Spaniel breeds are a group of hunting and retrieving dogs, or more precisely, gun dogs. This means that they were originally bred for assisting hunters in tracking down and capturing all types of game, but mostly birds, whether on land or on water. Of course, as time passed, the breeds evolved, and now many of the Spaniel breeds are now loved as family pets for their intelligence, friendly disposition, and love for adventure.
In addition to the classic spaniel breeds that fit in the gun dog or bird dog category, there are also “faux” spaniel breeds – dogs that have the name Spaniel in their name but weren’t bred for hunting and retrieving – as well as designer dogs which are spaniel mixes. To learn more about all of these magnificent dogs, dive with us into the diverse world of spaniel breeds and meet some of the most popular spaniels around!
Cockapoo: Sweet, Friendly, and Cute – Mix That Offers Best of Both Worlds
Cockapoos are a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, known for their friendly, affectionate, and outgoing personalities and low-shedding curly coats. Thanks to their unique mixed breed parentage, Cockapoos can range in size from 10 to 30 pounds and the texture and the color of their coats can vary from litter to litter. Still, the “unpredictability” of their looks is just one part of their charm!
Cockapoos have a playful and loving personalities, and when socialized on time, they get along well both with people and other animals. Early training and socialization are important for their development, but luckily, these dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train and suitable for beginner owners.
Cockapoos make great family pets, providing years of friendship and joy with their charming looks and delightful personalities – they will make lovely pets for people with children, active seniors looking for a pet in their golden years, or a devoted companion to a single.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Sophisticated Elegance, Unwavering Devotion – This Royal Dog Breed Has It All
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or King Charles Spaniel is a small to medium-sized dog breed loved for their affectionate and friendly nature. They are often described as "velcro dogs" due to their love for human companionship. Cavaliers get along well with children, other pets, and strangers – they really are quite adaptable to different environments and family settings. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels require moderate exercise, regular grooming, as well as early training and socialization to be their best selves and thrive under your wing.
Even though Cavaliers are not very high-maintenance dogs, they do have a long, silky coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. King Charles Spaniels are eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training so even an owner without much previous training experience will find these dogs easy to work with. Overall, Cavaliers are beloved for their loving and loyal personality, beautiful regal looks, and adaptability that makes them perfect pets for almost any potential owner.
Papillon: From Their Cute Ears to Dainty Stature, These Petite Pooches Are All About Charm
Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, the Papillon is one of the oldest breeds in the Spaniel group – yet it still remains one of the most popular ones, centuries after it was first created. The trademark of the breed which earned Papillons their name is their distinctive butterfly-like ears, which paired with their long, silky coat make them one of the prettiest pooches on the block. When it comes to their personalities, these small dogs are known for their intelligence, alertness, and affectionate nature. Even though petite, they are active and energetic and will enjoy playtime, walks, and exploration. Since they are quick learners, Papillons can even excel in activities such as agility sports.
It is said that Papillons are the typical example of a big dog in a small dog’s body, and it’s not just because of the fact that they are quite athletic, but also their alertness which makes them good watchdogs. In the end, if you are looking for an active small breed dog with an affectionate nature and lively attitude, Papillon will be perfect for you!
Boykin Spaniel: Experience Boundless Energy and Endless Love With This Retrieving Breed
While not as well known as some other breeds from the Spaniel group, the Boykin Spaniel is quick to impress potential owners with their cute looks and lovable characters. Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized breed that is distinct for their wavy silky coat and webbed feet – and the fact that they come in only two colors, brown or liver, with sparse white patches on the chest and toes. An energetic, intelligent, and adaptable breed, the Boykin Spaniel doesn’t just make an excellent hunting companion but a family pet as well. They have a friendly and affectionate nature, and enjoy being part of the “gang” – they are loyal to a fault and will form close bonds with their humans.
Even so, this breed isn’t for everybody. Boykin Spaniels require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay out of trouble, so if you are looking for a couch potato pooch, look away. Boykin Spaniels are ideal companions for active owners who appreciate their adventurous spirit and playful nature and can meet their needs for an active lifestyle.
