Ever wondered how Spaniels got this unique and interesting name? Some researchers assume that this breed of gun dogs originated in Spain which is how they got their name. A few others debate that Spaniels initially originated in Asia after which they moved to Europe and further to the west side.
Spaniels are believed to go as far back as the 14th century however; their ancestral breeds are believed to go even further than that. While they are commonly used as gun dogs, they were divided into various categories later during the 17th century.
Soon after that, there were show dogs, land game retrievers, flushing dogs and dogs for pet and companionship.
Interestingly enough, Spaniels are modern-day popular pets and among all their different breed types, the Cocker Spaniel is the most popular choice of pet among majority of the population.
The fact that some scholars believe Spaniels have a Spanish origin is often backed by the fact that the word ‘Spaniel’ apparently originates from ‘espaigneul’ which is basically an Old French version that means “Spanish dog”.
Additionally, espaigneul is believed to have come from the word ‘Hispaniolus’ which, in turn, is Latin for Spanish. Considering this theory, it is highly probable that Spaniels have originated from Spain.
However, on the flipside, many others beg to differ and say that it was the Celts that basically introduced these dogs to Spain when they were moving there. A third theory suggests that Spaniels originated from Middle East.
Regardless of the origin of the Spaniel breed, they seem to have gained quite popularity ever since they came into existence.
How to Identify a Spaniel?
Some of the most common and obvious characteristics of the Spaniel dog breed include an average medium to small size, droopy ears and quite fine, silky and wavy long hair, that is, the coat.
They also have surprisingly long and full ears with beautifully waved hair that also extend to their legs, thighs and the tail.
Spaniels are said to possess some great innate qualities like sheer intelligence, obedience, liveliness, and profound affection for those around them, all which make them highly prized and special as companions.
NOTE: We also have a guide dedicated to chihuahuas which you can check out here.
Types of Spaniels
Below is a list of different types of Spaniels that exist in today’s time, some that are quite famous as pets and others are hunters’ top choice for hunting, flushing and all sorts of dog sports.
American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is native to the USA and is known by several other names including Merry Cocker, Cocker Spaniel and Cocker. This breed of spaniel is very similar to the English Cocker Spaniel since the latter is its ancestor. It is typically a small to medium sized dog that is bred as a watchdog, and also for hunting and tracking purposes.
The average height of the American Cocker Spaniel goes up to 13 to 15.5 inches and it weighs around 23 to 30 lbs that makes about 11 to 15 kg. They are said to have a very joyful, merry, trusting and outgoing temperament which also makes them excellent pets.
One of the most defining features of the American Cocker Spaniel is their round head with super fluffy and long ears that fall on either side of their head.
American Water Spaniel
This dog breed was first bred in Wisconsin in the 19th Century and is native to the USA, particularly the lake country of the Upper Midwest. The breed of the American Water Spaniel descends from those of the English Water Spaniel and the Irish Water Spaniel.
It is a medium sized spaniel that grows to an average height of 15 to 18 inches and weighs around 25 to 45 lbs. it has an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years and is usually always brown in color.
The American Water Spaniel has a dense and waterproof coat with thickly padded feet and webbed toes which is why they are originally bred for hunting purposes and to swim in the icy waters of the Great Lakes region.
Some of their key personality characteristics are that they can be very charming, happy and eager and are also super skilled and resistant.
Blue Picardy Spaniel
This is quite a rare Spaniel breed that is native to France and first appeared in the region around the Somme River during the 20th century. They are also said to be the descendants of the English Setter and the Picardy Spaniel. Some of their other common names include Bleu Picard and Épagneul Bleu de Picardie.
The Blue Picardy Spaniel reaches an average height of 22 to 24 inches and weighs around 42 to 45 lbs, making it quite a large dog where most of its height comes from its long legs. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years and are primarily bred to be used as hunting dogs as they work really well on rugged terrains and even as a flush in the water.
They are said to be super active, playful, adaptable and gentle which means they can also be kept as pets.
This medium-sized spaniel was first bred in South Carolina in the early 20th century with the primary purpose to hunt turkeys. They are popular as retrieving and flushing dogs and are excellent at swimming, given their small size.
Boykin Spaniels sport an average height of 13 to 16 inches and typically weigh around 24 to 39 lbs which is about 11 to 18 kg. They have an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years and have a tendency to appear as super heavy and muscular.
They are extremely friendly, outdoorsy and energetic and have lately found to be an equal delight at home as much as they are in the lakes and hunting grounds. One of their most hallmark features is their solid-brown coat with large, feathery ears that hang in close proximity with their cheeks.
The Boykin Spaniel is said to be “an absolute tiger in the field and a very sweet dog to have around the family.”
Originally bred as gundogs, Brittany Spaniels are known to be super smart, agile, energetic and easier to train compared to several other Spaniel breeds. Initially known as “Brittany Spaniels”, the word “spaniel” was removed from this breed’s name in 1982.
