Is the Welsh Springer Spaniel worth keeping? Sure, he is! Aside from his handsome looks, this dog boasts incredible skills in the field and fantastic companionability at home. While he can be reserved to strangers, expect him to be cheerful and affectionate towards your family. Just make sure to satisfy his high exercise and training needs, and he’ll reward you by being your devoted friend in life.
Origins of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Leading authorities say that the Welsh Springer originated from the original spaniels from the Iberian Peninsula. It is unknown how they came from Spain to Wales, but they are believed to have been developed in the 13th century for use as a hunting dog, sharing the same history with the other spaniels, such as the English Springer Spaniel, that trace their roots in Britain.
These dogs were blessed with versatility and incredible hunting skills, helping hunters by “springing” game out of their hiding places. They were hardy, built to withstand harsh terrain and weather, and had great stamina to work for extended periods.
The Welsh and English Springers only emerged as distinct breeds in the early 1900s. Today, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is considered a rare breed, with only 300 puppies being registered with AKC annually.
Characteristics of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Height: 17-19 inches
Weight: 35-50 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a compact, medium-sized dog with a muscular build. He is relatively longer than being tall, giving the impression that he is definitely made for sport. Meanwhile, his medium to dark brown, oval-shaped eyes reflect his joviality.
Probably the Welsh Springer Spaniel’s most conspicuous feature is his red and white coat, which often comes in freckles. What’s more striking is that it can be straight, flat, or wavy! Then, completing his handsome look are his lightly-feathered ears and tail, while his chest, legs, and underside tend to be feathered thickly.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel’s is as interesting as how he looks. He is a jolly and enthusiastic breed that is loving and loyal to his family. The Welshie is the type of dog that will greet his owners with sheer happiness, even if they’ve only been out for a short period. Very gentle, he also makes an excellent companion to children, especially if they are appropriately introduced at a young age. However, expect him to display his reserved side towards strangers as he is more fond of being with people he already knows.
As an energetic though easygoing breed, he still needs adequate exercise to consume his extra vigor. Otherwise, any excess energy can translate to undesirable habits, such as chewing, barking, or digging. However, these behaviors shouldn’t be taken against him, but only as a sign of lack of physical stimulation.
Lastly, the Welshie has a sensitive soul and may not respond well to criticism and harsh treatment. However, due to his origin as a hunting dog, he’s conditioned to seek guidance from its owners, especially in unfamiliar situations. Expect him to be eager to please, striving to meet his beloved humans’ commands and intentions, given they are treated fairly and kindly.
Caring for the Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel only sheds moderately, which means weekly brushing can suffice in keeping him looking his best and avoid matting. However, if you’d like to keep the feathering on his chest, legs, and belly longer, you will need to brush him more frequently to prevent tangles. Bathing is rarely necessary.
As they have “drop ears,” checking and cleaning their ears at least once a week is necessary to prevent infections. Other parts of the grooming routine include brushing his teeth and clipping his nails. It is essential to acquaint any dog with these upkeeps at a young age for him to be more accepting and make veterinary visits stress-free in his adult age.
For his exercise needs, he will enjoy long daily walks outside or play sessions in a well-fenced yard. But, remember that he needs to do these activities with you. He thrives in human interaction, and exercise is an excellent way to spend time with him.
As with any other dog breed, the Welsh Springer Spaniel needs high-quality dog food, divided into two meals. He can have a hearty appetite but make sure not to overfeed him as it can result in obesity. Consult your veterinarian to devise a diet plan fit with the dog’s age, needs, and energy level.
In terms of health, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is considered hardy, thanks to responsible breeders consistently testing their stock for common health conditions affecting dogs, such as autoimmune thyroiditis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye disease. Regular visits to the vet for immunizations, flea control, and checkup can help your dog live a long, healthy life.