The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a vigorous, medium-sized bird dog of a happy disposition, known for versatility in the field, companionability at home, and dashing good looks anywhere. The Welshie is among Britain’s oldest sporting breeds. Standing between 17 and 19 inches at the shoulder, Welshies are described by their fans as being of ‘handy size’ bigger and stronger than Cocker Spaniels but smaller than English Springers. Welshies have two hallmarks that distinguish them from other spaniels: A uniquely tapered head and an eye-catching coat of bold red and white patterns. The beautiful coat isn’t just ornamental it’s a waterproof, weatherproof, and thornproof suit that enables Welshies to show off their renowned versatility in all climates and on all terrains.
According to leading authorities, Welsh Springer Spaniels are the oldest of Britain’s spaniels, descendants of the original spaniels of the Iberian Peninsula (the word spaniel is derived from “Spaniard”). Exactly how these dogs traveled in ancient times from Spain to Wales is one of those canine mysteries that historians chalk up as “lost in the mists of history,” but Welshie-type dogs appear in British art and literature going back some 250 years BC. Welsh and English Springers emerged as separate breeds in the early 1900s.
Temperament:Happy / Reserved / Upbeat
Height: 17-19 inches
Weight: 35 to 55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Welsh Springer Spaniels are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, and eye disease. A Welshie’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Elbow Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Thyroid Evaluation
To keep his attractive red-and-white coat looking its best, the Welsh Springer Spaniel needs at least weekly grooming. A good once-over with a soft brush should work well for this, along with a slicker brush or metal dog comb to work apart any mats or tangles that are starting to form. The nails should be trimmed every three to four weeks, and a bath every month or so with a gentle shampoo meant for dogs will help to keep the coat and skin clean and healthy.
Welsh Springer Spaniels are active, energetic dogs who are happiest when they have plenty of exercise as well as lots of time with their people. Play sessions with their family in a securely fenced yard or long daily walks with their owner work well. Interaction with their humans is the key to a happy Welshie. The breed is an excellent choice for those with an active lifestyle, as well as those looking for a loving family companion. Given the opportunity, these lovely spaniels will steal your heart.
The Welsh Springer tends to be “reserved with strangers,” to quote the breed standard. This should not be taken to mean a Welshie is timid or shy. Early socialization and puppy training classes are essential. Keep in mind that Welshies are hunting dogs, and the urge to chase birds and small mammals has been bred into them. Most puppies learn quickly to respect your pet cat or another dog, however. A securely fenced yard is best. The Welshie excels as a hunting companion and at canine sports such as obedience, tracking, agility, and rally.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.