Welsh springer spaniels sometimes are not good candidates for first-dog situations or inexperienced dog owners. Other Welsh springer spaniel breeders have been known to say that a potential new owner needs to be dog savvy...which means experience and understanding of dog psychology, motivational training, and behavior.
Socializing a Welsh is very important as the breed historically and currently can be reserved with new people and situations. Socializing involves exposure and interaction with a wide range of people and environments if a pup is to develop into a confident and happy adult. Responsible breeders provide pups with this socialization to all puppies until they leave for their new homes.
Some Welsh springers take over six months of age to be totally house-trained. Some breeders attribute this to a Welsh springer spaniels slow physical development. Add to that they are slow to develop mentally, also.
A Welsh springer spaniel's temperament can often mirror the atmosphere of its home; raise it sensibly with kindness and firmness and patience, and you'll have a lovely pet. This owner behavior of calm confidence can be learned from past experience including puppy and adult training classes, puppy and dog books as well as videos.
I like to make all potential owners of Welsh springer spaniels aware of something important . Many people choose to get a Welsh springer because of their shiny, easy care coat. This coat is self cleaning and does not tend to form mats. If you choose to neuter or spay your Welsh springer, be it at two years of age or older, your Welsh will probably develop a woolly coat. This coat will no longer be self cleaning and is much more likely to form mats.
Experiencing Welsh Springer Spaniel Puppies
For some people a negative aspect is the activity level of the young and adolescent Welsh. Welsh can take puppyhood to the hilt and keeping up with them during this time can be a chore. As with all puppies and young dogs, Welsh springers require plenty of free running exercise daily in order to release their energy and provide for healthy development of mind and body. Walking on a leash can be good exercise, but all Welsh springer spaniel puppies need to be able to safely run free in order to stretch and tone their muscles and release their pent up energy.
Another aspect of Welsh (which can be taken as either negative or positive depending upon your point of view) is that Welsh tend to be "one family" dogs. This goes along with their reserved response to meeting new people and going into new environments. They are secure and comfortable with their family and property. Because of their reserved nature, they will bark when visitors come to your house. It is perfectly acceptable for a Welsh springer to be reserved or aloof with strangers, but many will greet visitors to the home with a tail wag and a friendly approach. It is very important that a Welsh be well socialized and learn appropriate behavior at an early age.
Susan Riese breeds approximately one to two litters per year. Her puppies are raised in her home. She takes great effort to insure that her puppies are well socialized. The decision of what puppy goes to which home is a very important decision that Susan makes with much consideration.
Having lived with both docked and undocked tails over the years, Susan believes that shorter tails encounter less chance of injury by getting caught underfoot, in a doorway, or needing removal of burrs, seeds, or other things removed from the feathering on long tails. It is not unheard of for tail injuries to take a long time to heal or to eventually require surgical docking.
Statesman puppy tails are banded at 2-3 days of age using elastic. This is not the same as surgical docking. Susan leaves approximately one half of the tail on the puppy.
If certain markings are of prime concern to you then it is best that you seek another breeder. Susan's main concern over her 40+ years as a breeder is to breed healthy Welsh springer spaniels that make excellent family companions.
Susan requires that the puppy be raised as part of the family and in the home. In order to insure that both puppy and new owner get off to a good start, an educational puppy book will be sent to the new owner for reading by the entire family prior to getting a puppy. It is important that the puppy and owner participate in a series of puppy classes.
If you think you may be interested in acquiring a Statesman puppy, contact Susan at email@example.com and request a questionnaire.
The books and videos listed below provide a variety of sound, motivational training methods which allow you to choose the method with which you are most comfortable and confident. Those people who get a puppy from us receive their own copies of “How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With” by Rutherford and Neil ISBN 978-1-61781-244-6 once the pups are born. As a retired teacher, Susan is a firm believer in the importance for all members of a family to be knowledgeable before a new puppy enters a household.
I am increasingly concerned that a large portion of the population in this country thinks that dogs are small humans. This is not referring to putting clothing and costumes on dogs. It is assuming that dogs enjoy being treated as a human. A human can create problems if they do not understand dog behavior. Because of this, I recommend the book "Living With Kids and Dogs" by Colleen Pelar ISBN 978-193356212-4. This book's title implies that kids are the only one who can benefit from the information in this book, but it applies to humans of all ages.
Other good books include:
"Puppy Care and Training" ISBN 978-0-7938-3681-9 by Teoti Anderson
"The Puppy Primer" ISBN 1-891767-13-5 by Patricia McDonnell and Brenda Scidmore
"Your Outta Control Puppy" ISBN 0-7938-2900-3 by Teoti Anderson
A good puppy training video is "Puppy Culture" at www.shoppuppyculture.com.
We totally believe in crate training as a means of housetraining and protecting both the puppy and property from harm when the puppy cannot be watched closely. Welsh do best with firm, but gentle handling. Being a rather soft or sensitive breed, they do not handle harsh treatment well at all. A Welsh should never be hit with your hand or other object. Yelling at a Welsh can be as damaging to the puppy or dog as hitting. Welsh should be trained while still young using the three P's: praise, patience, and persistence. We strongly believe in the use of food training to teach basic commands before entering into more structured training.
Structure and Health
Welsh springers have a flat, shiny, self-cleaning coat/hair that does not tend to mat. Unlike several other spaniel breeds, they are not as prone to ear infections. Though most Welsh springers live 12-14 years with minimal trips to the vet, there are some inherited health problems in the breed.
Several breeders have greatly reduced the incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia in their breeding programs by breeding not only OFA certified dogs together, but specifically dogs with a large percentage of littermates with OFA certified hips and elbows. This is one of the reasons that some breeders require that all puppies in a litter get their hips and elbows xrayed and submitted to OFA at two years of age.
Any dog that is to be bred should have hip, elbow, thyroid, and eye tests performed and results received prior to the breeding. A good breeder will be happy to openly discuss all test results with you and other breeders and will gladly offer this health information to anyone interested in a puppy.
To check on Orthopedic Foundations for Animals (OFA) ratings (including hip, thyroid and elbow, eye) on Statesman Welsh springers please do the following:
go to www.ofa.org
Click ADVANCED SEARCH
Type in STATE as PART OF THE NAME
Locate Welsh springer spaniel in the breed section of SPORTING
Click SEARCH at the bottom of the page
Click arrow up or down next to REGISTRATION to go to the newest or oldest information
Other health problems which are found at a low incidence in Welsh springer spaniels are epilepsy, glaucoma, entropion, distichia, food allergies, allergies to pollen. All Welsh springers should be treated with a topical or chewable treatment to prevent fleas.
Statesman requires by contract that all Statesman puppies receive OFA hip and elbow evaluations between 24-26 months of age. This information is extremely valuable not just for the Statesman breeding program, but for every Welsh Springer Spaniel breeder worldwide. Through the sharing of information, Statesman has been able to reduce the rate of hip dysplasia in our litters to well below one dog per litter.
Statesman continues to band its pups when they are 2-3 days old. It is painless, unlike docking. There are many ways a long tail can be injured: from being stepped on, to getting caught in a door, to picking up seeds requiring scissors to remove, to getting mats in the tail which also may require scissors to remove the mats. Tails, like ears, require a long time to heal.
Some people read this website and understand the importance Susan places on health and temperament. They would like a Statesman puppy, but they want a long tail. They ask if one puppy can be left unbanded. I understand what they are saying, but the placement decision cannot be made so early. Statesman has always been advocates of selective breeding in order to produce healthy and happy Welsh springers. This means that the pups that most closely fit the breed standard should be used in the future to continue the breeding program. That cannot be determined at 2-3 days old.