roddy checking the bags and clothing of anyone going abroad.

UKBA officers also checked domestic passengers using a profiling system to identify potential smugglers to be checked by the animals and their handlers for money.

A number of passengers were also stopped with small amounts of cash notes before being allowed to proceed. Colin Fraser, senior officer at UKBA, pledged that the cash spot-checks would be carried out on a very regular basis at the airport to snare criminals.

He added that locations such as Dubai and mainland Spain were popular with criminals taking money abroad.

As well as depositing cash in foreign accounts, criminals also take money abroad to buy drugs or cigarettes to be smuggled back into Britain.

Full Story: Cash Hunting Springer Spaniel

Acknowledgements: grateful thanks to

Springer Spaniels – Obedience Training

Here’s a video of a well trained English springer spaniel demonstrating obedience during a dog shop. You’ll note that the tail is docked, and the ‘stocky’ build is indicative of the show (bench) line of the breed (the field line is less stocky, and in my opinion, more agile).

Note the constant use of eye contact to maintain communication.

Springer spaniels are sociable, even with other dogs, and quite level-tempered. They are intelligent and eager to please (‘biddable’) so they are easier to train than some other breeds. The Springer was bred originally as a working dog. An outdoors dog has the genes for running, swimming, and staying active. So, they need exercise, but this makes training them a lot of fun – they keep the owners active too!

They want to get it right although they can be stubborn if trained the wrong way. If you take on a springer spaniel rescue dog, then bear in mind that some re-training may be necessary.

If you have a puppy, though, then it is much easier. Kennel Clubs usually run puppy training classes, and after the basic training – ‘boot camp’ – there are various levels, typically bronze, silver and gold. You and your springer must pass a test so that you can start training at the next level up. The course is straightforward though; different springers have different difficulties with exercises, but the trainers will help you and you dog surmount these hurdles (often literally). And so you and your springer progress from level to level.

Training field dogs is a completely different process – they need to get used to the sound of guns and learn to work in a team with another dog. They are also at a much greater distance fromt their owners, on average, and signalling techniques differ – they may be out of sight in undergrowth, or swimming to retrieve.

Here’s more on field training and exercises.

Rhys Itching To Sniff Out Deadly Ants – Science – NZ Herald News

I picked up this story and picture from the New Zealand Herald News, reporter John Weekes, with thanks. Yet another springer spaniel sniffer dog  job. That’s eight jobs and still counting. It’s great to see that the dog has a real Welsh name.

Springer spaniel sniffer dog - ant seeker
Rhys Jones, a Welsh springer spaniel sniffer dog.

“New Zealand’s first ant-sniffing canine is training for battle against hordes of Argentine invaders.

Local biosecurity experts hope Welsh springer spaniel Rhys Jones will soon hunt Argentine ants.

“He’s about halfway through his training and he’s ticking all the boxes,” said Auckland Council biosecurity manager Jack Craw.

The dog’s trainer, Brian Shields, said Argentine ants were notorious for attacking native bird species.

Rhys Jones will work on finding pheremone trails the ants leave when moving from their nests to food sources. “When he smells one, he’ll sit and get a reward,” Shields said. ”

…more (including details about this nasty ant) at

© Copyright 2012, APN Holdings NZ Limited

There’s another story here about springer spaniels being used to hunt termites attacking ancient buildings in South Korea. Enjoy!

Springer Spaniel Problems – A Guide

This article is a list of the most common springer spaniel problems, with links to the more detailed articles on this site. Click the underlined words for more information.

Hereditary Problems

Most hereditary problems with springers can be screened for, and may be known about by the breeder from the history of the parents and grandparents. Fortunately, the more common problems such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia are being bred out of the springer stock.

Some bloodlines may have a higher incidence of cataracts.

Growing Problems

If a young springer (less than 1 year old) is exercised too hard (particularly with jumping), then hip joints may not grow into a healthy adult shape, causing joint pain and arthritis in later life.

Eye Problems

Apart from the hereditary eye problems mentioned above, there are a couple of other conditions which are not uncommon.

Entropion is the inward growth of eyelashes. This can be corrected. Outward growth (ectropion) is less common.

Cataracts may occur with any dog (indeed, as with any older person).

Ear Problems

Inflammation of the ears (otitis) is fairly common in dogs with long hairy ears if the ears are not groomed and cleaned regularly.

