Southern English Springer Spaniel Society
The Working Type
The English Springer Spaniel field-bred dogs tend to have shorter coats than show-bred dogs, ears are also less pendulous. The breed standard calls for a height of approx. 20.8 cms (20 inches) to the shoulder, however working dogs tend to be shorter and wiry in build. Initially bred for their brain power rather than their looks, field dogs are more active and agile. The breed have been used as Gundogs for centauries, traditionally bred to "Spring" game into a net or air where Hawks would catch the game. Subsequently as guns became faster to reload, flushing and retrieving became their main role and they are now known as the true "Allrounder" amongst Gundogs.
To own a working type means that you will have to respect their need to be outside hunting, thus plenty of exercise and understanding their propensity to get very wet and muddy in the process is a prime consideration for ownership. Keeping their brain active too when indoors will keep them out of mischief, especially in their formative years.
The Show Type
Larger and heavier than their field cousins, they carry far more coat and bone. Although somewhat
de-tuned from their hunting prowess, they do "work" in their own way when out exercising. Instinct drives them to hunt the fields, hedgerows, copse and brambles when out for a walk. They quarter ground meaning they will stay within ear shot (!), but beware they have exactly the same love of mud and water as the field dogs! Coat care is therefore important, especially their ears. Unless kept clean and well trimmed around the ear canal, moisture/humidity will cause problems. Professional grooming is used by many pet owners, but those that show their dogs soon learn to present the dogs themselves. Trimming is highlighted on the coat preparation page. Both types are available Liver & White or Black & White. with or without tan markings
The Service Dog
Both working and show types can be used as detection dogs. It is a well-documented fact that the English Springer Spaniel has been used for many years by the armed forces, police, customs and excise and other services, as sniffer dogs. These highly trained dogs perform a vital role in the crackdown on dugs and illegal substances, and also explosives, including guns and ammunition, even money (notes).
Recently, a Springer has been trained by Her Majesties Prison Service to sniff out mobile phones. This is yet another side of our breed’s versatility. Customs & Excise (UK Border Force) first started to use dogs for the detection of drugs in 1978 and there are now around 65 dogs based at major ports and airports throughout the UK.
English springers are used in the main because of their intelligence, keen sense of smell, size and agility.
It takes about 9 - 12 weeks to train a dog to the required standard. They have NO physical contact with drugs and NEVER become addicted. They search purely for pleasure knowing that their reward will be a game with their handler and favourite toy.
The London Fire Brigade, use two dogs as part of their Arson Response Unit. 'Simba' an English Springer and 'Odin' a black Labrador. They have been trained to detect the presence of accelerants at the scene of a fire.
Indeed the disastrous bush fires suffered in Australia prompted the authorities to train Springers as Koala search dogs, The dogs are trained using Koala fur and scats.
Just to remind you, after working hard at their highly trained task, the only reward is a tennis ball or their favourite toy!
Jayne Harris’ Melverly Burano, a show bred dog being trained to retrieve (press on the diagonal arrows to enlarge video)
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