The English Springer Spaniel is a breed of dog, specifically of the sporting group. The name originates from England; the English called its ancestor a Spaniel because they believed it originated in Spain. In fact, however, no one has ever actually proven its origins. Over time, the spaniel was bred to perform specific hunting tasks; eventually, the once single breed of spaniel divided into the springer spaniels, who chased and caught ('sprang') shot flying game, and the cocker spaniels, who found the hiding places of birds and sat on them('cocked') so they could be caught in nets together. These divided yet again into the other members of the spaniel family.

The Springer Spaniel is a medium sized dog, about the size of a golden retriever, 19-20 inches high. In the United States, the tails are 'docked' (amputated - ow!) to about 2 inches, and this is reflected in dog show standards here (it is required). In the United Kingdom, the practice is illegal, and therefore docked spaniels are not allowed in British dog shows. The Springer Spaniel has 'feathering' (long, feathery hairs) on its chest, legs, ears, and brisket; in Britain, it is also present on the tail. They seem to give the Springer a 'racing stripe' effect. The ears are long and floppy. The fur comes in a few colors, usually black/liver with white markings or mostly white with black/liver markings. However, the centerpiece of the springer's appearance are its eyes. Always brown and very soulful.

The personality of the spaniel is simultaneously hyperactive and patient. To give you my favorite anecdote, Sadie, my springer, used to be harassed by my nephew, who decided that it would be a good idea to ride her. She never even growled at him, much less nipped; When he attempted to mount her, she would simply sit. If my nephew persisted, she would scoot along on the floor until she would get up to walk away from him. Yet, at the same time, if I mention one of the magic words, ('pee-pee', 'fibbie', 'walk') she becomes a hysterical jumping snorting happy mess of a dog.

In summary, the English Springer Spaniel is simply the best breed of dog that ever was or ever will be. (forgive my subjectiveness. I've had 3!)

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