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Someone mentions a spaniel and almost simultaneously, the first image in your head will be of a dog with long ears and soulful eyes. And almost definitely, the spaniel will be a golden brown color. But don’t stop there… Because this is just the power of popular culture. In reality, there is a lot more to spaniels.
First introduced as gun dogs, there is plenty of confusion regarding the origins of spaniels. First off, there is speculation that the name spaniel itself is an indication that this breed originated from Spain.
Other researchers, however, feel that spaniel breeds came from the Asian region. Eventually, they moved west, towards Europe and the rest of the world.
In any case, spaniels have been recorded as being around since the fourteenth century. The ancestral breeds which gave rise to the spaniel breed, have been around for even longer.
Initially, spaniels were mostly used as gun dogs and were very popular with people who enjoyed hunting. However, since the 1600s, this breed of dogs progressed to interacting with humans in many different ways.
Different types of spaniels were now considered as being good for appearances at dog shows, as flushing dogs and even as pets and companions.
Today, more than anything else, spaniel dogs are loved for being wonderful pets and companions. Interestingly, the long-haired cocker spaniel is one of the most popular spaniel breeds in the world.
12 Types of Spaniels Breeds
There are over twenty species of spaniels, and while they are all loving dogs, each spaniel type has its own unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.
1. American Cocker Spaniel
The two main breeds of Cocker Spaniel include the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel.
The Merry Cocker, Cocker Spaniel, and Cocker are all synonyms for the American Cocker Spaniel, which is a breed native to the United States. Since the English Cocker Spaniel is its progenitor, this spaniel breed is remarkably similar to its English ancestor.
It’s a tiny to medium-sized dog that’s been bred as a watchdog, as well as an accomplice for hunting and tracking.
This particular breed of dog originated in Wisconsin in the nineteenth century and is endemic to the United States, notably the Upper Midwest’s lake area. The English Water Spaniel and the Irish Water Spaniel are the ancestors of the American Water Spaniel.
This being a medium-sized spaniel stands somewhere between 15 and 18 inches tall and weighs between 25 and 45 pounds. It lives for an average of 10 to 13 years and is consistently brown in color.
2. English Cocker Spaniel
The cocker spaniel is the most popular and well-known spaniel in the world. It has often been represented in movies as well as children’s cartoons as being the best companion and show dog one could want.
The size of the dog changes depending on whether the dog in question is a show dog or an average, work dog. Show spaniel dogs are usually shorter than the average work dog.
Spaniels also have distinctively droopy ears. Again, depending on whether it is a show dog or not, the size of the ears can vary also. Show dogs have visibly longer ears when compared with a working dog.
Their fur is also longer with more feathering than the average working-type dog which has a shorter and finer coat.
This is because the show strain has been bred to conform to the standard of show dog spaniels.
However, for both strains of dogs, the texture of the fur is both fine and silky.
If you’re thinking about getting a cocker spaniel, I’d suggest you watch this video!
3. The American Water Spaniel
The American water spaniel was bred in Wisconsin, United States during the 19th century. It is a spectacle of modern genetic engineering how the Irish water spaniel and the English water spaniel were used to produce a local variety of the breed in the United States.
The American water spaniel has a jaggy appearance due to its thick waterproof coat of fur and its dense, padded paws.
This particular spaniel breed has a webbing toe structure which allows the spaniel to be ideal for running and swimming. Due to these strengths, the American water spaniel is every gun man’s ideal choice.
This spaniel breed is rather a common pet in the States owing to the fact the American water spaniel is generally a very pleasant, joyful, and enthusiastic creature, as well as being extremely skillful and resistant.
4. Springer Spaniel
The Springer Spaniel is another hunting breed of dog that is mostly known for its stamina and its ability to spend long hours in the fields as they hunt alongside their human partners. Not only are they able to hunt well, but they are also cute and loving pets to have in the house.
5. Field Spaniel
With a life span of 18-20 years, Field dogs are another breed that originates from England.
Traditionally, field dogs were used as retrieving dogs that would collect any game that had been shot, both on land and water.
However, in this modern age, Field Spaniels are most used as show dogs.
6. English Springer Spaniel
Bred in the 1800s and a native of the UK, the English Springer Spaniel consists of two ‘sub-breeds;’ the dogs that were bred for everyday work and the show dogs.
The work dogs have a fur coat of hair that is short and coarse. The second sub-breed of this dog has longer and finer hair and is mostly a show dog.
The average height of this breed is 18-21 inches and it weighs anywhere between 35 to 45 pounds. The former is generally used as flushing dogs during hunting.
7. Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber dog is one of the quietest breeds of hunting, spaniel dogs that exist in our world today.
Indoors, it is one of the quietest breed of spaniels that would prefer to curl up and snooze in some quiet corner rather than create a disturbance in the house. Its muscular body, however, makes it the perfect hunting dog in areas where there is a lot of brushwood.
8. Sussex Spaniel
Originating from England, the Sussex spaniel bares a lot of resemblance to the clumber spaniel. This was originally bred in the 18th century.
The Sussex spaniels grow to a height of about 12 to 14 inches and end up weighing around 35 to 45 lbs. Living an average of 11 to 12 years this breed is a delight to have as a pet.
This breed is distinguished by a thick, double coat that is wavy and has a magnificent golden, reddish-brown color. They have a keen sense of smell, making them perfect for search and rescue operations.
