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Welsh Springer Spaniels: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Welsh Springer Spaniel temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Welsh Springer Spaniel dog breed

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is steadier, more sensible, and less exuberant than his cousin, the English Springer.

A hardy, vigorous worker in the field, the Welsh Springer Spaniel loves the outdoors and needs as much running, hiking, or biking exercise as you can provide.

Indoors he attaches himself with great devotion to his people. He is reserved with strangers, sometimes reticent, so he needs to be accustomed to people and noises at an early age. With other animals, he is peaceful and dependable.

Because of his independence and tendency to be easily distracted, the Welsh Springer Spaniel requires early training so that good habits are instilled right from the start.

However, he is physically and emotionally sensitive and "soft," so training should be done with a calm voice and a light hand on the leash. These gentle dogs wilt under rough handling.

Submissive urination (sudden wetting when excited or anxious) can be a problem in youngsters.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized, approximately between a Cocker Spaniel and an English Springer Spaniel
  • Has a pretty feathered coat
  • Is bouncy and playful and thrives on lots of exercise and athletic activities
  • Is physically and emotionally sensitive, a "soft" dog
  • Is not as outgoing or demonstrative as his English Springer cousin, yet is still polite and peaceful with everyone, including other animals
  • Responds well to training

A Welsh Springer Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
  • Timidity or shyness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Frequent brushing, combing, and trimming of the silky coat
  • Shedding
  • Excitable or submissive urination (tendency to dribble urine when excited or nervous)

A Welsh Springer Spaniel may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

More traits and characteristics of the Welsh Springer Spaniel

If I was considering a Welsh Springer Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Welsh Springer Spaniels are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become hyperactive and bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
  2. Potential separation anxiety. All of the spaniel breeds need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking.
  3. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Welsh Springer Spaniels need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness, which is difficult to live with. Teaching your Welsh Springer how to be confident with the world is essential. Learn how to socialize your dog on my Welsh Springer Spaniel Training page.
  4. Grooming. Coat care is a big responsibility when you own a Springer Spaniel. Especially an individual from show lines, since these dogs tend to have heavy coats with lots of feathering. Just think of all the mats and tangles that can form! You ward those off by catching them early, with weekly brushing and combing. Every couple of months, you (or a groomer) need to trim and clip the coat to keep it neat and sanitary.
  5. Shedding. Expect a lot!
  6. Potential health problems. Severe inherited epilepsy (seizures) is the major concern, along with hip and eye diseases. Read more about Welsh Springer Spaniel Health.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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