Guide to Different Breeds of Spaniels

Posted: 12 Jul 2023 Human Reading Time: 7 Minutes
Dog Reading Time: 49 Minutes
Guide to Different Breeds of Spaniels

Are you ready for the pitter-patter of tiny paws? Are you considering adding a Spaniel to your family? First of all, congratulations—how exciting! If you need a new dog collar and dog lead, look no further. We’ve got you covered.

Spaniels have stolen the hearts of so many dog lovers around the world—but which particular breed of Spaniel is right for you?

Here, we explore the different types of Spaniels and answer the following FAQs:

  • Are Spaniels easy to train?
  • What type of Spaniel is best with children?
  • What breed of Spaniel is best with other dogs?
  • What is the most popular type of Spaniel?
  • Can you crossbreed Spaniels with other types of dogs?

Ten fun facts about Spaniels

Before we dive into the various different breeds of Spaniels, here are ten facts to add to your Spaniel-based specialist knowledge:

  • The average Spaniel ways around 11kg-22kg.
  • The average Spaniel is around 36cm-38cm tall.
  • The Spaniel breed originated in 15th Century Spain where they were bred to hunt.
  • Spaniels can be prone to separation anxiety as they get so easily attached to their owners.
  • The American Kennel Club first recognised the cocker spaniel as a dog breed in 1878.
  • Spaniels are in the top 10 most popular breeds of therapy dogs.
  • The name ‘Cocker Spaniel’ comes from the name of the birds Spaniels were bred to hunt around the 15th Century: woodcocks.
  • Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and Prince William & Princess Kate are among the many famous people Spaniels for pets.
  • Spaniels are amongst the smallest sporting dog breeds.
  • A Cocker Spaniel was the first ever successful cancer-detecting dog.

Learn more about these 14 different breeds of Spaniels

There are a whole host of different types of purebred Spaniels out there in the world and we’re here to help you get to know (most of) them a bit better. Some might be familiar and others you might never have even heard of.

English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are known for being loyal, intelligent, and happy-go-lucky. They have a calm, warm temperament and are typically soft and affectionate.

They prefer a gentler approach to training and are eager to please. They are content snuggling and snoozing but do need regular exercise to keep their weight under control.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were originally bred as companions for British noblemen and feature regularly in portraits from the 16th-18th Centuries. They’re loyal and affectionate by nature.

They only grow to around 13 inches in height and love to be lazy so are the perfect pooch if you’re looking for a lapdog. However, they do have an athletic streak so enjoy walks and exercise once they put their mind to it.

FYI, King Charles Spaniels are very similar to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels but have some slight differences in stature and some behavioural nuances.

English Springer Spaniel

High energy and full of stamina, English Springer Spaniels enjoy living an active life. They’re affectionate, sociable, and loyal and love nothing more than an outdoor adventure, especially if it involves swimming. They’re also great sniffer dogs.

American Water Spaniel

This is a super rare breed that is a hunter by nature and a real lover of exercise and burning off their endless energy supply. American Water Spaniels are faithful watchdogs and excellent swimmers (with a waterproof coat to boot) but can become destructive if left alone or unoccupied for too long.

Papillon Spaniel

‘Papillon’ is French for butterfly and this breed of Spaniel gets its name for its large, butterfly-like ears. Cute.

They’re sometimes known as the ‘continental toy Spaniel’ and are renowned for their peppy, friendly, energetic personalities.

They are fiercely loyal companions and don’t like to be separated from their owners for long.

Brittany Spaniel

Brittany Spaniels are born hunters and pointers; highly alert and energetic, requiring a lot of exercise and time outdoors.

Due to their innate hunting skills and independence, Brittany Spaniels typically require more intensive training to ensure obedience and recall.

English Toy Spaniel

Shakespearean literature dubs this breed of Spaniel ‘the comforter’ for its ultra-loyal, placid personality and eagerness to please.

English Toy Spaniels were bred as royal companions and are happy cuddled up on the couch with their owner, making them great for elderly or low-energy households.

Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel breed originates from South Carolina where they were bred as swamp hunters. They have been embraced as family pets but still require a great deal of physical exercise, time outdoors, and love being in water.

They’re bright, intelligent, and eager to please making them easy and quick to train.

Irish Water Spaniel

These lovable and loyal water (fur) babies love nothing more than showing off their swimming skills. They’re quick to learn and obedient but can be stubborn and cheeky when they want to be, which makes training all fun and games.

Irish Water Spaniels are often mistaken for poodles because of their curly coat, which is deceptively low-shed.

Welsh Springer Spaniel

Welsh Springer Spaniels are born hunters, recognised by their signature red and white coat and long ears. They’re Springer by name and springy by nature, needing regular exercise and time outdoors to sniff and explore.

They take their time warming to new people but once they love you, they’re loyal, affectionate, and prone to separation anxiety if you’re apart for too long.

