English Springer Spaniels are gun dogs that were bred to detect, flush and retrieve game birds. They’re hard working, smart, obedient, and built for endurance, which makes them excellent hunting companions. But their playful, friendly nature makes them great family dogs, too.
And yes, they do shed (but not a lot).
English Springer Spaniels are a moderate shedding breed with a medium-length double coat that is waterproof and protects them from harsh weather and rough terrain. They shed moderately year-round but more heavily during spring and fall, and regular brushing with a slicker brush can help keep it minimal.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what level of shedding you can expect with a Springer, what they’re like to groom, and how you can keep the molting to a minimum.
English Springer Spaniel Shedding
English Springer Spaniels shed moderately year-round but, like most dogs, shed more heavily during seasons like spring and fall.
So you may notice an uptick in the amount of hair floating around your home during this time.
The reason the shedding can become heavier in spring is because, at this time, he generally doesn’t need his thick winter coat, especially not as he heads into summer. And during fall he sheds his lighter summer coat to prepare for the colder months ahead.
This heavier period of shedding normally lasts for two to four weeks and is commonly referred to in dogdom as “coat blow.” Most dogs do this but how noticeable it is varies from breed to breed. For example, dogs like the Alaskan Malamute and St. Bernard shed very heavily during seasonal changes, while it’s only moderate with a Springer.
How do they compare with similar breeds? Well, they shed about the same amount as a Welsh Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel, which are probably the most similar breeds. And compared to other spaniels in general, he sheds more than an American Water Spaniel and noticeably more than the (virtually non-shedding) Irish Water Spaniel for example.
Are English Springers hypoallergenic? No, they’re not hypoallergenic. But no dog is really. The term “hypoallergenic” is used loosely within dogdom to describe dogs that are (generally) more suitable for allergy sufferers than others. And since the Springer coat produces dander and he sheds moderately, he’s probably not the best choice if you’re looking for a non-allergenic dog.
Thankfully, getting the shedding under control is not difficult with a Springer, it mostly comes down to brushing. But there are some things you should know when it comes to grooming that can help you keep his coat in top condition and minimize how much of his loose fur ends up in the home.
What Are Springers Like to Groom?
English Springers aren’t difficult to groom. But it does depend on the type of Springer you have (field or show) and, either way, brushing will take longer during shedding season.
Both variants of Springer are similar, but there are some differences. For example, Field Springer Spaniels are built more for hunting and retrieving game bird in the field, and their coat is shorter. Whereas Show (or Bench) Springers excel in the show ring, and have longer hair that requires more effort to groom.
Either way, Springers are prone to mats and tangles. And when your Springer goes outside to play, or to work in the field, their coat tends to attract debris and burrs, which can get stuck in his coat. So you will need to brush him at least a few timer per week to maintain his coat and keep it free from burrs, matting and knotting.
Brushing is also a good way to significantly reduce how much hair falls off of your Springer, and onto your floors, furniture and clothing. So if you want to keep your home as hair free as possible, brush regularly.
The best type of brush for an English Springer Spaniel is a slicker brush or metal comb. A slicker is a brush that is made up of fine wire bristles with plastic tips on the end, and these do a great job of working out mats and removing old hair from your dog.
Related: Dog Grooming Brush Comparisons
You could also use an undercoat rake or deshedding tool during shedding season, but these aren’t as necessary as with heavier coated breeds, so it comes down to personal preference.
Aside from brushing, the occasional bath can help to maintain his coat, and regularly trimming his nails is important.
Here’s a useful video about grooming your Springer if you want to learn more:
Can You Stop Your Springer from Shedding?
You cannot stop your Springer from shedding completely.
Shedding is a natural process in which dogs shed (or molt) the old, dead hair to make way for the new hairs. So you cannot stop this, nor should you try, it’s a healthy thing that most dogs do.
With that being said, you can significantly reduce shedding. And doing so mostly comes down to brushing, bathing, and proper diet.
Brushing helps by removing the loose hair from his coat, before it falls off and fills your home. And it helps massage his skin, and spread the skin oils, which promotes a healthier coat. And coats that are healthy and full of moisture tend to shed less than those that are dry or irritated.
Bathing helps because it removes a lot of the old hair during bath time, and helps to loosen it up prior to brushing. So if you combine a good bath with a thorough subsequent brushing session, you can remove a lot of loose hair. However, it is important not to over bathe and to make sure you’re using a good quality dog shampoo, to avoid drying out his coat.
What you feed your Springer can make a difference too. The healthier he is, the better condition his coat will be in, and the less he’ll shed overall. So opt for a quality dog food. He’ll love you for it, and it will save you some time and effort vacuuming up loose hair.
Can You Shave Your Springer?
It’s okay to trim him, especially since his coat is longer in some areas and trimming can actually help maintain his coat. But it’s not a good idea to shave ANY dog with an undercoat all the way down to the skin.
And English Spring Spaniels DO have a double coat. This is confirmed within the official American Kennel Club breed standard:
The Springer has an outer coat and an undercoat. On the body, the outer coat is of medium length, flat or wavy, and is easily distinguishable from the undercoat, which is short, soft and dense.akc.org
The reason you shouldn’t shave a double coated dog all the way down to the skin is because they need their undercoat. It protects them from harsh weather conditions (hot and cold) as well as things like windburn and sunburn.
And from a shedding perspective, shaving isn’t very helpful.
Why? Because it can cause skin irritation and itching, which means that as soon as the hair starts growing back, he may actually start to shed at a higher rate than normal. Not to mention, less dead hair will get caught up in his full-length coat. Which means more hair falling out before you get a chance to brush. So shaving is not a good solution to shedding.
What Makes ‘Em Unique?
The “cocker” and “spaniel” type dogs came from the same litter, so it has taken generations to successfully differentiate the English Springer Spaniel from the English Cocker Spaniel and Field Spaniel as we know them today.
English Springers are also closely related to Welsh Springer Spaniels, to the point they were even regarded as the same breed up until 1902.
Either way, English Springer Spaniels are unique. They were bred to be highly capable gun dogs, which is a type of dog that helps hunters locate and retrieve downed game birds like pheasants for example. And they are very good at this.
They’re also unique compared to other pointing and retrieving dogs like the English Pointer or Golden Retriever for example. Because, while all three are capable gun dogs, the English Springer Spaniel excels at flushing game birds out of hiding (or “springing” them) so that the hunter can find and shoot them. At which point the Springer will locate, point to and (if needed) retrieve the bird.
So, Springers may look all cute and cuddly, and they are, but they are actually very capable, respected hunting companions that are known for faithfully enduring long days working in the field.
Today they are better known as friendly, obedient companions that love playing and spending time with the family. They do shed moderately, but regular brushing should be enough to get this under control. So you can enjoy the companionship of this amazing dog, without spending too much time cleaning up loose dog hair.