With those big brown eyes and long shaggy ears, Springer Spaniel puppies are just begging to be taken home with you! While they are a loving and loyal breed, only a family that is fully prepared to handle the energy and physical strength of this breed should think about adopting one.
Ideally, puppies will stay with their mother until they are at least eight weeks old. You should be able to meet both parents when you go to look at a litter. You will be able to tell a lot about your future dog (temper, disposition, height and weight) by interacting with the parents. Are they calm and friendly, or nervous and anxious? Be sure to look around at the living conditions of the litter. Only seek out reputable breeders; they should be able to provide all paperwork and vaccination documentation for their dogs. Do not buy dogs from the mall pet store as most of these dogs are ill and come from puppy mills. Truly professional breeders will not let you make the final decision as to which puppy to take. Instead, they will watch the way the dogs interact with you when you are visiting and then make suggestions based on the puppies behavior. Matching personalities is extremely important for the forming of a successful bond between dog and master.
What can you expect when you bring home the puppy? A Springer puppy is going to be very curious in their new environment! This curiosity will show itself in their licking, sniffing and chewing on everything they can. Springer Spaniels are crafty and intelligent-don’t think they can’t sniff out a candy bar that is sitting under a pile of mail, discarded on the counter. More then likely, they will eat the mail AND the candy bar! They will need constant supervision or containment if you want your house to remain in one piece. Your puppy will be very wobbly as they grow, their long legs take a while to fit their stocky bodies. Trust me, the “drunken sailor” walks and gallops will be hilarious to watch.
Potty training your Springer can be a challenge, as is true with any puppy. Be prepared to treat the puppy like a newborn infant. Set a timer and take the dog outside every fifteen minutes. Do this through the night as well (at longer intervals, obviously you need sleep!) to ensure that your dog gets as much exposure to the grass and their lead as possible. This time outside is not play time, so don’t treat it at such. The only thing you should be doing to engage with your puppy is to tell him “go potty” and then lots of praise and cheers when they successful relieve themselves outside. Any other interaction will be misconstrued for playtime, and will only prolong the potty training process. Springers will need to be watched carefully as they can get so excited when they’re playing that they don’t give you any warning signs that they need to be let outside and can literally drop to the floor and urinate.
Springers have boundless energy. As your puppy ages, their energy will only increase! Springers under a year of age can run for hours and still have energy to spare. Your dog will not be your loving companion if you cannot give her all the exercise she requires. This is one of the biggest factors to consider before getting a Springer. If you’re at the office twelve hours a day, or if you’re a dedicated couch potato, this may not be the breed for you.
Coupled with their energy is a Springers build. Males can average between 35-55lbs, females 25-45lbs, all of which is pure muscle (they eat roughly three cups of food two times per day). They are horrendous leash pullers, and their name is very fitting: they jump. A lot! Their hyper dispositions and strong body will require training and puppy classes to reign them in. Even then, your dog will still love to hop and bounce around when overly excited.
Springers are very loyal dogs. While this is a great quality in a dog, it can also be a disadvantage when you try to leave your dog in someone else’s care. They will miss you, because in a Springers mind you are the only important thing in their world. Some will suffer separation anxiety and will cry when left home alone. Most will insist on being your shadow,following you wherever you go and always being right under foot.
Sounds like a pretty long list of reasons not to get a Springer, doesn’t it? Before you run away screaming, please know that Springers are amazing dogs. They are fast, agile, smart and sweet. They make great companions and will love you unconditionally. If you are up for a crazy, energetic, happy, loving breed, a Springer may be for you.