Skin Problems

These are usually due to infectious diseases, damage or allergic reactions. In general, treatment is straightforward.

Behavioural Problems

Springers are, in general, well behaved. Although ‘rage’ is talked about from time to time, it has been hard to pin down, and evidence tends to be anecdotal. Springer spaniels have an even, affectionate and loyal temperament, though they love fun and can get excited. Any behavioural problems are usually due to a lack of, or poor, training.

Springers occasionally react when in the company of other dogs of the same sex.

General Problems

As with most domesticated animals, excessive feeding or poor diet, without exercise to compensate, can lead to other problems such as constipation, diabetes, weight problems and hypertension. Avoiding these is a matter of following suitable feeding and exercise guidelines for springer spaniels.

Springer Spaniel Problems – The Ears

Springer Spaniels, like most dogs with long hairy ears, are prone to ear problems. This is no reason to avoid the breed – regular grooming and care of the ears mean that your dog may never suffer. A springer spaniel ear problem usually becomes obvious by ‘smelly ears’ or by your dog’s rubbing at his ear with a paw – quite often both go together.

Inflammation of the ear is known as otitis. There are several causes and a range of treatments, but with the right care, most problems can be prevented.


There are four main reasons for irritation (otitis) within the ear.

1. Floppy ears trap moisture (and we know that springers love water).

2. Inherited skin allergies; rubbing by the dog causes release of exudates (‘thick fluids’) which make it worse. Typical allergens are food and pollen.

3. Thick hair in the ear canal traps moisture, dirt, grass, small twigs and earwax.

4. Mite infestation.

The first three reasons create ideal conditions for the growth of fungal (yeast) infections in the ear.


Unless you are a very experienced pet owner, then it is essential that you take your pet to a veterinarian so that a proper diagnosis can be carried out. If left untreated, the problem could cause permanent deafness in your dog, besides the discomfort caused to your dog by a chronic infection.

Also of course, smelly ears is not pleasant in the home. Have you noticed how some homes just ‘smell of dog’?


Springers love to swim, but if you can stop him swimming in stagnant water, that’s a good start – rivers and lakes with inflow or outflow are best as this keeps the water refreshed and prevents stagnation.

Regular grooming and inspection of the ear is essential to prevent problems developing. The hair around the edges of the ear should be trimmed carefully so that minimal ‘pickup’ of debris takes place. When your springer has been out for a run in the undergrowth, then check his years for small twigs and grass.

The hair inside the ear may also be trimmed; some may be removed with tweezers – find out more from a specialised article or book on springer spaniels, or ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it.


The treatments your veterinarian suggests will be one or more of the following:

For allergies try different brands of food; antihistamines may be required if reaction is severe.

Flushing with a mildly acidic solution creates conditions where yeast does not grow. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend a suitable solution.

Antibiotics – usually in the form of drops. It is important that your veterinarian rotates the antibiotics, as long term treatment with one antibiotic can allow resistant strains of bacteria to develop.

In acute cases which resist those treatments, simple surgical procedures are available, with more radical surgery for deeper seated problems. Both of these procedures usually have good outcomes with greatly improved quality of life for the dog.

Mites are usually treated using a mite powder.

(c) 2010 Phil Marks



Jack, The Front Line Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dog

A great story from David Wilkes at the UK’s Daily Mail this week. Jack, the English springer spaniel sniffer dog, finding bombs in Afghanistan. And a terrific picture too!

Technically, they are called Arms and Explosives Search Dogs. To them, it’s all a bit of fun, with a reward – maybe a game or a bit of spoiling! For the soldiers though, it’s life and death. When Jack’s handler, Private Andrew Duff, sees Jack sit down, then it’s time for very great care. Patient sitting is a sign of a ‘find’, and time for the bomb disposal experts to be called in.

Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dog Jack
Jack The Sniffer Dog With Pte Andrew Duff

It takes 15 weeks to train a springer like Jack – and that’s just basic training, which develops focus and obedience. Then it’s out to the war theatre and several more weeks’ training.

There have been occasions when Andrew has been convinced that Jack’s training has saved his life.

I’ve written more about the jobs that springer spaniels carry out – it’s surprisingly varied, from security to preservation – both of wildlife and ancient buildings, and even helping hospital patients to get well. Check the links at the bottom.

