Stonebroke Kennels
100% Field Bred English Springer Spaniels

Why A Field-Bred Springer?

Dolly - December 21  2012 255

I have several magazine articles I’ve kept over the years about many of the different gundog breeds. First of all, there are no “bad breeds”. They all have their place… Pointers tend to be best suited for quail and places where a big running dog are needed. Labs and Chessies are best at waterfowl duties, etc.. So, where does the Springer fit in? Rather than give my opinion, I’ll quote some of the experts…People who train for a living, writers, etc…

Bill Tarrant, an award winning author, wrote an article for Field and Stream magazine in July of 1991 on Springers. He spent some time with Tom Ness in North Dakota, a well known trainer. Bill asked Tom, “Why would anyone want an English Springer Spaniel”? Tom’s reply was, “They’re the best there is on pheasant….and rabbits. Actually, they’re a dense-cover dog that has to root out the bird or the hare. The Springer digs the bird out. He’ll cast into the silver buffaloberry here and it’s tangled and thorny. He’ll come out all roughed up, lips bleeding, thorns stuck in his nose, but he’ll not quit. He’ll keep on hunting. And he’ll retrieve ducks on a warm day, but you’ll need a Lab when the weather gets cold.”

“Yet the Springer is a do it all dog as well. She got up the Huns didn’t she? And she’ll get the sharptail up too…..And she’s used for ruffed grouse, prairie chickens and bobwhites. But the Springer’s specialty is pheasant, because pheasants like to hole up in inaccessible places, all buried in a pile of tumbleweeds, for example and this dog will kick them out”.

“Plus there’s this. Every gundog hunts only one or two months of the year. The other ten or eleven months the dog should be a house pet. None finer than the Springer. He has the disposition to be close, not to tear the place up, to mind, and to show lots of affection”.

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Larry Mueller, the Hunting Dog Edtior for Outdoor Life Magazine several years back, did a series of articles on Springers… In an article he wrote in the September 1989 issue he writes, “Have you ever seen a coach play his subs 75% of the time while his first string sits it out on the bench? Of course not, you say? Well… maybe not in football, but we’ve been doing that for many, many years in the game of hunting….especially in pheasant hunting and other types of hunting in which flushing dogs excel. The real pros are Spaniels, mostly Springers. Labrador Retrievers have always been substitutes. Yet 75% of today’s flushing dog work it going to Labs.”

He goes on to say “I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years. Labs never do learn to quarter ground as thoroughly as Springers, and quartering ground is important in pheasant hunting. Labs can never bore into the brush and briars with the speed of a smaller Springer either, and they sometimes can’t penetrate the thick stuff at all. And penetrating is important, too, because pheasants will flush to a swift assault, but will often run from larger dogs that either go around dense growth or waste time looking for more open avenues of chase”.

He continues, “I do not mean for any of this to detract from Labs. Anybody who has read this department for any length of time can’t help but know about my longtime love for those dogs…….but for the traditional Lab, pheasant flushing has been conducted on an amateur level compared with the Springer’s inborn professional ability to both flush and fetch.”

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I’ve hunted over most of the popular breeds….not all, but a good many of them. I’m not a great trainer…I admit it, so the Springer is really ideal for me. They stay with me… Yes, sometimes they’ll punch out of range, but for the most part they want to be with me so they’re most always within shotgun range. They are extremely eager to please and very intelligent. They would rather hunt and retrieve than eat… you don’t need to teach a Springer to hunt. They love people, but then again most gundog breeds (dogs in general!) do. They are small enough to have in the house, in my pickup, etc. If I have to lift or carry one, they don’t require a Herculean effort to do so! They are very animated when in the field…..very happy hunters….just a blast to watch work. There is no doubt that they love what they were bred to do. In the home they’ll want to sit on your lap or sleep with you, but are content to stretch out on the floor (or on the couch if you don’t mind).

kelsie-and-lil-may-2006

Rosie and Luke in chair

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3 Responses to “Why A Field-Bred Springer?”

  1. We love our Springer… such a fantastic loving family dog, perfect size and so easy to train!

  2. Yes, they certainly are all of that!

  3. Awsome


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