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The English Springer Spaniel represents perhaps the greatest divergence between working and show lines of any breed of dog. A field-bred dog and a show-bred dog appear to be different breeds, but are registered together. In fact, the gene pools are almost completely segregated and have been for at least 70 years. A field bred dog would not be even remotely competitive in a modern dog show while a show dog would be unlikely to have the speed or stamina to succeed in a field trial.
Field-bred dogs tend to have shorter, coarser coats than the show-bred dogs. Their ears are less pendulous. Field-bred dogs are wiry and have more of a feral look than those bred for showing. The tail of the field bred dog is only docked by a few inches in comparison to the show dog to provide a "flag" for the hunter. Docking also prevents laceration of the tail during hunting. Field-bred dogs are generally selected for nose, hunting ability, and response to training rather than appearance.
Show dogs have longer fur and more pendant ears, dewlaps and dangling flews. The tail is docked to a short stub in those countries that permit docking. They are generally more thickly boned and heavier than field-bred springers.
This spaniel is an older breed, appearing in paintings as early as the 1600s. It is possibly the ancestor of most modern spaniels; Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels were not recognized as separate breeds until the 1800s. The purpose of the breed was to serve as a hunting dog. Before guns were used to shoot game, the land spaniel would "spring"—or flush—the gamebird into the air where a trained falcon or hawk would bring it to the handler. Train your pup using Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer tips!
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