English Springer Spaniel Breed Magazine - Showsight

English Springer Spaniel Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard for the English Springer Spaniel General Appearance: The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog, with a compact body and a docked tail. His coat is moderately long, with feathering on his legs, ears, chest and brisket. His pendulous ears, soft gentle expression, sturdy build and friendly wagging tail proclaim him unmistakably a member of the ancient family of Spaniels. He is above all a well-proportioned dog, free from exaggeration, nicely balanced in every part. His carriage is proud and upstanding, body deep, legs strong and muscular, with enough length to carry him with ease. Taken as a whole, the English Springer Spaniel suggests power, endurance and agility. He looks the part of a dog that can go, and keep going, under difficult hunting conditions. At his best, he is endowed with style, symmetry, balance and enthusiasm, and is every inch a sporting dog of distinct spaniel character, combining beauty and utility. Size, Proportion, Substance: The Springer is built to cover rough ground with agility and reasonable speed. His structure suggests the capacity for endurance. He is to be kept to medium size . Ideal height at the shoulder for dogs is 20 inches; for bitches, it is 19 inches. Those more than one inch under or over the breed ideal are to be faulted. A 20 inch dog, well-proportioned and in good condition, will weigh approximately 50 pounds; a 19 inch bitch will weigh approximately 40 pounds. The length of the body (measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks) is slightly greater than the height at the withers. The dog too long in body, especially when long in the loin, tires easily and lacks the compact outline characteristic of the breed. A dog too short in body for the length of his legs, a condition which destroys balance and restricts gait, is equally undesirable. A Springer with correct substance appears well-knit and sturdy with good bone, however, he is never coarse or ponderous. Head: The head is impressive without being heavy. Its beauty lies in a combination of strength and refinement. It is important that its size and proportion be in balance with the rest of the dog. Viewed in profile, the head appears approximately the same length as the neck and blends with the body in substance. The stop, eyebrows and chiseling of the bony structure around the eye sockets contribute to the Springer's beautiful and characteristic expression, which is alert, kindly and trusting. The eyes , more than any other feature, are the essence of the Springer's appeal. Correct size, shape, placement and color influence expression and attractiveness. The eyes are of medium size and oval in shape, set rather well-apart and fairly deep in their sockets. The color of the iris harmonizes with the color of the coat, preferably dark hazel in the liver and white dogs and black or deep brown in the black and white dogs. Eyerims are fully pigmented and match the coat in color. Lids are tight with little or no haw showing. Eyes that are small, round or protruding, as well as eyes that are yellow or brassy in color, are highly undesirable. Ears are long and fairly wide, hanging close to the cheeks with no tendency to stand up or out. The ear leather is thin and approximately long enough to reach the tip of the nose. Correct ear set is on a level with the eye and not too far back on the skull. The skull is medium-length and fairly broad, flat on top and slightly rounded at the sides and back. The occiput bone is inconspicuous. As the skull rises from the foreface, it makes a stop, divided by a groove, or fluting, between the eyes. The groove disappears as it reaches the middle of the forehead. The amount of stop is moderate. It must not be a pronounced feature; rather it is a subtle rise where the muzzle joins the upper head. It is emphasized by the groove and by the position and shape of the eyebrows, which are well-developed. The muzzle is approximately the same length as the skull and one half the width of the skull. Viewed in profile, the toplines of the skull and muzzle lie in approximately parallel

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planes. The nasal bone is straight, with no inclination downward toward the tip of the nose, the latter giving an undesirable downfaced look. Neither is the nasal bone concave, resulting in a "dish-faced" profile; nor convex, giving the dog a Roman nose. The cheeks are flat, and the face is well-chiseled under the eyes. Jaws are of sufficient length to allow the dog to carry game easily: fairly square, lean and strong. The upper lips come down full and rather square to cover the line of the lower jaw, however, the lips are never pendulous or exaggerated. The nose is fully-pigmented, liver or black in color, depending on the color of the coat. The nostrils are well- opened and broad. Teeth are strong, clean, of good size and ideally meet in a close scissors bite . An even bite or one or two incisors slightly out of line are minor faults. Undershot, overshot and wry jaws are serious faults and are to be severely penalized. Neck, Topline, Body: The neck is moderately long, muscular, clean and slightly arched at the crest. It blends gradually and smoothly into sloping shoulders. The portion of the topline from withers to tail is firm and slopes very gently. The body is short-coupled, strong and compact. The chest is deep, reaching the level of the elbows, with well-developed forechest; however, it is not so wide or round as to interfere with the action of the front legs. Ribs are fairly long, springing gradually to the middle of the body, then tapering as they approach the end of the ribbed section. The underline stays level with the elbows to a slight upcurve at the flank. The back is straight, strong and essentially level. Loins are strong, short and slightly arched. Hips are nicely-rounded, blending smoothly into the hind legs. The croup slopes gently to the set of the tail, and tail-set follows the natural line of the croup. The tail is carried horizontally or slightly elevated and displays a characteristic lively, merry action, particularly when the dog is on game. A clamped tail (indicating timidity or undependable temperament) is to be faulted, as is a tail carried at a right angle to the backline in Terrier fashion. Forequarters: Efficient movement in front calls for proper forequarter assembly. The shoulder blades are flat and fairly close together at the tips, molding smoothly into the contour of the body. Ideally, when measured from the top of the withers to the point of the shoulder to the elbow, the shoulder blade and upper arm are of apparent equal length, forming an angle of nearly 90 degrees; this sets the front legs well under the body and places the elbows directly beneath the tips of the shoulder blades. Elbows lie close to the body. Forelegs are straight with the same degree of size continuing to the foot. Bone is strong, slightly flattened, not too round or too heavy. Pasterns are short, strong and slightly sloping, with no suggestion of weakness. Dewclaws are usually removed. Feet are round or slightly oval. They are compact and well-arched, of medium size with thick pads, and well-feathered between the toes. Hindquarters: The Springer should be worked and shown in hard, muscular condition with well-developed hips and thighs. His whole rear assembly suggests strength and driving power. Thighs are broad and muscular. Stifle joints are strong. For functional efficiency, the angulation of the hindquarter is never greater than that of the forequarter, and not appreciably less. The hock joints are somewhat rounded, not small and sharp in contour. Rear pasterns are short (about 1/3 the distance from the hip joint to the foot) and strong, with good bone. When viewed from behind, the rear pasterns are parallel. Dewclaws are usually removed. The feet are the same as in front, except that they are smaller and often more compact. Coat: The Springer has an outer coat and an undercoat. On the body, the outer coat is of medium length, flat or wavy, and is easily distinguishable from the undercoat, which is short, soft and dense. The quantity of undercoat is affected by climate and season. When in combination, outer

