Larger than the Cocker Spaniel but smaller than the English Springer, the versatile Welsh Springer Spaniel is among England’s oldest sporting breeds. Debonair, their style is matched only by their charisma.
Ranked as the 128th most popular breed by the American Kennel Club, it’s likely you’ve never seen a Welshie before. Let’s take a deep dive into this breed so you can be fully informed if you are considering acquiring one.
How Big Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Get?
|Male||18″-19″ at the shoulder||45-55 lbs|
|Female||17″-18″ at the shoulder||35-50 lbs|
What Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Look Like?
The Welsh Springer, or Welshie, is a mid-sized spaniel at 40-50 pounds. An ideal blend of agility and strength, they’re compact and lean. Their long ears are heavy set, highlighting a tall forehead and soft eyes from light to dark brown.
Their luxurious mid-length coats come only in red and white, although shades may vary. White areas may be ticked with red flecks. Hair is dense and waterproof with a thick, velvety texture — the forelegs, hindquarters, chest and torso are moderately feathered.
Though few dogs resemble the Welshie, they’re often mistaken for the smaller, lighter-colored Brittany Spaniel.
What Is The Personality Of A Welsh Springer Spaniel?
Welshies adore their families, but they’re not outgoing with strangers. Sensitive, they need time to make new friends. Affectionate with children, they’re even-tempered and watchful.
Energetic, they need too much exercise to thrive in apartments. A home in the country or suburbs is best. They make poor nine-to-five kennels dogs, preferring to be at their owners’ sides throughout the day.
Socialization is essential to prevent fear and aggression in social situations. Highly responsive to training, early efforts pay off with a happy and well-adjusted lifelong companion.
How Much Exercise Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Need?
Welsh Springer Spaniels were bred to hunt and need regular daily exercise. Their prey-drive remains strong, even among non-sporting dogs. In public areas, keep them on a leash — at home, a fenced-in yard will keep them from roaming.
Training helps bring out the best in the Welshie, nurturing their many talents. Although a long daily walk is usually enough to keep them fit, they’re top canine athletes and enjoy tracking, hunting and obedience trials. And with webbed feet, they always enjoy a good swim.
How Much Grooming Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Need?
Welshies have a double coat so sumptuous is rivals mink. Yet grooming is straightforward enough for owners to manage at home. Good grooming keeps them looking their best and minimizes shedding.
Twice weekly brushing with a slicker removes dirt and debris — use a steel comb to thin the undercoat and tease tangles out of their feathers. Mats tend to form behind the hindquarters, under the tail and around the ears.
While show dogs are rarely trimmed, pet dogs can benefit from strategic clipping — keeping hair shorter in knot-prone areas may improve the dog’s comfort. It’s beneficial to clip the hair between their pads so they don’t accumulate snow, ice and road salt in the winter. Like most spaniels, a bath every few months wards away doggy odor.
The Welshie’s heavy ears are prone to infection, so check them monthly for signs of irritation. Clipping the fine fur beneath the pinnae allows air to reach the ear canals, limiting bacterial growth. Trim their nails every few weeks with a clipper or grinding wheel.
What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For Welsh Springer Spaniels?
Springer spaniels don’t tend to need any particular type of dog food. They’re pretty easy to feed.
Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.
Best Puppy Food For Welsh Springer Spaniels:
Best Adult Food For Welsh Springer Spaniels:
How Long Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Live?
12-15 years according to information from the AKC
What Health Problems Do Welsh Springer Spaniels Have?
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a relatively healthy breed but that can be prone to most common diseases that any other breed of dog can get:
- Dental Disease
Make sure that your breeder is doing the recommended testing to ensure that you get the best possible (and healthiest) puppy possible!
Where Can I Learn More About Welsh Springer Spaniels ?
Where Can I Find A Welsh Springer Spaniels?
Start with the breeder referral listings from the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America which also lists breeders in Canada.
If you’re looking for a rescue, contact the rescue liaison from the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club. This breed isn’t terribly popular and finding a rescue may be difficult.
Interesting Facts About Welsh Springer Spaniels
The oldest of Britain’s Spaniels, Welshies have an intriguing story.
Did You Know?
• They’re An Ancient Breed
Welsh Spring Spaniels are the descendants of the original Iberian spaniels. Though no one knows how they made the journey from Spain to Wales — the exact history has been lost to time — they appear in English art and literature as early as 200 B.C. Their ancestors can be traced back more than 9000 years.
• They’re Versatile Hunters
At a time when dogs were integral to finding food, mid-sized dogs that were agile enough to hunt small prey yet large enough to take down bigger game were prized. Welshies were bred to hunt rabbit, partridge, fox, otter and badgers, a particularly ferocious quarry. In their early years, they sprung game for hunters with falcons.
• And More Than a Pretty Face
Welshies may not be as sharp as their Cocker cousins, but they still star pupils. Ranking 31rst out of 79 breeds for intelligence, they learn new commands in 15-25 repetitions and obey first commands at least 70 percent of the time.
• The War Years Were Tough on the Breed
As with many European breeds, World Wars I and II took a toll on the Welshie’s numbers. By 1948, there were virtually no pedigreed dogs remaining in Britain. No Welsh Springers were registered by the AKC between 1926 and 1948.
Slowly and with the effort of dedicated breeders, they were slowly reintroduced in the US — their numbers exceed 10,000 today. In the UK, numbers have fallen, and they’re now designated a Vulnerable Native Breed.
• They Like the Limelight
Stars in their own right, Welshies love the show ring. But they’ve also shared homes with celebrities past and present from former US President George W. Bush, the dog whisperer Cesar Milan, Princess Grace of Monaco and entertainment legend Bing Crosby.