The full story is at the Daily Mail.

Springer Spaniel therapy brings comfort to hospital patients |

Pet therapy brings comfort to hospital patients

Tracy Toth and volunteer Wilma Stubbs visit different patients throughout McDowell Hospital on Wednesdays.
By: Landdis Hollifield
Published: November 19, 2011 »  Comments | Post a Comment

Every Wednesday afternoon, visitors at McDowell Hospital will notice a four-legged guest being lead to various rooms throughout the hospital.

Abbey is a therapy dog whose duty is to bring comfort and companionship to those at the medical facility.

The 3-year-old springer spaniel was rescued at an early age from a puppy mill and since then has been working with her owner Tracy Toth to help others.

Toth hopes she and her dog can make difference in the lives of others.

Abbey and I have been doing this for over a year now, said Toth. Patients really enjoy Abbey’s visits. Many of them just love rubbing her head and talking to her.

To become a therapy dog, Abbey, along with Toth, had to go through training.

The training for this program is a two part test, Toth said.   I had to be tested to see how I got along with patients and Abbey had to be tested to make sure she could handle being in a hospital.

Helping Toth is volunteer Wilma Stubbs, who makes sure that patients and their rooms are prepared for a visit.

My job is to go in ahead of Tracy and Abbey and make sure patients still want them to come, then I put a sheet over their bedding and make sure that the room is ready for Abbey to come in, said Stubbs.

The therapy dog, whose part of the Paws on a Mission program, has become famous for her demeanor and many guests are pleasantly surprised at how calm she is.

Many patients enjoy the company of an animal, especially when they don’t have pets at home.

My husband would love this. I really wish he could be here right now, said Sheila Romaniello. We both really love pets and having her visit has been really nice.

At the end of every visit, Abbey makes sure to see her favorite staff members of the hospital.

Abbey and I always stop by and see different people before we leave, said Toth. I’m just glad that we can come and volunteer our time to help others.

Currently there are three therapy dogs that take turns visiting patients every Wednesday. For more information on the therapy dog program, visit

Full Story:

Springer Spaniel Training and Temperament – Making Friends

Here’s an excerpt from a reader’s letter about springer spaniel training and introducing rescue dogs to others:

I just need a bit of advice on introducing Cassie to another dog. My mum has just got a rescue dog herself and although Cassie has been going to my mum’s for quite a while and has settled nicely when we are there, we are not sure on what’s the best way of introducing the dogs to each other and how soon. Rusty the newcomer has basic commands but when we went round the other day he wanted to say hello to her, I kept Cassie down the other end of the room with me. Rusty started to come up to her but she drove him off, snapping. Mind you it didn’t stop him wanting to go back – he’s only 7 months old and has been kept with other dogs in a ‘foster’ environment. He was barking a lot because he was then contained at the other end of the room.

Cassie has been ok with 2 of my friends’ dogs in their homes off her lead, she seems to ignore them and play with their toys. She came from a dogs home where she stayed for 4 months.

My reply was broadly as follows:

You don’t say whether Cassie was on heat when they first met – that could be important. Also, of course, you mentioned that the other dog is a rescue dog too, but from your note there is no unusual behaviour there.

Where do the problems lie then?

Well, if you read up on springer spaniel temperament, you’ll find that they can sometimes be aggressive with others of the same sex, though it’s not an issue here.

Also of course, there may be issues of territory – on whose ground they meet, so to speak.

Jealousy can be another factor – if she has been spoilt with affection, then she could be very defensive about letting another dog into her relationship with you.

What can you do?

Well, firstly, make sure they meet on neutral territory, and introduce them gradually. I suggest walking them together, on leashes, but kept apart. Make it a regular occurrence, and build the length of the walk from a few minutes to maybe the full regular morning or evening walk. That way they can get used to one another without territorial issues, or physical bothering. Do this when neither is in season.

Whilst you are doing it, you, as Cassie’s owner, need to avoid showing any interest in the other dog at all. Keep them apart, but if you have retractable dog leashes then you can slowly lengthen and let them interact.

Then, when they are used to one another, start giving Cassie some freedom during the walks. Gradually let her off the leash, so that she can choose whether to say hello to the other dog. That’s another week gone, maybe more – you’ll have to watch her behaviour. If she’s avoiding the issue completely and showing no interest in the other dog, then test the water gently by you showing some interest in the other dog; you’ll need to watch her reaction carefully, to see if she is sensitive about this aspect.