Their country of origin is France and they have a lifespan of 13 to 15 years. The Brittany Spaniel grows to a height of 17 to 21 inches and weighs about 30 to 40 lbs. Their medium size greatly attracts sportsmen for hunting and dog sports purposes and to families to be kept as pets.
The beauty of this breed lies in their bold, patterned coat that comes in beautiful combinations of white, bright orange and reddish-brown. They make an excellent choice for all those looking for an all-in-one dog with great hunting skills, companionship and a true teammate for all kinds of dog sports.
Interestingly, these dogs are quite task-oriented and feel the need to be active and exuberant so you can’t expect them to come running to you and lie at your feet when you come home from work!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
As the name suggests, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel holds a connection to the British history. This breed is native to the United Kingdom and is considered to be an all-rounder with true beauty and regal grace.
The average height of this dog is 11 to 13 inches and the average weight goes around 13 to 17 lbs. They have a lifespan of 9 to 13 years and are often referred to as a ‘toy spaniel.’
While this breed of spaniels is usually kept as great pets and companions, they actually display quite a sporty nature that seems to have carried forward from their spaniel ancestors.
They have large round eyes which are one of their most distinctive features and give a very sweet, melting expression on their adorable face. Another great hallmark feature is rich and silk colored coat that sets it apart from other breeds.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is great at hiking, numerous dog sports and greatly enjoys running on the beach.
This is a famous British Spaniel breed that was a royal favorite for several decades. They are native to the UK and are believed to be super vulnerable.
The Clumber Spaniel is often referred to as a “mellow and dignified hunting companion of the kings” and has heavy bone with a massive-sized head. Its average height is 13 to 16 inches and it weighs to an average of 24 to 39 lbs, almost 11 to 18 kg.
This breed is built to be able to push through covers in the field and hunt wildfowl on harsh terrains, resulting in a “clumber movement”, hence their breed name, “Clumber Spaniel”.
Unlike many other spaniel breeds, the coat of the Clumber Spaniel is straight and flat that often comes in white and yellow color with brown or orange freckle-like spots.
This breed is famous for its outdoorsy nature when they are on the field but can be super easygoing and sweet when they are home. Some of their favorite activities include fetching and swimming which makes them excellent, sturdy playmates.
English Cocker Spaniel
Known as “Cocker Spaniel” in the United States, the English Cocker Spaniel is native to Great Britain, England and most fans of this breed often describe them as “merry” mainly due to the fact that they have a happy disposition.
The name “cocker” comes from the fact that these dogs were used to hunt woodcock in England.
This is a medium-sized breed with an average height of 14 to 16 inches and average weight of 28 to 30 lbs. They are adorably sweet and mellow at home while super energetic and upbeat out in the fields. This dog is greatly admired and loved for its irresistible handsome looks and charming personality.
Some their distinctive features are their rich, silk coat, softly contoured head, puppy eyes and a highly dignified expression. In terms of temperament and personality, the English Cocker Spaniel is extremely friendly, loving, optimistic, active and also highly intelligent.
English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel was first bred in the 19th century and is native to the UK. There are two kinds of this breed; one with short and coarse coats that are meant to be used for working and other type is with big ears and soft coats and is primarily meant for shows.
This breed of spaniels grows to a height of 18 to 20 inches and weighs around 35 to 45 lbs. Its average lifespan is 11 to 14 years. This dog was originally bred as a gun dog to spring and flush in the field but they also make excellent companions and pets. They are known to actively participate in hunting tests and thoroughly enjoy camping and hiking activities.
The name “springer” comes from the way these dogs “spring” at hunting games or in various other dog sports and also the way they move with a smooth, ground-covering stride.
One of their interesting characteristics is their strong sense of smell which is the main reason why they are often also used as police dogs and as sniffers in several rescue and search missions. Their favorite pastime include swimming, long walks and playing games of fetching and chasing.
English Toy Spaniel
Also called “King Charles Spaniel”, this famous dog has been given the nickname “charlies” after the King Charles II who really loved and adored this breed. This is a widely recognized British breed that first appeared in 16th century and has held quite a reputation in the English court for several centuries.
This dog grows to a height of 9-11 inches and weighs no more than 14 pounds. They are commonly used as companion dogs and have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Due to their small size and lack of stamina and energy, the English Toy Spaniel is not apt for hunting purposes.
They are small-sized and compact with square bodies, long fringed ears, a doomed head and a rich silky coat. Even their tail has a glossy silky covering, making it one of their most distinctive features.
Their silk coats contain 4 different varieties with individual unique names including red and white called “Blenheim”, solid red called “Ruby”, black and tan called “King Charles” and black, white and tan coat called “Prince Charles”.
The fact the English Toy Spaniels have a royal origin, they can tend to exhibit characteristics that are similar to their noble owners.