English Cocker Spaniel: Beauty, Brains, and Elegance All In One
Tracing their origins to the 16th century, the English Cocker Spaniels have been around for a while, and their unwavering popularity is a testament to their many qualities. While originally bred for hunting purposes, nowadays this medium-sized breed is better known for their charming looks and friendly personality that make them perfect family pets. The versatility of the breed makes them suited for the role of show dogs, pets, hunting companions, and alert little watchdogs – English Cocker Spaniels can truly do it all.
They have a silky coat, playful disposition, and are eager to please which makes training a breeze. English Cocker Spaniels are affectionate, and intelligent, and will get along well with children and other pets, but be sure to work on eliminating their prey drive if you have other small animals around. They do have hunting instincts after all!
Their origins as bird hunters and retrievers mean that these dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to avoid destructive behaviors and keep them in top form. For the owner who is ready to provide this as well as love and affection, the English Cocker Spaniels will prove to be the most devoted companion that brings joy and happiness to their lives.
English Springer Spaniel: Adventure Awaits With This Outdoorsy Breed
The English Springer Spaniel is one of those classic hunting dogs – a medium to a large-sized breed known for its athletic build, friendly personality, and high energy levels. They have a dense weather-resistant coat that comes in many colors and color combinations and long ears that give them a cute, hard-to-resist look. As for their personalities and temperament, English Springer Spaniels are loved for their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature, making them great companions, but particularly for those families that want a dog that will participate in all family activities and look forward to any outdoor adventures. Remember, this is a sporty, energetic dog and needs his humans to provide a lifestyle that reflects their nature!
Early training and socialization are essential for English Springer Spaniels, even more so if you have other smaller pets in the family, as they have a strong prey drive and may exhibit hunting instincts. With proper care and attention, English Springer Spaniels can be loyal and loving companions for active owners who appreciate their athleticism, playful spirit, and unwavering loyalty.
English Setter: Elegant Athletes and Loyal Companions For All Life’s Adventures
Meet the majestic English Setter! Elegant and friendly, this medium-sized sporting breed is a blend of beauty and brains. With their long, silky coat and distinctive feathering, they're a sight to behold – you will certainly be noticed walking your English Setter around the block or at the dog park. Outgoing and affectionate, they're always up for outdoor adventures like hiking and running, so they make ideal companions for active owners that spend a lot of time outside. Their keen sense of smell also makes them excellent hunting and scent-detection dogs – after all, the breed was originally created to flush out game during hunts.
English Setters are loyal, loving, and great with children and other pets, but they do need basic training and socialization to bring out their best qualities. While they are not high-maintenance dogs, be prepared for some grooming with your English Setter, as their long coat requires regular brushing to keep it silky and tangle-free. In conclusion, if you're looking for a devoted and adventurous companion to share your days with, the English Setter is a perfect choice.
Brittany: Quick, Curious, And Independent Companion for Thrill Seekers
With Brittany by your side, no day will be boring – these energetic and athletic dogs are always up for action-packed activities and outdoor fun. A medium-sized breed, they have a compact build and stunning coat that is accepted only in white, orange, and liver coloring or any pattern containing one or more of these colors. While there’s no denying their good looks, Brittanys are not only eye-catching but also agile and intelligent. They're versatile gun dogs, excelling in both pointing and retrieving. Nowadays, though, most people don’t keep them as hunting dogs but rather pets, as they have a friendly and affectionate nature with a lively spirit to boot. They love being around people and other pets, and they'll quickly win your heart with their outgoing and eager-to-please personalities.
To keep a Brittany dog happy and healthy, provide regular exercise and mental stimulation as they need to be occupied at all times. The effort will be well worth it, though, as they’ll bring unwavering loyalty and a sense of exuberance to your life. With early training and socialization, you'll have a devoted and adventurous companion who's always up for new experiences.
American Cocker Spaniel: Friendly, Easy-Going Dog With Floppy Ears That Will Steal Your Heart
If you're looking for a devoted and loving companion with an even temperament, look no further than the American Cocker Spaniel! These small to medium-sized dogs are well-loved for their affectionate and outgoing nature, making them perfect companions for families and children of all ages. With their playful and gentle disposition, they are sure to win over everyone they meet from the get-go. American Cocker Spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, making training a breeze with patience and consistency.
Their moderate energy level means they enjoy regular exercise, such as walks or playtime, and they thrive on human interaction. As a result, however, they might be prone to separation anxiety so they are not the best choice for people with busy schedules or working long hours – they do best when there’s always someone around to shower them with love and attention.
