Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Sprollie
Average Cost to keep/care for a Sprollie
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Sprollie is a cross between a Springer Spaniel and a Border Collie and they have inherited many of their parent breed's looks and character traits. However, puppies from the same litter can be quite different depending on whether they have thrown to the Collie or Springer with one of the constants being they are high energy, lively dogs that like nothing better than to be working alongside their owners. Sprollies have become a popular choice for people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like to have an intelligent and devoted canine companion at their side.
The actual origins of how the Sprollie first came about remain unclear and as yet these charming dogs have not earned the recognition of The Kennel Club, although several local breed clubs have been established in the UK and elsewhere in the world with an end goal being to breed healthy Sprollies whether first or second-generation dogs.
What is known is that for decades Border Collies have been crossed with Springer Spaniels and more especially on farms in the UK where they have always been used as working dogs. With this said, over more recent times, Sprollies have only been deliberately bred not just as working dogs, but as companions and family pets too. In the last ten years or so, they have become a popular choice, more especially with people who lead active lives because these high energy dogs make such wonderful companions in the great outdoors.
Height at the withers: Males 46 - 56 cm, Females 46 - 56 cm
Average weight: Males 18 - 25 kg, Females 18 - 25 kg
Because Sprollies are a cross between an English Springer Spaniel and a Border Collie, puppies from the same litter can be quite different in appearance depending on which of the parent breeds they throw to. However, because the Springer and the Collie are similar sized dogs, their offspring tend to be of a similar size too. With this said, most Sprollies inherit the pendant type ears of the Springer and they usually have very similar coats to the Spaniel. However, when it comes to coat colours, these can be very Border Collie-like with the majority of Sprollies inheriting a well-furnished, feathered Collie tail too.
They have well proportioned, broad heads and have inherited the alert expression of both parent breeds. They have quite distinct stops and their muzzles are broad, but taper slightly to a dog's nose which can either be black or brown in colour. Eyes are a nice oval shape and set wide apart being either a light or dark brown. Sprollies always have a keen and "ready to go", yet intelligent look about their eyes much like that of a Springer and a Collie.
They have medium sized ears which are set wide apart and which are typically long and pendulous, falling forward when a dog is alert and to the side of their heads when they are relaxed. Sprollies boast having a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They have a strong, muscular, slightly arched necks which are wider at the shoulder than at the nape which adds to their overall athletic appearance.
They have strong, well boned forequarters with well laid-back shoulders and nice straight front legs. They have athletic bodies with well sprung ribs and deep chests over deep, muscular loins. Hindquarters are muscular with well-developed thighs and well angled back legs. Their feet are oval shaped with deep pads, tight arched toes and short dark coloured nails.
Sprollies have inherited the long tales of the Border Collie which are set low and which are well covered in hair. Dogs carry their tails with a slight curve in them right to the tip, adding to their overall perfect balance and proportion. When excited, Sprollies raise their tails, but they never carry them over their backs.
When it comes to their coats, Sprollies can either have quite long hair or their coats can be short and smooth. However, whichever type of coat they have inherited, they always have a dense topcoat and softer undercoat which offers dogs lots of protection against the elements. Long-coated dogs have longer hair around their necks and upper shoulders which forms a mane and they have more in the way of feathers on their legs and under their tails. Sprollies can come in a variety of colours and combinations of colours with the most common being as follows:
When a Sprollie moves, they do so with great purpose covering a lot of ground when they do. They are well balanced dogs that are always on the alert and ready to "go".
Prospective Sprollie 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 have good conformation by using well-bred, healthy parent dogs. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
Sprollies are high energy dogs having inherited their liveliness from both parent breeds. They have also inherited the intelligence of the Collie and the Springer which means they not only need to be given the right amount of daily exercise, but they also need to have enough mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well rounded characters. A tired Sprollie is a happy dog and one that's a pleasure to have around. A bored Sprollie can become quite a handful and all too often they'll develop unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home if their minds are not kept occupied.
Puppies need to be taught the "basics" and the boundaries as soon as they arrive in their new homes and their training must start in earnest once they've been fully vaccinated. A great way of socialising one of these independent and high-spirited dogs is to enrol them into puppy classes where they will get to meet lots of other dogs and people while at the same time being trained in a safe and controlled environment.
Although a Sprollie is always quick to let an owner know when there are any strangers about, they are not terribly good watchdogs being far too friendly which is one of their endearing traits. They are a good choice for people who lead more active, outdoor lives and not so suited to people who lead sedentary, quieter lives because these dogs need a ton of exercise and are never happier than when they are out and about with their owners.
