The English Springer Spaniel is a breed of gun dog in the Spaniel family traditionally used for flushing and retrieving game. It is an affectionate, excitable breed with an average lifespan of twelve to fourteen years. Descended from the Norfolk or Shropshire Spaniels of the mid-19th century, the breed has diverged into separate show and working lines. The breed suffers from average health complaints. The show-bred version of the breed has been linked to "rage syndrome", although the disorder is very rare. It is closely related to the Welsh Springer Spaniel and very closely with the English Cocker Spaniel; less than a century ago, springers and cockers would come from the same litter. The smaller "cockers" hunted woodcock while the larger littermates were used to flush, or "spring," game. In 1902, the Kennel Club of England recognized the English Springer Spaniel as a distinct breed.
English physician Dr. John Caius described the spaniel in his book the Treatise of Englishe Dogs published in 1576. His book was the first work to describe the various British breeds by function.By 1801, Sydenham Edwards explained in the Cynographia Britannica that the land spaniel should be split into two kinds, the Springing, Hawking Spaniel, or Starter, and the Cocking or Cocker Spaniel.At this point in time, both cocker spaniels and springer spaniels were born in the same litters.
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