For instance, these dogs can often display great pride and willfulness, while also being discriminatory in terms of choosing friends. However, they can be equally affectionate and friendly around those that they love and favor.
At one point in time, Field Spaniel was popularly used as a retrieving dog that was supposed to retrieve game from water or land, however, in today’s time, they are particularly meant for ‘show dogs’. Although they are still equally skilled at hunting, this breed has tuned into more of a pet and companion dog and is rarely seen out in the fields.
Field Spaniels have originated from England and have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They grow to a height of 16 to 18 inches and gain an average weight around 40 to 55 lbs. They also bear strong resemblance to Springer, Cocker and Sussex Spaniels.
Interestingly, till the 1900s, Spaniels were divided into categories according to their weight. So given that a spaniel puppy grew beyond 25 pounds, he was classified as a Field Spaniel. If the puppy weighed less than 25 pounds, he was called a Cocker Spaniel.
Field Spaniels are known to be super active and require their daily dose of exercise and physical activity. They are also very sensitive and sweet which makes them ideal as pets and companions.
German Spaniels are also called the ‘Deutscher Wachtelhund’. This breed got its name due to the fact that German Spaniels were used to hunt quails in old times so its German name translates to “quail” in English.
The German Spaniel reaches an average height of 17 to 20 inches and weighs about 45 to 65 lbs. As the name suggests, they have originated from Germany and their average lifespan is 11 to 14 years.
They are primarily used as hunting dogs due to their increased strength, stamina and versatility. One of their most noticeable features is their thick long brown coat that often has white spots. They have a sturdy and solid build along with a great sense of smell, making them an excellent choice for tracking and investigating.
Irish Water Spaniel
This is a native Irish spaniel breed that originates from Ireland and has also appeared in folklore. It grows to a height of 20 to 23 inches and weighs almost 55 to 65 lbs.
One of their most distinctive and unique features is their coat which is super curly and sports a reddish-brown live color that shines in the lights and appears as a gorgeous shade of purple.
The Irish Water Spaniel was originally bred as a water retriever but has gone on to being used as excellent, fun companions especially for those dog owners who are super active and experienced. This is because this breed can be extremely headstrong and often prefers to be an independent thinker which is why it is not suitable for inexperienced or first time pet owners.
This is an Old French breed that is also referred to as “Continental Toy Spaniel” and has originated from France.
Papillion dog is an extremely small-sized dog that grows to a height of 7-11 inches and weighs about 6 to 9 lbs. Despite its small size, you can spot this dog even from a distance because it has super large winged shaped ears. It is these very ears that give the dog its name where Papillion is French for ‘butterfly’.
These dogs go way back in time as they were often showcased in Renaissance paintings and were also popularly used as lapdogs among the higher classes.
Papillion dogs are considerably quite elegant and delicate with long, silky coats and spiral tails. They are known to be lively, energetic, alert and friendly which make them the best agility dogs who excitedly take part in all sorts of dog sports.
Pont Audemer Spaniel
This is a French Spaniel breed that originated in the 19th century and is believed to be quite a rare breed. It was originally bred for hunting purposes and don’t hold quite the reputation as a family pet or companion.
The Pont Audemer Spaniel has an average height of 19 to 22 inches and weighs around 55 to 60 lbs. it has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. It also has a white and brown coat that is a mix of curly and wavy all over the body except for the face.
This dog is known to be hardy and extremely hard-working that makes it an ideal choice for those people looking for a working dog. While they aren’t common as pets, they are still very affectionate and friendly.
Fascinatingly, they are often called “le petit clown des marais” which translates to “the little clown of the marshes” because of their clownish and super-fun loving personalities.
This is quite a modern Spaniel breed that was originated in the Soviet Union around the middle of the 20th century. While in ancient times the Russian Spaniel was quite a popular choice for hunting in rugged terrains like marshes and woodlands, in today’s age it makes for an excellent family pet and companion in Russia, which is also their country of origin.
Russian Spaniels reach an average height of 14 to 17 inches and weigh about 19 to 35 lbs. They also have a lifespan of 13 to 14 years at maximum. Given their height and weight, this breed is quite small with a sturdy body. Their usually silky coat sports different color combinations and their ears tend to be darker than the rest of their bodies.
In terms of personality traits, Russian Spaniels tend to be super friendly, loyal, calm-natured and also extremely devoted and trustworthy fellows.
This is a southern British breed that resembles a Clumber Spaniel and was initially bred in the 18th century. Sussex Spaniels grow to an average height of 12 to 14 inches and weigh about 35 to 45 lbs. They originate from England and have a lifespan of 11 to 12 years.
A unique feature of this breed is a thick, double coat that is wavy and has a stunning golden, reddish-brown shade. They have an excellent sense of smell which makes them ideal for search and rescue missions.
Sussex Spaniels are often described as “massive” because of their heavy bone and fairly deep chest. They are also known for their innate cheerfulness that is evident through their big hazel eyes that are usually sparkling with joy. They are reported to have a playful, affectionate and lively temperament, making them great pets and companions.
