The Welsh Springer Spaniel (The World of Dogs)

welsh springer

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Welsh Springer Spaniels are slightly smaller than English Springers, and have rich red, rather than liver markings. They are a little bigger than Cockers, and a better bet than either English Springers or Cockers in some ways. They tend to have fewer behavioural and health problems than English Springers, which are generally more active, and more prone to inherited diseases. Epilepsy, and unexplained rage are more common in English Springers. Cockers vary in terms of temperament, and some are relaxed individuals, while others are nippy, with a few suffering from epilepsy and sudden, unexplained aggression. Welsh Springers tend to be free of these problems, though they are only suitable for people who lead very active lives. Welsh Springers need a long walk every day, with plenty of time off leash, or they can become overactive and destructive. They are a sometimes a little shy of people they don't know, so need ongoing socialization with people. They can be barky, and make good watchdogs, though they are not good guard dogs, since they are quite small and usually like people. A Welsh Springer will give a warning bark, but then could easily make friends with an intruder who said hello to them in a friendly way! They tend to get on better with other dogs than do English Springers.

Welsh Springer Spaniels are more easily trained than English Springers, and are attentive to their owners, though they can get confused if owners lose their patience and shout at them. They are designed to be working dogs, and will sometimes forget training in recall if they pick up a scent, and are not dogs to let loose in city parks with ornamental wildfowl. They need to be allowed to run off leash, but should be called now and then, so that they remember they are with their owners. Owners can benefit enormously from reading specialist books on how to train Springers and allow them to retain their hunting instincts while having some degree of recall.

This breed tends to be a good companion with children, so long as the dog has enough exercise - underexercised Welsh Springers can be too overactive for many children. However, children can be included in their exercise programme, teaching to dog to retrieve in the garden. Welsh Springers also like to play sniffer games, finding a hidden object by smell.

Hip dysplasia and eye trouble can affect this breed, and epilepsy is not unknown, just much less common than in Cockers and English Springers. They are also prone to ear infections, which tend to affect breeds with long ears. Their ears should be checked regularly and cleaned when necessary, and not allowed to stay wet after the Springer has been in water.

These dogs do need regular brushing, especially because they like to go in muddy places, and collect burrs on their coats. It is useful to have a towel ready after their walks, because their feathery parts tend to pick up a lot of mud. They can be brushed to get rid of debris in their coats once they are dry.

This is a comprehensive guide to Welsh Springer Spaniels with enough detail to interest those who already know a lot about the breed. It has a lot of useful advice on all aspects of keeping Welsh Springers, and is very well illustrated. It is also very well written, and the author's enthusiasm for the breed is very clear.