English Springer Spaniel Breed Standard (Provided by the CKC)
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog
with a most compact body, and a docked tail. His coat is moderately long,
glossy, usually liver and white or black and white with feathering on his legs,
ears, chest and brisket. His pendulous ears, soft and gentle expression, sturdy
build and friendly wagging tail proclaim him unmistakably a member of the
ancient family of spaniels.He is above
all a well-proportioned dog, free from exaggeration, nicely balanced in every
part. His carriage is proud and upstanding, body deep, legs strong and muscular
with enough length to carry him with ease. His short level back, well-developed
thighs, good shoulders, and excellent feet suggest power, endurance, and
agility. Taken as a whole he looks the part of a dog that can go and keep going
under difficult hunting conditions, and moreover he enjoys what he is doing. At
his best he is endowed with style, symmetry, balance, and enthusiasm and is every inch a
sporting dog of distinct spaniel character, combining beauty and utility.In judging the English Springer Spaniel the
over-all picture is a primary consideration. It is urged that the judge look for type
which includes general appearance, outline, and temperament and also for
soundness, especially as seen when the dog is in motion. In as much as the dog
with a smooth easy gait must be reasonably sound and well balanced, he is to be
highly regarded in the show ring; however, not to the extent of forgiving him
for not looking like an English Springer Spaniel. A quite untypical dog, leggy,
foreign in head and expression, may move well. But he should not be placed over
a good all round specimen that has a minor fault in movement. It should be remembered
that the English Springer Spaniel is first and foremost a sporting dog of the
spaniel family and he must look and behave and move in character.
The typical Springer is friendly, eager to please, quick to
learn, willing to obey. In the show ring he should exhibit poise,
attentiveness, tractability, and should permit himself to be examined by the
judge without resentment or cringing.
The Springer is built to cover rough ground with ability and
reasonable speed. He should be kept to medium size--neither too small nor too
large and heavy to do the work for which he is intended. The ideal shoulder
height for dogs is 20 inches (51 cm); for bitches, 19 inches (48 cm).Length of topline (the distance from top of
the shoulders to the root of the tail) should be approximately equal to the
dog’s shoulder height – never longer than his height – and not appreciably
less. The dog too long in body, especially when long in loin, tires easily and
lacks the compact outline characteristic of the breed. Equally undesirable is
the dog too short in body for the length of his legs, a condition that destroys
his balance and restricts the gait.Weight is dependent on the dog’s other dimensions: a 20 inch (51 cm)
dog, well proportioned, in good condition should weigh about 49-55 lb. (22-25
kg). The resulting appearance is a well-knit, sturdy dog with good but not too
heavy bone, in no way coarse or ponderous.
Coat and Colour
Colour may be liver or black with white markings; liver and
white (or black and white) with tan markings; blue or liver roan; or
predominantly white with tan, black or liver markings. On his ears, chest, legs
and belly, the Springer is nicely furnished with a fringe of feathering (of
moderate heaviness). On his head, front of forelegs, and below hocks on front
of hind legs, the hair is short and fine. The body coat is flat or wavy of
medium length, sufficiently dense to be waterproof, weatherproof
and thorn proof. The texture fine, and the hair should have
the clean glossy, live appearance, indicative of good health. It is legitimate
to trim about head, feet, and ears; to remove dead hair; to thin and
shorten excess feathering particularly from the hocks to the
feet and elsewhere as required to give a smart, clean appearance.
The head is impressive without being heavy. Its beauty lies
in a combination of strength and refinement. It is important that the size and
proportion be in balance with the rest of the dog. Viewed in profile, the head
should appear approximately the same length as the neck and should blend with
the body in substance. The skull (upper head) to be of medium length, fairly
broad, flat on top, slightly rounded at the sides and back. The occiput bone
inconspicuous, rounded rather than peaked
or angular. The foreface (head in front of eyes)
approximately the samelength as the
skull, and in harmony as to width and general character.Looking down on the head the muzzle to appear
to be about one-half the width of the skull. As the skull rises from the
foreface it makes a brow or “stop”, divided by a groove or fluting between the
eyes. This groove continues upward and gradually disappears as it reaches the
middle of the forehead. The amount of “stop” can best be described as
moderate. It must not be a pronounced feature as in the
Clumber Spaniel. Rather it is a subtle rise where the muzzle blends into the
upper head, further emphasized by the groove and by the position and shape of
the eyebrows which should be well developed. The stop, eyebrow, and the
chiseling of the bony structure around the eye sockets contribute to the
Springer’s beautiful and characteristic expression. Viewed in profile, the
topline of the skull and the muzzle lie in two approximately parallel planes.
