The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a breed of dog that originates from Wales in the United Kingdom. It's a very old breed, dating back at least several hundred years. The breed was used by hunters for flushing game, like pheasants and rabbits, out of the underbrush. Their name comes from their hunting style – “springing” game. In the early years of dog showing, any spaniel that was not a Clumber, Irish, or Sussex was classified as a Welsh Springer Spaniel. The breed was officially recognized by the United Kingdom Kennel Club in 1902 and by the American Kennel Club in 1914.
Welsh Springer Spaniels are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosoria, Factor VII deficiency, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Welsh Springer Spaniels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are typically good with children and other dogs, and their hunting background makes them energetic and enthusiastic. They enjoy play and exercise, and need a moderate amount of physical activity to keep them healthy and content. They are intelligent dogs, but can be somewhat independent, which may require a bit of patience when it comes to training.
Even though they're known as "Springer" Spaniels, Welsh Springers are a separate breed from English Springer Spaniels.
The Welsh Springer Spaniel is considered a rarer breed, especially outside of the United Kingdom.
Welsh Springer Spaniels are often called "Velcro dogs" because they tend to form strong bonds with their families and like to stay close to them.