Breed Standard

Crufts Best of Breed 2009

Above: Best Dog (left), Best Bitch (middle) & Best Puppy (right) at Crufts 2009

The KC has advised that all Breed Standards will include the following introductory paragraph from January 2009 onwards

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and Judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare and soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely and Judges and Breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, charachteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded inthe show ring.


Symmetrically built, compact, strong, merry, active. Highest on leg and raciest in build of all British land Spaniels.

Breed is of ancient and pure origins, oldest of sporting gundogs, original purpose was finding and springing game for net, falcon or greyhound. Now used to find, flush and retrieve game for gun.

Friendly, happy disposition, biddable. Timidity or aggression highly undesirable.

Skull of medium length, fairly broad, slightly rounded, rising from foreface, making a brow or stop, divided by fluting between the eyes, dying away along forehead towards occiputal bone which should not be prominent. Cheeks flat. Foreface of proportionate length to skull, fairly broad and deep, well chiselled below eyes, fairly deep and square in flew. Nostrils well developed.

Medium size, almond shaped, not prominent nor sunken, well set in (not showing haw); alert, kind expression. Dark hazel. Light eyes undesirable.

Lobular, good length and width, fairly close to head, set in line with eye. Nicely feathered.

Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Good length, strong and muscular, free from throatiness, slightly arched, tapering towards head.

Forelegs straight and well boned. Shoulders sloping and well laid. Elbows set well to body. Strong flexible pasterns.

Strong, neither too long nor too short. Chest deep, well developed. Well sprung ribs. Loin muscular, strong with slight arch and well coupled.

Hindlegs well let down. Stifles and hocks moderately bent. Thighs broad, muscular, well developed. Coarse hocks undesirable.

Tight, compact, well rounded, with strong full pads.

Set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered with lively action. Customarily docked.
Docked: Set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered with lively action.
Undocked: Set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered with lively action. In balance with the rest of the dog.

Strictly his own. Forelegs swing straight forward from the shoulder, throwing the feet well forward in an easy free manner. Hocks driving well under body, following in line with forelegs. At slow movement may have a pacing stride typical of this breed.

Close, straight and weather resisting, never coarse. Moderate feathering on ears, forelegs, body and hindquarters.

Liver and white, black and white, or either of these colours with tan markings.
(** Please see note below reference restrictions on colour registrations)

Approximate height: 51 cms (20 ins).

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and on the dog's ability to perform its traditional work.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully decended into the scrotum.

The ESS Breed Standard is reproduced on this website by permission of the Kennel Club.

**Restrictions on Colour Registrations in the English Springer Spaniel.
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© English Springer Spaniel Club