Tanash Owner: Karina Howell
William Lake, BC
Phone: 250-398-5089 Email: email@example.com Website: www.tanash.com
We are a small select hobby show kennel, with highest emphasis on
temperament , health OFA , PRA DNA cord 1 testing , ACVO eyes tested annually ,
our springers excel in obedience , rally, conformation , therapy and hunting.
Shore Kennels Owner: Barbara Orr
Garnett Settlement, New Brunswick Phone: 506-638-8038 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Breeding sound, healthy Springers for the past 30 years. Located just
outside Saint John, NB. All my dogs are eye cerfed, hips and elbows OFA
certified, and have very sweet temperaments. I show my dogs and have bred over
75 Champions. They have also excelled in obedience and agility. Puppies
Judging the English Springer Spaniel (2011)
By David Swartwood
start, this is my interpretation of my breed standard and is only offered for
discussion and not the “be all & end all”. I would like you to read it as
though we were having a discussion at ringside or over drinks and it should
promote thought and consideration. I welcome any comments and can be reached
for more information at any time over the internet, by phone or at ringside.
After more than 30 years as a breeder of Springer Spaniels, I still consider
myself a student.Here are the things I
believe you should keep in mind when judging the English Springer Spaniel.
Form and Function: A Springer’s job was to search for game by nose and to flush it out and make it run or fly. Then the game was netted, taken by falcon or shot and later retrieved by the dog. His ability to “quarter” back and forth over the terrain made him invaluable as he didn’t miss a thing by running too far and too fast.He was a “Gentleman’s” hunting dog. Flushing up a bird too far away to shoot was not an option so the Springer was bred to work in close proximity. His build, drive and workability were always the priority in early breeding decisions so that he was capable of doing this job.
Our History: Springers have a long history dating back hundreds of years based solely on their ability to hunt. Spaniels were further divided by sizes in the 1800’s when you could have “cockers” and “springers” in the same litter. Further selective breedings divided type even more and by the 1900’s, a clearer version of a distinct breed called the English Springer Spaniel came into being. Those within the “spaniel” breeds understand that being called “Spanielly” is the utmost of compliments as it encompasses character, profile, head and an expression that will melt you. This quality is shared by all the “cousins”.
Our Standard: The standard has seen many changes over the years. First written descriptions date as far back as 1616 describing the spaniel as “this dog is by nature very gentle and courteous and loving to man more than any other dog whatsoever”.Our standard is one that attempts to describe the perfect Springer. The overall consideration should always be to look for a sound moving, free from exaggeration, and balanced dog of sturdy build. His soft gentle expression and wagging tail proclaim his unmistakably a member of the spaniel family.Ours is one of the longest of standards and spends nearly two pages on faults to be considered. Changes have been proposed (but yet to be adopted) to clarify some areas. An attempt to concentrate on what makes the perfect Springer, rather than what doesn’t, was to be adopted to shorten and clarify this lengthy and somewhat confusing standard for the benefit of breeder, exhibitor and judge.Remember the key words in the general description and mentioned throughout the standard are ‘moderation, soundness, free from exaggeration, symmetry and ease of movement’. If any one part of the dog, standing still or in motion, draws your eye, then the balance is not correct.
His carriage is proud and upstanding but that does not mean straight shoulders with open angles causing more height with high set withers and short upper arm. In order to go all day in the field the Springer needs to have a well set on front assembly with a matching balanced rear. Any exaggeration in the angles front and rear will affect the free and easy movement.
