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The English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel sprang from the original Norfolk Spaniel. the Duke of Norfolk kept a kennel of these fine hunting dogs with liver and white coloring who were noted as "Springers" because of their usefulness in "springing" game for the hawk or the gun. Of all of the land Spaniels, the Springer was longer on leg and a taller dog. It has always a popular hunting dog in England and widely used in the field as a dog to roust up the birds and also to retrieve.
The English Springer Spaniel in Great Britain has retained much of its hunting ability and traditional uses as a hunting animal. Meanwhile in the United States the Springer Spaniel has very nearly evolved into a completely different breed. Since its inception into the American Kennel club in the early 1900s the breed has been bred almost exclusively for showing and the form of the dog has become very exaggerated, with a longer neck and more sloping back. Furthermore the beauty of the coat and length of coat has been emphasized, to the detriment of its purpose, which is meant to be a weather resistant fairly short coat for use in the field. The divergence has become so great that in 1993 the English Springer Spaniel club voiced its wish to become completely separated from the American counterpart of the English Springer. It began to become more apparent as time went on that the American Springer Spaniel was moving further away from the "standard" in the same way that the American Cocker Spaniel moved away from its English counterpart. The American counter part of the English Springer Spaniel is now denoted as the "Springer Spaniel."
The English Springer Spaniel should be an "un-exaggerated" breed in all respects. It should have a balanced disposition as well, being gentle and non aggressive and accepting of training. The American Springer Spaniel has unfortunately become known as a possibly aggressive dog, this is a a distressing development for any breed and particularly for those people who cherish and breed for this dog's reputation as a dependable and affectionate hunting companion. In fact, a particular incidence of the condition called "Rage Syndrome" has developed in the American Springer Spaniel which is actually called "Springer Rage Syndrome" and it is felt that there may be a genetic component of this particular behavior. Thankfully, more American breeders are attempting to regain the Spaniels' reputation as a solid and stable companion dog. The reputation of the breed on the other side of the world, in Great Britain, remains that of a reliable and non aggressive animal.
It is important that buyers of a Springer Spaniel meet the parents of the puppy and investigate the qualifications of the breeder. Rage Syndrome does not appear at this time to be a condition which can be "tested" genetically, but it is increasingly apparent that an important factor for suitable temperament in any breed of dog is the temperament of the parents. Breeders will tell you that temperament is most definitely an inherited factor. The Springer Spaniel should be a non aggressive, gentle and reliable hunting dog and family pet.
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