Welsh Springer Spaniels




The Welsh Springer has the colour, coat and sweet nature that should make it a "best seller" and breeders are faced with a greater task then trying to conserve a breed, they must resist the appeal of the breed by carefully encouraging only the most breed loyal owners to breed and avoid the puppy farmer attitude. His versatility has been amply demonstrated.


Breed Standard

WELSH SPRINGER SPANIEL Kennel Club, London 1994

F.C.I. Standard No 5

GENERAL APPEARANCE - Symmetrical, compact, not leggy, obviously built for endurance and hard work. Quick and active mover, displaying plenty of push and drive.

CHARACTERISTICS - Very ancient and distinct breed of pure origin. Strong, merry and very active.

TEMPERAMENT - Kindly disposition, not showing aggression or nervousness.

HEAD AND SKULL - Skull of proportionate length, slightly domed, clearly defined stop, well chiselled below eyes. Muzzle of medium length, straight, fairly square. Nostrils well developed, flesh coloured to dark brown.

EYES - Hazel or dark, medium size, not prominent, nor sunken, nor showing haw.

EARS - Set moderately low and hanging close to cheeks. Comparatively small and gradually narrowing towards tip and shaped somewhat like a vine leaf.

MOUTH - Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. Upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

NECK - Long, muscular, clean in throat, neatly set into sloping shoulders.

FOREQUARTERS - Forelegs of medium length, straight, well boned.

BODY - Not long, strong and muscular. Deep brisket, well sprung ribs. Length of body should be proportionate to length of leg. Loin muscular and slightly arched. Well coupled.

HINDQUARTERS - Strong and muscular, wide and fully developed with deep second thighs. Hindlegs well boned, hocks well let down, stifles moderately angled, neither turning in nor out.

FEET - Round, with thick pads. Firm and cat like, not large or spreading.

TAIL - Well set on and low, never carried above level of back, preferably docked. Lively in action.

GAIT/MOVEMENT - Smooth, powerful, ground covering action; driving from rear.

COAT - Straight or flat, silky texture, dense, never wiry or wavy. Curly coat highly undesirable. Forelegs and hindlegs above hocks moderately feathered, ears and tail lightly feathered.

COLOUR - Rich red and white only.

SIZE - Approx. Height: Dogs 48 cms (19 ins) at withers Bitches 46 cms (18 ins) at withers

FAULTS - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

January 1997


The Welsh Springer Spaniel

by Kevin O'Neill

Origin:  The origin of the native Welsh Springer Spaniel is lost in history, but there have been references to a breed of dogs in Wales in the 18th century popular in the kennels of Welsh families. Prior to this time, (and sometimes since) the breed was named after the location of these major kennels, the most prominent being the Llanharan Kennels of Col. Blandy-Jenkins. In the absence of other direct evidence it is most likely that it is from these early examples of the breed that the modern Welsh Springer is derived. Before 1902, when the UK Kennel Club first recognized the breed, these red and white dogs were described as "Welsh Cockers" and were designated as such because of their size and weight. Some similarities with Clumber Spaniels and with the Working English Springer Spaniels have also been noted in the breed and have led to a speculation about the mixed ancestry and interbreeding of the Welsh Springer Spaniel prior to 1902.

Australian History:  John Phillips the noted UK Breed historian referred to the Welsh Springer being exported "to Australia between the wars". However, if this was the case then there are no records of their entry and dispersal though the country. Nevertheless there have been anecdotal reports of them being seen and used in Queensland and Tasmania before 1973. Noted Australian gundog expert, Roy Burnell, commented on their disappearance in one of his works on gundogs. By coincidence in 1990, a John Trude of Sydney was able to confirm that his family bought two Welsh Springers from a Queensland breeder in the mid-1940s when he and his sister were young children. In 1973, the Jeffrey's of Sydney, on their return to Australia from the UK, imported a pair of Plattburn Welsh Springers. These, Plattburn Paceman and Plattburn Pi, are officially the first of the breed of which records and extended pedigrees exist, so they have a unique place in the history of the breed in Australia and from them many of the current lines are descended.

The breed captivated others and subsequently more imports from the UK arrived in the country from a number of prestigious kennels. The gene pool expanded and the benefit to local breeders was enhanced by this new stock. In more recent times the importation of frozen semen from the USA, UK and Sweden has added a new dimension to the development and continuing existence of the breed in Australia.

Purpose:  The Welsh Springer Spaniel has found its place as a gundog. The word "Springer" indicates its ability to flush or "spring" grounded birds or game to the guns of the hunter and then retrieve the fallen birds. The handy size of the breed makes them ideal for working through even the toughest of undergrowth and terrain. Perhaps the Welsh Springer Spaniel's most important attribute today is as a companion animal. According to those already familiar with the breed, the Welsh Springer Spaniel's best quality is its loyalty. Its versatility as a watchdog, pet and outdoor companion makes it a good all-round dog for someone who is willing and able to give it the affection, exercise and family life it needs.

Features:  The most distinctive feature of the Welsh Springer Spaniel is its colour. The red and white coat is a striking combination of colours and ticking. The breed has these two colours only, and the only variation permitted is the intensity and spread of the red on the white. The texture of the coat is soft and silky without much wave or curl. The tail is customarily docked, but more undocked examples are now being seen. The head and ear shape of the Welsh Springer is more reminiscent of a setter than of an English Cocker or English Springer Spaniel. The mouth and muzzle are the tools of the Welsh Springer Spaniel and it has what is described as a "soft" mouth. That is, it will retrieve and carry fallen game without causing damage. The size of the Welsh Springer is mid-range between the English Cocker and the English Springer. Males will be 48cm at the shoulders and females 46cm, approximately. Adult weight should be about 20kg for males and 18kg for females.

What Judges look for:  Judges would be looking for the examples of the breed showing best evidence of being able to perform its function or purpose. An ability to carry game requires an ideal gundog mouth - soft mouthed and with a scissor bite. A correct shape to the head leads to a correct mouth. Sound construction fore and aft is required to give balance, drive and stamina to the best of the breed.  A Judge would look for reach and drive (which comes from correct shoulder placement, length of body relative to height, turn of stifle, length of upper arm and hock) that determines whether the example of the breed being judged is able to work all day in the field. Because height also determines reach and drive a Judge must consider this as an important aspect of the breed. The Welsh Springer, when working, is meant to cover its ground effortlessly. Therefore a muscular body and good spring of rib is also essential to achieve this. Of the coat a Judge must consider the colour, and the texture and density - the latter two being necessary for a dog that works through different terrain and weather conditions. Finally, and often most importantly, the Judge must consider the temperament of the Welsh Springer - while it may be permitted to be wary of strangers it should not show aggression or timid nervousness.

Kevin O'Neill, Plattwood Welsh Springer Spaniels

January 25, 2001

Contact Details

Youlla Kyriacou, Website Co-ordinator
Upper Beaconsfield, VIC, Australia
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