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English Springer Spaniel Problems

What are the main problems owners experience with Springer Spaniels (other than)? If you are thinking about a springer as a pet, then this biref introduction will give you an idea of what to expect. Overall, springers are healthy dogs, whether the English or Welsh lines, but there is a set of potential problems which usually come up when owners talk about their springers. These arise from hereditary factors, and those which occur due to their upbringing and training.

The risks of the hereditary-based problems being present in your chosen springer can be reduced by a series of tests and careful selection of the pup. The nurturing (or lack of it) affect all dogs, more or less, and conditions arising from environmental factors can be negated by proper training and nurturing, provided the springer is not pre-disposed. For example, if the springer’s parents are themselves particularly nervous, then this could be seen in the young dog. You can’t screen for this, but you can check the parents – and the tendency may be increased or decreased depending on the way that the pup is nurtured and trained, either reinforcing the tendency or minimising its effect.

1. Inherited

This group of problems mainly covers eye and hip problems (such as hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy, and will be screened for by any credible breeder who wants to register the pedigree of an English or Welsh springer spaniel. In the UK, the recommends that breeders screen breeding dams and sires for hip dysplasia and eye problems (by gonioscopy). There are other conditions (such as canine fucosidosis) which are screened for, but have now been almost completely bred out.

Springers are also predisposed to other problems – such as down-turning eyelids (ectropion), but these sorts of problem are almost impossible to screen for, unless presenting in a parent.

2. Environmental


Excitablity. The main aspect that is raised is excitability. Springers are near the top end of the canine intelligence spectrum and are very active. A high activity level can be seen to be excitability, and if young children (or anyone else) teases or winds up a young dog, then they will get excited.

As with children, excitability becomes less apparent with age.

Nervousness. This can also be a problem, but this is often a result of ill-treatment. When compared with other types, such as toy dogs they are far from highly-strung. Springers are loyal and loving, but as with all loyalty it has to be earned by the owner and maintained. So, if a springer is abused when young, this will affect their development and their trust of human beings; it may show as excessive nervousness or an overly defensive nature (which itself can be seen as aggression when provoked or teased.

Aggression. Besides the previous reason for aggression, springers can become aggressive in the presence of other dogs of the same sex. This is not a major issue, but again is one of those things that is mentioned in owners’ questions. On balance, this trait is common in most breeds.

Excessive nervousness and aggression are more likely to be found in dogs which have been abandoned, often ending up in rescue centres. Springers in rescue centres will be, more likely to have these problems than would a well treated and properly trained springer which has been nurtured from a puppy in a friendly and considerate home. If you follow sensible steps when choosing a rescue springer (best from a springer spaniel rescue centre), with a good idea of what to look out for, then there is no reason why you should not be able to find a perfectly sound example of these wonderful dogs.

Outdoor Dogs.

Because they are outdoor dogs and have hairy ears, they can get ear problems unless they are groomed carefully.

All in all, springer spaniels are low down on the scale of emotional problems, and the genetic factors can be screened for. Therefore they make a fantastic choice of pet for a young family or faithful companion for more mature dog lovers.

View the original article here


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