Even if your own “hunting” activity is limited to finding the best bench at the park or buried treasure at the flea market, Welsh Springer Spaniels, born to run and famous for their prowess at flushing out game for which they were once bred, are all about riding shotgun on your adventures. Smart, agile, loyal, loving and totally gorgeous in that sporty countryside sort of way, Welshies, as they are known, will be your go everywhere, do anything furry pal. If you are looking for a medium-sized, sweet-tempered dog with exceptional athletic ability who really just wants you more than anything, and you can provide the kind of active lifestyle that their high-energy demands (they’re called “Springer” for a reason), they’re the total package.
Coat Color:Red And White
Welsh Springer Spaniels are best for active households with experienced pet parents. These loving, loyal, and affectionate dogs are great with kids, and while they can be aloof with strangers, they are devoted to their families.
Welsh Springer Spaniel Traits
Welsh Springer Spaniel Temperament
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a beautiful, athletic dog who’s easy to train and even easier to love. They’re the perfect blend of grit and grace, and like the girl who runs a mile without breaking a sweat, Welsh Springers will tear around the park and look gorgeous while doing it.
They’ve got an irresistibly sweet temperament and a sharp mind, too. They’d make a wonderful addition to any family and will love your kids almost as much as you do. But don’t expect them to lavish kisses all over your visiting friends and relatives—Welsh Springer Spaniels tend to be reserved when meeting strangers, and it may take a little time for them to warm up to new people.
Thankfully, that reserved nature doesn’t translate into unwanted behavior; though they may be a bit aloof around newcomers, they’re rarely aggressive and not prone to biting. They can even live happily with cats and other dogs in the household, if given the proper training and socialization.
Welsh Springers have a pretty high energy level and need daily exercise to burn off the wiggles and squiggles. But rest assured, a well-exercised Welsh Springer is a happy Welsh Springer, and at the end of the day, they’ll be happy to curl up and cuddle with you.
How to Care for a Welsh Springer Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniels are your typical sporting dog: smart, lively and athletic. They need mental and physical stimulation through daily exercise and training. But the slightly higher level of energy you put into training is balanced out by their moderate grooming needs—thanks to their weatherproof coat, grooming is a breeze, and a weekly brushing and nail trim plus a bath whenever they get dirty is all that’s necessary.
Welsh Springer Spaniel Health
The Welsh Springer Spaniel has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, but they are susceptible to a few serious health problems. Thanks to the efforts of responsible breeders, these conditions are becoming less common. Hopefully you won’t experience any of these health issues with your own Welsh Springer, but it’s best to learn about them so you know what to look for and to keep your dog happy and healthy throughout their life.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that occurs when the ball and socket in the hip joint doesn’t fit together properly. In Welsh Springer Spaniels, the likelihood of this occurring can increase when dogs are spayed and neutered before their second birthday. Treatment options can include medication, physical therapy or surgery, depending on the severity of the case.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is another hereditary disorder of the joint that can be treated through surgical and non-surgical methods. Symptoms include swollen joints or difficulty getting up. Surgery is recommended in most cases. Because it’s genetic, reputable breeders test their stock to make sure they don’t pass the condition on to their puppies.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is caused by fluid buildup in the eye. The pressure created by this buildup can eventually cause blindness if left untreated. Treatment may include eye drops, medication or surgery. Another hereditary condition, breeders are taking measures to reduce its occurrence.
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis: The Welsh Springer Spaniel is genetically predisposed to autoimmune thyroiditis. This condition causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, diminishing its effectiveness. Though it can be treated through daily medication and routine blood work, it’s best to purchase your pet from a responsible breeder who screens their stock for this condition.
- Ear Infections: With their adorably floppy ears and fondness for the outdoors, Welsh Springers have a tendency to develop ear infections. Pups who spend a lot of time outdoors tend to get more debris or water in their ears, which can lead to infections. Symptoms may include head shaking, redness of the ear canal, scratching, brown or yellow buildup and a yeasty odor. Topical ear drops and antibiotics are common treatments for this condition. Weekly ear cleanings can help keep the infection from returning.
