Officially recognized in the early 20th century, the English springer spaniel is as well known for its hunting abilities as it is for its loyalty and love of people. Coloring and body type may vary, as some of these dogs are bred purely for their hunting abilities and not their looks.
At first, the English springer spaniel and cocker spaniel were one in the same; the smaller cocker spaniels in the litter were used to hunt woodcock while the larger pups were used to spring game. It wasn't until 1902 that the Kennel Club of England separated the two. Selective breeding was used to maintain the springer's larger size.
Springers are known to be extremely friendly and always eager to please. Always enthusiastic, they can become overly enthusiastic and boisterous if not given enough exercise and time outside. In general, their willingness to obey commands and their eagerness to please their owners is conducive not only to family life but also to their time in the field. As a sporting breed, they shouldn't be aggressive toward other dogs as they often work with other dogs.
Although they were built to be outside and enjoy the field, this breed's love for humans makes them equally as suitable as a family pet. As a general rule, they are good with all members of the family, other pets included. An energetic and playful breed, the English springer will enjoy almost any activity in which it gets to spend time with its humans. Playing outdoors should be a daily occurrence for these exuberant dogs, and getting dirty is one thing they'll cherish while playing.
Like many other sporting breeds, springer spaniels are smart and eager to learn. Their sometimes-excessive energy can be calmed down with thorough training, partially because they are always willing to obey commands. As a field dog, training is more thorough than it is for being a family dog, although a springer will excel at either "job."
- english springer spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com