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coat and undercoat serve to make the dog substantially waterproof, weatherproof and thornproof. On ears, chest, legs and belly the Springer is nicely furnished with a fringe of feathering of moderate length and heaviness. On the head, front of the forelegs, and below the hock joints on the front of the hind legs, the hair is short and fine. The coat has the clean, glossy, "live" appearance indicative of good health. It is legitimate to trim about the head, ears, neck and feet, to remove dead undercoat, and to thin and shorten excess feathering as required to enhance a smart, functional appearance. The tail may be trimmed, or well fringed with wavy feathering. Above all, the appearance should be natural. Overtrimming, especially the body coat, or any chopped, barbered or artificial effect is to be penalized in the show ring, as is excessive feathering that destroys the clean outline desirable in a sporting dog. Correct quality and condition of coat is to take precedence over quantity of coat. Color: All the following combinations of colors and markings are equally acceptable:(1) Black or liver with white markings or predominantly white with black or liver markings; (2) Blue or liver roan; (3) Tricolor: black and white or liver and white with tan markings, usually found on eyebrows, cheeks, inside of ears and under the tail. Any white portion of the coat may be flecked with ticking. Off colors such as lemon, red or orange are not to place. Gait: The final test of the Springer's conformation and soundness is proper movement. Balance is a prerequisite to good movement. The front and rear assemblies must be equivalent in angulation and muscular development for the gait to be smooth and effortless. Shoulders which are well laid-back to permit a long stride are just as essential as the excellent rear quarters that provide driving power. Seen from the side, the Springer exhibits a long, ground-covering stride and carries a firm back, with no tendency to dip, roach or roll from side to side. From the front, the legs swing forward in a free and easy manner. Elbows have free action from the shoulders, and the legs show no tendency to cross or interfere. From behind, the rear legs reach well under the body, following on a line with the forelegs. As speed increases, there is a natural tendency for the legs to converge toward a center line of travel. Movement faults include high-stepping, wasted motion; short, choppy stride; crabbing; and moving with the feet wide, the latter giving roll or swing to the body. Temperament: The typical Springer is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey. Such traits are conducive to tractability, which is essential for appropriate handler control in the field. In the show ring, he should exhibit poise and attentiveness and permit himself to be examined by the judge without resentment or cringing. Aggression toward people and aggression toward other dogs is not in keeping with sporting dog character and purpose and is not acceptable. Excessive timidity, with due allowance for puppies and novice exhibits, is to be equally penalized. Summary: In evaluating the English Springer Spaniel, the overall picture is a primary consideration. One should look for type, which includes general appearance and outline, and also for soundness, which includes movement and temperament. Inasmuch as the dog with a smooth easy gait must be reasonably sound and well-balanced, he is to be highly regarded, however, not to the extent of forgiving him for not looking like an English Springer Spaniel. An atypical dog, too short or long in leg length or foreign in head or expression, may move well, but he is not to be preferred over a good all-round specimen that has a minor fault in movement. It must be remembered that the English Springer Spaniel is first and foremost a sporting dog of the Spaniel family, and he must look , behave and move in character.

