Do you have trouble recognizing Spaniel breeds? With so many types, it’s common to mistake them. Plus, some look almost the same, making it harder to distinguish them.

These dogs are bred for hunting. Some believe they come from Spain, hence their name. Let’s learn more about these beautiful breeds.

Meet the Spaniel

Although many believe that Spaniel breeds originally came from Spain or Asia, that’s not entirely certain. They’ve existed for a few hundred years, and we can find them all over the world. But we’ll probably never solve the mystery behind their origin.

These beautiful dogs are excellent pets and hunting buddies. They were used as gun dogs for flushing out games. They’d jump into the bushes and flush prey out for hunters. Also, they have an exquisite sense of smell — a crucial characteristic of hunting dogs.

Appearance

While there are many types of Spaniel dog breeds, they share similar characteristics. You can find them in a combination of:

  • Brown and white
  • Black and white
  • Black or brown with white markings

Some have brown noses that can change color with the seasons. But one of the most noticeable features is their ears. They have floppy, soft, and long ears with curly hair. Aren’t they adorable?

Their coats can be straight or curly, with medium to long hair. Usually, the hair is longer on the legs, chest, and belly. For better protection, these dogs also have a double coat.

While these breeds share similar ears and shaggy coats, they differ in head shape. Some Spaniels have mesocephalic facial structures, while others develop a shorter snout. Dogs with the latter are famous as brachycephalic dogs. Here are their main measurements:

  • Average weight: 24–48 pounds
  • Average height: 14–15 inches.
  • Small Spaniel breeds (papillon) height: 8–11 inches.

Based on the description alone, these dogs can be excellent pets whether you live in an apartment or a house.

Temperament

Generally, Spaniel breeds are obedient, faithful, and intelligent. But they can become very attached to their humans, leading to separation anxiety. Luckily, you can always get some anxiety calming treats for dogs to help your pet.

But your Spaniel might differ from the standard. For instance, Clumber Spaniels are relaxed and tolerant. In contrast, Springer Spaniels have lots of energy and need many activities.

In the past, these breeds hunted with other dogs. So, if you’re thinking of getting this breed but you already have another dog at home, you can still do it. Spaniel get along well with other dogs.

Spaniel Breeds — Find Your Perfect Fit

Let’s learn more about the ten most popular types.

Cocker Spaniel Dogs

There are two types of Cocker Spaniels — English and American. The English is taller but not very long, and the American is the opposite.

These dogs adore playing and spending time with humans. Although they were bred for hunting, both types of Cocker Spaniels are excellent pets to have at home. Also, if you live in a village house and decide to move to the city, they’ll adapt quickly.

American Cocker Spaniel Advantages

Very loving and affectionate
Brilliant and easy to train
Friendly and playful
American Cocker Spaniel Disadvantages

High grooming needs
Lots of barking
Common health issues: glaucoma, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, ear infections, and luxating patella
English Cocker Spaniel Advantages

Intelligent and easy to train
Friendly and great with children
Playful

English Cocker Spaniel Disadvantages

High grooming needs
Lots of barking
Attention seekers
Prone to Separation Anxiety

Fun Fact: During the 50s in the US, an American Cocker Spaniel was crossbred with a Toy Poodle. The result was the adorable and tiny Cockapoo mixed breed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

One of the most famous Spaniel breeds is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Interestingly, these dogs got their name from King Charles I, who simply adored them. So, they were bred to keep British noblemen company.

The Cavalier is a gentle lap dog that’s also athletic. It possesses an elegant beauty, and we could say it’s a royal class dog.

Advantages:

  • Brilliant and trainable
  • Social — It likes hanging out with children, strangers, and other pets
  • Adaptable — It can live in a big house with a yard or fit in a small apartment.

Disadvantages:

  • Weight issues
  • High grooming needs
  • Common health issues: heart conditions, cataracts, degenerative retina issues, hip dysplasia, syringomyelia, and kneecap problems.

English Springer Spaniel

Say hello to one of the original Spaniel breeds. They’re popular among fans of larger dogs. These puppies are muscular. Generally, they’re around 18–22 inches in height and weigh 45–55 pounds.

A Springer Spaniel is a bird dog with a loving nature, lots of energy, and high intelligence. It can be your hunting or field companion and a well-behaved family pet. Also, these dogs like to please humans, so they’re effortless to train.