Welsh Springer Spaniel
These dogs are also known as “Welsh Cocker Spaniel” and were close to being extinct but were luckily re-bred sometime during the 20th century. They have adopted quite a reputation to be used in dog trials.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel reaches a height of 16 to 18 inches and weighs around 35 to 40 lbs. It is native to Wales and has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Two of the most special characteristics or hallmark features of this breed are a gorgeous attractive coat with bold red-white patterns and a distinctively tapered head that sets it apart from other Spaniel breeds.
The coat of this breed isn’t just beautiful but is also weatherproof, waterproof and thornproof, together which makes them the most versatile of all Spaniel breeds. This is also why this dog is the ideal choice to be used in all sorts of climates and terrains.
Have you picked your favorite breed of Spaniels yet? If you are anything like us, you probably want to adopt all of them given how cute and adorable every single dog is!
Fun Fact: You might be interested to learn that a dogs body language can tell you a lot about him. Check out our “Experts Guide to Dog Body Language” to learn more.
Other Spaniel Breeds
There are many other Spaniel breeds and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more pleasing on the eye than others, and some more suited to certain terrain than others, but we love them all - every single one of them!
There are many different types of spaniels. Here's a list of Spaniel breeds you'll find on this page. Simply click on any of the links to go to each one directly, otherwise you can scroll down the page.
The American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker is the smallest member of the gun-dog group.
It's slightly smaller than the English Cocker Spaniel, between 35.5 and 38 cm tall (14-15 inches). The American cocker has a much denser, heavier coat, especially those dogs whose coats are a solid colour.
They have a shorter muzzle, and their head is more heavily domed.
The American Cocker Spaniel will point and retrieve game in the field, and they are very willing little workers.
They're easily trained and are great with children, and because of this, they're often kept as family pets, but you'll see them in the show ring too.
The American Cocker is an energetic little dog. They love to play and enjoy long, lively walks in the countryside.
Discover more about the differences between the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel.
The Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel originated, funnily enough, in Ireland!
This breed is also known as a Whip-tail, a bog dog, and a Shannon dog.
The Irish water spaniel grows to between 51-58 cm (20-23") and can weigh up to 30 kg (66 lbs).
They have a very curly, liver coloured coat which, to the delight of their owners, tends not to shed. Their undercoat is very dense. It not only protects the dog from the cold but also protects it while it's in the water too.
The Irish Water Spaniel has a long, thin, rat-like tail without fur, which helps them steer while in the water.
They have webbed feet covered in fur, and it goes without saying that these dogs are excellent swimmers!
They need lots of socialisation when they're young and need to be well-trained because if left to their own devices, they can become stubborn, wilful and unruly.
In this respect, they will benefit from having a confident, experienced owner who can easily be their leader.
They're often used for many unusual activities, including cancer prediction and drug-sniffing.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend the Irish Water Spaniel as a pet for families with young children because it's unlikely that the children will know how to manage a dog like this properly.
Irish Water Spaniels are retrievers and are highly energetic.
They're known to be the clown of the dog world. Irish Water Spaniels require lots of exercise as this breed needs to romp and run freely, ideally in open countryside and preferably near water.
Definitely not a dog for an apartment or built-up areas.
The American Water Spaniel
The American Water Spaniel is a rare breed, and it's thought that they are descendants of the Irish Water Spaniel, the Field Spaniel and the Old English Water Spaniel.
They are medium-sized, sporty dogs and traditionally used to retrieve waterfowl. Their coats are tightly curled with a protective underlayer which allows them to work well in water.
They have many similarities to the Irish Water Spaniel, like a tight or wavy brown coat and webbed feet.
They are between 38 and 46 cm tall (15-18 inches) and can weigh between 11.5-20.5 kg (25-45 lbs).
The American Water Spaniel is an intelligent dog, and they do need lots of brisk walks to keep them occupied.
They are easily trained for work, but they're also very good with children and very content being a family dog.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel originated in the United Kingdom.
Probably one of the smallest of the spaniel breeds, they're well-balanced at around 30-33cm (12-13") tall and between 5-8 kg (10-18 lbs) in weight.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has very gentle looking eyes, large and round but not prominent.
Their silky ears are long and set high on their head, and they have wide-open nostrils.
The Cavalier's coat is long and straight but sometimes slightly wavy and very silky with lots of feathering.
The Cavalier Spaniel is a very eager little dog, very affectionate, and loves being part of the family. They don't like being left alone for long periods.
They have a lifespan of between 10 and 14 years.
The Cavalier is a different breed from the King Charles Spaniel, although it is a direct descendant, and one is often mistaken for the other.
The Cavalier is bigger and heavier than the King Charles Spaniel, but their facial features are similar.
The easiest way to differentiate between the two breeds is by looking at the head.
The Cavalier King Charles has a flattish head, whereas the King Charles' head is quite domed.
