The English Springer Spaniel This wonderful medium sized Sporting Dog used originally for springing game is mostly used today to find or flush and retrieve game. Tallest of the ancient order of land Spaniels, the English Springer must present an overall appearance of power and endurance with a clean but natural outline, enhancing the quest for a dog that is able to work and keep going, even under difficult conditions.
His coat standard calls for one that is virtually waterproof, weatherproof and thorn proof. It must have a glossy and clean appearance, indicative of good health. Some trimming is allowed but not to the extent of artificiality that comes with heavy barbering or amateurish chopping of the coat. You can legitimately trim around the head, ears, neck and feet to remove excess and to thin or shorten excess feathering to enhance the overall functional appearance. It is best to wield the thinning shears at this point having ensured you have purchased a good quality pair that fits and suits your hand and eye. It does take skill to use a pair of straight shears/scissors without leaving „steps and stairs“ in the coat and this is better left to the professionals.
Far better and the most natural method is to hand strip or to strip the excess undercoat with a stripping knife. Ask a Terrier person experienced in these techniques to show you how. As the head is meant to be the approximate length of the length of the neck and the top of the skull to be flat on top with a slight rounding at sides and back, your shape is fairly designated for you. Sometimes a picture of your dog will serve to step you back to having a good objective view of the dog that you can sometimes get too close to with eye and heart when shaping. When preparing this coat for a show, use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo diluted 5 parts water to 1 part shampoo for that nice pearly white finish to the whites and to tone the unwanted rusty tones of the darker colour of the coat.
If shine is paramount and indeed the AKC standard uses the word glossy, then use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna again diluting 5:1. If the feathering is sparse and you require a little more fullness, then use the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 3:1 for extra oomph. A light squish through the longer parts of the coat with a well diluted mix of up to 10:1 of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner will serve to keep the featherings untangled and hydrated. I don’t advise using any conditioner on the shorter body coat as conditioner can make the coat fluffy and you want these areas to sit flat. For show drying, use the Plush Puppy Pin Brush and a well diluted application of Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to the featherings – (1 tspn to 2 cups water) applied and left in.
This helps to keep the coat disentangled, helps reduce static and serves to minimise excess wave. Should the coat featherings appear boofy, excessive or wavy, then add a tspn of Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream to really flatten and soften. Leave in & dry to ¾ dry and finish for smoothest finish with the Plush Puppy Metro Brush. I recommend this 2 brush technique to minimise stretching of the coat.
To maintain the coat between shows, use the Plush Puppy Revivacoat diluted for quick application (1 golfball amount to 1 cup water) and sprayed onto the coat as a grooming spray or used as a disentangler during the week. This great product is excellent for moisturising and hydration, helping to maintain the elasticity in the hair. For damaged or brittle coats, use the Plush Puppy Coat Rescue again diluted for ease and speed of application at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 cup water and worked well into the damaged areas and left for as long as the dog will sit still! Then rinse. Another good in between show remedy is the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil.
Sourced from Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula Oils etc this organic plant product will really protect and nourish. Spray the topline and featherings – can also be used as a final rinse 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4lt water and left in. This will not alter the texture but keep the coat hydrated and protected. A good spray around the pee feathers stops discolouration and breakage too. A real outdoors dog’s best friend! For severe climates add a dash of the Plush Puppy Sunshade to the topline and head especially for the liver coats which sun bleach easily. Show day – well your work has been primarily done.
You simply have to add the fluff around bits and pieces to make this dog the star and stand out he ought to be. A quick dab of several layers of Plush Puppy Coverup Cream with a barely damp sponge to the white areas such as the face, elbows, hocks, legs etc to even out any discolouration and finished with an application of corn starch will not only make the coat appear whiter but assist in holding the chalk to the coat. This white cream stays well onto the coat all day having to be washed off to remove. The Plush Puppy Wonder Wash is another show day mainstay.
Having done all this preparation it is soul destroying when your dog has an accident or gets muddied in foul weather. A quick spritz with the Wonder Wash and a light foaming up with your hands, and then wipe clean with a towel and the dog is as good as new. This product really foams well and doesn’t just lie there on the coat doing nothing. Now the last minute titivations are the Plush Puppy Shine & Comb misted about 12 inches/30 cms above the topline and allowed to fall just onto the topline will add that last minute sheen and overall picture of health appearance.
A very judicious dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust to the last two rows of the Metro Brush stroked through the bib, pants and lightly to the topline prior to the Shine & Comb, will add that extra sparkle without being overdone. I always say the dog is to perform in the show ring and not become the glitter fairy on top of the Xmas tree so if you have the view that if a little works well then more must be better – don’t! Everyone loves this product and it is sensational – used wisely. You own a breed that is distinguished and one of a class of dogs that is from the old school of esteemed dogs – the Gundogs. For those of us with other breeds, we admire the skill and usefulness of a dog who not only is man’s best friend but has the ability to put food on the table.
His value as a good working dog has produced a hard, muscular animal with great pride of carriage and enthusiasm for his job. It is a dog owned and shown throughout the century by gentlemen and men of distinction. Shown today in the conformation ring, he has flash and dash and class. Well presented, he is just breathtaking – a true force to be reckoned with.