Welsh Springers, affectionately known as "Welshies", are handsome red and white spaniels known for their merry disposition and devotion to their owners.

General Description

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is an ancient breed and is an active dog displaying a loyal and affectionate disposition. Although reserved with strangers, he is not timid, shy or unfriendly and is a devoted family member and hunting companion.

Slightly smaller than the English Springer, the Welsh Springer is solid and compact, possessing a rich dark red and white coat which is thick and silky with no tendency to be wavy and is very nearly self-cleaning.

Bred specifically to spring game toward a net or into the air for a falcon to capture prior to the invention and common use of the gun the Welsh Springer rarely advances beyond easy gun range. Possessing a superb nose, slightly webbed feet and an ability to negotiate heavy ground cover the Welsh Springer is not only a versatile hunter but is also a very good water dog and retriever.

The Welsh Springer does possess a stubborn streak, however the Welsh Springer is an extremely intelligent dog and with patience and an early start the Welsh Springer can be an excellent hunting companion.

Being of medium build and size with an even, reserved, disposition the Welsh Springer is a gentle family dog and prefers to be with his people. The Welsh Springer is often referred to as a ‘Velcro’ dog as you cannot go anywhere without your ‘shadow’. At the same time, without being mean or aggressive, the Welsh Springer knows when to protect and guard.

The average life span of the Welsh Springer is 12 to 15 years of age. Average height at the withers is 17 to 18 inches for a female and 18 to 19 inches for a male. Average weight is 35 to 50 pounds for a female and 40 to 55 pounds for a male


Although no pedigrees or authentic records exist today covering any great length of time, it is generally recognized and accepted that red and white spaniels existed not only in Wales, but other parts of the United Kingdom for several centuries. Dr. John Caius, a physician and author of the first know dissertation on dogs,  referred to them in the 16th century, and Gainsborough painted them in the late 18th century.

In the Neath Valley of South Wales, the members of the Williams family had been shooting over their strain of red and white spaniels since the mid-seventeen hundreds. There were other families in Wales, besides the Williams, who had red and white spaniels that bred true to type and color similar to what was known as the Welsh Spaniel.

There is, however, limited information on the Welsh Spaniel or Starter (the other name by which the Welsh Springer Spaniel is known). The existence of the Welsh Springer Spaniel as a separate breed did not begin until 1902 when after lobbying and support by Mr. A.T. Williams, Mr. W. H. David (both of Wales) and Mr. William Arkwright, the Welsh Springer Spaniel was acknowledged by The Kennel Club in Great Britain. The American Kennel Club followed with recognition of the breed in 1906.

How does the Welsh Springer compare to other similar-looking breeds?

The Welsh Springer is often mistaken for the more well known English Springer, or a Brittany, but each is a separate breed with unique characteristics. Please see the Breed Standard Comparison for a detailed review of the key traits for each breed.