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English Springer Spaniel Traits and Personality

I am a spaniel owner and fan of this dog breed. I aim to share stories and spread my knowledge about these great dogs.

Lady, the English Springer Spaniel.

Lady, the English Springer Spaniel.

English Springer Spaniels Are Unique Dogs

What is interesting about Springers is that they seem to have some unique personality and trait tendencies. Before my first field Springer, Lady, I didn't have much knowledge about this great breed of dog. Through my many years of having Lady, that changed. I learned how they are a warm, caring animal that would do anything for their owner. I also learned they have some traits that make them one of a kind.

Interesting Springer Traits and Behaviors

  • The "Springer sprawl"
  • A love of mud
  • Skill at scenting
  • Separation anxiety
Lady, sprawling and ready to accept some belly rubs.

Lady, sprawling and ready to accept some belly rubs.

My Dearly Beloved Lady Loved to Sprawl Out

When I had my Lady, who I unfortunately lost, I used to wonder why she would "sprawl" all the time. She would have her legs straight out, knees bent, while directly on her back. She would also be curled as if trying to make herself into the shape of the letter S!

It's the "Springer Sprawl"

Sure, I had seen dogs laying on their backs before, but this one was different. As I became more familiar with the breed, I came to notice other Springer owners had the same term that I was using for the behavior, the Springer sprawl. As well as inviting a nice belly rub from their masters, the sprawl is also a sign of trust.

Lady at her horse farm with her favorite ball.

Lady at her horse farm with her favorite ball.

Keeping Them Away From Mud Is a Futile Effort

Lady was a pretty lucky girl. Nearly every day, she had the opportunity to go to a horse farm, where she would roll and play in the mud and, well . . . roll in other things, too. The inside joke was that it was the "self-cleaning spaniel" as it would come home and shed the day's contents all over the house. Needless to say, thank you for the existence of vacuums.

Even after a bath, she would demand to go outside and roll that nice, clean fragrance right off herself. Lady was for sure a mud and dirt aficionado extraordinaire and could not control the temptation.

Lady Doing Some Scenting


Another common behavior in Springers is the need to stick their noses out of the window when riding in the car. Lady would go to the top of the door and patiently wait for someone to put the window down. We would open the window a crack, and she would get that nose right out there and instantly sniff the air while going down the road. Springers have one of the best noses in the dog world, and they use it collect information about their surroundings at all times—not only when in the car.

Separation Anxiety

Unfortunately, one common trait of Springers is separation anxiety. This breed needs to please and be one with their owners and does not react well when not given enough attention. While it is sometimes necessary to be apart from your dog, certain breeds do not react well to being left alone for long periods of time, and the Springer is a prime example of this.

Barking, chewing, and destruction can be the aftermath, and when I personally hear a story of a neglected Springer or any dog, it is very upsetting. So please, even though I highly recommend adopting or getting a Springer, please think of these important considerations.

Wait . . . cats are allowed in here? Lady hanging with her best feline pal, Bella the cat

Wait . . . cats are allowed in here? Lady hanging with her best feline pal, Bella the cat

Having a Springer Is Fun!

I love the spirit of these dogs. I enjoy learning new things about the breed and listening to people's stories. I want everyone to know and learn about how great a breed these dogs are. Springers are highly trainable, good with children, and adapt well to cats if introduced properly. There are dogs in need of a wonderful new home, and various Springer rescue organizations work hard to get the homes that these animals need.

Older animals have experience being great dogs, too, and this could be the avenue to meet your new Springer friend. These dogs want to have fun, and we want to have fun . . . what could be better?

Cute Springer Spaniel Doing Tricks

Be Sure to Also Check Out:

Springer Traits and Behavior

© 2016 The Write Life


Denise Dean on September 18, 2019:

lost my Springier in May of this yr she was 15 we just got a 2 1/2 month old so so smart but very attached to me only cant leave the room without her crying and having a hard time crating her I have her coming to work with me am I creating a monster ?

