Comparison of Welsh & English Springer Spaniels

A discussion on the similarities and differences between Welsh Springer Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels



Prepared by Sylvia and Bill Crozier



A.N.K.C. judges

Buxton , N.S.W. Australia


The material contained in this article is produced purely for the purpose of training judges and students of the breed.  In order to comply with copyright requirements of authors, artists and photographers of the material used, the content may not be copied for commercial use or any other purpose.  Under no circumstances may this article be placed on the Internet without the written permission of the authors.

Similarities & Differences


Welsh Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

General Appearance &


Symmetrical, compact,

Not leggy

Quick & active mover, displays plenty of push and drive.

Strong, merry & very active

Very ancient & distinct breed of pure origin.

Symmetrical, compact,

Highest on leg & raciest in build of all British land spaniels.


Strong, merry, active


Ancient & pure origins


Kindly disposition, not showing aggression or nervousness.

Friendly, happy disposition, biddable

Timidity or aggression highly undesirable.

Head & Skull

Skull medium length, slightly domed



Well chiselled below eyes


Clearly defined stop




Muzzle medium length, fairly square



Length of muzzle equals length of skull


Plane of skull is slightly divergent to plane of muzzle


Nostrils well developed, flesh coloured to dark brown

Skull medium length, fairly broad, slightly rounded.


Well chiselled below eyes


Rise from foreface makes a brow or stop, divided by fluting between eyes.


Muzzle medium length, fairly broad and deep, fairly square


Length of muzzle equals length of skull


Plane of skull is slightly divergent to plane of muzzle


Nostrils well developed




Medium size, not prominent nor sunken, nor showing haw;

Hazel or dark

Medium sized , almond shaped, not prominent nor sunken, not showing haw;

Dark hazel (light eyes undesirable)


Set moderately low and close to cheeks.

Comparatively small;

Vine leaf shaped

Set in line with eye; fairly close to head.

Good length and width.



Welsh Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel


Scissor bite

Scissor bite


Long, muscular, clean in throat

Good length, strong & muscular. Free from throatiness


Forelegs medium length,

Straight and well boned

Forelegs straight and well boned.

Well sloped shoulders.

Elbows set well to body


Not long.

Strong and muscular

Length of body proportionate to length of leg. L: H = 10: 8.5


Deep brisket, well sprung ribs


Loin muscular, slightly arched, well coupled.

Strong, neither too long or too short.



L: H approx 5 : 6


Chest well developed; well sprung ribs


Loin muscular, strong with slight arch, well coupled


Hindlegs well boned;

Hocks well let down

Stifled moderately angulated.

(Broad second thighs)

Hindlegs well let down;

Stifles and hocks moderately bent;

Broad, muscular thighs.


Round, with thick pads;

Firm and cat-like;

Not large or spreading.

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


Well set on and low,

Never carried above the level of the back.

Lively in action.

(Customarily docked)

Set low.

Never carried above the level of the back.

Lively action.

(Customarily docked)




Welsh Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

Gait / Movement

Smooth, powerful, ground covering, driving from rear;

Quick and active mover,

Displaying plenty of push and drive.

Strictly his own; forelegs swing straight forward from the shoulder, throwing feet well forward

Hocks driving well under body, following in line with forelegs.

At slow movement may pace.


Straight, flat, silky texture, dense, never wiry or wavy.

Curly coat highly undesirable.

Moderate feathering on forelegs, hindlegs above hocks.  Light feathering on ears and tail.     

Close, straight, weather resistant, never coarse.


Moderate feathering on ears, forelegs, body and hindquarters.


Rich red and white only

Liver and white, black and white with or without tan markings.


Dogs approx 48 cm (19”)

Bitches approx 46 cm (18”)

Approx 51 cm (20”)



Discussion on Differences Between Welsh and English Springers 

As can be seen from the above table there are many similarities between the Welsh and English Springer, as is to be expected  as they were both developed in the U.K. and were both required to perform the same work in the field.  They were also developed from the Land Spaniel that was popular in 18th century Britain.

