Whisky River Gun Dogs
Why We Love English Springer Spaniels
Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Maybe you are a hunter, looking for a capable and loyal field companion. Maybe you are a growing family, looking to find a pet that offers a great personality and temperament. In our opinion, the English Springer Spaniel breed offers a great balance of both. We wanted to share a bit of how we got to loving this dog breed, a bit of it's history, and how it has impacted our life.
Where it all began
Our love of English Springer Spaniels starts with a bit of nostalgic allure. Todd's grandfather had a springer. The dog was a great family friend and naturally took the the field. When it came time to find a family pet, a springer was top of mind. Like his childhood experience showed him, the breed offered the same companionship and ability. They were intelligent, taking to training well, and athletic for their medium size. There begins the trial journey, which set the trajectory to change our lives forever.
We not long there after, we had the fortune of coming across a breeder, just outside of Milwaukee. Here enters FC AFC Whisky Rivers Brandy. If you have been a Whisky River Gun Dog community member for some time, you are likely already familiar with her.
Brandy was in a world of her own. She took to training easily, had a natural instinct for navigating the field, and formed a great relationship with the handler. She was everything you would want in your first trial dog, and then some. It seemed like she was in placement after placement, competing with the best of them. We learned a lot from her. She was a great teacher. More than that, she was a great relationship builder. We have formed some enduring lifetime relationships, and she was at the center of it all. She was the beginning of it all.
What Makes English Springer Spaniels Great
The breed has always been intriguing and our experience over the years has validated our curiosity. They are full of life, with unique and generally playful personalities. They are also intelligent and athletic. All this comes in a medium sized dog. Our largest males have been around 50-55 lbs. Our smallest females around 28-32 lbs. In our experience, even the greatest hunters with the most intense drive are full of love and enjoy cuddling. They are playful, great with kids, and very obedient. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a wealth of knowledge on the breed, as well as it's history, which includes unique facts of when it was recognized as a distinct breed, it's relationship to the English Cocker, and the support of the breed due to the formation of the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA).
Bench vs Field...Difference?
If you are a follower of Whisky River Gun Dogs, you already know we are focused on breeding and training quality field dogs. For new followers, what this means is that we focus on breeding and training for hunting purposes. These dogs offer great instinct and amazing athleticism in the field, competing in field trials. The ESSFTA has a good brief on the history of the breeding for English Springer Spaniels and their use as hunting companions.
If you hear of a "bench bread" springer, these are breeders who focus on breeding dogs based on the AKC standard for show competitions, otherwise known as confirmation trials.