Spaniel Specialists -- Speak Up!

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sun Dec 30, '12 4:25pm PST 
Watt, my ESS lived well in a house of labs, GSD's and Frenchies. She was a bit neurotic, she was a spinner/screamer at the door while waiting for me to get to it to let her out, among other times, and she did love to take off down the road if given a chance.
BUT, overall, she was great... smart, birdy, a PERFECT therapy dog, in fact she would go to the nursing homes with local high school kids and was wonderful, everyone loved her.
Sadly, she had both epilepsy AND hip dysplasia, even though she was from a responsible breeder who DID test her breeding dogs prior to breeding.
What about an IWS... those guys are COOL!!! In my first kennel job we had two and the male was "mine". I was really torn between them and poodles when I stopped with the labs, my final decision was due to size only! They ARE clowns, and will keep you laughing. Some can be SSA, which could be an issue. Our male was fine but the bitch was truly a bitch and would start a fight just to fight, I can still see her bursting out from under the table after another female!!!!
Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Sun Dec 30, '12 4:43pm PST 
Don't worry, I would never get a bitch. The one I have in the house in enough! shock
Isabelle the- Great

Nothing is- greater than an- Springer!
Barked: Sun Dec 30, '12 8:41pm PST 
Awww, Dr. Watson, I adore female ESS more than the males, then again, while I like snuggles, I like some independence. Isabelle's world doesn't end when I don't want her on me, but my male Springer's world did end.

Unlike Toto, it was my male Springer with Epilepsy, which is something to watch out for in both Springer breeds, but it is more prevalent in the Welsh and becoming an issue in the English.

Don't get me wrong, I literally go gaga over all Spaniel breeds (except Tibetan) but the ESS has a special place in my heart. My first doggy love was a liver and white Springer named Muffin. That Springer was amazing! My brother and I trained that dog to do a lot.

In my extremely limited experience, the ESS is more bold than the Cocker, but my cocker was purchased at a flea market way before the days of Dogster and when I thought any dog can be a show dog. Yet Midnight was the dog that understood me the best but as Isabelle gets older and wiser, she is starting to have the same stoic nature Midnight had when I was upset. As a kid, I could literally hug Midnight and cry, Isabelle isn't so touchy feely. Midnight comforted me when I was upset, Isabelle tries to cheer me which usually works because she is a goof.

Then again, Rusty the Cocker I fostered this summer was something special, one I did not want to give up but he went to a great home. Rusty was out going and loved people. He'd rather hang out with people than play with dogs. Though he and Isabelle loved to play together, especially on freshly made beds.

My biggest thing with the Springers, as previously mentioned, is the prevalence of Epilepsy. When talking to breeders, if they have Epilepsy in their lines, I would go the opposite way fast.

I consider the Brittany to be independent compared to Spaniels. A Spaniel lives for their master first then the bird, or at least that I how I see Spaniels. Brittanys seem to be more birdy. Yet, Brittanys are intelligent and have their place but I do not think I will have one again, unless its a French Brittany.

Are you prepared for an extreme velcro dog if you get a Springer? I mean you need a crow bar to get them off of you... Though in the cold winter, they make great foot warmers!

I will admit, I am hesitant to give advice, I am younger and with less dog experience than Toto, Savy, and you so it took awhile to formulate a response. I rarely have bad things to say about Spaniels so I feel like I am not a good source on Spaniel information.

Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 6:18am PST 
My first Cocker was rather aloof. She was maybe atypical, but she would greet a dog and then ignore it. She wasn't highly playful with other dogs, but very much so with people. I got her from a woman who had both parents and also ran a day care, and the singly cutest thing I have ever seen was the day care in full toddler mode and a gang of cocker puppies interacting. I credit that start for her steady temperament and love of kiddies. Having young nephews at the time, that was a real plus.

Cookie is a rescue and has some issues, and was probably abused. She is hand shy and yappy, but given time gets along fine with other dogs and most people.

Just editing to add that I am also very interested in ESS, it is one of my many "someday" dogs.

Edited by author Mon Dec 31, '12 6:21am PST


Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 11:30am PST 
Well Watt, I dont know much about Spaniels but the English Springer holds a special place in my heart.. Ive mentioned why before! The lovely, sweet male that I wish I could have rescued, wish I could have saved his life frown

From working in a dog groomers I have been around English Springers, Welsh Springers, English Cockers and American Cockers.. And I will say from a "pack" point of view, it was the English Cockers that did best around the other dogs. I literally didnt see any aggression from any of the English Cockers and the few well bred ones that I knew would likely have fit in with you very well!