Ruth on May 11, 2017:

My Dylan dog had all the typical springer traits too. I unfortunately lost him aswell. Life just isn't the same without them xx

Su Gowdey on May 03, 2017:

Thanks for this page! I have two springers (1 an ex-table top boy and the other is a "failed" worker). Both came to me when they were in their 3rd year. Was brought up on a farm with working collies then Mum decided she liked poodles and we had a couple (and she bred them). Years later, when I was settled and "grown up(!)" I happened across a springer looking for a home - have been addicted since then (currently have 2 rescue boys). A few weeks ago took in a foster girl (Brittany spaniel)

Eleanor McMillan Goff on February 24, 2017:

I have a springer spaniel in my live since my dad brought home my first one for my 16th birthday....they have my heart..my family and I have 2 right now and if we had room for more....we would have them....they are the best breed in the world in my opinion....but....I am just a little biased :)

Leonard Tillerman from Toronto, Canada on February 17, 2017:

Thank you for the wonderful article.

I always had a springer spaniel while I was growing up. I loved them. They are lots of fun and they literally never stop! So energetic.



Ed Schofield from Nova Scotia, Canada on February 16, 2017:

Hi Jesse. Boy, that guy in the video really made his dog work for that cookie. But it shows you how smart he is. And I'm okay with teaching them tricks. I taught my Lucy many things that are quite useless (for instance a little bark -barely audible, and a loud bark) for the sole purpose of showing people that there is a thought process going on inside their little heads. It might not do math but it sure can think. (google and watch video Dogs Can Fly, video of rescue dogs flying a Cessna in a figure 8 with visual cues)

Before I decided on Labs, I classified dogs as having certain behaviors:

1) The Herding dog, chases animals to round them up. Shepherds, Collies, Border Collies, and so on. Extremely intelligent. Loyal to the master. Easy to train. Will take time to get over past owners due to high loyalty.

2) Terriers. Hunters, diggers. Very loyal. Intelligent. Not always obedient, training so-so.

3) Retrievers. Fetching dogs. Hunting. Very trustworthy. Will not chase a 50 dollar bill. Highly intelligent. Easily trained. But not so loyal/would adapt to another family quite easily. Gentle. Labs, Goldens, Duck Toellers, etc...

But when I read your article I was unable to classify the Springer Spaniel. I think it's a type of retrieving dog but I'm not sure it would fit. Perhaps my classing system needs a few tweaks.

What people get from a good dog when they treat it right is a great companion. Almost everyday with a good dog is like a day in heaven. When I heard that Lady had passed away, I also know you understand the price to be paid for that happiness is the day they leave us. My condolences. There isn't a worse thing that can happen in the human experience, other than losing a child. A dog, well treated and loved, will break your heart, but what she left you with is worth the sorrow.

Good luck on your next one. I know Lady looks down on you from above, and she wants you to be happy, and wants another puppy to have a happy home.

I have always rescued my Labs. Amazingly, two of them were purebred and came with paperwork. The other was a mix with a Newfoundland. In all three cases, all I could think was that people who gave up these dogs were insane, but thankfully, I got them.

My Lucy has been ill for four years, something the doctor cannot figure out after much expensive testing, and her symptoms are degrading daily. But she was a great joy. There's a sad day coming soon. I have videos of her posted on YouTube that I'll probably be watching in sorrow after she's gone. (Lucy and the Vacuum Cleaner, Lucy Remembers Her Ball, forgive the spam at the end please) In one I use the vacuum cleaner to clean her and she's lying quietly throughout. Not many dogs will let you do that!!!

I enjoyed your hub, and look forward to reading your work.

Debbie on April 22, 2016:

I have a 4 month old SS .Lily !Lost my 11 yr old in Nov,2015!Will always miss her she was my heart !I've been looking for a trace of her in Lily and today she got in my pocket and stole my tissue.Now that's what I've been looking for.And she's started that famous spring from mid floor onto the couch .Started puppy classes and we will work on the couch thing to .Much energy ......

Barbara Kay on March 15, 2016:

Our last dog was a Springer.

The Write Life (author) from The United States on January 31, 2016:

Thank you, Jodah! That is a lot of dogs you have so I can see you are a fellow animal lover. I knew someone who had a Staffordshire and I am familiar with poodles as well. All great dog breeds.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 31, 2016:

The English Springer Spaniel sounds like a lovely dog. I didn't really know anything about the breed before. They seem to have many of the same traits as my own three dogs (except for the Springer Sprawl). I have a Staffordshire Terrier x Kelpie, and two toy poodles. All three suffer separation anxiety and love to roll in, well if not mud, other yucky stuff like cow manure, kangaroo droppings, dead animal carcases..especially if they have just recently been bathed. Thanks for sharing about this breed.

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