The last few years have seen many of us welcome a new four-legged friend into our homes, as the Kennel Club has seen dog ownership soar to record levels.
But with 221 different breeds of pedigree dog to choose from, there’s plenty of thinking to do before you select your perfect pup. Those with active lifestyles might want to consider a larger dog, while somebody with allergies will be looking for a hypoallergenic dog.
There’s even academic guidance to seek out, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranking breeds by instincts, obedience, and the ability to adapt.
One dog that often appears at the top of people’s canine wishlists is the English Springer Spaniel – they were the UK’s sixth most popular pet in 2020 (only bested by the Labrador Retriever, French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel and Dachshund) and have a range of positive attributes that make them a great family pet.
Here are 10 fun and interesting facts about the breed.
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1. Smelling out trouble
English Springer Spaniels are brilliant at sniffing out trouble and are regularly used by the police to search for drugs, explosives and guns. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Close cousins with Cockers
Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels were only recognised as distinct breeds by the Kennel Club in 1902. Prior to that, litters of Spaniel would simply be separated by size - with the smaller dogs designated Cockers and the larger dog Springers. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. What's in a name?
The first part of the Springer Spaniel's name comes from the fact that they were bred to a carry out a very specific task for hunters. They would 'spring' wild birds into flight so their master could shoot them, before retrieving the body. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. A coat of many colours
Springer spaniels are usually coloured liver and white or black and white varieties. Occasionally a Springer will have three different colours in their coat (tri-colour) - either black, white and tan, or liver, white and tan. Photo: Canva/Getty Images