The Cavalier's muzzle tends to be longer than the King Charles.
They both share the same coat colours; black and tan, red, white and red, and a tricolour, white with black and tan markings.
Spaniel Breeds: The King Charles
The King Charles Spaniel is one of the smaller spaniel breeds and is sometimes also known as the English Toy Spaniel.
It was bred originally in England for flushing small birds from the undergrowth.
However, because of their small size and friendly, affectionate nature, they were also used as lapdogs and can be found living happy lives in many homes with children today.
The King Charles is a small, sturdy dog with a pug nose and wide open (flared) nostrils.
They have a domed head, and their jaw has a slight under-bite. They weigh between 4-6 kg (8-14 lbs) and can grow to 25.5-30 cm (10-12 inches) tall.
The King Charles Spaniel has a soft and silky coat and is quite well feathered.
Their coats come in black and tan, red, white and red, and a tri-colour, white with black and tan markings.
Spaniel Breeds: Blue Picardy Spaniel
The Blue Picardy Spaniel is originally from France and is also known as the Épagneul de Picardie Bleu. They descended from the Picardy Spaniel and the English Setter.
They're medium-sized sporting dogs, and with their long legs, they may sometimes be mistaken for setters.
They grow to between 56-61cm (22-24 inches) tall and weigh in at around 20.5 kg (45 lbs).
The Blue Picardy Spaniel is predominantly blue-grey with black patches and speckles.
Their coats are thick and flat and may occasionally be slightly wavy, with feathering on their ears, legs, underbelly and tail.
Their coats are low maintenance and only need brushing once each week.
The Picardy is a good dog for children because they are very biddable and friendly, and they are easily trained. However, if you're considering getting a Picardy, be prepared to give it a lot of exercise as they have boundless energy!
The Boykin Spaniel
The Boykin Spaniel was bred to work in and around water in South Carolina. It's a medium-sized breed, slightly larger than the Cocker Spaniel but smaller than the Springer.
Their coat is a beautiful chocolate brown (also known as liver) and can be curly, slightly wavy or straight. Like most water dogs, their coat is heavier and waterproof, and they also have webbed feet.
The Boykin's coat is low maintenance and only needs to be brushed once a week, with an occasional bath unless, of course, they roll in something nasty, which Spaniels like to do!
As you can see in the picture, their long ears frame their face making them look so beautiful.
They're better suited to a family with active kids as they have lots of stamina and will need plenty of running around to get rid of all that pent-up energy!
Spaniel Breeds: Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber Spaniel always looks very sad to me, with his sorrowful eyes making him look quite mournful! However, I think he's a handsome looking dog and is one of my favourites!
His coat is very dense and predominantly white with lemon or orange markings.
He's the biggest of the spaniel breeds and also one of the heaviest.
His body is long and low to the ground and strong. He stands between 43-51 cm in height (17-20 inches) and weighs between 35-38.5 kg (55-85 lbs). He's pretty chunky!
This dog breed is not as fast as other spaniel breeds, but that doesn't hamper his workability (bird flushing and retrieving) and will come up with the goods when required.
He can sometimes be a bit stubborn and will benefit from good training.
The Clumber Spaniel does well in families with children, and if you're looking for a dog that doesn't have high energy levels, this is the breed for you. Clumbers enjoy a daily walk, but nothing strenuous, just a gentle stroll.
If you'd like more information on the Clumber Spaniel, just follow this link to the Clumber Spaniel Club.
The Field Spaniel
Field Spaniels were traditionally used for flushing and retrieving game in the field and are one of the more rare spaniel breeds, and in fact, they almost became extinct.
They're medium-sized dogs with delicate, chiselled facial features, medium length ears and a long body.
Their looks are similar to the Cocker and Springer Spaniel, but they're slightly larger than the Cocker but smaller than the Spaniel.
Their ears are long and feathery, and their coats are usually flat or wavy with feathering in the usual places and are either black or liver, sometimes with tan marking or spotting (roan).
The Field Spaniel has a gentle, playful nature and a loving temperament. They make a loving companion for an older, active couple or a furry best friend for the kids.
However, they are equally happy working as gun dogs as they enjoy running around in the countryside.
As with all Spaniel breeds, training must be a priority and exercise a close second to burn off all that energy to keep them happy and relaxed.
The French Spaniel
The French Spaniel, also known as Épagneul français, is not well-known outside of France. It's one of the taller spaniel breeds and can grow up to 60 cm (24 inches) tall.
Their coats are medium length, with a bit of feathering on the chest, underbelly, back of forelegs, and long feathers on the ears. Their coat colours are white with liver patches of varying sizes.
French Spaniels are gun dogs capable of pointing and retrieving. They can track and flush woodcock and grouse and are versatile enough to hunt on land and in water. They're at their best, however, when working in the field or forests.
They need a lot of exercise because they have plenty of stamina.