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Approval Date: February 12, 1994 Effective Date: March 31, 1994



S ize does matter. Got your atten- tion? Good. The breed stan- dard uses words and phrases such as ‘sturdy’, ‘muscular’, ‘strong’, ‘powerful’ and ‘every inch a sporting dog’. Over and over, the word ‘moderate’ appears. The standard sets specific height to weight parameters (a 20 inch tall dog, in good condition, will weigh approximately 50 pounds) and these parameters should be care- fully considered when judging the breed. A 20 inch tall dog that weighs 50 pounds will ‘pick up heavy’. (Think of picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food). In many instances today, the breed is losing its sturdiness. Strong, moderate bone, properly shaped, oval ribs that carry well down to the elbow, broad, deep, muscular loins and wide, strong, well muscled upper and lower thighs have given way to over refinement, lack of forechest and rib and excessively narrow loins and thighs, creating dogs that completely lack the correct weight requirement for their height. While the breed should, of course, never be coarse or cumbersome, it certainly is critical that it retain the characteris- tics that make it able to retrieve a large pheasant, which may or may not be dead, through heavy cover or out of water. The Springer is a strong, athletic, active and vigorous hunting dog that is able to ‘go, and keep going, under dif- ficult hunting conditions’. 2. While our breed may not be a ‘head breed’ such as the Collie or the Bulldog, every requirement in the head section of the standard is there for a reason, and that reason is to help the dog ful- fill its original purpose, that of finding,

flushing and retrieving game. They use their eyes, ears, nose, jaws, etc. to do their job, and the more correct the head construction, the better the dog will scent, mark and retrieve. Please read the extensive head section of our breed standard and make every effort to reward correct heads. Look for things such as proper proportion—muzzles as long as backskulls; fairly square, lean, strong forefaces with strong under jaws; parallel planes of the skull and foreface; straight nasal bones and large, open nostrils; deep–set, oval, forward- placed eyes with well developed eye- brows; and moderate stops—a subtle rise, not a pronounced feature. 3. A correct front assembly is essen- tial. The ESS standard calls for a well angulated front assembly. Long, sloping shoulder blades that come fairly close together at the tips, coupled with a long upper arm that sets the elbows well back under the dog. Ideally, the elbow should be under the tip of the shoulder blades and the neck and head should be out in front of that point. Far too many dogs of this breed today stand with their elbows under their ears, totally lack- ing the length and angle of the bones of the front assembly that, when cor- rect, give this breed its easy, free ‘swing from the shoulder blade’ gait. Think the word ‘long’ when judging this breed. No, not long cast, but long head, long neck, long sloping shoulder blades and upper arms. 4. And while we are on long, always remember that the English Springer Spaniel should be upstanding with a good amount of leg length—long legs. The breed should never be short legged

or squatty. The length of the leg from elbow to ground should equal the dis- tance between elbow and the top of the shoulder blade. Long ribcage and short loin are the correct combination of body properties for this breed, giv- ing it the correct upstanding, essen- tially level–backed profile called for in the standard. 5. Color matters, markings don’t. The standard is very brief on this sub- ject. Black and white, white and black, liver and white, white and liver, with or without ticking and/or roaning, with or without tan markings. There are no pre- ferred or required marking patterns in this breed. Simply paint them all black (or white!) in your head and judge the dogs, not the external trappings. You can love the way a particular dog is marked, but you cannot award the dog on the basis of its markings—all mark- ings are correct markings. A few red or lemon dogs in this breed do exist, but I doubt you will ever see one in the ring. However if you do, you may not award it a ribbon. Be aware that optical illusion can cause a dog to look as if it’s moving improperly when it is not, so evaluate carefully when there are unusual mark- ings on legs or in the middle of the back. 6. Coat quality matters. Coat quan- tity really doesn’t. Over the years, as in many other Sporting breeds, the ESS has been bred to grow more and more coat. Some undercoat should be appar- ent, regardless of season or climate. Outer coat on the body should be firm and resilient, with a live, healthy, glossy appearance. The outer coat should lie flat to the ribcage, and it may be either straight or wavy. While the ESS should


be ‘nicely furnished’ with feathering, an excessive amount is not to be con- sidered a virtue—the standard calls for moderate, and is specific on this point. Coat quality and condition are to take precedence over quantity of coat. 7. Trimming. Where to begin? Again, as in many other breeds of show dogs, grooming and trimming in this coun- try have advanced to quite an art form. Yet our standard states some specific requirements about trimming that should not be ignored by judges. It is certainly legitimate to trim the breed in a manner that enhances a ‘smart, func- tional appearance’. Above all, the final appearance should be natural. Which means that the dog should look like its coat grew that way, not like it was bar- bered into existence. Topcoats should have length to protect the dog from the elements when working; they should not be scissored off to an inch in length! Outlines should be trimmed to give the dog an attractive, but natural silhouette, not trimmed with straight scissors like a paper cut out. Quote from the stan- dard–‘Overtrimming, especially the body coat, or any chopped, barbered or artificial effect is to be penalized in the show ring, as is excessive feathering that destroys the clean outline desirable in a sporting dog’. 8. As regards croups, tail sets and tail carriage: The English Springer Spaniel should never carry its tail directly off the back with no slope to the croup. The croup should slope gently to the set on of the tail, and the tail should ideally be carried at two–three o’clock. Every other ESS breed standard in the world, except the North American ones, still calls for the tail to be ‘set on low’. Tails in North America have gradually migrated upward in both set and car- riage for many years, with the result