Clumber Spaniel

Clumbers are the biggest type of Spaniel—big, friendly giants, some might say due to their excellent temperament with people, children, and other animals. They’re obedient, affectionate, friendly, and loyal, even if they are a bit drooly. They require plenty of exercise to help keep their weight down but are happy curled up at home too.

Sussex Spaniel

Sussex Spaniels are fiercely loyal companions who like to protect their loved ones. This means they can be quick to bark, which is often something that needs work during training. That said, they are generally docile, affectionate, and extremely loving.

They don’t require as much physical activity as other Spaniels but they do enjoy long walks and swimming.

Field Spaniel

Field Spaniels are arguably the most placid of all the different types of Spaniel.

Their temperament is even and trustworthy, which makes it easy to integrate and introduce them to various people, animals, and environments without issue.

Field Spaniels love food, games, and high levels of physical activity. They require a fair amount of attention and a great deal of mental stimulation so they don’t get bored, but they repay their owner by doting on them completely.

Best suited to households used to energetic, active lifestyles.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

Kooikerhondje (pronounced koi-ker-hond-yuh) Spaniels are energetic, agile hunters outdoors who are known for being alert, intelligent hunters. Back home, though, there’s nothing they love more than getting love and attention from their favourite humans.

Kooikerhondjes are easygoing, laidback dogs, which makes them extremely adaptable and open to new people and environments.

Fives FAQs about all types of Spaniels

Even more in love with the idea of welcoming a Spaniel into your family than you were when you started reading this blog post? We don’t blame you.

Now you’re more familiar with the different breeds of Spaniels out there, here are the answers to some common FAQs to help you make your (tough) decision:

Are Spaniels easy to train?

The Spaniel breed, in general, is known as an intelligent and trainable species of dog. This means you shouldn’t have any particular problems with training your four-legged Spaniel friend, especially with a top-quality dog harness.

Many Spaniels are working breeds, which means they’re eager to please their owner and respond well to the positive reinforcement methods that are key to successful dog training.

Cocker Spaniels are renowned for being particularly easy to train. That said, with any breed of dog (or Spaniel), the behaviour will depend on the individual animal.

What type of Spaniel is best with children?

If you’ve got young children in your family or close circle, you’re going to want to know your pooch will be safe and settled around them.

The breeds of Spaniel that are known for being best suited to children are Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, and American Cocker Spaniel. These breeds are typically gentle, playful, and patient, making them ideal for family environments and children.

Field Spaniels are also trustworthy and placid, making them a popular choice for households with kids.

It’s important to remember that a dog’s temperament isn’t just based on breed and can vary from animal to animal. Thorough training and socialisation are crucial when it comes to interactions between dogs and children.

What breed of Spaniel is best with other dogs

The Spaniel breeds that are generally considered the top choices for households with multiple dogs are English Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and Field Spaniel. These types of Spaniels are known for being the most friendly, sociable, and tolerant of other animals in their home.

As with children, it’s important to train your dog well and socialise them early and regularly with other dogs as temperament can vary from animal to animal. Remember: good nature is not always guaranteed by breed.

What is the most popular type of Spaniel?

The most popular type of Spaniel varies depending on things like geographic location and current trends. However, the Cocker Spaniel is one of the most well-known and popular spaniel breeds worldwide. This includes the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel.

Can you crossbreed Spaniels with other types of dogs?

Yes, breeders do cross Spaniels with other types of dogs to create what is known as a ‘mixed breed’.

A super popular example of this, right now, is a Cockapoo—a cross between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. Another common example is a ‘Sproodle’, which is a mix of English Springer Spaniel and Poodle.

When crossbreeding Spaniels with other breeds, it's incredibly important to consider the characteristics and temperaments of both parent breeds to understand what the resulting puppies may inherit.

It’s crucial to prioritise the health and welfare of the dogs involved (including the puppies being produced) above anything else and ensure that responsible breeding practices are always followed.

It is a legal requirement for your dog to have an ID tag

From English Springer Spaniels to Italian Spinones, it’s a legal requirement to ensure your pooch is kitted out with an ID tag.

By law, the tag needs to show the owner's name, address, and postcode but we’d also recommend including a contact number too so somebody can get in touch if they find your dog.

Traditionally, people have also included their pet’s name on an ID tag but with the rising rates of dog theft, we wouldn’t advise doing so. If your dog’s name is on its tag, people can use it to win your dog’s trust with ill intentions, sadly.

Keep things safe and simple by only displaying your name, address, and contact number on a personalised BullyBillows dog tag.

Shop the full range of BullyBillows ID tags for dogs today!

For more news, advice and product buying guides check out the rest of our dog blog

Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer | The Friendliest Dog Breeds | Do Dogs Dream and What Do They Mean?

Share with a friend.