Spaniel breeds

Gundog and spaniel are two words you’ll often hear together. But there are so many different breeds of spaniel from which to choose. Which would suit your purposes best? How should you choose a puppy? How to train it? Here our experts have written about the characteristics of each breed: classic working cocker spaniel, springer spaniels, Clumber spaniels, Brittany spaniels and of course the Sprocker.

Brittany | Working Cocker | Clumber | Springer | Sprocker | Welsh |

teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve

How to teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve

Spaniels are “pre-programmed” to hunt, it is their most basic instinct. So many new owners might think that starting to teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve would be straightforward and simple. After all spaniels have been bred for generations to hunt out game from stick piles, patches of bramble and…

breeding cocker spaniels puppies

Breeding cocker spaniels: here’s what’s really involved

The reality of breeding cocker spaniels My phone buzzed in my pocket with an incoming WhatsApp from my wife, Clare. Her message simply read “Deed is done”. The short missive was accompanied by two photos. In both, the low mist-shrouded fields of a Lincolnshire landscape filled the background. In the…

springer spaniel in water

Do spaniels smell more than Labradors?

Q: I would like a springer or working cocker spaniel to train as a gundog, but my father is not keen. My grandparents had a show-strain cocker who was a lovely dog but she was one of those really smelly spaniels, no matter what my grandparents did to try to…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Was getting a cocker spaniel a mistake?

Q: I am wondering whether getting a cocker spaniel was a mistake. I bought my first cocker spaniel last year. I was sure to do my research on reputable breeders and health-tested parents. The pedigree is very impressive, with many field trial champions, and the mother had a lovely temperament.…

cocker spaniel

How the cocker spaniel has changed

My first-ever dog was a remarkably handsome blue-roan-and-tan cocker spaniel. I loved him dearly, but he was inbred, neurotic and not really a nice dog at all. He was show bred, but I took him shooting and it was an infection of tetanus, picked up on a shooting day, that…

Irish water spaniel

The Irish water spaniel

Hunt, point and retrieve (HPR) dogs are increasing in popularity but it’s unusual to see an Irish water spaniel in the field, although it could lay claim to being the only HPR native to these islands. These spaniels are not only keen hunters, point before flushing and are good retrievers…

cocker spaniel

Spaniel ears – what a new owner needs to know

Q: I’ve acquired a spaniel, a breed I believe that is prone to ear infection. Should I clean his ears regularly or how else can I best prevent problems with his ears? A: The opening to a dog’s ear is unlike ours and the anatomy of the ear canal tends…

sprocker or cocker

Sprocker or cocker spaniel? How can you tell them apart?

Should you get a sprocker or cocker spaniel? I admit to being a fan of sprockers as I like their hybrid vigour. They are not a designer cross-breed like a Labradoodle but simply spaniel x spaniel, and it should not be forgotten that both breeds share the same ancestry. However, since a cocker crossed…

springer vs cocker spaniel

Which breed would suit you better – a springer or a cocker spaniel?

So you’re looking for a spaniel, rather than a Labrador. But that’s just where the decision starts. What sort of spaniel would suit you best? What are you considering in the springer vs cocker debate? There’s plenty to say in defence of each breed – and each also has its…

spaniel spaniel in cover

What can I do about the scratches on my spaniel’s face?

Q: One of my spaniels has so many cuts around her eyes and over her muzzle from having to retrieve birds from deep cover that it doesn’t take much to make them start bleeding again. Is there anything I can use to prevent spaniel scratches and stop them reopening? Treating…

English Springer

Is it time for super spaniels?

Breeds of spaniel There is a dangerously common misconception among many dog enthusiasts, assuming that a breed is similar to a species. It’s not. Species have evolved naturally over hundreds of thousands of years, but breeds are man-made creations produced by highly selective breeding and few are much more than…

springer spaniel puppy

My spaniel has horrible waxy ears. What can I do about it?

Q: My spaniel has horrible waxy ears. No amount of cleaning seems to make a difference. Any suggestions? I’m worried they may lead to more spaniel ear problems. A: Neil says: Yes, stop what you are doing. You are probably making the situation worse. We need to go back to…

English springer spaniel

The history of spaniels

If you want to wind up your cocker spaniel-owning friends, just tell them that their dogs are springers. They may argue otherwise but, technically, it’s true. History of the spaniel All spaniels are springers, as the term was originally used to separate those dogs that set game (setters) from those…

spaniel with docked tail

Tail docking: Key facts you need to know

Tail docking: It is one of the most emotive subjects in the gundog world, so education is key to knowing where owners, breeders and vets stand on tail docking.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Is a cavalier King Charles spaniel a gundog at heart?

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that inside many a cavalier King Charles spaniel there’s a cocker spaniel trying to get out. So I wasn’t really surprised when I read the following story sent to me by Debbie Grounds in response for my request for stories of 
non-gundog breeds that…

Sprocker spaniel

Just why is the “sprocker spaniel” becoming so popular?

Sprocker spaniels – the lowdown Sprockers have masses of energy and need to be kept busy They are intelligent dogs and easy to train – but keep training consistent. They like to know what their owners want from them Sprockers need to know who is the ‘alpha’ in the household…