I think the Welsh Springer, from what ive seen, may be a little too sensitive for you! They seem much more reserved than most Spaniels ive come across.
Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 11:44am PST 
Hmmm, yes, I don't need a dog that's too sensitive, haha. Not coming from a bossy cattle dog! Any my best golden had great nerves, although I'm not expecting a spaniel to be a golden retriever at all, just a complement to one.

I do like the look of the English Cocker, I admit. Met a lovely one at the AKC Eukanuba National "Meet the Breeds" -- got to see all the spaniels, in fact, and talk to their owners.

I'd love for someone to give me some history on the various breeds!

And what about the Field and the Boykin? I do know the history of the Boykin, at least. big grin

Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 2:59pm PST 
Ive not met either of them two breeds.. Not exactly popular here in the UK smile

Hope someone with more knowledge comes along big grin

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 5:33pm PST 
Welshies are less social with both human and other dogs than your typical spaniel. A friend who has, trains and breeds Goldens also has a CH Welshie. One day at an agility run-through she was discussing Springer female bitchiness with the breeder and trainer of ESS. I personally find Welshies less social than ESS though.

We just sent a English Cocker home, she stayed with us for 10 days. She was very sweet but neurotic, twirled in circles constantly. The other English Cocker I knew was sweet with people but a tyrant with other dogs. She was also neurotic, barked constantly and was never fully house-broken.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Tue Jan 1, '13 8:57am PST 
The difference between show lines and working line Cockers & Springers is as clear as night & day. Totally different in terms of their energy levels, their sensitivity and their looks. The show lines tend to be calmer and more manageable in terms of their exercise requirements than the working lines. Working Cockers & Springers i have known of have been very, very active and almost on the same level as Border Collies in their energy levels. Very hard to tire out. The working line Spaniels tend to be less sensitive than the show lines too. I don't know how popular English Cockers or Springers are over there exactly but here they are in abundance and are pretty much the choice breeds for hunters. I really admire the working line types of both breeds but i'm really not sure i could handle that energy and constant "on the go" personality trait.

Champion PPH
Barked: Tue Jan 1, '13 9:22am PST 
laugh out loud Obviously, I am partial to American Cockers! Rusty is a rescue, with no prior history, other than he was abandoned in the back yard of a foreclosed home. He is taller than the average Cocker, and is afraid of strange men, but loves children to death. The fear of men I attribute to past neglect/abuse in his former life.

To own one means maintenance; ears will be a constant battle, as they are prone to infection and wick up water. Be prepared for a drink of water getting your floor baptised. They are prone to eye issues: conjunctivitis, cherry eye, and oozing eye boogers. If you keep them clean on a regular basis, you'll be able to catch the early signs of an eye issue. They need regular grooming or they will get matts. I keep Rusty in a short Cocker cut, as he is a boonie crasher, and it makes it easier to find, burrs & foxtails.

Scared yet? Don't be! They are merry clowns, with a constant wagging tail, and a zest for life. They have a love affair with food, so free feeding is not a good idea. They can be a bit velcro: wanting to touch you or be on your lap. After my last dog, I find this humorous & adorable.

They are not as soft as some think. They were originally bred to hunt woodcocks in England. My boy has insane prey drive; be it a bird, squirrel, lizard, mouse, or a moth on the sliding door. His nose is constantly to the ground, goes up to a tree, and stares upward for signs of prey. He will bound through thick brush, wade through a creek, and run like a greyhound-all with a wagging tail & big grin.

If socialized well, they can be great with other dogs. My boy has a picture perfect greeting with other dogs and adjusts his play style to theirs. The crazy Viszla & he do body slams & maniac chases. His Boxer/Pit buddy & he growl like ferocious animals, scaring strangers who don't know them. His best bud is a Belgian Sheepdog, who taught him the art of bitey face. He is learning how to herd her now! He will also play gently with tinier dogs. Adaptable!

They can become a bit OCD over toys, etc. Just keep a sharp eye & deflect that kind of behavior, or remove the object of their desire when they have dog playdates.

You shouldn't be harsh with them, but they learn quickly when properly motivated. Someone mentioned they can be bird-brained; yes, at times they are. I always loved the visual of Rusty running towards the dog park ramp and getting distracted by chasing a butterfly. laugh out loud They are great companions, and would make a great hunting dog. They mentally stay puppy-like for quite some time, with their zest for life.

The hardest part is choosing the right one, checking their temperament, and how they feel about being handled. Thanks to Tiller, I got some great advice on deciding which dog to get. Obviously, I adore the breed! Just remember, they do need maintenance.
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