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English Springer Spaniel Forums

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We've narrowed it down to these two breeds. We are an active family with young kids and want a friendly dog to keep up and be part of our family.

Love them both but cannot decide.
If you have experience with these breeds, I'd love to hear your input or vote.

Location: New Mexico U.S.A.

19, 926 posts, read 25, 722, 484 times

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I happen to be very partial to labs since my Heart dog was a black lab mix and so now I adopt senior black labbies exclusively, but that' just me.

Someone may mention something called "springer rage" so I want to give you a very good article to read about it so that you will understand that it is a very rare condition but one you should be aware of, whether you go to a good breeder or a specialty rescue if you opt for a springer. I would not let that keep me from getting a springer if that was what I wanted.

When it comes to labs remember that for many of them their motto is: It was there so I ate it. This can be dealt with and in my experience it tends to diminish as they grow up.

Hope that whatever your choice the new dog is a great companion for the whole family for many happy, healthy years.

Location: NC

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We had a springer spaniel when I was a child. She was a sweet dog albeit a tad hyper. You couldn't take your eye off her even in the fenced back yard or she would be crawling/climbing over the chain link fence. Not sure if that's breed related or was just her.

Everyone I know with a lab loves them. They are among the most popular dogs for years. For that reason, shelters are full of labs and it would be easy to find one of any age from a shelter or rescue while saving a life. There's a lot of advantages to getting an adult dog rather than a puppy especially if you are a busy family.

Location: Northeastern U.S.

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English Springer Spaniels: What's Good and Bad About 'Em

The above are from "Your purebred Puppy, " and are very accurate regarding both positive and potentially negative breed traits.

For either breed be sure and purchase from a responsible breeder, whether showline or working line or from a legitimate rescue group. Labs being the number one breed in popularity have many many irresponsible BYBs producing poor quality pups. And Springs can have a rare, but potentially dangerous condition known as "Springer rage."

That said, I grew up with a Springer Spaniel and she was awesome! The one thing that I would mention is they (at least ours) can easily jump or scale a 6 ft fence (I'm sure a healthy, bored lab could also do so). so it is important they, as well as a Lab if you go that route) get enough mental and physical stimulation and exercise.

Location: Space Coast

1, 989 posts, read 3, 330, 781 times

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My experience with Springer spaniels has been mainly unpleasant. I believe a former neighbor had a dog with what skelaki called "Springer rage" - it was constantly lungeing at my dogs and making like it would have attacked them if it had slipped the leash. It was insane.

But even the well-behaved ones I have encountered elsewhere were problematic dogs. So many owners telling me how their dog just didn't like other dogs or couldn't be trusted around other dogs or whatever.

I really don't understand what the appeal of the breed is at all, and I've met quite a few.

4, 158 posts, read 5, 162, 515 times

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Poor behavior-lunging at dogs, etc. is not Springer rage. That's a poorly bred and poorly socialized dog.

Rage syndrome is actually temporal lobe epilepsy. It's not dependent upon anything around it. Example, you could take a dog with rage syndrome and place it by itself in a room with nothing but a chair as furniture.

The dog could be sleeping on the floor when suddenly it will awake, and blindly attack the chair for for several seconds to minutes. Then just as suddenly the attack will stop and the dog will go back to what it was doing formerly.

It's as if someone turned on a toggle switch in the dog's brain and just as quickly turned it off. There is no knowing when an episode would occur and there are no outside factors that contribute to it. It is very rare.

Dogs that are snarly, snappy, their daily interactions with other people and dogs are simply poorly trained, poorly socialized or poorly bred-or any and all three.

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