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Breed of the Month: Why We Love English Springer Spaniels

While we here at PetPlace genuinely adore all canines (mutts included), we recognize that many dog owners are breed loyal. Our “Breed of the Month” series celebrates those iconic dog breeds that have amassed widespread popularity and/or developed a cult following. For June 2016, we feature the English springer spaniel.

Sparked by the thrill of the hunt or any other vigorous activity, the English springer spaniel is built for action.

In 1902, the Kennel Club Of England recognized the English springer spaniel as a distinct breed — and what a distinct breed it is. They’re intelligent, faithful, and loyal, and they’re fast, eager learners.

Throw in their long ears, soulful eyes, and sweet demeanor, and you can see why the English springer spaniel is so much more than just a hunting dog.

Here are five reasons we cherish English springer spaniels.

1. They’re Adorable

English springer spaniels are medium-sized, with a compact body and a docked tail that looks so delightful when it’s wagging. Their long, fluffy, and feathery coats are soft and snuggly. And you know you can’t resist those eyes and those long ears! Regular grooming will keep these dogs looking like an absolute dream — but they still look pretty darn cute covered in mud and dirt after a long day in the field or the woods!

2. They’ve Got Great Demeanors

The temperament of the English springer spaniel is one of their best qualities. They’re known for being sweet, friendly, obedient, and playful. At roughly 20 inches high, the English springer spaniel is big enough to run and play, while small enough to be easily handled. They’re high-energy dogs, but when raised well and socialized with a stable family, they get along great with people and other animals. And when you win their loyalty, you earn it for life — English springer spaniels will want to go everywhere with you and be involved in everything you do. If you want a people-oriented dog that will become very attached to you and your family, look no further than the English springer spaniel.

3. They’re Always Ready for Action

The English springer spaniel got it’s name for the way the dog would “spring” at its game and flush it for his hunter. Needless to say, they love to be active. English springer spaniels must get regular exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they’ll get bored. And when they’re bored, they’ll be mischievous, unruly, and downright rowdy. This boundless energy can be great for sportsmen or active families, but if you don’t want to get active with your dog, don’t get an English springer spaniel.

4. They’re Hunters

We already mentioned it — English springer spaniels were bred for the hunt. If you like hunting small-water ducks, quail, or, especially, pheasants, this is definitely the dog you want to take with you in the woods. If hunting isn’t your thing, you can still reap the benefits of the English springer spaniel’s hunting nature. They love long walks, jogging, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch. They’ll excel when engaged in agility, flybal,l and tracking actives. Not only that, their coats are water and thorn resistant, making for easier clean-up after all that outdoor fun!

5. They’re Historically Significant

According to a 17th century journal called Mourt’s Relation, two dogs, an English springer spaniel and a mastiff, were brought aboard the Mayflower, and were involved in the first explorations of discovery on Cape Cod and the activities of homebuilding during the first winter ashore.

Thanks to the movie Braveheart, many people know about Scottish hero William Wallace. But did you know that he was said to have owned an English springer spaniel named Merlin MacDonald? Merlin was more than a companion too — according to the book, An Ancient History of Dogs: Spaniels Through the Ages, Merlin helped Wallace defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

English springer spaniels have had an impact on the White House as well. Millie, President George H. W. Bush’s dog, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine with her puppies, and she even “wrote” a book about her life in the White House, which became a #1 nonfiction New York Times bestseller.