that the pelvic slope has been drasti- cally reduced, opening the angle of the pelvis and femur and creating structure that places the rear feet of the dog far out behind a line dropped from the point of the buttocks, instead of plac- ing the rear toes just behind that line. The changes caused by this pelvic slope are not simply aesthetic; instead the results are rear legs that are not placed under the body at the correct point to support the dogs center of gravity and a change in movement from long steps on the ground to short steps on the ground with a lot of incorrect ‘kick’ in the air behind the dog. 9. The ESS is an efficient trotting dog, capable of utilizing its legs at a trot for long periods of time on often diffi- cult terrain when hunting. An efficient trotting dog is one that keeps its legs on the ground for long periods of each stride. Feet only work when they are on the ground, propelling the body for- ward with power and ease. There is far too much lift and kick seen in the breed today. While it might look fancy and long strided that sort of motion is totally incorrect because it expends far more energy than a stride that is long on the ground. The ESS should swing its front legs forward from the shoulder blade, not pop them forward from the elbow. The only way this can be achieved is for the dog to have the correct length and angle of the bones of the front assembly. The hindquarter provides the forward propulsion, and the longer that the rear foot stays on the ground, accompanied by the forceful opening of the hip, stifle and hock joints, the easier and more efficient the gait will be. Correctly built and muscled English Springer Spaniels should move freely and easily in a gait that seems effortless. The fast, choppy, short stepping motion,

or the high lifting and kicking motion also all too often seen, are both incorrect. Springers should tend toward a center line as speed increases—when viewed from the front or rear, legs should not be parallel and should never be wider at the foot than at the attachment. 10. Numbers one through nine above all come together in number 10, which is Silhouette and Proportion. These two things are critical in the English Springer Spaniel. A well pro- portioned dog, correctly built, properly angulated, free from exaggeration, with the right amount of bone and substance and the correct shape and length of head and neck, will present a clean, smooth, upstanding silhouette, com- bining the essential elements of both beauty and utility. The standard calls for “length of the body (measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks) is slightly greater than the height at the withers”—and this proportion is of critical importance to the dog’s ground–covering ability and stamina in the field. The correct silhouette and proportion are what express the proper breed type of the individual dog. Always look for the outline and beware of the myriad of failings of the outline, though the dog might at first strike you as eye catching or fancy. The breed should carry its cor- rect, upstanding outline and propor- tion when it moves. The head will (and should be allowed to, by the handler) go somewhat forward to assist in balance, but the dog should never sink to the ground or appear low in action. “At his best, he is endowed with style, symmetry, balance and enthusi- asm, and is every inch a sporting dog of distinct Spaniel character, combining beauty and utility.”




BIGGS Snake Draw

the field-bred


H aving trained many different breeds of gundogs over the years, we still only reproduce one breed. That breed is the field-bred English Springer Spaniel. Knowing the nuances of the different breeds has always kept us solidified with produc- ing field-bred Springer Spaniels. People ask, “Why the Springer?” My answer has always been as follows: “The Springer Spaniel has a look in their eyes displaying a connectiveness with you and asking, ‘How can I please you today?’” Field-bred Springer Spaniels are active, need a job, and have a strong desire to do what is right. Granted, if allowed, they will make decisions on their own and, if not trained properly, those decisions will get them into trouble. Acquiring a Springer does not mean that you put it in a kennel and take it out for hunting. They thrive as house dogs and family friends, and they need training from the start. They need a job early on in life and they adapt well to all of the dog sports—not just for finding, flushing, and retrieving game birds as they were developed to do. The average size of a field-bred Springer is 35–50 pounds. They can be liver and white, black and white, and on occasion, tricolor. They thrive at working their way to the top of the hierarchy in a household, but are extremely easy to imprint; to guide and keep them in their family rank in the household. One needs to “parent” over them; not with a heavy hand, but showing them the boundaries, training the desired behaviors, and mak- ing the right things easy (and the wrong things difficult) for them to do. From the very beginning, Springers will be looking at you, sizing you up, checking you out, and learning your “tell.” Springers are very obser- vant of little body movements, actions, sounds, and twitches that you (con- sciously and unconsciously) do. A Springer will be “reading” you, so make sure that you send the right messages to develop a Springer into a happy, healthy family member.


Saturday training with Turner.

Etta Thompson



Pine Shadows Higgins

Delivery to hand repeat.



Morgan runs some energy out of his litter with a feathered wing.

Springers are gifted at noting their training partner’s (your) movements, mood, and demeanor. With a Springer, one needs to be consistent in your actions, voice, and movements. Springers are not good with heavy-handed training, harsh words or neglect. Springers can vary in their intelligence level, from breeding to breeding. Some pick up on things quickly whereas others need rep- etitions. Some can overthink situations; they know what you are going to do, and react (good or bad) to the desired outcome. In selecting a Springer, make sure that you find a litter that is going to have a pup that fits your lifestyle. Springers love a routine and they quickly adapt well to one. The routine that you develop with your Springer needs to be the cor- rect routine for developing a happy family member with a likable personality; obedient and trusting. The personality of the Springer

determines the correct routine to follow. Some Springers with a soft, easy-going mentality that pick up things quickly will adapt to soft, easy treatment. A quick thinker, high-energy Springer needs someone who is on their toes all the time, to stay consistent and ahead in the learning curve. One might need to change a bit to adapt to your new Springer pup as it develops. A well-trained, well cared for Springer will live, on average, 13-15 years. Good Springer breeders are aware of any negative reproducible issues such as eye, hip or mouth problems, and will do the testing for these defects. Ethical Springer breeders will not reproduce these negative traits, no matter the titles earned by the dogs. Having a Springer in your family is a rewarding adventure, and the time spent with one is always too short.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR My wife, Sophie, and I reside in Brainerd, Minnesota, and we own and operate Pine Shadows. We are a Springer Spaniel kennel, raising and training English Springer Spaniels. Starting in 1975, with a field-bred Springer Spaniel puppy as a college graduation present from Sophie (my fiancé at the time), we nurtured, expanded, and became actively involved in all aspects of the field trial world for Springer Spaniels. Memberships include several Springer clubs as well as leadership roles in the parent club of the breed and participation in field trials as a judge, gunner, and chairman. The highlight for Sophie and me is openly welcoming new people into the world of Springer Spaniels at our kennel—we so enjoy all aspects of this game. Mark Haglin www.pineshadows.com