Advantages:

  • Obedient, loyal, and friendly
  • Fast training
  • Energetic and playful

Disadvantages:

  • Alert and has trouble relaxing
  • Common health issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and ear infections
  • Requires lots of exercises

Boykin Spaniel

The breed first appeared in the early 1900s. It comes from South Carolina. Hunters wanted the perfect dogs for wild turkeys and ducks, so these are great swimmers.

A Boykin can be a dark chocolate brown Spaniel or a reddish one with a wavy, medium-length coat. Although it was only a hunting buddy in the past, today, it’s an excellent family companion. Also, the breed is very social and great with strangers.

Advantages:

  • Highly intelligent and obedient
  • Fast training
  • Friendly with family members and strangers

Disadvantages:

  • Lots of shedding, meaning high grooming needs
  • Hyperactivity — Needs lots of exercises
  • Bad guard dog

Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel is a crossbreed between an Alpine Spaniel and a Basset Hound. It’s named after Clumber Park. It has a soft but thick coat that comes in orange or white. The breed is athletic and great for hunting.

A Clumber Spaniel is a brilliant and loyal companion that adores spending time with its owner. But make sure to keep training sessions short because this white Spaniel can easily get distracted by different scents in its environment.

Advantages:

  • Gets on well with other dogs
  • Loving and loyal
  • Highly intelligent and easy to train

Disadvantages:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Loves chasing birds
  • If left alone for a long time, it can develop destructive behavior.

American Water Spaniel

This medium-sized dog is among the water Spaniel breeds and is an excellent swimmer. It was bred as a hunting dog in Minnesota and Wisconsin to retrieve waterfowl in cold waters. The American Water Spaniel has a double coat in brown, dark brown, or black.

It’s a brilliant and relaxed dog that loves spending time with all family members. Also, it can develop a special bond with one person to the point of being possessive towards them.

Advantages:

  • People pleaser that’s easy to train
  • Friendly and relaxed
  • Playful
  • Loves running

Disadvantages:

  • High grooming needs
  • Needs lots of physical activity
  • Loud barking

Field Spaniel

Meet this beautiful long-haired Spaniel. It’s a mix of Cocker Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, and English Springer Spaniel. It was bred for hunting and performing in dog shows.

Training is a breeze with this Spaniel type because of its high intelligence. Also, thanks to its patient nature, this dog can be the perfect playmate for your children. But ensure to provide regular physical activity to burn that excessive energy.

Advantages:

  • Brilliant and easy to train
  • Patient and playful with children
  • Low grooming needs

Disadvantages:

  • Destructive behavior, if not exercised enough
  • Needs lots of physical activity
  • Expensive

Blue Picardy Spaniel

This medium-sized hunting dog comes from the northern part of France, and it’s usually called Picardy. It was bred to find game birds in difficult places. It’s among the Spaniel breeds with an athletic body and a wavy and soft coat. It can be in dark blue or almost black with white spots. 

It’s an affectionate and loving Spaniel that adores spending time with people. Also, it’s a high-adaptable pet with good behavior and no aggression when properly trained. That said, you need to provide regular exercise and fun activities for your Blue Picardy Spaniel.

Advantages:

  • Loves spending time with humans
  • Intelligent, adaptable, and easy to train
  • Well-behaved and gentle

Disadvantages:

  • Needy
  • Requires a lot of physical activity
  • Not a good choice for small apartments

Papillon

This miniature Spaniel is among the oldest breeds. Its name comes from its specific ears that look like a butterfly, and the French word for butterfly is “papillon.” The dog has long hair and big ears, and it comes in chocolate, white, fawn, black, or red.

Papillons are active, playful, and friendly, but they can also be shy and aggressive. That’s why it’s crucial to spend quality time with them. So get ready to play games and go for regular walks.

Advantages:

  • Good health
  • Easy to train
  • Great companion

Disadvantages:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Highly energetic
  • Lots of barking

Brittany Spaniel

It’s an energetic hunting Spaniel with a heavy coat. The breed has flat and wavy hair that comes in orange-white or liver-white. As a people-oriented dog, Brittany Spaniel doesn’t like being left alone. So ensure to provide enough physical activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom. Otherwise, your Brittany can become destructive and neurotic. 

