The English Springer Spaniel is part of the Gundog group who are often particularly affectionate dogs, having originally been bred to be co-operative and respond to human commands. The oldest of the sporting gundogs, it's name is derived from the original practice of 'springing' forward to flush game into nets.
Today English Springer Spaniels are the most popular of the spaniels for working in the field, and are the fifth most popular pedigree breed registered with the Kennel Club, with over 8,500 puppies registered annually.
When searching for the perfect puppy, it is worth noting that two distinct strains for this breed exist - the 'show' type, and the 'working' type. They differ in both appearance and temperament, and it is important to match the characteristics with your requirements. The show type tend to be a little larger and more stocky than the working type with slightly longer, more feathered ears. The working type are generally lighter with a higher ear carriage and are bred for their working ability thus often tend to have increased energy and stamina. In addition to being used as gundogs in the field, many working springers are also used in the emergency services and armed forces.
Any reputable breeder will be able to tell you which strain their puppies are from, and it will also be displayed on the pedigree certificate. Any dogs with FTCh at the start of their name are working strain (Field Trial Champions), and any with SHCh are show strain (Show Champions). It is also possible to have one parent as a show type and one parent as a working type as ultimately they are all the same breed - English Springer Spaniel.