Sussex Spaniels are frequently classified as “huge” due to their hefty bone and rather a deep chest. The Sussex spaniels are a rather playful and friendly breed. They are generally considered cheerful and joyous due to their large hazel eyes that gleefully portray affection and liveliness.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/English Toy Spaniel
If the name, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel brought the image of British history to your mind then you may not be too far off as this dog breed is tied to the great history of Britain. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel was initially bred in the United Kingdom and has since been the pinnacle of elegance and majesty.
It is this breed’s grace and elegance that has earned it the title of Cavalier King Charles spaniel. A royal name for an elegantly royal breed though at times this breed is also referred to as the English toy spaniel or just toy spaniel for short.
The English toy spaniel grows to a height of about 11 to 13 inches while weighing between 13 to 17 lbs. The toy spaniel is an exquisite little pet with a lifespan of 9 to 13 years.
Though the English toy spaniel is generally kept by dog owners as an indoor pet, the spaniel dog does display vivid interest and excellence in outdoor activities. It is believed by many that these traits may have carried over from their spaniel ancestors.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has large, distinctive round eyes. These large round eyes, along with their characteristic thick, silky coat of fur is what sets this breed apart from other spaniel breeds.
This toy spaniel breed greatly enjoys outdoor activities and is an adorable treat for the eyes. It is probably best suited as a kid’s pet because of its enthusiasm for running, playing, and other outdoor activities.
10. German Spaniel
The ‘Deutscher Wachtelhund’ is another name for a German Spaniel. This breed’s name has roots in the fact that German Spaniels were once employed to hunt quails, therefore its German name translates to “quail” in English.
The German Spaniel stands between 17 and 20 inches tall and weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. They originated in Germany, as the name implies, and their usual lifespan is 11 to 14 years.
Standing as strong sturdy creatures the German spaniel dogs are all that they seem and more. With their immense stamina, strength, and adaptability, this breed is often well suited as a gun dog breed.
Their thick long brown coat with white patches is one of their most distinguishing characteristics. Their strong and substantial physique, as well as their keen sense of smell, make them a good choice for tracking and investigation.
11. Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh springer spaniel is one dog breed with a bit of history attached to it. This breed almost went extinct, however, luckily was re-bred sometime in the twentieth century. The Welsh springer has since gained a reputation in modern society as a trial dog.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Welsh Cocker Spaniel’, the welsh springer has an average height of 16 to 18 inches and an average weight between 35 and 40 lbs. This house pet is capable of living an average of 12 to 15 years.
Two of the breed’s most distinguishing qualities are a magnificent glossy coat with striking red-white stripes and a slightly tapered head that distinguishes it from other types of spaniel breeds.
This breed’s coat is not only attractive, but also windproof, waterproof, and thornproof, making them the most adaptable of the Spaniel breeds. This is also why this dog is an excellent choice for usage in a variety of climates and terrains.
12. Boykin Spaniel
Though this spaniel dog is considered by experts as a medium-sized spaniel dog, it still sports a rather hefty and muscular look. This particular dog breed was first developed in South Carolina in the early twentieth century.
Though this spaniel dog is considered by experts as a medium-sized spaniel dog, it still sports a rather hefty and muscular look.
This particular dog breed was developed in South Carolina in the early twentieth century for the purpose of hunting turkeys. The Boykin spaniel is famous as a retrieving and flushing dog species and, despite its tiny size, is an excellent swimmer.
Boykin Spaniels stand between 13 and 16 inches in height and weigh between 24 and 39 pounds. They live for 13 to 16 years on average, standing tall and mighty for most of their lives.
The Boykin spaniel is a highly social, adventurous, and lively dog breed. They were recently discovered to be just as much fun at home as they are at the lakes and hunting grounds and have thus made an impact as house pets.
The most distinguishing feature that these adorable little balls of fluff possess is their solid brown coat. That paired with their high dangling, velvety ears, bouncing around their face makes them an adorable spectacle and easy to differentiate from other spaniel dogs.
The Boykin spaniel is widely considered an absolute beast in the field and hunting grounds as well as the cutest family friend for any dog family.
Spaniel Breed’s Trademark Characteristics
There are some characteristics that set the spaniel breed apart from all other dog breeds.
The first of these is their size. Spaniels are small dogs, usually average-medium or short in size. They also have ears that droop and are longer than the usual length for other dog breeds.
The coat hair is very fine in texture and is long and wavy. This long hair particularly covers the ears, leg, thigh, and tail regions.
Spaniels are considered ultra-intelligent, very obedient, loving, and lovely… all of which are qualities that anyone would want in their pet companion. For this reason, spaniels are not only highly prized, they are the best companions that one could hope for.
Imagine going home to an empty house… turn the key in the lock and push the door open. Even at the end of a long, hard day toiling at work, the only thing to greet and appreciate you is… silence. Until that is, a ball of flying fur and spaniel energy comes flying out of some inner corner of your house and leaps into your arms.
Being a pet dog owner can be one of the most rewarding experiences that you could hope for. You have an amazing companion who loves, trusts, and looks up to you unconditionally. Even better, you now have someone who will share all your lonely hours with.
It is not without reason that dogs are called ‘man’s best friend.’ The unconditional love and affection our furry friends give us is reason enough to love them back with that same selflessness.