The dog is friendly, but don’t leave it alone with children. It has high energy that may lead to accidental injuries.

Advantages:

  • Good with strangers
  • Calm with other pets
  • Easy to train

Disadvantages:

  • Hyperactive when not getting enough physical activity
  • Prone to separation anxiety and destructive behavior
  • High grooming needs

Fun Facts About Spaniel Breeds

These dogs are beautiful, fun, and loving. Let’s check some more interesting facts about them:

  • The most popular Cocker Spaniel is Lady — the lead character in the 1955 Disney cartoon Lady and the Tramp.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs had lots of influence on King Charles II, and they were allowed to walk around any building they liked. They could even enter the Houses of Parliament.
  • President R. Reagan bought a Cavalier for his wife as a Christmas gift. They even gave the dog a job — turning on the Christmas lights with its paw. Also, this Spaniel dog lived in a designer’s doghouse with photos of its owners hanging on the walls.
  • Ruby is the name of an English Springer Spaniel trained to detect cash by the UK Border Force. In 2015, Ruby sniffed the handbag of Queen Elizabeth II. It didn’t sit down, meaning the Queen didn’t have any cash with her.
  • Some celebrities that owned English Springer Spaniels include George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Princess Grace, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • Many 19th century artworks feature Clumbers. They were first noticed in a 1788’s painting named “The Return From Shooting.”
  • Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, and King Edward VII were big fans of Clumber Spaniels.
  • Papillons can help you get rid of pests like rats.
  • The favorite pet of Queen Mary Antoinette was a Papillon named Coco. This mini Spaniel survived the French Revolution and died after 22 years of life. It even has a headstone you can go and see in France.
  • Papillons were an inspiration to many famous artists, including Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt, and Goya.
  • Lauren Bacall’s Papillon received $10,000 after her death in 2014.

From British court to art, Spaniel breeds leave marks wherever they go. No one can help falling in love with a Spaniel.

Spaniel Care Advice

Owning a dog isn’t just love and cuddles. When you welcome a new furry friend into your home, you should be ready to provide proper care, whether it belongs to the Spaniel breed list or not.

Every dog needs good meals, regular physical activity, grooming, and vet checks. So let’s see how to look after your Spaniel.

Feeding

Diet is crucial for ensuring your dog stays healthy throughout the years. And low-quality food doesn’t contain enough nutrients for good health.

For example, if you have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that’s prone to heart disease, you should know that a bad diet may be the cause. As ASPCA confirms, well-balanced dry food is a good choice for grown-up dogs.

It’s crucial to limit sharing human food with your pet as some ingredients can harm its health. Also, if your Spaniel dog gains weight quickly, consider getting a slow-feed dog bowl. Eating fast may lead to severe health issues. Plus, a study reported that one meal per day is healthier for dogs, and it might improve their cognitive function.

Exercise

All Spaniel breeds need regular physical activity. Exercise helps them burn calories and stimulate their minds. And this dog agility equipment set is awesome for indoor and outdoor activities.

Every dog is unique and requires a different level of activity, so find out more about your breed. Exercise helps dogs stay calm, while boredom may lead to destructive behavior. You should be extra careful if you have a Clumber Spaniel, Field Spaniel, or Brittany Spaniel.

Grooming

It’s crucial to keep your dog’s coat healthy and clean. Besides, some Spaniel dog breeds shed a lot. 

Always check your furry friend’s coat for ticks and fleas during hot summer days. Also, provide baths when necessary, but know that frequent bathing may have negative effects and harm your dog’s skin and coat.

Brushing is also essential. If you don’t brush a King Charles Spaniel regularly, debris can lead to an unpleasant odor. Besides, this royal coat needs proper maintenance to remain elegant.

During grooming, pay attention to the ears, especially if you have an English Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel. Pick a good ear cleaner for dogs to avoid unpleasant and painful infections.

Conclusion

Spaniels are excellent family pets. If socialized and trained from an early age, they get along with humans of all age groups. 

Knowing more about Spaniel breeds will help you get the best out of your dog’s hunting and loving nature. The only issue with these dogs is that they’re prone to a few health issues, but who isn’t? That shouldn’t stop you from adopting one. Just get it from a good breeder and run the necessary tests to check for diseases.

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