Dogs Read your Face and Know Whether you are Happy or Sad –

Facial expressions are essential in human communications. Without saying a word, we can signal to those around us to our emotional state—ranging from joy to sorrow—just by flexing a few facial muscles. Such expressions have evolved to help us form bonds, avoid danger and cooperate.

According to the results of a study published in Current Biology, dogs can read this silent method of communication and can distinguish between our angry and happy facial expressions. Tell me something new – most dog owners knew this already!

A Tight Bond between Man and Dog

Dogs and humans share a tight historical bond, which is why animal researchers from the University of Vienna focused on us for their research. Dogs are already known to be expert at reading us. We know that they can identify familiar faces – even if just part of the face is shown in a photograph. Whether they can actually read human emotions, however, was not proven until now

This seems to be the first time that researchers have shown that one animal species can recognise the emotions of another.

More research is planned – experiments with puppies could help us understand whether reading human facial expressions is something dogs learn as they mature, or if it’s something passed down in the genes.

Alfie the Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dog Retires with £11Million Haul

After 8 years, 400 arrests and a net haul of £11 million ($16 million), Alfie the springer spaniel sniffer dog has retired from Staffordshire Police.

Pic of Alfie the Springer Spaniel

Alfie was originally donated to the police by a family in Nottinghamshire after they found him to be too hyperactive. Ms Hargreaves, his handler, who has been in the police since she joined the cadets at 16, said: ‘He was way too much for an ordinary family – a bit overzealous and hyperactive – but that’s exactly what we look for in a search dog.

‘He is ball crazy and that’s the first thing we need – a dog who loves the reward of chasing a tennis ball.’

After being assessed by a team of officers, it was clear that he was perfect for the job and Alfie was inducted into the force with eight weeks of training with his handler. She said: ‘I was new to being a specialist dog handler too. Although I’d had a general purpose dog before, Alfie was my first search dog.

‘He’s turned out to be the finest dog the force has ever known.

During his eight years in the force, Alfie has sniffed out £8million in drugs alone, plus cash, guns and ammunition.

‘And Alfie has always been 100 per cent professional – that’s what makes him such a special dog – even when he was doing shift patterns. He did exactly the same hours as me, even when I was working nights or from the early hours of the morning.As soon as I put my uniform on, he was ready to work.’

Alfie retired in October and is being supported by the Staffordshire Retired Police Dogs Scheme now he is no longer in active service. Ms Hargreaves said: ‘Although I was very sad to see him retire I know he’ll enjoy his new home.

‘But I will be fundraising for the Staffordshire Retired Police Dogs Scheme to make sure he has a comfortable retirement.’

Full Story at the Daily Mail

Springer Spaniel 5 Year Memory and why Microchips Matter

This springer met up with her owners five years after going missing! The owners had a pair of springers from pups, but one day when they were out walking, Daisy went missing.

Five years later they received a phone call from a dog warden who had traced them using Daisy’s microchip.

They went to pick her up and she recognised them immediately!

The Daily Mail has an excellent story with some terrific pictures of Daisy and her partner Flynn. Full story at

Daily Mail

Springer Spaniel Heat Exhaustion Warning

It has been a particularly hot summer in the UK and there have been human and animal casualties. Springer spaniels are very active dogs and obviously they don’t know their own limitations. Most stories about dog deaths in the heat relate to them being left in vehicles with no ventilation or water.

Springer spaniel died of heat exhaustionThere are other occasions too, such as this sad  story I picked up about a springer dying from heat exhaustion. Rob Maclaren of reported:

“The seven-year-old springer spaniel, called Dylan, had been walking off the lead at Montrose Golf Links on Monday when it chased after a bitch.

It was found hours later in an exhausted state by another dog walker around two miles away near Kinnaber, who took it to the Golf Veterinary Practice in Montrose.

Practice manager and head nurse Sarah Dryden said the dog was unconscious by the time it arrived at the centre, at around 2pm.

“We put the dog in a cold bath to try to bring his temperature down, which had gone up to 108 degrees,” she said. “Unfortunately, it died shortly after admission.”

The dog’s owners described their heartbreak that their dog, who they described as a “member of the family”, had died.

Gary and Karen Neave had been away on a family holiday to Florida with their two daughters and granddaughter and had left Dylan in the care of Gary’s father, Jack.

They returned home from a long flight on Monday and went immediately to bed, without knowing Dylan was missing.

Ms Dryden said it was important dog owners think about the warm weather before going outdoors with their pet.

She advised: “Make sure your dog has a drink before it goes outside when it is warm and always take water with you. Dogs should have access to water before, during and after exercise.