Japanese Chin: An Independent But Loving Little Dog with a Big Personality
Originally known as the Japanese Spaniel, this toy breed dog is considered to be one of the most cat-like dog breeds around – a perfect compromise for feline lovers looking to become dog parents! The Japanese Chin has a very distinctive appearance, including a short, pushed-in face and large round eyes, with striking bi-color coats that are silky to touch and give them a graceful look. A lap dog with an impressive history that dates back all the way to the fourth century, the Japanese Chin is affectionate, gentle, and highly devoted to their owners.
They have an independent streak and can sometimes be aloof (which earned them the cat-like epithet), but they’ll also love to curl up on your lap and be close to their humans. Apartment living comes naturally to these toy dogs, as they do not require extensive exercise, so they make an ideal choice for city living. However, their long, silky coat does require regular grooming to keep them looking their best, so be prepared to do your fair share of grooming when you own a Japanese Chin!
Clumber Spaniel: Gentle, Devoted, and Laid-Back Companion for Families with Children
There’s so much about the Clumber Spaniel that makes them unique: for instance, they are the largest of all the spaniel breeds and one of the first 9 breeds to be recognized by the AKC in 1884. when it was founded. Weighing 70 to 85 pounds on average, the Clumber Spaniel is not very demanding when it comes to exercise, which can’t be said for most other spaniels on our list. They are much more adaptable to various lifestyles and get along splendidly with children and other pets, making them ideally suited for families of all shapes and sizes.
Clumber Spaniels have a heavy, low-set body, a dense white that may have lemon or orange-colored markings, and soulful eyes that turn heads wherever they go. They have a pensive look to them, but it doesn’t match their nature as these dogs are easy-going, playful, and eager to please. This makes them easy to train and a joy to have around – you will quickly fall in love with this gentle giant!
Irish Water Spaniel: Dive into Adventure with this Fun and Mischievous Pooch
Dubbed the “clever clown”, Irish Water Spaniel is a unique dog breed that combines both one-of-a-kind looks and unusual personality. Their physique makes them skilled on land and water both, with their curly waterproof coat, webbed feet, and keen sense of smell, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are prized for their agility and hunting capabilities. However, they’ve come far from their working dog beginnings and are more and more appreciated as pets, thanks to their playful and spirited personality, coupled with their unwavering loyalty and impressive intelligence.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a confident and independent breed that thrives on mental and physical challenges, so be prepared to provide regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep their tails wagging with joy. Training them can be a rewarding journey, as they respond well to positive reinforcement and are quite intelligent so they’ll learn quickly. All in all, this is a breed that will bring excitement, joy, and boundless energy to your household - a true water-loving companion for all your outdoor adventures!
Tibetan Spaniel: Little Lion with a Loving Soul and Big Heart
As the name suggests, the Tibetan Spaniel is one of three breeds native to Tibet – they were called lion dogs and were regarded as a symbol of Buddha. Assumed to be an ancient breed, the Tibbie, as it is affectionately called, has kept a regal air about them even though they are not given as gifts to royalty anymore. Still, their expressive eyes, tufted ears, and flowing coat make them head-turners wherever they go, so you can forgive a bit of pompousness!
The Tibetan Spaniel is an independent and intelligent small breed dog who is always on the lookout for adventure, keeping you on your toes with their confident and assertive nature. They make excellent watchdogs and are fiercely loyal to their family. Though they can be aloof with strangers, they are great with children and other pets when properly socialized. Naturally, consistent training and early socialization are key but be warned – these dogs have a stubborn streak and can be a challenge for first-time owners to train. However, if you are ready for a spirited and fiercely devoted companion despite the challenges, the Tibetan Spaniel will be a match made in heaven.
Welsh Springer Spaniel: The Lovable Athlete That Is Eager, Energetic, and Always Ready to Play
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized breed that is considered to be a loyal, active companion with a striking appearance. With their sturdy build, expressive eyes, and luscious coat, they're sure lookers, but it's not just their appearance that makes them special - their friendly personality and intelligence are equally noteworthy. These affectionate dogs love being around people and other animals, and their high energy levels make them perfect for outdoor adventures. They have a natural instinct for hunting and excel in dog sports like obedience and agility. Plus, they're great watchdogs, always keeping an eye out for potential threats.