Living with the ENGLISH SPRINGER

By Randy Capsel

W hile it is unknown pre- cisely how the Spaniel evolved, dogs of Spaniel type have populated the civilized world for many centuries. Th e Spaniel is thought to have originated in Spain and may have been brought to Britain by the Roman legions. Th e Spaniel was known in pre- Christian Britain, and is mentioned in an ancient law of Wales as early as 300 A.D. Prints and paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries show dogs of similar type to today’s English Springer Spaniel. Some even have docked tails. Th ere is mention made of a Spaniel on board the May fl ower.

Th e dogs were used to spring ( fl ush) or start game, both birds and other small game, for hawks, coursing hounds, and nets. Th e invention of the wheel lock fi rearm in the 17th century made “ fl ying shooting” pos- sible and the Spaniel was uniquely capable of this style of hunting due to its fl ush- ing ability. Th ey are sometimes called the “poor man’s hunting dog” since they work relatively close to the handler/gunner and are hunted on foot rather than horseback. Th roughout the 19th and early 20th century in Britain, smaller dogs in a litter would be used to hunt woodcock and were referred to as “cockers”. Larger littermates, used to fl ush or spring game, were called “Springers”. Ultimately, the two sizes were developed into separate breeds, the Springer becoming the largest of the land Spaniels. Th e Sporting Spaniel Society of Britain decided upon the name English Springer Spaniel in 1902.

English Springer Spaniels with iden- ti fi able pedigrees were fi rst imported to North America from England to Canada in 1913. In a short period of time, the breed became one of the most popular breeds eligible for American Kennel Club registration. Early in their history in the U.S., many Springer breeders and owners enjoyed working with their dogs in the fi eld and also showing them in conforma- tion competition. Th e English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, the parent club of the breed, was founded in 1924. At that time, it was not unusual for dogs to compete in a fi eld trial one day and be presented in conformation competition the next day. Th is emphasized the versa- tility of the breed from the early days here in the United States. “Dual type” Springers—those capable of excelling in both conformation and fi eld trial competition—have not existed since

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the 1940’s, when the last dual champion- ships were earned. Field trial enthusiasts began selecting those qualities in their dogs which produced top caliber perfor- mance in the fi eld, while show-minded breeders bred dogs to conform with the written standard of the breed as successful conformation competitors. Th e Standard for the breed does not distinguish between show and fi eld style dogs. Many fi eld-bred Springers have lovely breed type and many show-bred Springers have good hunting ability. Th e advent of spaniel hunting tests have o ff ered a venue to those breeders and owners maintaining high level hunting ability within what is considered show- bred Springers. Th e true beauty of the English Springer Spaniel can be found in its original pur- pose as a companion gundog. Th e diverse appearance of today’s show and fi eld bred Springers is due to specialization, and to the choices breeders make to achieve suc- cess in their chosen sports. Competitive fi eld trial Springers are the ultimate in athleticism and performance, while the competitive conformation Springers are beautiful examples of breed type, sound- ness and symmetry. Th e English Springer Spaniel has a friendly, happy, even temperament and should get along well with people and

other dogs. An a ff ectionate breed, Spring- ers want to be part of family activity and are highly social. Th e breed has often been described as alert, kindly and trusting. Excessive shyness or aggression are not acceptable in an English Springer Spaniel. While there exists a “split” within the breed, overall the English Springer Span- iel is the essence of a versatile breed. Th e advent of the spaniel hunting test program along with additional performance compe- tition venues has allowed this versatility to be evaluated more readily and better dem- onstrated on a regular basis. Th eir intel- ligence and enthusiasm, along with the traits of being a willing-to-please and bid- dable breed lend to a pleasing companion dog, making the English Springer Span- iel an outstanding hunting companion as well as a breed that excels in performance events such as obedience, agility, and tracking. Th e ESSFTA recognizes those English Springer Spaniels demonstrating a high level of versatility through the Versa- tile Springer recognition program. Dogs earning this recognition can be found at http://www.essfta.org/about-the-essfta/ awards-and-achievements/ Th e secret to the many and varied suc- cesses the English Springer Springer enjoys is related to the qualities of being a smart, happy, and eager to please breed.

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over 50 years; I started showing as a teenager in 1964 for a famous Akita kennel and other large Working breeds. I’ve been judging since 1980, beginning with my own breed, English Springers.

I live in Spokane, Washington. I enjoy reading, puzzles—both crossword and jigsaw—as we as watching movies. I obtained our first purebred dog in 1960 and began showing in the mid-1960s. I was first approved to judge obedience in 1977 and English Springer Spaniels in 1980.


