Welsh Springer Spaniels
Welsh springer spaniels are medium-sized dogs that are always red and white. They were AKC recognized in 1914. The ideal height for a welshie is 17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder. Males are typically 45-55 lbs and females are usually around 35-45 lbs. They can have docked or undocked tails in the US with neither having a preference over the other in the show ring. I prefer the docked tails, but that is only a matter of personal preference.
Welshies are often confused with brittanies, but they are actually very different. A brittany is a pointing breed, while a welshie is an upland, flushing spaniel and retriever. Brittanies are more of an orange color while most welshies are darker (irish setter) mahogany red. Brittanies are taller than they are long, while welshies tend to appear a little longer than tall. They also have a different head with the brittany's head being a bit more square with a typically pink nose. Welshies almost always have a dark pigmented nose and darker brown eyes.
Originally called the Welsh Starter or the Welsh Spaniel, welshies are also not an offshoot of the English Springer Spaniel. The Welsh Springer Spaniel name was conceived in 1902 when they were first recognized by The Kennel Club (UK) and the name comes from their hunting style, not from any relationship to any other breed. Welshies "spring" hidden game from their hiding places.
Training a Welshie
They can excel in many different canine competitive sports including hunting, obedience, agility, rally, tracking and more. I've tried a little of all of these sports, as well as, k9 nose work and conformation with my dogs and they have done everything I have ever asked them to do. I truly believe there is nothing they can not do with the right training.
Since welshies tend to have a "soft" temperament, it is best to use positive reinforcement when training them. That means finding a training class that allows you to train with food and toys as rewards. If you speak harshly to a welshie, they may "shut down" and not be willing to work at all.
Living with a Welshie
Welsh springer spaniels are active sporting dogs that need moderate, daily exercise, as well as, training in canine good manners, (especially as puppies) to insure they will be happy in their homes. Welshie puppies are very active and can be mischievous. If you do not give them something to do, they will find something to do on their own and the behaviors they choose may not be acceptable or safe like chewing on inappropriate things.
Welshies are velcro dogs and need to be with their people. A welshie will be your shadow whenever you are home. They are not kennel dogs and can suffer from lack of socialization if left alone by becoming extremely fearful of new situations. Welshies are reserved with strangers, so extreme socialization is very important during the critical period between eight and twelve weeks of age. That socialization should continue until they are one year of age and beyond. Without socialization with people of all ages, men and children, other dogs and different situations, they can become apprehensive about new things later in life.
WSS Health Problems
Welshies can have genetic health problems just like all dogs and humans. The biggest concerns in this breed are hip dysplasia, epilepsy and glaucoma. They should also be checked for elbow dysplasia and hypothyroid (low thyroid levels). Unfortunately, there is currently no test for epilepsy, but welshies should have hip and elbow x-rays taken and submitted to OFA for evaluation to check for dysplasia, OFA thyroid panels and OFA eye exams to check for eye problems. I strongly advise against buying a welshie from a breeder that doesn't do all of these health tests on the parents before planning a litter of Welsh Springer Spaniels.
More Welshie Links
- The Welsh Springer Spaniel Illustrated Standard by the WSSCA
- WSSCA Judges Education Quick Reference Guide (PDF)
- Aug. 2008 Dogs in Review WSS article
- The Welsh Springer Spaniel's Hunting Style
- Beginners Guide for Grooming the Welsh Springer By Joe Cowdrick
- Grooming A Welsh Springer Spaniel for Pet or Show, By S Roth
- Hands-On Handling By Adrienne Bancker
- The Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of the UK (WSSC)
- Canine Chronicle WSS Championship Standings
- Canine Chronicle WSS All Breed Standings
About the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America
- Benton Welsh Springer Spaniels (Finland)
- Destiny Welsh Springer Spaniels (MA)
- Fanfare Welsh Springer Spaniels (PA)
- Ky-Bryn Welsh Springer Spaniels (KS)
- Mystic Acres Welsh Springer Spaniels (NC)
- Redsage Welsh Springer Spaniels (UT)
- Statesman Welsh Springer Spaniels (GA)
- Trystyn Welsh Springer Spaniels (MI)
curators in museums;others we take for walks."
~ Roger Caras, A Celebration of Dogs