The French Spaniel has a good temperament, and they're ideal for families with children as long as the children treat the dog gently; they can be a little nervous and don't like being treated with a 'heavy hand'.
The German Spaniel
The German Spaniel, also known as the Deutscher Wachtelhund (which translates to German quail dog), is a muscular bird dog often used to hunt, track and retrieve hares and foxes. They love working in and around water as well as fields and forest.
The German Spaniel is slightly larger than the Springer, is a sturdy, strong-boned dog. They can reach up to 53 cm (21 inches) tall, and their average weight is between 20–30 kg (44–66 pounds).
Their coat is usually flat and is well-feathered but short on the head and neck.
The German Spaniel has a high prey drive, so it's always advisable to keep them on a lead when walked in town or the local neighbourhood. These dogs are better suited to life in the open countryside and are not really suitable for an apartment or for town living.
They need lots of vigorous exercise and a confident owner capable of firm training and handling, and for this reason, I personally would not recommend the German Spaniel as a family dog.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel is a gun dog and originates from France. It is one of the rare spaniel breeds, and you probably won't see them outside France.
It's a medium-sized dog, weighing between 20-27 kg (44-60 lbs) and can grow up to 58 cm (23") tall.
The Pont-Audemer Spaniel's coat is long and wavy. It is a beautiful liver and white colour with a small amount of ticking. They have a long tail with slight feathering.
This breed of dog loves to play the fool, and their humorous antics can be very amusing to watch!
The breed is intelligent, which makes them easy to train.
It loves to be with the family, especially children, and that's why they make great family dogs. However, like most dogs, they can become destructive if left alone for too long or not exercised properly, so be warned!
Spaniel Breeds: The Russian Spaniel
The appearance of the Russian Spaniel breed is similar to the Cocker Spaniel, although they're taller and have a slightly longer body.
They are a pretty sturdy dog and can grow to between 38-46 cm in height (15"-18 inches) and can weigh up to 16 kg (35 lbs).
Their coats are predominantly white with dark brown, black or tan flecks or patches, but there are many combinations.
They're very friendly, easily trained and are reliable around children. They also like to be active, so they must be exercised well to keep them stable.
The Sussex Spaniel
The Sussex Spaniel is stocky with shorter legs than the Cocker, which means they are low to the ground and have an unusual rolling gait.
They're similar in looks to the Clumber Spaniel (see above). Their coat is a beautiful rich liver colour, for which they are famous, with plenty of feathering which tends to curl when it grows.
They typically grow to between 33–38 cm (13–15 inches) at the withers and weigh between 35–45 lb (16–20 kg). They're not particularly energetic dogs but do need a gentle daily walk.
Sussex Spaniels are ideal for working in undergrowth and thick cover.
They also make excellent family pets but be warned, they are sometimes known to be habitual 'barkers'.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is one of the oldest sporting breeds and is often mistaken for the English Springer.
They're slightly larger than the Cocker but smaller than the Springer Spaniel.
The Welsh Springer can measure up to 48 cm (19 inches) in height and weigh anywhere between 16-20 kg (35-45 lb). You might say they're the ideal size for a family dog, not too big and not too small!
They're easily identified by their beautiful red and white, straight flat coat and smaller ears. They have feathers on the chest and underbelly, with some light feathering on their ears and tail.
Like most Spaniels, their coat is waterproof and capable of being dragged through a hedge, backwards!
They're very loving and loyal dogs and quickly bond with ease to family members, but they can be a little nervous of outsiders.
The English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are compact, medium-sized dogs and are the tallest of the Spaniel breeds. They're very active gun dogs known for flushing and retrieving, and they love to carry objects in their mouths.
They were given the name 'Springer' because of the way they jump around in the field. It's really amusing to see them springing up above the shrubs and undergrowth as they are flushing game.
The Springer has a straight coat, with feathering on the legs, tail and ears. Their coats can be seen in black and white, and liver and white, both of which can have tan markings above the eyes or muzzle.
Springer spaniels are very playful and energetic and need a lot of exercise to keep them relaxed and calm, not to mention happy.
They're intelligent dogs and can be trained easily. They're great with kids and fit into families very well indeed.
The Tibetan Spaniel
The Tibetan Spaniel was bred by Tibetan monks who used them as guard dogs for their monasteries. As such, they can be troublesome barkers, especially if they're left on their own for long.
Strictly speaking, they're not related to Spaniels. It's thought the name arose because of their likeness to the small lapdog, the King Charles Spaniel. They're around 25 cm (10 inches) tall, and weigh in at approximately 8 kg, and can live up to between 12 and 15 years.
They have a medium-length, silky coat with feathers on the legs, ears and tail, and can be seen in many colours.
The Tibetan Spaniel doesn't need much exercise. A short stroll each day will be enough to keep them happy.
Like all dogs, they will benefit from obedience training and boundaries, but unfortunately, they're not suitable for a household with children.