The dimensions of the Springer come into question quite often and need to be clarified. A Springer when measured from point of shoulder to buttocks should be slightly longer than tall (*adopted by the AKC after many years of research). Our current CKC standard measures from the top of the shoulders to root of tail and calls it nearly equal. This could lead to a dog either to short or too long depending on the layback of the shoulders. Too long in body is as bad as too short which restricts the gait. Look for a front assembly that is set well back on the body with the withers directly over the front feet. This would allow fill and fore-chest in front of the shoulders and this along with a length of upper arm matching the length of the shoulder would allow full reach ahead while on the move. A matching moderately angled rear that does not extend too far back and whose angle is not greater than the front assembly allows for maximum drive. Watch it on the move, if it is effortless and easy then all parts are in harmony. “Tremendous Reach And Drive” is not in our standard –ease of movement and balance is. The head is well described as having its beauty in a combination of strength and refinement. In profile the planes should be equal. Many of today’s dogs have diverging planes with a down faced look. The width of the skull should be fairly broad and flattened on top. The muzzle is approx. the same length of the skull and about one half the width when viewed from above. The skull has width to it - it is unlike a setter head that is nearly equal in width to the muzzle. A groove, or ”fluting”, indicates the stop between the eyes and is moderate. The eyes are described as “neither small, round, hard or full”. However the description should describe that they are dark, well set, almond or oval in shape with tight lids with little or no haw showing. The bony structure or brow around the eyes, along with the fluting, contribute to the Springer’s beautiful soft expression. There are many variations of head type from English style, to North American, to field lines. All these fit the standard to some degree, find one that is as close in your interpretation and reward it.
The ears are pendulous and set in line with the eye and not too far back, the leather to reach approximately the nose. Teeth can be either a scissor or even (level) bite.
The Springer’s body should be well coupled and strong.A straight level back with a slight arch over the hips leads to the proper tail set. This is always a debate point as what we describe versus what is winning in the ring can be far apart.
The tail follows the natural line of the croup and is described as “somewhat low” and the carriage to be nearly horizontal or slightly elevated when the dog is excited. “Carried straight up is untypical of the breed”. In an attempt to breed higher set tails we ended up seeing flatter croups, this lead to a dog with less drive in the rear. Many Springers may actually have the correct tail set but then are groomed with a higher set to fit in the ring. More importantly is the fact that the springer’s tail is an indicator of it’s temperament and it’s continuous “merry” action is an important characteristic not to be overlooked.
Undocked tails are being seen in the ring and most of you will have an opinion on it from dealing with your own breeds or breeds you already judge. As a hunting dog working in dense cover and bramble, a long tail would be easily damaged. Our standard clearly says docked (at this time). Fault a natural tail to the extant it deviates from your interpretation of the standard.
A moderate coat is window dressing for this balanced sporting dog. A wavy or straight coat of “moderate” length and heaviness covers the body. This is a sporting dog who works in thick cover, any excessive length would deter their function and get them stuck in the briars. It is legitimate to trim the dog in order to give a smart clean appearance but over trimming that destroys the clean outline of the dog is to be penalized. Correct quality and condition should take precedence over the quantity.
There are no such things as preferred markings. A wide white collar and a white muzzle and head blaze can be attractive and even make a faulty dog appear more correct. Don’t be fooled, look past markings when judging to find the best sporting dog in spite of how it’s painted. Black or liver with white or Tri-colour markings are the acceptable colours.
Red, lemon and orange should not be placed. Freckles or ticking have long been a part of the breed, they are not to be faulted. Ticking heavily patterned will appear roan, which is acceptable.
The size for a male springer is 20” at the withers and for bitches 19”, both give or take an inch. A soundly built 20” dog will weigh approximately 45-50lbs. Springers should be shown in hard muscled condition.
A note on temperament. The Springer as previously mentioned is one of the most loving, faithful and endearing dogs on Earth. All Springer standards mention willingness to learn, attentive, or poised. A Springer must always allow itself to be examined in the ring without resentment (with due allowance for puppies and novice exhibits). Aggression towards people or other dogs is not in keeping with true spaniel temperament and must be penalized. The importance of temperament is reflected in the fact that it is addresses immediately after General Appearance in our standard.
FINALLY -Don’t fault judge or you may miss an otherwise excellent example of the breed. Think about the big picture.
Judges should never award prizes to dogs which are visibly suffering from any condition which would adversely affect their health or welfare. For example:
* Lameness * Inappropriate temperament whether this is excessive timidity or aggression * Irritation or discharge from their eye * Breathing difficulty * Skin irritation * Exaggerated features that would make them unsuited to their breed's original purpose * Significantly over or under weight