The “outdoor dog” from Great Britain – this is how the likable Welsh Springer Spaniel can be described briefly and aptly. The “Welshie” – as breed fans affectionately call him – is a bundle of energy and would love to spend the whole day outdoors with his people. Whether swimming, hiking, or cycling: With a Welsh Springer Spaniel you always have a cheerful, intelligent, and affectionate companion at your side!
English dog breed with a long tradition
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is one of the oldest known and surviving dog breeds in the world. Some family trees can be traced back 400 years. The always cheerful spaniels were bred in Wales on the British Isles. Unfortunately, its beginnings and original breeds are unknown, but it is clear that the “Welsh Spaniel” or “Welsh Cocker” was bred as a working and hunting dog with family connections as early as the 16th century. Every Welsh family that was allowed to hunt kept at least one Welsh as a ‘gundog’. This term refers to retrievers and scavenger dogs that chase game out of the bushes and later find and bring them back. Since the handy hunting dogs came into daily contact with other people, children, and farm animals of all kinds, a well-balanced character and friendliness were breeding criteria from the start. That hasn’t changed to this day. Even if you hardly find working Welsh Springer Spaniels, the breed has remained true to the disposition and nature of the animals.
Nature of the Welsh Springer Spaniel
Most Welshies have an incomparable temperament. They are affectionate, affectionate, and friendly to all two- and four-legged friends. They are considered extremely playful, curious, and intelligent. As hunting dogs that worked alongside their human, Welsh Spaniels had to be easy to lead and train. They still have this “will to please” – the willingness to cooperate with their human – to this day. They are always ready to learn, play or do something for their human. It is therefore difficult for some Welsh Spaniels to stay alone.
As scavenger dogs, Welsh Springer Spaniels often show a distinct interest in small animals and games. Their hunting instinct is noticeable, but can often be easily regulated with a little training.
Its high energy level makes the Welshie a lively, never-tiring companion for active people. At the same time, it harbors the risk of overrevving. In the daily workload, the owner must therefore always weigh up which activities exhaust the dog without overtaxing it mentally.
Upbringing and attitude
The Welsh Springer Spaniel needs a lot of exercise, space, and workload. Many breeders therefore only give their puppies to dog owners in the countryside. A large, fenced yard comes in handy for keeping the curious, lively dogs busy.
Long, steady movement such as cycling, jogging, or horseback riding suits active hunting dogs without making them excited. They are very enthusiastic about fast dog sports such as agility or dog dancing, but can easily overreact. Tasks in which they can use their noses are particularly exciting for the search dogs. Mantrailing or simply looking for treats in the leaves or the bark of trees in the forest fulfills the desire for nose work and mentally exercises the Welshie wonderfully.
The balance, caused by a pleasant degree of self-confidence, to face the environment without fear, and at the same time a lack of aggressiveness, is in the blood of the bright spaniels. Nevertheless, it is important to socialize them well, otherwise, behavioral problems such as nervousness, fear-aggression, or frustration barking can occur. Taking your Welsh Springer Spaniel to puppy playgroups and then to dog school will set the stage for your Welshie to grow into a well-socialized, confident dog.
To control the urge to hunt, it pays to start early with impulse control and frustration tolerance exercises. The tasks help these dogs, endowed with exuberant enthusiasm, to develop their self-control and to react calmly in new situations.
The treat game is a simple game that trains these important skills in the first few weeks at home: Sit with your puppy on the floor and put a treat on your leg or hand. If your puppy wants to grab the treat, cover it with your hand and wait. At first, he will try to achieve it, but sooner or later he will sit down and think. Raise your hand and say a word to release the treat. Your pup will soon understand that calmness will get them where they want to be. Now you can put the treat in other places and train his patience and self-control.
Grooming the Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel’s silky soft hair is relatively high-maintenance. It should be cleaned and brushed thoroughly on a regular basis or even daily, depending on how you walk it and the degree of matting. Special attention is paid to the longer hair on the chest, belly, legs, and tail. If the dog was in the water for a walk, the fur should be dried thoroughly to avoid skin diseases. The ears also need special care: due to their length, they hang slightly in the food bowl. They must be washed off daily after eating to avoid adhesions and secondary diseases.
Characteristics and health
Unsurprisingly, the Welsh Springer Spaniel has become a family pet in recent years. Most representatives of this breed love children and can also learn to live with other animal family members. Decisive – in addition to consistent training and the right socialization – is the choice of a responsible breeder. If the four-legged offspring is to move into a family with children, it is worth looking for a breeder where the puppies experience the noisy family life at an early age.
Buying from a reputable breeder also provides good conditions for a healthy, strong puppy. Tests are carried out on most of the known diseases typical of the breed in the course of breeding preparation in order to rule them out.
With good care, plenty of exercises, and appropriate feeding, Welsh Springer Spaniels can live up to 15 years.