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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Springador
Average Cost to keep/care for a Springador
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Springador is a cross between an English Springer Spaniel and a Labrador Retriever. They are often referred to as "designer dogs" and as yet they are recognised by The Kennel Club (October 2017) although other international breed organisations have recognised them and set breed standards for the Springador. These lovely dogs are renowned for their kind personalities and temperaments, they are affectionate and love to please which is what makes them such wonderful family pets and companion dogs for older people too.
Springadors are highly intelligent and learn things quickly which includes the good and the bad. They are active and energetic by nature, but they thrive in a home environment being especially good around children thanks to their gentleness. Today, Springadors are as popular as they were when they first appeared on the scene although how a puppy turns out depends on which of their parent breeds they have thrown to with puppies from the same litter being quite different looking to one another with each puppy having their own individual personalities too.
The Springador is a relative newcomer to the canine world, but they've become a popular designer cross breed to own both as a family pet, companion and working dog. Their parent breeds are the Labrador Retriever and the English Springer Spaniel, both of which are pure breeds and well known for their kind natures and eager to please temperaments. With this said, both the Lab and the Springer typically pass their working skills on to the Springador, but because they are so new to the dog scene, each puppy in a litter can not only look very different to their siblings, but they can have quite different temperaments and natures too.
The exact origins of how Springadors first came about are a little uncertain, even though they are so new to the scene. It’s not know whether the cross was intentional or a mistake, but the result is a charming dog that over time has become one of the most popular cross breeds both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world whether in a home or working environment.
Because Springadors are new to the dog world, it's doubly important to make sure puppies are only sourced from reputable breeders who routinely have their stud dogs tested for known hereditary health issues that affect parent breeds before using them in a breeding programme. This helps reduce the chance of their offspring inheriting any of the health issues that affect the Labrador Retriever and the English Springer Spaniel. Good breeding practices are essential for the welfare of all Springador puppies and to establish Springadors are being not only reliable and trustworthy dogs, but healthy ones too.
Height at the withers: Males 45.7 - 60.9 cm, Females 45.7 - 60.9 cm
Average weight: Males 22.6 - 40.8 kg, Females 22.6 - 40.8 kg
Springadors tend to be larger than an English Springer Spaniel, but quite a bit smaller than a Labrador Retriever. However, some dogs look more like a Lab and have the same shaped heads and coats whereas other dogs may look more like the Springer Spaniel and have longer coats. Some Springadors inherit a bit of both their parent breeds in the looks department too which adds to their overall charming appeal.
They always have a keen, alert expression in their eyes which is a good indication of just how active they like to be. Noses are always nice and large with dogs having wide open nostrils. Ears are usually set well on a dog’s head and they drop down which dogs hold more erect when excited or alert. They have athletic bodies much like both their parent breeds which paired to well developed and strong front and back legs is a good indication of how fast a Springador can be on their feet when needed.
Coat colours and textures can vary quite a bit too with some dogs having solid, tight coats and others have longer coats with a varying amount of markings throughout their coats. Some dogs have feathering on their ears, chests, legs and tails whereas others don't, but they usually have double coats with a harsher top coat and a much denser, softer undercoat. Outer coats can be straight, wavy or even shaggy which adds to a Springadors charming appearance. The most common coat colours include the following:
When a Springador moves, they do so with great purpose covering a lot of ground when they do. They have a lot of drive in their hindquarters and are always ready to "go" being extremely alert to what's going on around them.
Prospective Springador owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or conformation. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce are of a good size and that they have good conformation as well as excellent dispositions. Male Springadors should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums
The Springador usually inherits a lot of their parent breeds traits which is why they have become one of the most popular cross breeds to own as a family pet or companion dog both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. They are extremely intelligent which hands and environment means they are easy to train, but the downside to this is that a Springador is just as quick to pick up bad habits and behaviours as they are the good ones and why their education should start as early as possible once they are in their new homes.
They are playful, active dogs that thrive being in a family environment. They adore being involved in everything that goes on around them which includes playing nicely with children. They form strong attachments to their owners and families which means they don't particularly like to be left on their own for long periods of time although quite happy with their own company for shorter periods. They are a great choice for families where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house so they usually have company, although unlike many other breeds, they are not prone to suffering from separation anxiety.
If left to their own devices and not given enough daily exercise, a Springador would quickly get bored and this could result in a dog developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and their way of keeping themselves entertained. In a working environment, a Springador is known to be loyal and dependable, but they are also highly prized in other jobs too and this includes as PAT dogs, Police dogs to name but two.
Springadors are a good choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times. With this said, Springadors are extremely energetic and therefore better suited to people who lead active outdoor lives and who would enjoy the company of an intelligent, loyal and devoted canine companion.
Springadors are very social by nature and even though they have working and hunting dogs in their lineage, they can easily be trained not to chase anything that moves. However, this is not to say that a dog would not give chase to a smaller animal when the mood takes them and this includes squirrels and the cat from next door just for the fun of it and because it is chasing and retrieving is a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche.
Springadorss have a very playful and fun-loving side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They adore playing interactive games and excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes agility, flyball and obedience.
