15 Checkpoints When Buying An English Springer Spaniel Puppy

Published: 25th June 2010
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Buying an English Springer Spaniel puppy is the first step towards fun and companionship with these wonderful animals. It is important to get it right and these tips will help you do that. Some say "let the puppy choose you". That is all right up to a point, but you still want to be sure that the puppy is in good shape for the breed.

If you have done all the preliminary checks on the pup - parents' pedigree, prize winners in last two generations and so on then we come to the finer points.

A pup is by definition very young, so we will not know how it will grow, and therefore have to rely on the look of the parents. The things we can check on the mother (and maybe the father too if he is around) without being judging experts are:

1. From the side, is the body basically square - height equal to length is good?

2. The forelegs - does the mother stand with pigeon toes or with paws splayed ('five to one' as on a clock), or ideally paws straight ahead?

3. Are the hindquarters muscular and strong looking and are the rear paws pointing forward? The rear legs should have a moderate rake back, and should not be vertical or raked too much.

4. The base of the tail should run parallel with the dog's back and not rise above it.

5. The paws should look like a continuation of the legs and the toes should not be splayed.

6. The coat should be glossy and healthy looking, but not coarse or curly. Feathering should not be excessive.

7. Besides basic liver and white or black and white coloring, some tan markings are acceptable, but only on the eyebrows, on the cheeks, inside the ears, under the tail, and sparely on the lower legs. Blue roan is an acceptable color in the US.

If the mother checks out well in these respects, and has a good natural gait with the legs swinging straight forward then that should all be a good indicator for her pups.

On the pup, the minimum checks should be as follows:

1. A liver coloring should be rich and dark.

2. A wavy coat in a pup is not a good sign for an adult show dog - check the coat behind the head and down the neck and back. Wavy now will be wavy later.

3. Deep blue eyes which are not running or weeping (deeper color now means a deeper hazel color in maturity).

4. A cold wet nose with no pink patches.

5. A coat which is smooth and glossy.

6. Check the teeth for correct bite - upper teeth have a close overlap on the lower teeth and the jaw is set square.

7. Check the testicles to see that they are both descended (this would be by 6-8 week of age).

8. The pup should not be too thin or appear fat, and a big tummy could point to worms.

These checks are fairly basic, but if you are serious about showing and winning prizes with your English Springer Spaniel puppy then you should check the Breed Standard in more depth for your particular country. Breed Standards are not totally consistent internationally.

The above checklist does not cover everything, but will give a good general indication of the pup's likely development. If you do have any doubts then you could get a veterinarian's report.


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The author has raised Springer Spaniel puppies and rescue dogs since 1973, enjoying the companionship they provide. If you want to buy and nurture an English Springer Spaniel puppy then check out www.springerspanieladvice.com . There's a whole lot more about keeping them and a great 10 part mini-course at no cost.

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