It's important for Sprollies to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs. A Sprollie is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of a dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
Sprollies are a good choice for first time dog owners providing they have the time to dedicate to such an intelligent, high-energy dog. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times which means any interaction should always be supervised.
As previously mentioned Sprollies are social by nature, but they have working and hunting in their lineage. As such, they do have a high prey drive and would happily chase any animals they spot in the distance that try to run away. The good news is that Sprollies are highly trainable thanks to their intelligence and their need to please which means they can be taught not to chase any animals they come across. With this said, care should still be taken as to where and when a dog can run off the lead more especially if there is livestock or wild animals nearby.
Sprollies have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They love taking part in all sorts of canine sports which includes agility, obedience, flyball and tracking all of which are activities they are especially good at.
Sprollies are better suited to people who lead active, outdoor lives and who have well fenced back gardens they can roam around in whenever possible. They are not well suited to apartment living being such high-energy, intelligent dogs that boast having a low boredom threshold
Although Sprollies form strong ties with their families, they do not suffer from separation anxiety providing they are not left on their own for too long. They are highly intelligent and boredom would soon set in which could lead to a dog being destructive around the home.
Sprollies are not known to be "barkers", although some dogs like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them. With this said, most Sprollies will only bark when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their surroundings.
Most Sprollies 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 Sprollie off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own. It is important to dry a dog’s ears off once they’ve been swimming to avoid any ear infections from flaring up.
Sprollies are not natural watchdogs because they are too friendly by nature although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively preferring to keep their distance and bark as a way of alerting their owners to what is going on.
The Sprollie is a very smart dog and a fast learner being able to retain a lot more in the way of "commands" than many other breeds, much like the Border Collie and the Springer. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. As such, their training must begin early and it must be consistent and always fair from the word go and throughout a dog's life, so they understand what owners expect of them. Sprollies are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact they have with their owners when competing together. The key to successfully training a Sprollie is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions shorter which helps a dog stay more focused on what’s being asked of them, bearing in mind the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they tend to get bored.
Sprollie puppies are very cute and they are extremely smart too. As such, they quickly learn new things which includes the good and the bad. New owners need to start out as they mean to go on which means not spoiling a puppy when they first arrive in a new home. The best way forward is to set out limits and boundaries so that a puppy understands what an owner expects of them and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Being so intelligent, a Sprollie puppy will always tests the rules from time to time and it's important to be consistent so as not to confuse them. The first commands a Sprollie puppy should be taught are as follows:
Sprollies are known to be very good around children thanks to their gentle, albeit bouncy natures. However, any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt, although this would only happen by accident.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Sprollie would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care should be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets because a Sprollie might want to continually herd them which they do by nipping at their back-ends.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Sprollie is between 10 and 17 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Sprollie may be prone to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect their parent breeds which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these energetic and intelligent dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
What about vaccinations?
Sprollie 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.
Sprollies can 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 could prove fatal.
Some Sprollies 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 Sprollie 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 which are available for both parent breeds namely the Springer Spaniel and the Border Collie:
Springer Spaniel testing
There are no breed specific breeding restrictions for Sprollies because they are not a KC recognised breed. With this said, all breeders should follow the Kennel Club recommendations on how often a Sprollie dam should be bred from and to follow their recommendations on the relevant breed specific breeding restrictions for both Springer Spaniels and Border Collies.
The Sprollie being a cross breed is not Kennel Club registered (December 2017) as such, there are no Assured Breeder requirements for the Sprollie, but prospective owners should ask breeders about health issues that are known to affect parent breeds which could affect their puppies.
As with any other breed, Sprollies 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.
Sprollie 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 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 Sprollie puppies, bearing in mind that they are quite sensitive to loud sounds by nature and even shouting can stress a puppy out. 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, Sprollie 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 fully up to date.
Older Sprollies 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:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Sprollie 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 Sprollies 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 dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Sprollies 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.
Sprollies boast having double coats that consist of a harsher top coat and a softer and dense undercoat. However, they are not high maintenance on the grooming front. A twice weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats looking good and tangle-free. They shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed 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 builds up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Sprollie is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of 1 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Sprollie would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Sprollie 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 Sprollie 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 eaters, but this does not mean they can be given 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.
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 Sprollie 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 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Sprollie must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Sprollie can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Sprollie, you would need to pay anything from £250 to over £350 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Sprollie in northern England would be £23.81 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.43 a month (quote as of December 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 £30 - £40 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Sprollie 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 Sprollie would be between £60 to £90 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 Sprollie puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Sprollies have always been popular working dogs, but they have fast become a popular family pet and companion both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Sprollies there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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