Springadors are best suited to people who lead active outdoor lives and are not the best choice for people who live in apartments because they love nothing more than being out and about rather than lounging around the home. With this said, a Springador is quite happy to relax once they get home after a busy day in the great outdoors and after they have been given lots of mental stimulation and vigorous exercise.
Springadors form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Springadors are not known to be "barkers", but if a puppy shows signs of yapping to get attention or for no reason, it is a trait that needs to be gently curbed being extra careful not to scare them. With this said, an unhappy Springador or one that is bored, could well bark as a way of relieving their stress and to get themselves noticed.
Most Springadors love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Springador off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing.
Springadors are always quick off the mark when it comes to alerting their owners when strangers are about and when something they don't like is going on around them. However, being kind natured, a Springador would rarely show any sort of aggression toward people they don't know, preferring to keep their distance and bark at whoever is around.
Springadors are intelligent and they love to please which means in the right hands they are easy to train and pick things up quickly. However, because they such active, high-energy dogs by nature, it can prove hard to get a puppy to concentrate during a training session. As such, it's best to just teach them the basics and wait until they have been fully vaccinated and then to enrol them into puppy classes which is a great way of starting a Springador's training in earnest whilst at the same time socialising them in a safe environment where they can meet lots of other dogs and people.
Being sensitive by nature, the Springador does not respond well to any sort of harsh correction and heavy-handed training methods will not get the best out of them. The key to successfully training them is to use positive reinforcement and to make a training session as interesting as possible, keeping it short and sweet without too much repetition. This helps keep a younger Springadore stay more focused on their handlers so they understand what is being asked of them.
Springador puppies are extremely cute and it is all too easy to spoil them. However, owners must start out as they mean to go on which means setting out ground rules for a new puppy. All dogs need to know what an owner expects of them and it helps establish who is the "leader of the pack". The first commands a Springador should be taught from an early age are as follows:
Springadors have inherited their kind natures from both parent breeds and therefore thoroughly enjoy being in a family environment. They thrive on being around people and children of all ages. However, any interaction between the kids and a dog should be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not end up getting too boisterous particularly when there are toddlers and younger children in the home because they could easily get knocked over, albeit by accident.
It they have grown up with a family cat in a household, Springadors usually get on well together, but because they boast quite a high prey drive, they would think nothing of chasing off any other cat they come across. Care should be taken when they are around smaller animals and pet, just in case a Springador decides to give chase.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Springador is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Springador is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good-looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Springer Spaniel health issues:
Labrador Retriever health issues:
Other inherited disorders for Labrador Retrievers include the following:
Working breeds have traditionally had their tails docked, a practice that has been going on throughout time. The reason a working dog’s tail was docked was to prevent them from being damaged when a dog was flushing out and retrieving game in undergrowth. It was only in 1993, that a law was passed preventing anyone other than a vet from carrying out the procedure, but this was further changed when The Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) came into effect in 2006 which invoked a total ban on tail docking unless for medical reasons.
In other parts of the UK, the Animal Welfare Act came into effect in April 2007 which meant that dog's tails could no longer be docked unless they fell into the category of a specific "working" dog or for medical reasons providing the correct paperwork has been submitted by a qualified vet who would undertake to carry out the procedure. There is a heavy fine for anyone who has a dog’s tail docked without submitting the necessary paperwork to the right authorities.
Springador puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Springadors gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which can prove fatal.
Some Springadors are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Springador breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
English Springer Spaniel health testing:
Labrador Retriever health testing:
The Springador is not a recognised Kennel Club breed and as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place. With this said, all prospective owners should to see the health test results of a puppy’s parents to establish they do not suffer from any of the hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the Springer Spaniel and the Labrador Retriever.
There are no KC Assured Breeder requirements for Springadors because they are not a Kennel Club registered breed.
As with any other breed, Springadors need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Springador puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Springador puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Springador puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Springador puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Springadors need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Springador in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older Springadors is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Springadors don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
A Springador's coat can vary depending on whether they've thrown more towards a Lab or have inherited more toward the English Springer Spaniel. As such, some of them can have shorter, tight coats whereas other Springadors have longer coats with the latter being slightly higher maintenance in the grooming department. With this in mind shorter coated dogs would only need a weekly brush and a wipe over with a chamois leather to keep their coats tidy and to maintain a nice sheen. Longer coated dogs need grooming several times a week to remove any dead hair and to prevent any knots or tangles from forming in their coats paying special attention to their ears, under their bellies and any feathering found on any part of their bodies, legs and tails.
Both long and short haired Springadors shed throughout the year, only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to keep on top of things and to remove any loose or dead hair from a dog's coat. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Springadors are intelligent, high energy dogs and therefore they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and as much mental stimulation as possible for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. They need at least 60 minutes exercise a day and more if possible because it’s hard to tire these high energy dogs out.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Springador puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Springador puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Springadors are known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of giving a dog just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Springador puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Springador must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Springador can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Springador, you would need to pay anything from £200 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Springador in northern England would be £23.21 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £44.87 a month (quote as of October 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Springador and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £900 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Springador would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Springador puppy from health tested parents.