I have lived in retirement for the past 10 years in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I deliver Meals On Wheels 2 days a week and offer my service as a volunteer in my home area. I am a sports fan and attend local events. I love theater and symphony and attending concerts. I began showing my first Cocker Spaniel in 1953 and bred

RUTH KIRBY I live on Pine Island in St. James City, Florida and am enjoying retirement, fishing, reading, traveling and watching sports on TV. I am a first-generation dog person and have been involved in showing and breeding English Springer Spaniels for over 40 years. I have been an AKC judge since 1995 and am approved to judge the Sporting Group. KATHY LORENTZEN

my first Champions in 1955 and have stayed active in some- way until the current time. Presently my wife and I breed Affenpinschers and I still show on a very limited basis. I have been an AKC judge since 1994.

1. Describe the breed in three words. CC: Loving, active and family dogs. RK: Moderate, balanced Spaniel. KL: Upstanding, balanced and long-boned. LR: Moderate, agile and enthusiastic. TS: Merry, willing and active.

2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? CC: Good temperament, biddable and must look like a Spaniel. RK: When judging Springers (or any breed), I must see a breed specific silhouette which exhibits balance and moderation in all parts. I then evaluate the head for correct proportions and expression. Finally, I look for correct side gait and proper topline, including tail set and carriage. The dog should move as it stands. KL: It all begins with correct proportion (height to length and length of leg) and proper silhouette. Add a correctly built front assembly and a balanced rear, and you have a dog with the basics of breed type. Then look for details and good movement. An incorrectly proportioned dog that just happens to move well is atypical and should not be rewarded. LR: ESS must haves are proper size and substance, coupled with proper soft Spaniel head type and friendly temperament. TS: A merry, happy tail carried horizontally or slightly elevat- ed; well sprung ribs; short loin; well-laid back shoulder.

I live in central Michigan. I love to travel (Africa, Maui and Grand Cay- man are all frequent destinations) and I am a devoted Vince Gill fan, still hitting as many shows a year as I can. I’m proud to be able to call him a friend—we even cook for him! I’ve spent my life in dogs. I finished my first homebred, owner-handled Golden when I was 17. My first English Springer Spaniel finished on my 21st birthday. I began judging in 1999. LINDA RIEDEL

I live in Pasco, Washington, which is a high desert area with great weather and lots of wineries. I am a retired teach- er so my interests now, besides the dog world, are traveling, gardening, my friends and reading. I’ve been in dogs for

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4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? CC: Yes, I think our breed is more uniform from one side of the country to the other and poor temperament is not overlooked as it once was. RK: Overall, I think the Springers were better when I first started judging. However, I do think the temperaments have improved over the years, and I applaud the breeders for their dedication in this respect. KL: As in virtually any breed, we have pockets of very good dogs around the country and a whole lot of mediocre. I don’t feel like much has changed in the 16 years I have been judging. LR: I don’t think the present day Springers are any bet- ter than when I first started. I will say they are better groomed and presented today and there is more consistency in the class competition. However, I do feel breeders are forgetting that our breed standard has not changed and more attention to breeding to our standard needs to be emphasized, and less emphasis on just winning. TS: There have always been quality dogs since I began judg- ing and the numbers vary from year to year. I believe we have some very nice dogs currently. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? CC: I feel many new judges do not understand proper ground-covering gait in our breed, mistaking fast move- ment for correct. In addition, our breed has lost the chiseling in the skull that is so necessary for a soft Spaniel appearance and improper heads are rewarded. RK: Preferred markings are not mentioned in the Springer standard. While a white blaze and collar may result in a flashier dog in the show ring, please judge the dog on its merits rather than its markings. KL: New judges are often confused about silhouette, as they are frequently presented with a number of different ones. This breed should have a long head, long neck, long laid back shoulder blade and corresponding upper arm, a topline that is nearly level and a croup that slopes gently to the tail set. Please remember that this is the tallest, longest-legged of the land Spaniels. They are somewhat more Setter-like than any of the other flushing Spaniels. New judges also misinterpret the word upstanding. It means that the dog carries the same profile moving as standing. It does not mean that the dog should have its head back over its shoulders looking up at the sky. Dogs naturally put their heads somewhat forward when mov- ing for balance and coordination. This breed should not sink to the ground when moving as some Herding breeds do. That is what upstanding means. It does not mean that they should have exaggerated side gait and head carriage

3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? CC: Not only fear, but know—excessive coat and over-grooming. RK: I was honored to judge the Springer National last year and thought quite a few of the exhibits had an exagger- ated, pronounced stop as well as a domed rather than “flat on top” skull. Those features combined with large, round, protruding eyes gave the dogs an unappealing and inappropriate headpiece and expression. I was also concerned with the Terrier-like tail sets and high tail carriage. While most of the Springers were in lovely coat and condition, unfortunately the grooming on many was exaggerated and sculpted that led to an unnatural barbered appearance. KL: Unfortunately this breed has become far too exagger- ated in many ways. Much too upright in front assembly coupled with rears that are far too long in second thigh and a pelvis that is too flat—these things in combination produce a silhouette that is a caricature, not that of a proper Spaniel at all. LR: Since ESS are a competitive breed in the group I feel they have suffered several exaggerations affecting breed type. I feel there is far too much emphasis on markings and excessive coat and flashy showmanship. There is far too much color products in use, making it difficult to assess correct coat color and texture. These are not traits that make a correct Sporting dog. We have lost correct head type, size and substance. I see a great change in heads, too much top skull, rounded with too much stop, more like Cocker type, with narrow, short muzzles and rounded eyes. This head type will not enable the dog to hold a large, perhaps angry and wounded pheasant and carry it in rough terrain. TS: Too many dogs have become racy and Setter-like. “WHILE A WHITE BLAZE AND COLLAR MAY RESULT IN A FLASHIER DOG IN THE SHOW RING, PLEASE JUDGE THE DOG ON ITS MERITS RATHER THAN ITS MARKINGS.”