When things are looking good and settled between them in this way, then start to let the other dog off the leash during walks, so that they are both off. Take it gently and slowly, building up the time again. Obviously, you need to be confident that the other dog will recall to leash without problems.

You may need to go back a step at times, and take a couple of months over the process, so that nothing is rushed, and keep them apart when she is in season (and vice versa).

Then, you’ll have to deal with territory. Take Cassie to the other home, and take it slowly, with short visits. Give her time on her own in the other’s garden or yard (if there is one), and then let them have time together in this outside space, with lengthening times together. Then, when things are ok, move them indoors – again, short time periods, getting longer.

It will take patience, but if Cassie is relatively young, then she should learn well and adjust. Keep your own interest in the other dog to a minimum. Springer spaniels are smart dogs, and she may adjust quickly, as soon as she understands that there is no threat to her home or her relationship with you. There is, obviously, a very small chance that things may never work out between them, but I think that this is unlikely.

It’s mainly a matter of common sense and patience, and a focus on springer spaniel training.

English Springer Spaniel

Two ‘Lines’

English springer spaniels have two main ‘strains’ – the bench or show bred line, and the field-bred line, though the American Kennel Club makes no distinction. The former, clearly, is bred as a show dog (and stands on a bench at a show, ‘bench’ being the US term). The field-bred line is the working line, used in the classic role as a flusher and retriever of game in the field.

The lines differ in that the show line has a darker, heavier coat, showing less ticking (colour flecks) and is more of a ‘home’ dog than the field line – which love the mud. Where tail docking is permitted, the show line has a shorter docked tail, whilst the longer docked tail (or full tail) of the field line is useful for the hunter to keep the dog in sight.

Certainly, the show line loves the mud too, and the field line makes a good family dog – theses differences are generalisations only, but the differences are there for the expert to spot.


The heights/weights of the mature English springer are typically as follows:
Dog:      Height 18-20” (46-51 cm)   Weight 50-55 lb (23-25 kg)
Bitch:   Height 17-19” (43-48 cm)   Weight 35-45 lb (16-20 kg)


Given that there are two distinct lines, it follows that breeders tend to specialise in one line or the other, so when looking for your English springer spaniel, check on the line that the breeder handles. Of course, this is probably only of importance if you are looking for a field line, as you’ll want the best for your hunting.

If you are looking for a family pet, then the line is less important, but do remember that these are energetic dogs and will need plenty of exercise.

Here’s a great example of Humla, an english springer spaniel (field line) at work, retrieving game for real – WARNING – it’s a real duck shoot.

Licence: standard YouTube, thanks to MrDrenten

Seven Jobs for Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dogs

Springer spaniels fill many roles – I have even seen one being used to herd pigs! Mostly though, people think of them as being used for hunting – flushing and retrieving game.

However, their exceptional noses, their agility and their high work rate, in combination give them a clear advantage over all other breeds. Also, they are compact in size. Imagine for a moment a survivor, trapped in an earthquake shattered building. The last thing such a person would want to see would be the nose of, say, a big German Shepherd dog poking through the rubble. That of a springer spaniel would be muck less intimidating.

I discovered seven different ways in which springers are used as sniffer dogs:

1. Explosives detection – a front line job finding buried roadside bombs, for example, they are widely used by the British Army. In a civilian role – security scanning – checking venues for concerts, sports events and so on where VIPs might be in attendance and explosives might be present.
2. Drug detection – they are used by the police, Customs and Excise, FDA and other agencies for checking cargoes, searching ships and planes, trucks, buses and cars.
3. Protecting wildlife – specifically, seeking out specfic endangered species – such as penguins – so that their population can be montitored.
4. Recently, it has been reported that they can detect lung cancer by smelling a sufferer’s breath. How this will develop in the future, who knows?
5. Tracking missing persons (though other dogs may also be used for this).
6. Detecting dead bodies – for example where a murder victim might be buried in the vicinity, the springer can find the exact location of the body.
7. Finding bodies underwater by detecting the smell on the surface of a lake or river. Amazing!

I’m sure that there are other uses, but it’s a shame that so many of these are linked with criminality, death and destruction!