Welsh Springer Spaniel History
The Welsh Springer Spaniel can trace their origin back to Wales—no surprise there! But what you may not know is that they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Originally developed to flush out game in the days before guns, this astute hunting dog would spring from their hiding place and drive game straight into the hunter’s net. This spring-like action is how the breed earned their name.
Even after the advent of guns, Welsh Springers proved to be useful in the field; after flushing out prey, they would retrieve it and bring it to their masters. Hunters prized the Welsh Springer Spaniel dog for being the perfect blend of helper and companion. With their temperate, affectionate demeanor, they made excellent additions to the family.
Many people assume that Welsh Springer Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels are closely related. After all, they do look alike, act alike and come from the same island. But despite their similarities in looks and abilities, these two breeds developed separately. And there are some slight differences between them: Welsh Springer Spaniels are a bit more reserved than English Springers, and they only come in one glorious color combination—red and white.
Welsh Springers also never enjoyed the same wide-spread popularity as English Springers. Though they were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1914, their numbers dropped off so drastically after World War II, that few, if any, remained in the United States.
Thanks to Welsh Springer Spaniel enthusiasts, the breed was reintroduced and revived in the US. Current breeders—who are also devoted fans of the breed—do all they can to keep their lineage going. If you’re thinking of adding a Welsh Springer Spaniel puppy to your family, be prepared to pay around $1,800 to $2,000. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. The best way to find a reputable breeder is through the American Kennel Club website. You can also check with Welsh Springer Spaniel rescues or keep an eye out for the breed at your local shelter.
Do Welsh Springer Spaniels shed?
Yes, Welsh Springer Spaniels shed a moderate amount throughout the year compared to other breeds. They also experience seasonal shedding, so be prepared to vacuum a bit more in the spring and fall. Gently brushing or combing them will help remove excess fur and reduce the amount they shed.
Are Welsh Springer Spaniels good family dogs?
Absolutely! Welsh Springer Spaniels are wonderful family pets—they’re affectionate, loyal and great with kids. They’re especially well-suited to families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and running.
Are Welsh Springer Spaniels aggressive?
No, Welsh Springer Spaniels are not considered to be aggressive. They do tend to be a bit wary of strangers, however, so it’s a good idea to train and socialize them at an early age to help them overcome their shyness.
How long do Welsh Springer Spaniels live?
When well cared for, the Welsh Springer Spaniel lifespan can reach up to 12 to 15 years.
Are Welsh Springer Spaniels good with cats?
Welsh Springer Spaniels can be good with cats, if raised with them from puppyhood. They may be hesitant when meeting a cat for the first time, though they’re unlikely to become aggressive. Care should be taken when introducing new pets; a veterinarian or dog trainer can help you through the process. Through proper training and socialization, Welsh Springer Spaniels can learn to live quite happily in a multi-pet home.
Welsh Springer Spaniels are a perfect match for pet parents who love spending time outdoors—backyard or campground, doesn’t matter. They’re just happy when out and about. Quick minds, strong drive to stalk prey and notable athletic prowess means they do best with daily training and exercise with plenty of room to run. Great family pets, Welsh Springers are notably sweet and affectionate with people they know, but can be a bit aloof when meeting new people.
Expert input provided by: Dr. Anthony Hall, Veterinary Consultant at Airvet & owner of Private Veterinary Consulting Services; Matt Schimsky, CPDT-KA, Owner of Tuff Pup Traning, LLC in Philadelphia, Pa.; Allison Lamminen, CTC, CSAT, Owner of Delighted Dogs; Beth Mullen, CBCC, KPA-CTP, Owner/Founder of Dog Latin Dog Training & Behavior Consulting; and Susan Riese of Statesman Welsh Springer Spaniels in Covington, Ga.
Photo credit for “How do I look?” AnimalPlanet.com
Top Welsh Springer Spaniel Names
These are the top Welsh Springer Spaniel names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!