The nasal bone should be straight, with no inclination downward towards the tip
of the nose which gives a down faced look so undesirable in this breed. Neither
should the nasal bone be
concave resulting in a “dish-faced” profile; nor convex
giving the dog a “Roman nose”.
The nostrils, well opened and broad, liver colour or black
depending on the colour of the coat. Flesh-coloured (“Dudley noses”) or spotted
(“butterfly noses”) are undesirable. The cheeks to be flat (not rounded, full,
or thick) with nice chiseling under the eyes. Jaws to be of sufficient length
to allow the dog to carry game easily; fairly square, lean, strong, and even
(neither undershot or overshot). The upper lip to come down full and rather
square to cover the line of the lower jaw, but lips not to be
pendulous or exaggerated. Teeth should be strong, clean, not
too small; and when the mouth is closed the teeth should meet in an even bite
or a close scissors bite (the lower incisors touching the inside of the upper
More than any other feature the eyes contribute to the
Springer’s appeal.Colour, placement,
size influence expression and attractiveness. The eyes to be of medium size,
neither small, round, full and prominent, nor bold and hard in expression. Set
rather well apart and fairly deep in their sockets. The colour of the iris to
harmonize with the colour of the coat, preferably a good dark hazel in the
liver dogs and black or deep brown in the black and white specimens. The
expression to be alert, kindly,
trusting. The lids, tight with little or no haw showing. The
correct ear-set is on a level with the line of the eye; on the side of the
skull and not too far back. The flaps to be long and fairly wide, hanging close
to the cheeks, with no tendency to stand up or out. The leather, thin,
approximately long enough to reach the tip of the nose. Neck The neck to be
moderately long, muscular, slightly arched at the crest,
gradually blending into sloping shoulders. Not noticeably
upright or coming into the body at an abrupt angle.
Efficient movement in front calls for proper shoulders. The
blades sloping back to form an angle with the forearm of approximately 90
degrees which permits the dog to swing his forelegs forward in an easy manner.
Shoulders (fairly close together at the tips) to lie flat and mould smoothly into
the contour of the body. The forelegs to be straight with the same degree of
size to the foot. The bone strong, slightly flattened, not too heavy or round.
The knee straight, almost flat; the pasterns short, strong; elbows close to the
body with free action from the shoulders.
The topline slopes very gently from withers to tail, the
line from withers to back descending without a sharp drop; the back practically
level; arch over hips somewhat lower than the withers; croup sloping gently to
base of tail; tail carried to follow the natural line of the body. The body to
be well coupled, strong, compact; the chest deep but not so wide or round as to
interfere with the action of the front legs; the brisket sufficiently developed
to reach to the level of the elbows. The ribs fairly long, springing
gradually to the middle of the body then tapering as they
approach the end of the ribbed section. The back (section between the withers
and loin) to be straight and strong, with no tendency to dip or roach. The loins
to be strong, short; a slight arch over loins and hip bones. Hips nicely
rounded, blending smoothly into hind legs. The bottom line, starting on a level
with the elbows, to continue backward with almost no up-curve until reaching
the end of the ribbed section, than a more noticeable up curve
to the flank, but not enough to make the dog appear small
waisted or tucked up.
The Springer should be shown in hard muscular condition,
well developed in hips and thighs and the whole rear assembly should suggest strength
and driving power. The hip joints to be set rather wide apart and the hips
nicely rounded. The thighs broad and muscular; the stifle joint strong and
moderately bent. The hock joint somewhat rounded, not small and sharp in
contour, and moderately angulated. Leg from hock joint to foot pad, short and
strong with good bone structure. When viewed from the rear the hocks to be
parallel, whether the dog is standing or in motion.The feet to be round, or slightly oval,
compact, well arched medium size with thick pads, well feathered between the
toes. Excess hair to be removed to show the natural shape and size of the foot.
