The English Springer Spaniel is set apart from its Spaniel cousins thanks to its smaller range of coat colors and patterns. While the English Springer Spaniel is rare among dog breeds because there are two distinct lines of show-bred dogs and field dogs that are nevertheless considered to be the same breed, both lines share the same few colors, even if the patterns are varied. In this article, we'll take a look at the colors and markings of the English Springer Spaniel and how they compare to the colors and markings of other popular Spaniels, the American and English Cocker Spaniels.
Unlike other Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels only come in three acceptable color combinations. These color combinations are white and liver (sometimes also known as chocolate), white and black, and either of these combinations with the addition of tan markings that can usually be found above the eyes or on the cheeks. The white portions of the coat may also have flecks of colored hairs throughout. According to the American Kennel Club, colors such as lemon, red or orange are considered off-colors and are not acceptable for competition.
The AKC standard does not include any pattern requirements but most English Springer Spaniels have a colored face and ears with a white muzzle and blaze. Beyond that, anything is acceptable, although there are again differences that can usually be found between the coat patterns of the show-bred and the field lines. Show lines tend to have a darker blanket coat, while the field lines typically have more white coats, which is said to help hunters keep track of their dogs. Show lines usually don't have as much ticking or flecking in the white portions of the coat, while field dogs are sometimes heavily freckled, or ticked. Show lines tend to have a longer coat than field dogs, and their ears tend to be longer as well.
Understanding the limited color combinations can help distinguish the English Springer Spaniel from its cousins the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. Both of these breeds come in a wide range of colors and combinations. English Cocker Spaniels can come in a wide range of solid colors, including black, red, liver, or golden, or any of these solid colors with tan points found on the muzzle, eyebrows, throat, rear end and feet. They can also be parti-colored, with patches of black, red, liver, orange, or gold against a white or roan background. Roan is best described as a white background with very heavy ticking, much heavier than what is seen in the English Springer Spaniel, which also helps set it apart. American Cocker Spaniels can be seen many of the same colors as English Cocker Spaniels, except they are very rarely seen in roan and can be seen in the popular buff color, which makes it unique among other spaniels.