Spaniel Breeds: Summary
I hope this article has given you a little insight into the many different types of Cocker Spaniels.
The above isn't a definitive list and there many other spaniel breeds that exist.
I didn't go into too much detail for any of them because my site is about Cockers, but if you need more information on any of them, you may be able to get what you're looking for on other sites on the internet.
Just do a web search and type the words 'spaniel breeds' (without the quotes), and the search engines will bring you what you're looking for.
At the end of the day, Spaniels are very similar, with similar traits and temperaments. My only advice would be to choose a dog that best suits your need and lifestyle, and you won't go far wrong.
Photo Credits for Spaniel Breeds
American Spaniel: American Cocker Spaniel copyright of Elf October 2004 in Turlock, California at the Nunes Agility Field. Original: en.wikipedia 02:47, 21 November 2004
Irish Water Spaniel: Desaix83, d'après le travail de Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
American Water Spaniel: Flickr user Noma's American Water Spaniels . Photo uploaded to commons by user ltshears, CC BY 2.0
<https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/American_Water_Spaniel_001.jpg
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: The original uploader was Dgershon at English Wikipedia., CC BY 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 02.jpg
King Charles Spaniel: Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
Blue Picardy Spaniel: Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Epagneul_bleu_de_picardie_868.jpg
Boykin Spaniel: jetsonphoto, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Clumber Spaniel: audrey_sel, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Field Spaniel: Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
French Spaniel: Canarian, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia
German Spaniel: Canarian, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Pont-Audemer Spaniel: Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Russian Spaniel: Marcin Błaszkowski, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosyjski_spaniel_my%C5%9Bliwski_MB_01.jpg
Sussex Spaniel: Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
Welsh Springer Spaniel: Lokal_Profil, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
English Springer Spaniel: Hhoefling, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Tibetan Spaniel: Attribution: Ladykransteer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TibetanSpanielBuddy.jpg
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Passed a dog on your recent walk and wondered which breed of Spaniel it is?
I don’t blame you.
There are various types of Spaniel dog, with several of them looking the same. It’s often hard to distinguish which type of Spaniel they actually are.
That’s why we put together this list of Spaniel breeds.
We’ll talk about the four types of Spaniel dog, and the differences between each. Click to jump to a specific section:
…Or continue scrolling to learn more about the different types of Spaniel.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.
How many breeds of Spaniel are there?
There are four main breeds of Spaniel that are popular not just in the UK, but all over the world. They are:
The Springer Spaniel is often the breed that springs to mind when we hear the word “Spaniel.” (No pun intended!)
Commonly referred to as “Springers”, they’re the largest of all Spaniel breeds, and typically weigh 45 to 55 pounds. In 2018, they were the 5th most popular dog breed in the UK.
Springer Spaniels were originally bred as gun dogs. Their instinct to hunt is still strong, which means they’re excellent at hunting, killing, and retrieving game in large fields. This needs to be considered when bringing a Springer home; they’re are energetic, active dogs that need lots of exercise to stay entertained.
…But allow them to run around–they’ll love you for it!
English vs. Welsh Springer Spaniel
If the different types of Springer breeds weren’t confusing enough, there are actually two types of Springer Spaniel:
- The English Springer Spaniel
- The Welsh Springer Spaniel
Both dog breeds are very similar in appearance, with the Welsh Spaniel being slightly smaller than the English breed, whilst also having a slightly longer body.
However, the Welsh breed only has a bright red and white coat, compared to the English Springer which can come in a combination of black, red, white, and liver.
There’s no doubting that the Cocker Spaniel is tricky to set apart from a Springer, appearance-wise. But there are a few distinctions that can help you identify which breed is which.
Firstly, the Cocker Spaniel tends to be slightly smaller than the Springer, with a fluffier and thicker coat. This means they’ll need to be groomed more frequently. They can come in various colours, such as black, tan, golden, liver, or tri-colour.
Plus, a Cocker Spaniel’s tail is thicker than the Springer’s, and they tend to weigh more: 10-13 kg, on average (compared to 20-25 kg for a Springer.)
With regards to this Spaniel’s temperament, Cockers are sensitive dogs. They love nothing more than cuddling up with their owner, and their gentle personality is a huge reason why they’re the UK’s most popular Spaniel breed!
However, unlike their Springer pals, they’re not as mad for exercise. They can adapt to living in an apartment, and thrive on agility and tracking games. Sure, they’re happy to run around the field–but they’re equally as happy to curl up and cuddle.
As the name suggests, the Sprocker Spaniel is a mix of two types of Spaniel. The pup will have one Springer parent, and one Cocker parent. They cannot be KC registered, or compete in Field Trials, for this reason, but they’re not technically considered to be a cross-breed as both parents are Spaniels.
Sprocker Spaniels were originally bred by gamekeepers who crossed Cockers with Springers to produce a robust, reliable and loyal gundog. What a gentle Cocker lacks in energy, the Springer makes up for–with various other traits combining to make the “perfect” gun dog match.
