5 Things to Know About Welsh Springer Spaniels

Welsh Springer Spaniels are energetic dogs who love being close to their family members — so much that they are called “Velcro” dogs.

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Sporting
  • Height: 17–19 inches
  • Weight: 35–45 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Around 15 years

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a compact hunting dog sometimes thought to be a type of English Springer Spaniel, but they are actually 2 distinct breeds.

An interesting feature of some Welsh Springer Spaniels is webbed feet. The nose is black or brown, and the oval eyes are brown. Their long ears are covered with hair, and the tail is usually docked on working dogs (tail docking is illegal in most of Europe for non-working dogs).

The coat is red and white and of medium length, and the hair is either straight or wavy.

2. Where They Came From

Ancestors of the Welsh Springer Spaniel date to 7000 B.C. and were used as hunting dogs in Wales. These dogs later developed into the Agassian Hunting Dogs in 250 B.C.

During the Renaissance, a red-and-white retriever started appearing on tapestries. The dog was popular in the 1700s but lost favor in the 1800s. When Darwin’s evolution theory gained momentum, selective breeding programs were started that included the Welsh Springer Spaniel.

The breed was revitalized and began competing in dogs shows in the English Springer Spaniel class. The breed was added to the American Kennel Club’s registry in 1906. After World War II, no Welsh Springer Spaniels were registered with the AKC, and more dogs were imported to the United States. The breed’s revival was followed by the formation of the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America in 1961.

Welsh Springer Spaniels are compact dogs with a lot of energy. By: Andy Lidstone (Top: Same)

3. How Friendly Are They?

These active, loyal dogs are close to their family members — so close, in fact, that they’re often referred to as “Velcro” dogs. They can be stubborn, so training should start as early as possible. Positive reinforcement is strongly recommended because the breed does not respond well to harsh discipline.

They are generally good with children, dogs and other pets. They may be reserved with strangers and should be thoroughly socialized.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: The Welsh Springer Spaniel is energetic, so plan on daily walks and play time to expel energy and prevent negative behavior.

Running and playing outdoors will help them burn off energy, but be sure to exercise your dog on a lead or within a secure area when outdoors because of their hunting instincts. They typically do well in apartments if their exercise needs are met.

Grooming Needs


MEDIUM: Welsh Springer Spaniels shed an average amount and should be brushed a few times during the week. More brushing should be done during periods of excess shedding. Bathing can be done as needed.

Spaniels who hunt should be checked for debris and insects when returning indoors from fields, swamps or wooded areas. The hair between the paw pads should be trimmed, especially for outdoor working spaniels. The nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as cleaning the teeth and ears.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: There are a few genetic health problems associated with this breed, and they include:

Watch this Welsh Springer Spaniel pup go!:

5. Where to Adopt One?

Welsh Springer Spaniels may not be easy to find, but you can search our database to get started. Contact local rescues and shelters — purebred dogs often end up there.

If you contact a breeder, make sure you meet the parents and observe the living conditions of the dogs and puppies. Ask for health clearances on the parents if you are adopting or purchasing a puppy.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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