Welsh Springer Spaniel vs. English Springer Spaniel

September 18, 2022

Spaniels often get confused and compared between different varieties and breeds. Just like American and English Cockers are not the same, the same principle applies to the types of Springer Spaniels.

Perhaps you’ve grown up with Spaniels or are thinking of adding one to the family, but you don’t know the main differences between the Welsh Springer Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel. While they are both considered ‘Springer Spaniels’ these two breeds are completely different from one another.

Here’s a total breakdown of the differences, and a comprehensive comparison, between the Welsh Springer Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel.

First of All, What is a Springer Spaniel?

When most people think of the spaniel breeds, they usually think of Springer Spaniels. They’re the largest of the spaniel breeds in both weight and size. They were originally bred to be gun and fetch dogs.

If adequately trained, they can retrieve game in virtually any setting. They earned their ‘Springer’ title, by the way, they ‘spring’ into action when it comes to hunting or fetching game for their owners.

Springer Spaniels are not afraid to get down and dirty when they have their eyes on the prize. They additionally make wonderful hunting dogs as well. Since they were bred this way, it’s important to remember that Springer Spaniels are incredibly active breeds and need equally active homes.

Springer Spaniels are known for being very loyal, active, and eager to please their owners. They make wonderful workout buddies and will be happy to do any job! They need lots of physical and mental stimulation to lead happy and healthy lives.

History of the Welsh Springer Spaniel

The Welsh Springer Spaniel we know today was bred as a hunting dog in Wales sometime in the 13th century. Though today, they’re classified as a ‘sporting’ breed by the American Kennel Club. They are considered the oldest Spaniel breed.

History of the English Springer Spaniel

While dogs that look nearly identical to the English Springer Spaniel can be spotted in prominent 16th-century art, their cut and clear history couldn’t be traced until the 19th century. In 1812, the wealthy Bougheys of Shropshire bred an English Springer Spaniel and continued to do so into the 1900s.  Both were bred to hunt and fetch game for their owners.

It was not until 1902 that the AKC recognised the English Springer Spaniel as a breed.

Today, they make wonderful companions no matter if you are looking for a companion dog or a working dog. You will find the English Springer are very devoted to their owners.


While both breeds were bred to hunt and fetch game, and both are considered ‘Springer Spaniels,’ their appearance vastly differs from one another. 

Welsh Springer Spaniels generally come in the same solid colour/colouring: white with red or brown patches. They have a medium-length coats with straight hair. Their grooming needs are moderate, with occasional trims and frequent brushing essential. Males tend to weigh between 40 and 45 pounds, whereas females tend to weigh between 35 to 40 pounds. Males stand 19 inches tall on average, whereas females stand 18 inches tall generally.

English Springer Spaniels have medium-length coats as well, much like their Welsh counterparts. Fully grown, they stand about 19 to 20 inches tall and can weigh anywhere between 40 and 50 pounds. Their top coat is typically very glossy. They can be black, white, blue, or tri-colour.


Like most breeds of dogs, every breed can struggle with certain health issues. Specifically, Both the Welsh Springer Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel have a history of developing the following health issues:

Hip dysplasia

This is common in most large dog breeds. It’s a genetic joint condition that involves the formation of abnormal hip joints. It can lead to immobility, pain, and arthritis. In some cases, surgery may be needed to improve ease of function.

Sight/vision problems

Eye issues are also common with this breed. Issues include Retinal Dysplasia, Entropion, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Phosphofructokinase (PFK) Deficiency

Rare, but can happen occasionally, this is a condition where the body fails to organically produce the critical enzyme that’s used to break down glucose. It can cause muscle cramps and anaemia.


A neurological disorder that causes seizures and loss of consciousness.

All in all, both the Welsh Springer Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel can be afflicted by the same conditions but do have better overall health than many other breeds such as Pugs, Boxers, and English Bulldogs.

Life Expectancy

Both English and Welsh Springer Spaniels have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. This can be far longer if they are well taken care of.

English Springer Spaniel Temperament

Aside from appearance, this is where the Welsh and English Springer Spaniels differ most. Both are sporting and hunting breeds and are seldom used for protection or guarding purposes.

However, they both differ in the way they take to strangers. The English Springer Spaniel is highly social. They are very open to new people, especially when properly socialized at a young age.

They’re highly affectionate with their families and are generally considered to be good with other dogs. They’re also very adaptable and love to play!

Welsh Springer Spaniel Temperament

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is much more adverse to strangers. They’re highly protective of their families, making them great options for multi-pet households and young children. They’re very affectionate and eager to please.

While they aren’t great with strangers, they will completely open themselves up to their families. Early socialization is key with this breed.

All in all, both share very similar characteristics when it comes to training and physical needs. Both are eager to please their owners, are highly intelligent and thrive off physical activity to feel their best.

They also require lots of mental stimulation. Big, open spaces are great for both Springer Spaniels.


Another way that English and Welsh Springer Spaniels differ is in popularity. The American Kennel Club have a ranking that rates the popularity of different dog breeds where English Springers ranked 26th and Welsh Springer ranked 126th.

These rankings make clear that the English variation of the Springer Spaniel is far more popular than the male.


Intelligence is another area where the two types of Springer Spaniel are a bit different. Taking data from a study that rated dogs by how smart they were we can see the English Springer Spaniel wins again being ranked as the 13th smartest dog while the Welsh Springer came in 41st.


Comparatively, there are some noticeable differences between the Welsh and English Springer Spaniels.

While both were bred to serve similar purposes, their main differences boil down to their appearance and temperaments. If you live in an area with access to wide open spaces, or if you have a family, either breed will make a wonderful addition to your home. 

It’s important to note that both breeds probably won’t adapt to city or apartment life well. These breeds need to be run and have access to physical and mental stimuli. However, both will make wonderful additions to existing families!

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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