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Welsh Springer Spaniel

A Sweet, Child-Friendly Dog Similar to the English Springer Spaniel

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is one of the oldest Spaniel breeds and is cousin to the English Springer Spaniel.

Thought to originate from Spain (hence the name "Spain"iel), the Welsh Springer Spaniel, also known as the "Welshie," is a working dog that is cousin to the English Springer Spaniel. Thought to date back to Britain during Roman times – the Welsh Springer Spaniel has excellent hunting skills; in fact, the breed was a favorite of nobility. This gentle, people-loving dog will want to be your shadow at all times, and makes a wonderful family pet. Enthusiastic and intuitively gentle all at once, your pet will get along very well with children.

History

Spaniels are thought to have their origins in Spain, but have made their way to other parts of the world since then. Other types of Spaniels from Britain, such as English Cocker Spaniels, Welsh Springers, English Springer Spaniels, etc., likely have similar histories. All Spaniels were called Cocking Spaniels or Cockers in the early days, when they were named for what they did instead of what they were in terms of type. Early breeders also interbred many different types of dogs and only later began to divide Spaniels into two different categories: Land Spaniels and Water Spaniels. The likely ancestor of the Welsh Springer Spaniel was a Welsh Cocker, and Renaissance tapestries show a Land Spaniel that looks very much like the Welsh Springer Spaniel.

During the 1700s, the Welsh Springer Spaniel was nobility's favorite for hunting, but the breed was replaced in the late 1800s by English Springers and other Spaniels. The Welshie was later revived as a breed during the Victorian period. At first, dog shows during the 1800s had the Welsh Springer Spaniel and the English Springer in the same class, with only the coat color as a distinguishing difference.

Britain's Kennel Club distinguished the Welsh Springer Spaniel from the English Springer Spaniel in 1902, with the original name of Welsh Cocker or Welsh Spaniel. It was also called the Welsh Springer when it was distinguished as a separate breed by the Kennel Gazette, which probably was a little bit confusing, since it was so similar to the English Springer Spaniel.

Welsh Springer Spaniels were imported to America in the late 1800s and quickly became popular. The American Kennel Club registered the breed in 1906. The Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America was established in 1961 and has more than 400 members from the UK, Canada, US, Netherlands, and Finland. It remains a relatively rare breed.

Today, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a member of the AKC’s Sporting Group.

Appearance

Solid and compact, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a dog bred for working – with plenty of endurance. Medium-sized with a slightly rounded head, the eyes are oval shaped and medium to dark brown in color. Long ears hang close to the cheeks at eye level. The tail may be docked in the United States, although it's usually illegal to do so in Europe. The medium length coat is soft and flat, wavy or straight. There is usually feathering on the belly, chest, backs of legs, and later feathering on the tail and ears. The Welsh Springer Spaniel is red and white with varied patterning, and can have ticking.

In adulthood, the Welsh Springer Spaniel stands 16 to 19 inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 45 pounds.

Personality

Lovely, lovable, loyal and eager to please, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is affectionate with children and happy to be around its human family. Smart and quick at learning, this dog also has a good memory and as compared to some other Spaniel breeds, is very protective of family and property. Unabashedly tender with those it loves, this dog can be nonetheless usually somewhat standoffish. Not unfriendly, necessarily, the Welsh Springer Spaniel just needs to take its time to get to know someone new. Other pets and kids especially will see your pet's gentle side, but it can also be boisterous enough to accidentally – and completely unintentionally – knock over a toddler. Therefore, make sure you supervise any small children around your Welsh Springer Spaniel until it is completely adjusted to those vulnerabilities.

Remember that this is a working dog – and a very hard worker – above all, by instinct, so if you want to be outside all day, whether hunting or doing some other type of "field" sport, the Welsh Springer Spaniel will be your gentle and ever-present companion. The dog will want to stay close to you as you move along, and has an excellent nose for prey. You can hunt any game with this breed, and it will adjust quickly. If you're not a hunter, just make sure you give your pet plenty of activity; several long walks or runs a day will give your pet what it needs for exercise.

Finally, praise as opposed to a harsh tone is essential if you want your Welsh Springer Spaniel to be happy, healthy, and obedient. All puppies will test you – just as young children do – to see what they can get away with, and the Welsh Springer Spaniel is no exception. If you put your pet in obedience class at about 12 weeks of age (with the appropriate vaccinations), and then socialize endlessly, you'll have a much happier adult dog. If vaccines cannot yet be given (some vets or obedience classes recommend vaccinations at a certain age), make sure to socialize your puppy at home around friends and family members until vaccinations can be given.

Health

Your breeder should be able to give you clearances for both parents for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand's disease (a blood disorder similar to hemophilia), and hypothyroidism from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals; and for thrombopathia (also a type of hemophilia) from Auburn University. You should also receive certification from the Kenai Registry Foundation certifying that your puppy's parents' eyes are normal.

Welsh Springer Spaniels can also be prone to epilepsy, which can be treated with medication, and entropion which is characterized by the lower eyelid folding inward causing irritation of the eye that becomes chronic. This is correctable through surgery. Welsh Springer Spaniels live long lives, about 12 to 15 years.

Grooming

Grooming is easy with the Welsh Springer Spaniel. Your pet's silky, straight coat should be brushed and combed twice a week, and after outdoor activities like hunting. The Welsh Springer Spaniel is an average shedder. Check ears for infection and keep hair between the toes trimmed. Nails should be clipped on a regular basis, as well.

References

Welsh Springer Spaniel.

http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/welsh-springer-spaniel.

Retrieved July 20, 2015.

Welsh Springer Spaniel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Springer_Spaniel.

Retrieved July 20, 2015.

Welsh Springer Spaniel(Welsh Springer) (Welshie).

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/welshspringerspaniel.htm.

Retrieved July 20, 2015.

Welsh Springer Spaniel.

http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/welsh-springer-spaniel.

Retrieved July 20, 2015.

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