As family pets, Welsh Springer Spaniels are known for their loyalty and eagerness to please. However, they do require regular exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming to stay happy and healthy, so be sure you can commit to their needs before considering adopting one of these striking dogs.
American Water Spaniel: Bred to Swim, Born to Retrieve – A Perfect Partner for Outdoor Recreation
The American Water Spaniel is bred for athleticism and adventure: their medium-sized, well-muscled body with a distinctive curly or wavy double coat that provides insulation and protects them from the elements, while their keen senses and sharp minds made them irreplaceable as hunters and retrievers in waterfowl hunting. Having in mind that this is what they were originally created for, it doesn’t surprise that the American Water Spaniel thrives on activities like retrieving, hunting, search and rescue, and water-based sports, making them the perfect partner for outdoor enthusiasts.
Even though they are hard and capable workers, these dogs are not just all work and no play - they're also affectionate and loyal, always eager to please their people. Early socialization and consistent training are key to unlocking their full potential. So whether you're a water sports enthusiast, a hunting aficionado, or just looking for a fun and loving companion to share your adventures with, the American Water Spaniel is the breed for you!
Stabyhoun: A Rare Breed That’s Always Game for Adventures
Considered to be one of the rarest breeds in the world, the Stabyhoun still persists
thanks to the efforts of dedicated breeders from their homeland, the Netherlands. These medium-sized dogs are known for their sturdy build, long wavy coat that comes in black and white, brown and white, or orange and white, and expressive eyes. Characterized by their inquisitive nature, sharp intelligence, and affectionate nature, the Stabyhoun excels in various activities such as hunting, tracking, and retrieving. Naturally, Stabyhouns love outdoor adventures like hiking and jogging and will make a perfect pet for an outdoorsy owner that wants an active dog by their side.
Both friendly and patient, the Stabyhoun makes a great choice for families with children as they tend to get along great with kids when trained and socialized on time. They are generally quite sociable and gentle, even with other animals, so if you make sure that they go through obedience training and basic socialization early on, they can get along with other pets despite their hunting instincts.
Field Spaniel: Agile, Determined, and Fiercely Loyal Athlete
With their wavy coat, wagging tail, and playful demeanor, the Field Spaniel is sure to win your heart in no time – these medium-sized beauties are not only elegant in appearance but also full of energy and contagious enthusiasm. This charming and spirited sporting breed is always up for any fun activity, whether it’s an early morning hike or a game of fetch in the backyard, which is why Field Spaniels make great companions for active families or individuals who love the great outdoors.
Field Spaniels are also known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They're eager to please, making them easy to train and obedient. Plus, their love for children makes them great family pets that can keep up with spirited kiddos. With their boundless energy, love for playtime, and unwavering loyalty, the Field Spaniel is the perfect furry companion for those who are ready for a lifetime of adventures and endless wagging tails!
Kooikerhondje: Clever, Good-Natured, and Sporty Companion for Kids and Adults Alike
These medium-sized dogs with their distinctive orange markings and plumed tails are not just a pretty face – the Kooikerhondje has a lot to offer when it comes to intelligence and personality, too. They are quick learners, excel in activities like obedience and agility, and have a keen sense of problem-solving, and it’s all thanks to their origins as duck-luring dogs for hunters. Kooikerhondjes are sociable, outgoing, and good with children making them ideal companions for families who enjoy an active lifestyle. However, they do have a high prey drive, so it’s best if there are no small animals in the family – or if you work on early training and socialization to try and weed out this primal instinct of theirs on time.
With their watchful nature and alertness, they also make excellent watchdogs, always keeping an eye out for potential dangers and looking out for their families, to who they are fiercely loyal. It’s important to know that these dogs have moderate to high exercise needs, including regular mental stimulation, grooming, and training, so they are not a good fit if you don’t have experience with such breeds – but their loyal and loving nature makes it all worth it.
Interested in more Spaniel breeds? We’ve got you covered! Check out Sussex Spaniel, Picardy Spaniel, German Spaniel, French Spaniel, or Blue Picardy Spaniel. And if you are looking for Spaniel breed mixes to adopt, learn more about designer dog breeds such as Cavamalt, Cockeranian, Spanador, Corkie, Chin-Wa, and many other adorable hybrids that will win you over in an instant.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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