“Try not to exercise the dog when it is extremely warm outside. It’s important to point out that it doesn’t just happen when dogs are left in cars.”

Thanks to, Rob Maclaren and for use of the owner’s photo. Full story at:

Springer Spaniel Fire Sniffer

As a Welshman, this one is close to home for me!

Sammy has helped investigate 500 fires – he sniffs to find if an accelerant has been used to start it. Now, he’s a finalist in the Hero Dogs award of the Dogs Trust. He sniffs for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The BBC reports that:

Trainer Matt Jones, 32, of Usk, Monmouthshire, said before the Dogs Trust awards on Monday: “He is very passionate for his work.”

Sammy, who is eight, has lived with Mr Jones since he was one and has been trained by him to home in on a range of materials often used to start fires.

He can detect the presence of petrol, diesel, paraffin, white spirit, barbecue fluid, turpentine, acetone, lighter fluid and ethanol up to two weeks after a blaze.

Mr Jones said: “He gives a passive indication that something is there. He stares at what he has found. He is very accurate, to one or two inches.”

The dog’s ability is above what science can detect”

Crime scene investigators then take a sample from the area and put it through laboratory tests to determine which of the substances is present.


Springer Spaniel Companion Now On Kindle And iPhone/iPad

Hi Springer Spaniel Fans,

I’m delighted to announce that The Springer Spaniel Companion is now available on the Kindle, and in the iTunes Store.

If you’re a Nook user, it’s in the Barnes & Noble store too, and available at Lulu for many other formats. Here are the links:

Kindle –

iTunes Store


Lulu for Sony, Kobo and many others

Here’s the Table of Contents:


General Points about Dog Ownership


Origins and History

About the Breed


With Other Pets

Chapter 2

More About Springers


The Coat

Size and Weight



Chapter 3

What’s different about Welsh Springer Spaniels?

Physical Differences



Chapter 4

Puppy or Mature Dog?

Choosing a Puppy – Basic Decisions

Finding the Right Breeder

Meeting Breeders


Choosing your Pup




Registering your Puppy

Puppy Checklist

The First Few Days and Weeks

House Rules

Preparations – a Short Checklist

The New Pup at Home

House Training

Basic Training


Basic Commands

Your Pup’s Own Space





Learning to be Alone

Socialization, or Learning to Meet Others


Exercising your Puppy

Chapter 5

Springer Spaniel Rescue Dogs

What is a Rescue Centre?

Why Dogs are in a Rescue Centre

Health Issues

Disadvantages of Rescue Dogs

Springer Spaniel Rescue Centers

Assessing Rescue Center Springers

And Finally

Chapter 6

The Adult Dog


6 Months and Beyond

Springer Spaniel Grooming

Start Early

More Advanced Grooming for the Adult Dog


Cars and Trucks

On the Train

Using Boarding Kennels

Chapter 7


Feeding Bowls

When to Feed

Nutrition Basics

Food Types

Feeding Profile – Age and Activity

Treats and what not to give your dog

Weight Control



Avoid Secret and Hidden Feeds

Chapter 8


Training Classes

Types of Training

Basic Approach

Obedience Training


Collars and Leads

The Sit

The Stand



The Fetch

Body Signals and Voice

Instilling Good Habits

Eliminating Bad Habits

Rescue Dog Training

What’s his Name?

Chapter 9

Health and Life


General Health Checks

Hereditary Conditions specific to Springer Spaniels

Common Illnesses and Conditions

General Remedies

Using Veterinarians


At the End


Field Trials

The Law


Dangerous Dogs



Crossing Borders

Disease Control

If you own or you are seeking a Springer Spaniel, then this book is a great companion!

Here are the links again:

Kindle –

iTunes Store


Lulu for Sony, Kobo and many others

Check it out today!

Sinkhole Springer Spaniel Rescue

Carmen Cowart had just arrived at Jonesville Park on Friday evening when Joe, her 3-year-old English springer spaniel, started running about and took a dive down a 50′ deep sinkhole. Joe survived and was

springer spaniel rescue from sinkhole
Springer spaniel rescue from sinkhole

rescued by a team from the University of Florida Veterinarian School.

Thanks to for the story and picture, and to John H at the University of Florida for the tip – the guys there have carried out a few rescues.

Full story at

Springer Spaniels News Feed

Springer spaniel head from front
Springer Spaniel Head - good shot of nose and eyes

Springer Spaniel Rescue from Quarry

The Medway Messenger reports the recovery of a six month old springer spaniel from Halling Quarry. Despite the 30′ fall the springer was well. Needless to say, the owner was delighted with the springer spaniel rescue. Full story:

Medway Messenger Springer Spaniel Rescue

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!