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create an underline that is short from elbow to knee. Ribs nicely sprung but never barrel shaped. Loins should be short, broad and deep. And a pelvis that slopes the correct 30 degrees creates a proper tail set and a broad, strong thigh. Short, upright shoulder blades and upper arms create short necks, elbows that are placed under the ears instead of the withers, long underlines (the fur- ther a dogs legs are out on either end of its body, the less support those legs give the dog. Legs should be under the body in any breed meant to work and have stamina), and toplines with exaggerated slope. Additionally, this breed should have a correct silhouette by virtue of its actual make and shape, not one that has been craftily carved on it by a pair of straight scissors or thinning shears. Our standard is clear on over barbering but it is almost never penalized nor even mentioned to handlers or exhibitors. It is one thing to neaten an outline in a way that makes the coat look like it grew that way. It is another to put a cookie cutter straight-line outline on a dog. Look past the overly fancy trim to the dog underneath. And get your hands in the topcoat and check that it is of correct texture and sufficient length and correct quality. Topcoats should have a glossy sheen, not be dull, dry, brittle—or cut off! LR: I just would like to go on record as I’m very passion- ate about my chosen lifetime breed. I feel that breeders need more education overall and breeding for “winners” is not the ultimate goal. English Springer Spaniels are a multi-talented breed and we should all strive to produce healthy, multi-purpose puppies. TS: I have heard good things about health testing and hope that more and more breeders will make this their highest priority 9. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? CC: While attending a National Specialty in New Jersey, our hotel was evacuated at 3 am due to smoke in the kitchen area. The specialty judge, a lovely woman who usually looked like she could model for Vogue magazine, looked no better than I do after climbing out of bed at that early hour. LR: Through the years there have been many funny incidents, here is just one. I was judging a large, unruly Working breed. This particular dog was out of control being shown by a novice handler. I tried my best to take extra time and give helpful advice to this exhibitor only to be told later by another competitor that neither the handler nor the dog understood English—truly a social goof by me. TS: Observing a woman exhibitor lose her panty hose gaiting around the ring and simply slipping out of them and kicking them under a table as she continued to show her dog.

like some Poodles do, nor does it mean that the higher their shoulder blade is the more upstanding they are. Please don’t be fooled. LR: I feel so many of the younger, upcoming judges have not had the opportunity to see any of the great dogs of the past from standard bearer kennels such as Salilyn, Canarch, Inchidony and Melilotus that consistently produced lovely Springers of correct breed type. There are still a few “old-timers” who have photos of these past great dogs, which would be a terrific learning tool. I realize you can only judge what enters your ring, but if a judge has a correct mental image of what a good one should be that will give the newer judge more confidence and not just pass out ribbons. TS: Proper Spaniel breed type. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? RK: I think the Springer standard sums it up nicely, “At his best, he is endowed with style, symmetry, balance and enthusiasm and is every inch a Sporting dog of distinct Spaniel character, combining beauty and utility.” KL: Heads in the breed in North America have strayed so far from correct that judges all too often do not recog- nize a real one when they see it. They must be long, lean, deep, flat on top, with a straight nasal bone, deep set eyes, delicate chiseling and distinct brow break up. A correctly made head will have eyes that look directly ahead out from under the brow, a groove or furrow between the eyes and parallel planes. Heads that are short, round, snipey in muzzle with prominent round eyes are extremely objectionable yet we see them on big winning dogs all the time. Front assemblies as well should be strongly considered in judging. Long bones, well laid back placing the elbows well under the body “ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIELS ARE A MULTI-TALENTED BREED AND WE SHOULD ALL STRIVE TO PRODUCE HEALTHY, MULTI-PURPOSE PUPPIES.”

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MICHAEL FAULKNER 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in Center Cross, Virginia. Outside of dogs, I am the Executive Director for a local Health Center, Writer and Artist. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? I have been showing dogs for 46 years and judging dogs for 20. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Proud, upstanding and Spaniel. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? The English Springer Spaniel has always been exagger- ated in the United States. From outline, color & markings and coat, the breed has undergone several exaggerations for decades. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? First and foremost the basic essence of “SPANIEL” is required, followed by a balanced, well-proportioned dog, free from exaggerations. Typical carriage and tempera- ment is a must. It is essential that the exhibit be upstand- ing with correct balance. The English Springer Spaniel is the tallest of all flushing spaniels and should never appear low to the ground. Correct head properties are essential for all Spaniels, as these subtle characteristics define the breed and separate them from their close cousins. I always forgive a dog that may not be as polished as others in support of correct make and shape. I have also never been one to pass out ribbons based on the need to have solid body marking and complete white collars around the neck. I could care less about markings. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? I am thrilled to see English Springer Spaniels with a bit more leg, less extreme front and rear construction (four legs underneath the dog) and less focus on choosing breeding stock based on color, markings and extremes in structure. It is nice that dogs from around the world are being appreciated and incorporated into the estab- lished breeding programs in the US. I recently saw a photograph of respected Breeder/Judge Mrs. Kathy Lorentzen awarding a beautiful bitch (with tail and ticking) a prestigious win at a show on the East Coast. I later discovered that this particular bitch was related to a dog I recently admired and awarded the breed to in South America.

