English and Welsh springer spaniels are both very similar breeds but, unlike the belief of some people, are actually classed as entirely different varieties. They are from a long line of Spaniels and have been differentiated through generations of breeding.
While they both have their similarities and differences (as well as advantages and disadvantages), they are equally excellent breeds that are wonderful to have as companions.
So what is the difference between a Welsh springer and an English springer? Read on to find out more!
Difference in Origin
It has been said that, by looking at their lineage, most spaniels of all varieties can be traced back to Spain in the 14th century, where they were named either ‘land spaniels’ or ‘water spaniels.’
Over the years, springers have been split down into smaller groups of breeds, such as springer spaniels, who were named for their ability to “spring game” and are now seen as either Welsh springer spaniels or English springer spaniels, based on which part of the UK they were most popular.
Both English and Welsh springers were classed as the same thing for a long time because they would often be bred together.
In the early 1900s, the American Kennel Club officially recognized them as two separate species for show work and professional competitions.
Difference Between a Welsh Springer and an English Springer in Appearance
The reason that English and Welsh springers were recognized as one breed for such a long time was down to their similar appearances. However, the finer details are what make these two unique.
Once you’ve learned the subtle differences, it is actually relatively easy to see the difference between a Welsh springer spaniel and an English springer.
For a start, the two breeds come in different average sizes. A male English Springer Spaniel can grow up to 56cm in height, whereas the Welsh Spaniel male will be a shorter average of around 48cm. As for what they weigh, both the English and Welsh springer spaniel males are often up to 25kg.
However, in terms of proportion, Welsh springer spaniels have a larger weight compared to their height, probably because they have long bodies and naturally rounder stomachs.
English springer spaniels seem to tower over the Welsh because they have longer legs – in fact, they have the largest average leg length of all the springer spaniel families.
In terms of recognisability, looking at a spaniel’s coat is the best way to determine whether the dog is a Welsh springer or an English one. For the English variety, fur is softer and thinner, with more flyaway wisps and feathering, particularly along the underbelly and ears.
They come in a wider variety of colors than Welsh springers, with black, white, tan, and roan being in the mix – you will also find that they are more likely to have a mixture of these and some spots or ticks as well.
In contrast, Welsh spaniels have a flatter, more straight coat. There is lots more feathering around the legs and tail, and welsh springers often have curlier ears than English springers as well.
These dogs will only come in two colors, which is where the main difference between a Welsh springer spaniel and an English springer lies, and these are red and white or sometimes both. You will find that the color of the coat is much richer and lighter than an English springer.
Difference in temperament
With personality, English and Welsh springers have quite a lot of similarities as well as differences. While some of these are attributes you may want, others are things you could be looking to avoid, so this is something to consider before acquiring a springer spaniel.
If you are looking to train your dog, then the best way to avoid bad habits is through promoting training earlier in development.
- Both are very active breeds – will need around 2 hours per day of exercise
- Both are loyal to their families, eager to please, and very affectionate
- Both are very comfortable living in a house with people of all ages and are not generally aggressive towards other pets if trained to live with them
- Welsh springers are not shy but are also less outgoing than English springer spaniels and can sometimes be anxious or quiet around new people – this changes once they become more familiar.
- English springers are not loud dogs, but they are more likely to bark at strangers entering the house because of their more boisterous personalities – this is overexcitement more than fear or anger, so no need to panic as training can make it an easy fix.
Difference in Health
English and Welsh springer spaniels have relatively similar life expectancies of around 12 – 16 years. They can also experience the same health problems as each other, like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and recurring ear infections due to their long ears.
They can both experience problems with their eyes, such as infections and deterioration, but there is one condition that will only affect Welsh springers:
Glaucoma GONIODYSGENESIS: This is an eye infection that causes welsh spaniels to slowly lose their eyesight if it goes untreated, but it is a problem that very rarely affects English springers as compared to the level of Welsh Spaniels picking up the disease.
ELBOW DYSPLASIA – while this can be found in Welsh springer spaniels, it mainly only affects the English breed. It is a condition that causes the elbow joint to grow and develop outside of its socket during young puppyhood.
So, what is the difference between a Welsh springer spaniel and an English springer spaniel? They have their similarities and differences in health, appearance, and personality, and some are good while others are not what you would hope for.
However, despite their indifferences, both springer spaniel breeds are loving companions and will be loyal and, for the most part, well-behaved dogs for as long as you have them.