The Springer’s tail is an index both to his temperament and
his conformation.Merry tail action is
characteristic. The proper set is somewhat low following the natural line of
the croup. The carriage should be nearly horizontal, slightly elevated when dog
is excited. Carried straight up is untypical of the breed. The tail should not
be docked too short and should be well fringed with wavy feather. It is
legitimate to shape and shorten the feathering but enough should be left to
blend with the dog’s
In judging the Springer, there should be emphasis on proper
movement which is the final test of a dog’s conformation and soundness.Prerequisite to good movement is balance of
the front and rear assemblies.The two
must match in angulation and muscular development if the gait is to be smooth
and effortless. Good shoulders laid back at an angle that permits a long stride
are just as essential as the excellent rear quarters that provide the driving
power. When viewed from the front, the dog’s legs should appear to swing
forward in a free and easy manner, with no tendency for the feet to cross over
or interfere with each other. Viewed from the rear, the hocks should drive well
under the body following on a line with the forelegs, the rear legs parallel,
neither too widely nor too closely spaced. Seen from the side, the Springer
should exhibit a good long forward stride, without high-stepping or wasted
1. Lack of true English Springer type in conformation,
expression, or behavior. Excessive timidity, with due allowance for puppies and
novice exhibits. But no dog to receive a ribbon if he behaves in a
vicious manner towards handler or judge. Aggressiveness
towards other dogs in the ring not to be construed as viciousness.
2. Over-heavy, cloddy build. Legginess, too tall for length
and substance. Oversize or under size (more than 1 inch (3 cm) under or over
the breed ideal).
3. Rough curly coat. Over-trimming especially of the body
coat. Any chopped, barbered or artificial effect. Excessive feathering that destroys
the clean outline desirable in a sporting dog. Off-colours
such as lemon, red or orange not to place.
4. Oval, pointed, or heavy skull. Cheeks prominently
rounded, thick and protruding. Too much or too little stop. Over-heavy muzzle. Muzzle
too short, too thin, too narrow. Pendulous, slobbery lips.Under or overshot jaws a very serious fault,
to be heavily penalized.Any deviation
from standard for teeth. One or two teeth slightly out of line not to be
considered a serious fault, but irregularities due to faulty jaw formation to
be severely penalized.
5. Eyes yellow or brassy in colour, noticeably lighter than
the coat.Sharp expression indicating
unfriendly or suspicious nature. Loose droopy eyelids. Prominent haw (the third
eyelid or membrane in
the inside corner of the eye).
6. Short round ears. Ears set too high or too low or too far
back on the head.
7. Short neck, often the sequence to steep shoulders.
Concave neck, sometimes called ewe neck or upside down neck ( the opposite of arched).
8. Shoulders set at a steep angle limiting the stride.
Loaded shoulders (the blades standing out from the body by over development of
the muscles). Loose elbows, crooked legs, bone too light or too coarse and
heavy. Weak pasterns that let down the feet at a pronounced angle.
9. Body too shallow, indicating lack of brisket. Ribs too
flat sometimes due to immaturity. Ribs too round (barrel-shaped), hampering the
gait. Sway back (dip in back), indicating weakness or lack
of muscular development, particularly to be seen when dog is
in action and viewed from the side. Roach back (too much arch over loin and
extending forward into middle section). Croup falling
away too sharply, or croup too high--unsightly fault,
detrimental to outline and good movement. Topline sloping sharply, indicating steep
withers (straight shoulder placement) and a too low tail-set.
10. Too little or too much angulation. Narrow,
underdeveloped thighs. Hocks too short or too long (a proportion of 1/3 the
distance from hip joint to foot is ideal). Flabby muscles, weakness of joints.
open or splayed feet (flat with spreading toes). Hare-foot
(long, rather narrow foot).
11. Tail habitually upright. Tail set too high or too low.
Clamped down tail (indicating timidity or undependable temperament, even less to
be desired than the tail carried gaily).
12. Short, choppy stride, mincing steps with up and down
movement, hopping. Moving with forefeet wide, giving roll or swing to body.Weaving or crossing of fore or hind feet.
turning in towards each other.