When judging the 2 breeds there are several features which separate them into distinct varieties:-

  1. Outline

The Welsh Springer should not appear leggy and has a more rectangular outline than the English Springer.  This is reflected in the body proportions, a Welsh is 10 long to 8.5 high whereas the English Springer, being higher on leg and racier in build, is 5 long to 6 high.

  1. Colour

The Welsh Springer is rich red and white only.  The English Springer can be liver and white or black and white.  Tan markings can appear on both colours.

  1. Head

The Welsh Springer has a slightly domed head with a clearly defined stop.  The English Springer has a slightly rounded, fairly broad skull  with a more developed brow forming the stop and has fluting between the eyes.  Head proportions are similar in both breeds, but overall the Welsh has a finer head with no fluting between the eyes.

Nose colours also differ in that the Welsh can have either a flesh coloured nose or a dark brown nose.  Nose colour in the English goes with coat colour, liver in liver and white dogs and black in black and white dogs. 

  1. Eye Colour

The Welsh can have hazel or dark eyes.  Dark hazel is the required colour of the English Springer.

  1. Ears

The Welsh has a smaller, vine leaf shaped ear which should not reach the nose when drawn forward.  The English Springer has a longer, lobular shaped ear more like a Cocker spaniel.  Ear placement and carriage are similar in both breeds.  The Welsh has only light feathering (setter like) on the ears while the English ears are more heavily feathered.

  1. Movement

The English Springer has distinctive gait in which the forelegs swing straight forward from the shoulder and the hindlegs follow directly behind with the hocks well under the body.  The Welsh Springer has a bustling movement with good reach in front and plenty of drive behind.  Pacing can be seen in the English Springer, but never in the Welsh Springer.



The English Springer is slightly taller than the Welsh Springer.   Fig 2  A top winning English Springer from the U.K. Compare to photos below.  Fig 3  A top winning Welsh Springer bitch from the U.K.   Fig 4  A top winning U.K. Welsh Springer dog. 





  1. Burnell , Roy B . 1983 . The Welsh Springer Spaniel .

RASKC Judges Training Scheme lecture .


  1. Burnell , Roy B . 1983 . Sporting Dogs . Chapter 20

Welsh Springer Spaniel . 3rd Ed . Lloyd O’Neill Pty . Ltd .

Vic . Australia


  1. Hooper , Dorothy Morland . 1978 The Springer Spaniel

5th Ed ( rev ) Popular Dogs Publishing Co . Ltd ;

London UK


  1. Johnston , James . 1980 . The Illustrated Guide to Gundog Breeds

1st Ed . Kelso Graphics , Scotland , UK


  1. Pferd , William , III . 1977 . The Welsh Springer Spaniel . History , Selection ,

Training and Care . A,S. Barnes and Co . Inc . N.J. USA


  1. Phillips , John . 1985  The Essential Welsh Springer Spaniel

1st Ed . Phillips , Essex , UK


  1. van Wessem , Haja . 2000 Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Interpet Publishing . Surrey UK


  1. Walton , Anne . 1999 . The World of Dogs . The Welsh Springer Spaniel .

T.F.H. Kingdom , UK


      9. Welsh Springer Spaniel Club U.K. Yearbooks 1977-1995

List of Illustrations

Title Page

Famous painting by Maud Earl of 2 Welsh Springers from Longmydd Kennels 1906 . This painting hangs in the Kennel Club rooms .

Taken from Ref . 8 .

Fig . 2

Photo of English Springer dog . Taken from Ref. 4

Fig. 3

Photo of a top winning UK bitch regarded by many breeders as one of the best Welsh Springers ever shown . Taken from Ref. 4 .

Fig .4

Photo of Welsh Springer dog taken from Ref. 9