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English Springer Spaniel

Gun Dog Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The English Springer Spaniel is the oldest and best-established sporting gun dog. It is the taproot of all the sporting land spaniels (except the Clumber Spaniel). The name undoubtedly comes from his actions afield where he springs at his quarry and flushes it for the net, falcon or greyhound. Today he is used as a flusher and retriever. The breed's popularity has given way to the Cocker, but still remains in the top 20 most popular breeds of dogs.

The English Springer Spaniel was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1932.

General Appearance

The English Springer Spaniel is a well-proportioned and balanced dog that is never overly exaggerated. This medium-sized dog has a compact body and the tail is usually docked. He is the tallest and raciest of the British land spaniels. He looks the part of a useful hunting dog, capable of great endurance, and at the same time is stylish and beautiful. The approximate size is about 20 inches at the shoulders and weight is about 50 pounds.


Friendly, affectionate and easily trained. These qualities are essential when being trained for the field or shown in the ring. The Springer’s long ears, soft expression and happy disposition clearly show him to be a member of the ancient family of spaniels. It is uncharacteristic for a gun dog to be aggressive towards other dogs or people, therefore aggression is unacceptable behavior. Tentativeness is to be equally penalized with allowances for young puppies.


The head should be impressive without being heavy. Its beauty lies in a combination of strength and refinement.


Medium length and fairly broad, slightly rounded.


Moderate, divided by a groove or fluting between the eyes that gradually gives way towards the occiput, which is not prominent.


Approximately the same length as the skull, and when viewed from above, half the width of the skull. Lips come down full and rather square to cover the line of the lower jaw, but are not pendulous. Nasal bone is straight.


Are flat, and the face is well chiseled under the eyes.


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.

Fault: Even bite or misaligned teeth.
Serious Faults: Overshot, undershot, or wry mouth.


Medium size, oval shaped and set rather far apart. The color of the iris in harmony with the color of the coat, preferably a dark hazel in liver dogs and black or deep brown in black dogs. There is to be full pigmentation around the eye rims, matching the color of the coat. The lids are to be tight with little or no haw.

Faults: Eyes that jut or are round, golden or harsh.


Nostrils well open and broad, liver or black, depending on the color of the coat. Fully pigmented.


Long, lobular and hanging close to the head, set on a line with the corner of the eye.


Moderately long, muscular and slightly arched at the crest. Free from throatiness and smoothly blending into sloping shoulders.


The shoulder blades slope back to form an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees, setting the legs well under the body.


The forelegs should be straight with good, but not excessive, bone. Elbows close, with free action from the shoulders. Strong, flexible pasterns.


The body is strong and compact, slightly longer than tall when measured from the forechest to the buttocks and the withers to the ground. Chest deep, but not so wide or round as to interfere with the action of the front legs. The brisket is sufficiently developed to reach to the elbows. The back is straight and strong, loin slightly arched, croup gently rounded to the set on of the tail. Very little tuck-up. Topline slopes very gently.


The hips are well muscled and nicely rounded, blending smoothly into the hind legs. Moderate angulation at the stifle and the hock. Rear pasterns short, strong and parallel.


The feet are round, or slightly oval, compact, well arched, medium size with thick pads; well feathered between the toes. Excess hair may be removed to show the natural shape and size of the foot.


Docked or natural, well furnished. Set follows the natural line of the croup. Carriage is level or slightly elevated, never straight up or tucked between the legs. Merry action is typical of the breed.


The coat should consist of an outer coat and an under coat. The outer coat may be straight or wavy. The Springer's ears, chest, legs and belly are nicely furnished with a fringe of feathering. On the head, front legs and below the hocks on front of hind legs, the hair is short and fine. The under coat is short, soft and dense. Quantity of undercoat is affected by the climate and seasons, but some should be apparent. A proper coat substantially enhances the dog’s resiliency to adverse weather conditions. Minimal grooming is necessary to neaten up the head, ears, neck and feet. Quantity of coat is not to be preferred over correct condition and quality of coat. Over-trimming, or non-natural looks are to be penalized in the show ring.


Liver and white, black and white, predominately white with black or liver markings, blue or liver roan, tricolor (any of the aforementioned colors with the addition of tan points, usually found above eyes, on cheeks, inside of ears and under the tail.) Any portion of the white coat may be flecked with ticking.

Size & Weight

Ideal heights are: males, 20 inches; females, 19 inches. Weight ranges from 40 to 50 pounds, depending on the individual dog's dimensions.


The Springer has a gait that is distinct and strictly his own. A prerequisite to good movement is balance of the front and rear assemblies. The forelegs should swing freely and smoothly from the shoulder, throwing the feet well forward. Rear legs reach well under the body, following the line of the front legs. The topline should neither dip nor roll when viewed from the side. At slow movements, many Springers have a pacing stride typical of the breed.

Faults: Elevated strides, uneven or short gait.

Eliminating Faults

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)


Dogs showing aggression towards people or other dogs in the ring are not to receive an award.


Any dog with a color and/or pattern not described above is not to receive an award.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

UKC Breed Standards: English Springer Spaniel

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised January 1, 2007

©Copyright 1991, United Kennel Club