This medium-sized dog is known for being rather happy and versatile. They are mainly a birding dog, though they can be used for other purposes. While they aren’t the most common companion dog out there, they aren’t extremely rare either.
This breed is one of the oldest in Britain, where they have been utilized as a birding dog for a long time.
17 – 19 inches
35 – 55 pounds
12 – 15 years
Red and white
Hunting families, families with children
Easygoing, aloof, affectionate
These dogs have a unique coat coloration of red and white, which is one of the major components that sets them apart from other spaniels. They also have a uniquely-shaped head.
While these dogs were bred for Britain’s particular climate, they are versatile and can adapt to just about anywhere. Their coat is waterproof and weatherproof, an important feature for a hunting dog.
Welsh Springer Spaniel Characteristics
Welsh Springer Spaniel Puppies
These dogs are medium-sized, making them perfect for families with children. They have strong hunting instincts so be ready for them to chase everything they see. Early socialization and training is recommended. They are very smart and obedient so having a trained Welsh Springer Spaniel from a young age will be best for you.
If you have cats or smaller animals in your home, this dog is not for you, Welsh Springer Spaniels will have the natural instinct to hunt them. But they are great companions to other dogs. Keep reading to make sure this dog is the right fit for you and learn what you need to take care of them.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
While this breed was originally bred for hunting, they make an affectionate family dog. They love their people and often bond closely with the whole family, following them around the house for much of the day.
However, they can be a bit reserved with strangers. They aren’t prone to aggression. They just prefer to love their people, not others.
They can be quite playful, though they also like to cuddle. They’re a great dog for those who are moderately active but still want someone to go on hikes with.
They are exceedingly adaptable. While these dogs can do great in the country, they can also be apartment animals under the right circumstances. While they do need a certain amount of exercise, it is not substantial compared to some other breeds out there.
This breed is extremely trainable. They were bred to work alongside people, and listening to commands is a huge part of that. Therefore, they were bred to listen to their owner and be extremely obedient and straightforward to train.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel isn’t particularly vocal, though they will bark when startled. They are not the best alert dog for this reason, though you also won’t have to deal with yappiness.
Since they were bred to work, this breed does have a high mental stimulation need. They can get bored easily if they are not stimulated, which can make them aggressive and destructive. You’ll need to provide puzzle toys and similarly stimulating activities to keep them happy.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
This breed makes an excellent family pet. They are affectionate and bond closely with their families. While they do require a bit of extra care, they are less needy than some other breeds. While they are extremely affectionate, you can leave them home alone without issue in most cases.
They are the perfect size for most children. On the one hand, they are big enough to avoid being easily injured by the child. This leads to a lower chance of fear-based biting, which is the most common type of bite aimed at children. Welsh Springer Spaniels are likely to realize that children can’t hurt them, which makes them much more comfortable around them.
On the other hand, these dogs also aren’t so large that they will easily knock children down. They behave well indoors, which is essential when there are children around the house.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
For the most part, this breed is excellent with dogs. While they do require socialization, they are naturally accepting of other canines and may even be a bit pack-oriented. They tend to get along fine with dogs that they were raised around and are usually accepting of new dogs too.
That said, they are not great around smaller animals, like cats. They do have a bit of a prey drive, which will negatively impact their ability to get along with these animals. Often, they will chase them, even if you tell them not to.
Socialization only goes so far in this regard. You can introduce them to cats frequently, but they are still likely to chase them. Their prey drive instincts are simply too strong for them to resist.
Things to Know When Owning a Welsh Springer Spaniel
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
This breed does not have any specific dietary requirements. As medium-sized dogs, they are often perfectly fine with any commercial dog food out there. Of course, it is always best to feed them high-quality food if you want them to be as healthy as possible, but they do not require specialized dog food, like some other breeds out there.
They are also not prone to many health conditions that need to be treated with dietary restrictions. Therefore, they are often completely fine with whatever quality food that you purchase.
If your spaniel is involved in canine sports or hunting, they may need food specifically designed for active dogs. A working spaniel and one that is just kept as a companion will have different nutritional needs.
Luckily, there are many foods on the market that are designed for active dogs. Often, these foods will contain higher protein and calories than the other foods on the market.
Since these dogs were originally bred to work, they have a higher exercise need than most other dogs out there. They can’t simply sit around the house all day. They need to do something.
A few brisk walks a day is often suitable, though you may want to include intense play too. They do best with a fenced-in yard to run in, but even so, you can’t simply put this breed out in the yard and expect them to meet their own exercise needs. You’ll need to get out there and exercise with them.
These dogs are perfect for those with an active lifestyle. They love exercising alongside their people and are obedient enough to take part in many canine sports.
For the most part, these dogs are easy to train. They are readily obedient and smart enough to learn most required commands.
These dogs tend to be rather reserved with strangers, so they do require quite a bit of socialization. Otherwise, they may become aggressive or particularly unfriendly.
These dogs were designed to chase small animals and will do so no matter how much training they have.
Also, these dogs are not great for off-leash stuff. They are hunting dogs and tend to chase just about everything.
This breed does require weekly grooming. Usually, this will only involve a quick brush to ensure that there are no mats or tangles forming. Brushing also helps keep the dog’s coat clean, which can limit the number of baths that they require.
A bath is not required often. You can expect your dog to need one about every few months. It does depend on your local climate and your dog’s activity level, though. Dogs that are utilized for hunting may need more baths.
You will need to trim their nails every 3 to 4 weeks.
Health and Conditions 🏥
These dogs are generally healthy. However, they are prone to both elbow and hip dysplasia. These illnesses affect the joints and occur when the dog is still a growing puppy. They lead to excessive wear on the joint, which in turn, causes arthritis-like symptoms.
This condition is genetic, but it may be affected by environmental factors too. An improper diet can cause a puppy to develop this condition because they will be unable to grow correctly.
This breed may also develop autoimmune thyroiditis, which is a serious genetic condition. Most dogs are given a thyroid evaluation before breeding to help prevent the transmission of this disease to the dog’s puppies.
Eye issues of various sorts may also occur, though these are common in many breeds of dogs.
Male vs. Female
There isn’t a substantial difference between the males and females of this breed. Besides the obvious breeding differences, these two sexes are quite similar. Therefore, you shouldn’t let sex be a huge part of your adoption decision. Things like breeder and socialization are much more important.
That said, if you do have one sex in mind, you’ll likely be able to find one. These dogs aren’t the most common, but they do usually have a few litters available at any time.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Welsh Springer Spaniel
1. This breed is ancient.
This canine has an ancient history, staring in 7000 B.C., where they were bred for hunting purposes. By 250 B.C., the descendants of this breed were the Agassian Hunting Dog, which belonged to people in Briton.
2. They almost went extinct.
During the mid-1900s, these dogs almost went extinct. There were no registered dogs between the years 1926 and 1948.
3. The Welsh Springer Spaniel is not the same as the English Springer.
These are completely different dogs. They are not related to each other and are not varieties of each other.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel may be a hunting dog, but they are also excellent family dogs. They are affectionate and bond closely with their family members, though they can be a bit aloof with strangers. We highly recommend socializing them early and often for this reason.
They do require a bit of maintenance. Their coat needs weekly grooming, and they need quite a bit of exercise. If you can keep them healthy, though, they can make great companion animals.
Featured Image Credit: dexter_cz, Shutterstock