1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in Spokane, Washington. I like to read, work cross- word, jigsaw puzzles and watch movies. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? We have owned English Springer Spaniels since 1960 and began judging them in 1978. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Moderate, affectionate and medium-sized. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? Over-angulated rears. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? Must haves: a proper Spaniel head with correct eye, soft expression, good temperament and proper movement. I’m willing to forgive less-than-ideal feet and shyness in puppies only. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? I am pleased to see that poor temperament is not being tolerated as much as it was when we first began exhib- iting. I would definitely like to see less racing of dogs around the ring, which often destroys the proper movement. 7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? There are way too many dogs in the ring today that either have an incorrect croup, tail set and carriage or they are groomed to appear that way. Our standard calls for a gently sloping croup and a tail that is carried either horizontally or slightly elevated. There are far too many dogs with Terrier tail carriage. An incorrect croup leads to other problems, such as movement. 8. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Yes. As noted previously, poor temperament is not con- sidered acceptable and breeders are testing for genetic problems that we failed to do when we started. 9. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? I try to judge according to what is written in our breed standard. 10. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? I wish there was more time to show dogs of all ages and quality and to see dogs moving properly.


7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? I have and always will worry about the breed losing basic correct size and substance to the desire for elegance and fancy. First and foremost they are a useful gun dog and family companion. I also worry about correct head prop- erties and the need for breeders to not lose sight of the importance of the subtle details. 8. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Yes! I feel there has been a real effort to clean up tem- peraments, health issues and an openness to explore and except various styles of dogs that are correct within the breed standard. 9. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? Of all the standards within the Sporting Group, the English Springer Spaniel standard is without doubt, the most descriptive and detailed. When judging, I am always mindful of breed history and the distinct breed characteristics among all the flushing spaniels, to make sure I award strong type and outline that is typical for the breed and not of a close ancestor. One must remember in the 19th century, Spaniels were divided into two groups. Dogs weighing up to 25 lbs. were called Cockers (used for woodcock) and the larger dogs, weighing around 45 lbs were called Field Spaniels or English Spaniels. Having the discriminating eye to distinguish the subtle details of each of the Flushing Spaniels takes dedication on the part of the judge and it is what separates the great judges from the generic. 10. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? There should be a clear understanding of breed history. I find that all too often judges do not have a clue of breed origin and function. For a deep understanding of the English Springer Spaniel, and the other flushing Span- iels—breed histories are paramount. Also, I would like participation at a field trial to be mandatory for all judges. There is nothing more valuable that watching a working

3. Describe your breed in three words: My original breed was American Cocker Spaniels; they are happy, beautiful and loving. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? In English Springer Spaniels the dogs are being moved too fast. This really doesn’t hide bad movement, it creates improper movement. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? I MUST have a good bite, balance overall and proper gait. I will forgive quantity of coat but not quality. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? I would like to see grooming to the standard continue and stop the coloring of coats whether dyeing or “enhancing”. 7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? I am finding too many Springers and some other sporting dogs with short legs. I don’t know if the breeders are pay- ing enough attention to this leg length but it is happening way too often. 8. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? A lot of credit goes to the past breeders for soundness of the early dogs; however, I do think the health problems have greatly improved over the years. 9. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard

that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important?

Things not in the standard of course are the health issues again. True breeders have used all available testing for eyes and hips and have improved the life and health of the breed. 10. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? Students of the breed need to know and remember the purpose of the breed, the whole dog, when evaluat- ing the dogs including the condition of a natural coat and undercoat. 11. Do you have anything else to share? Dogs that meet the standard and have ticking are some- times over looked in favor of clean clear markings with a blanket. The whole dog must be assessed. LINDA RIEDEL 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in Pasco, WA near the Columbia River. I am a retired educator so my time is now devoted to traveling, grand- kids, gardening, reading and other fun things retirees get to do. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? I’ve been in dogs over 50 years. I started as a junior han- dler and showed many large working breeds and horses before starting in ESS. I’ve been showing since 1964 and started judging my breed in 1980. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Athletic, multi-purpose Spaniel. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated?

gun dog do the task they were bred for. 11. Do you have anything else to share?

Although, I am primarily known for breeding Golden Retrievers, I had the pleasure, along with my late partner David E. White, to breed and exhibit numerous English Springer Spaniels under the Woodspoint prefix. Our first Springer was Ch. Jahil’s Woodspoint Gypsy bred in 1976. GLORIA GERINGER 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in southern Louisiana, just outside Baton Rouge. In any spare time I am continually upgrading my home and four acres of landscaping. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? I have been in dogs since 1963, showed for 27 years and been judging 27 years.


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