15 Physical Checks When Buying an English
Springer Spaniel PuppyBuying an English Springer Spaniel puppy is the
first step on the long road of fun and companionship with these wonderful animals. These tips will help you get it
right when buying. Some people say "let the puppy choose you" - that is all right up to a point, but you still want
to be sure that the new puppy is basically healthy and up to show standard.
If you have done all the preliminary checks on the pup - parents' pedigree, prize winners in
last two generations and so on then we come to the finer points.
Because a puppy is by definition very young, then we will not know how it will grow, and have to rely on the look
of the parents. The things we can check on the mother (and maybe the father too if he is around, though this is not
always the case) without being show-judge experts are:
1. From the side, is the body basically square - height equal to length is good?
2. The forelegs - does the mother stand with pigeon toes or with paws splayed ('five to one' as on a clock), or
ideally paws straight ahead?
3. Are the hindquarters muscular and strong looking and are the rear paws pointing forward? Judging the hocks and
quarters is a matter for the expert eye, but the rear legs should have a moderate rake back, and should not be
vertical or raked too much.
4. The base of the tail should run parallel with the dog's back and not rise above it.
5. The paws should look like a continuation of the legs and the toes should not be splayed (which can lead to
6. The coat should be glossy and healthy looking, but not coarse or curly. Feathering should not be excessive.
7. In addition to the basic liver and white or black and white coloring, some tan markings are acceptable, but only
on the eyebrows, on the cheeks, inside the ears, under the tail, and sparely on the lower legs. Blue roan is an
acceptable color in the US.
If the mother checks out ok in these respects, and has a good natural gait with the legs swinging straight forward
then that should all be a good indicator for her pups.
On the pup, the checks should be as follows (besides the others listed in the second paragraph):
1. A liver coloring should be rich and dark.
2. A wavy coat in a pup is not a good sign for an adult show dog - check the coat behind the head and down the neck
and back. Wavy now will be wavy later.
3. Deep blue eyes which are not running or weeping (deeper color now means a deeper hazel color in maturity).
4. A cold wet nose with no pink patches.
5. A coat which is smooth and glossy.
6. Check the teeth for correct bite - upper teeth have a close overlap on the lower teeth and the jaw is set
7. Check the testicles to see that they are both descended (this would be by 6-8 week of age).
8. The pup should not be too thin or appear fat, and a big tummy could point to worms.
These checks are generic, and if you are serious about winning prizes with your English Springer Spaniel then you
should check the Breed Standard in more depth for your particular country, as Breed Standards are not totally
The above checklist is not exhaustive but will give a good general indication of the pup's likely development.
The author has reared English springer spaniel puppies and rescue dogs over many years, enjoying
the companionship they provide. If you want to buy and care for an English Springer Spaniel puppy then check out www.springerspanieladvice.com . There's a whole lot more about keeping them and a great
10 part mini-course at no cost.