Welsh Springer Spaniel Guide

Sporting Dog Breeds

The Welsh springer spaniel is a hunting dog and should be in hard muscular condition. It is in no way a breed of exaggeration. It is very slightly longer than tall, compact and possessing substance without coarseness. Its strides are powerful and ground-covering. The coat is flat and straight, dense enough to protect it from water, weather and thorns but not so excessive as to be a hindrance in the dog's work as a flushing spaniel. The expression is soft.

Less exuberant that the English springer, the Welsh springer spaniel is steady and easygoing. It still needs plenty of hard exercise, however, as it loves to hunt for birds. It is extremely devoted to its family, but it is independent in nature. It is reserved with strangers; some may even be timid.

AKC RANKING 116

FAMILY gundog, spaniel

AREA OF ORIGIN Wales

DATE OF ORIGIN 1600s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION bird flushing and retrieving

TODAY'S FUNCTION bird flushing and retrieving

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 35-50

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 35-50

OTHER NAME none

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Welsh needs daily exercise, which can be met with long walks on leash combined with strenuous games in the yard. It especially likes jaunts afield and makes a good hiking companion. It can live outdoors in temperate climates if given warm shelter, but it does better living inside with its family. The coat needs brushing once or twice weekly and also needs occasional scissoring to neaten stragglers.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: glaucoma, otitis externa, epilepsy
• Occasionally seen: cataract
• Suggested tests: hip, (eye)
• Life span: 12 – 15 years
A dog identified as a Welsh springer spaniel is mentioned in some of the earliest records of the Laws of Wales, dating around 1300. Whether this dog is the forebear of today's Welsh springer is in dispute, however. Other evidence indicates the possibility that the Welsh springer either developed alongside the English springer or resulted from crosses of English springers to clumber spaniels. Although land spaniels were used in Wales for some time before the Welsh springer emerged as a recognized breed, the early dogs were probably not a uniform lot. At the first dog shows in England, English and Welsh springers were shown together as one breed because the only difference at that time was in their color. The Welsh grew in popularity, and the breed came to America and was recognized by the AKC in 1906. But the breed failed to gain the support it needed, and by the end of World War II it may have totally disappeared from America. New imports and, luckily, new supporters, arrived and the Welsh has since enjoyed a steady, if modest, popularity. Not as flashy in the show ring as the English springer, the Welsh makes up for it in the field. It is an all-purpose, all-terrain hunter with a keen nose that can flush and retrieve over land and water.