Because Sprocker puppies are bred from two different types of Spaniel, it’s tough to judge which traits they’ll take from each parent. That being said, Sprockers do have a reputation for being cheeky, lively, and cuddly–with a massive need for regular exercise!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the smallest Spaniel breed. It’s the 19th most popular dog breed in the UK, and a superb choice for first-time dog owners because of their cute and easy-going personalities. Not only are they affectionate around people and children, but they’re incredibly easy to train because they’re always keen to please!
(It’s worth noting that because the King Charles Spaniel is so people-orientated, they can suffer from separation anxiety.)
Cavaliers come in several colours, including white, tan, ruby, and tri-colour. They have long ears in proportion to their bodies, and a short (but cute!) nose and snout.
A large difference between the Cavalier Spaniel and other Spaniel breeds is their prey drive. Unlike their Springer and Cocker cousins, Cavaliers don’t have a strong urge to hunt, which usually results in them being happier around other people and animals.
Bonus: 20+ other Spaniel breeds
These are the four most common Spaniel breeds in the UK. But worldwide, there are more than 20 other recognised Spaniel breeds including:
- American Water Spaniel
- Blue Picardy Spaniel
- Clumber Spaniel
- Field Spaniel
- French Spaniel
- German Spaniel
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Picardy Spaniel
- Russian Spaniel
- Sussex Spaniel
- Welsh Springer Spaniel
There are also a bunch of Spaniel mixes if you’re not sure a purebred is best for your family.
Working vs. show Spaniels
Ready for things to get even more confusing? The four main Springer breeds we’ve listed here can each fall within two categories:
- Working Spaniels (also known as ‘Field Spaniels’)
- Show Spaniels
Working Spaniels are often preferred by pet owners because they fit the “traditional” Springer profile. They’re bred for sporting and hunting, which means they’re more active and enjoy outdoor space more than a Show Springer, with a strong hunting instinct to back it up.
Show Spaniels, on the other hand, are usually more content with a less active lifestyle. They’re simply bred to look nice and win dog shows. However, they also tend to suffer from more health problems because of their breeding.
If you’re choosing between a working and show Springer, think about which breed fits within your lifestyle. If you’re active and spend lots of time outdoors (and want a dog that will happily keep up!), the Working line is the best option. But if you’d prefer a relaxed, pretty-looking dog that loves to relax, a Show Spaniel might fit within your life better.
Which type of Spaniel should I get?
Are you ready to decide which Spaniel breed best suits your life? It’s not just a working or show breed you’ll need to determine. With each Spaniel having different appearances, personalities and temperaments, it’s important to pick the breed that suits your lifestyle best.
To recap, here’s a quick summary of each:
- Springer Spaniel: The biggest Spaniel breed, Springers are bouncy and full of energy. They need lots of mental stimulation with plenty of toys and physical exercise to be happy dogs.
- Cocker Spaniel: This breed is a medium-sized Spaniel and shares lots of qualities with the Springer, but they’re more relaxed. They don’t need as much exercise, and may cope well to living in an apartment.
- Sprocker Spaniel: A mix between two different Spaniel breeds, the Sprocker is a gentle and active dog. They require lots of exercise–but also know when to relax!
- King Charles Spaniel: The smallest Spaniel breed, the Cavalier King Charles is a great companion dog. They’re well-suited to families with children who want a relaxed pet.
I hope this Spaniel comparison has been useful to you, and helps you decide which breed of furry friend is best suited to your lifestyle. (Plus, it should help you identify which breed of Spaniel you pass on your dog walks!)
Sprocker Lovers is run by me, Elise--a first-time dog mum to my Sprocker puppy, Hugo. We also run the @SprockerLovers Instagram 🐶
14 Spaniel Dog Breeds for Canine Lovers
Historically, spaniels were bred to be compact, athletic, and enthusiastic hunting companions. These canines excel at finding, flushing out, and retrieving game across a wide variety of terrain, including water. These dogs continue to be used for hunting today, and they're also popular as companion breeds.
Spaniels tend to be high-energy, agile, and driven. Generally, they are best suited to living in an active household. Problem behaviors can quickly surface if they don't get enough exercise and enrichment. These breeds often make fantastic hiking, canicross, or competitive dog sports partners.
Most spaniels are medium-sized, have distinctive drooping ears, a broad muzzle, and a curly or silky, wavy coat on their ears, tail, and legs. Dogs with long, hanging ears are more susceptible to ear infections. Usual colors are liver and white, red and white, black and white, sometimes deep brown or black. Breeds with long hair will likely need regular grooming to keep their coats mat-free. In general, spaniels are known for being intelligent, loyal, obedient, and affectionate. They tend to be prone to separation anxiety if left on their own too much.
These are 14 of the most popular spaniel breeds full of affection and fun-loving companionship.
Spaniel breeds small
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