When conjuring up the image of a service dog, you are likely picturing a specific breed of dog that is quite popular in the industry. A person would not often think of a breed such as an English Springer Spaniel as a service dog.
English Springer Spaniels can be service dogs, provided that it doesn’t entail the physical strength of a mobility dog. Hardworking, obedient, and keen senses serve them well as hearing, allergy, and medic alert dogs. Their protective and loving nature has them suited to be psychiatric service dogs.
Much like there are all kinds of disabilities, there are all kinds of service dogs. Specific breeds seem to dominate in this area, but the floppy-eared doe-eyed English Springer Spaniels make for excellent service dogs in particular occurrences.
English Springer Spaniels As Service Dogs
English Springer Spaniels are undoubtedly capable of being excellent service dogs. Due to their build, they may be unable to carry out specific tasks, such as the ones provided by mobility dogs and guide dogs. This breed’s general nature, work ethic, and keen senses make them an asset in other service areas.
English Springer Spaniels would be best suited as hearing, allergy, medic alert, and psychiatric service dogs. Although not recognized by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) as a service dog, an “emotional support” dog would be another area where the English Springer Spaniel would thrive.
English Springer Spaniels’ Traits That Make Them Good Service Dogs
There are many things required of a service dog. Breaking down each aspect and attribute of the English Springer Spaniel will show where their strengths lie and where they might fall short as a service dog.
Are English Springer Spaniels Friendly?
This breed is known for being gentle, loyal, sociable, alert, and loving family dogs. They are affectionate and cheerful and do not enjoy being left alone for prolonged periods. Being left on their own could cause them to display undesirable or destructive behavior but will mostly leave them feeling miserable. As a service dog, the English Springer Spaniel will not be left alone or unattended for too long, which will ensure a consistently sunny disposition.
For the most part, English Springer Spaniels are pretty docile and amiable, but it should be mentioned that there is a rare condition known as “Springer Rage.” This refers to a sudden, unprovoked onset of aggression. It is thought to be linked to brain seizures which some dogs may be predisposed to. But, as mentioned, it is (thankfully) rare.
Are English Springer Spaniels Easy To Train?
Initially bred as hunting dogs, English Springer Spaniels are classed in the “sporting” breed group. This indicates that they are intelligent, stealthy, and obedient with strong auditory and olfactory senses. With these attributes, they will thrive as service dogs where their noses and ears need to be utilized as service dogs.
English Springer Spaniels have also often been described as “people pleasers.” This makes them exceptionally easy to train. A dog that is keen on pleasing and easy to train makes this breed almost indispensable as a service dog.
Their high energy requires them to be active and exercise regularly. But with their playful nature, keeping active is all just part of their fun. On average, these dogs are 20 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 50 pounds. So while they are agile, any kind of physically heavy task may not be their strong suit. A service dog is generally quite active throughout most of the day, and a Springer Spaniel will do well with the amount of activity required from a service dog.
Is It Easy To Care For An English Springer Spaniel?
These trusty dogs can live anywhere between 12 and 14 years on average. Although they have long, luxurious coats, they are only considered “moderate” shedders. Their long floppy ears require regular cleaning and care to avoid infections. Service dogs should ideally be relatively low maintenance when it comes to their grooming and health needs, and this breed is just that!
How Does An English Springer Spaniel Become A Service Dog?
A dog classified as a service dog will have undergone individual and specific training to assist a person with a disability. These disabilities can be mental, physical, emotional, or medical. Service dogs are required when the extent of the person’s disability impairs their lives, and they find themselves physically restricted in what they can do. The service dog’s training will correlate with the specific needs of the individual.
Which Kind Of Service Dog Can An English Springer Spaniel Be?
Seven official types of services are recognized by the ADA, each trained to assist within their specific area. Where a disability is perhaps not so apparent to the naked eye (e.g., mental health, allergies, health conditions), a professional within that field (psychologist, doctor, psychiatrist) is required to evaluate the individual and verify the condition before licensing the dog.
Below are the different kinds of service dogs as well as the services they provide:
|Classification Of Service Dog||Example Of Disability That Would Require This Service Dog||Services Carried Out By The Dog||Best Suited/ Most Common Breeds/suited to English Springer Spaniel?|
|Guide Dogs||Blindness, varying degrees of visual impairment||It helps the owner avoid obstacles, assists with safe walking and crossing the street, and moves around the home and public spaces.||Not suited to English Springer Spaniel|
|Hearing Dogs||Deaf or people with varying degrees of hearing loss or impairment.||Alerts owners to sounds such as doorbells and alarms or sirens||Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Spaniel, Golden Retriever, English Springer Spaniel|
|Mobility Assistance Dogs||People with limited bodily movement use wheelchairs (or require other equipment) or unable to perform specific tasks without assistance physically.||Carries and retrieves objects for the owner, opens doors, and provides some balance and stability if the owner has limitations while walking||Not Suited to English Springer Spaniel|
|Medic Alert Dogs||People with health ailments such as diabetes or epilepsy||Alerts the owner to the onset of a seizure or significant change in blood sugar prior to anything happening or taking full effect.||English Springer Spaniel, Poodle, Samoyed, Border Collie, Irish Setter, German Sheperd, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever|
|Psychiatric Service Dogs||People dealing with mental illness, trauma, or mental disability that affect their daily lives, such as OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, or depression||They provide companionship and comfort in situations triggering stress or anxiety, remind owners to take necessary medication, and interrupt behaviors that may harm the owner.||Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Havanese, Miniatrue Schnauzer, Border Collie, King Charles Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel|
|Allergy Detection Dogs||People with severe or life-threatening allergies to foods, materials, medications, or other substances could result in anaphylactic shock.||A branch of Medic Alert Dogs. They alert their owners to the presence of even trace amounts of things that would cause an allergic reaction.||Poodle, English Springer Spaniel, Beagle, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever|
|Autism Support Dogs||For Children and adults who have autism, it affects their daily lives and emotional well-being.||The mere presence of the service dog makes the person feel safer and calmer. Like Psychiatric service dogs, they gently interrupt any harmful behavior their owner may display in times of stress. These dogs can even track the child should it run off.||English Springer Spaniel, St Bernard, Bernese Mountain Dog, Labradoodle, German Shepard, Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, Golden Retriever.|
General Requirements For Any Service Dog
Technically speaking, almost any breed of dog can be a service dog as long as the dog in question is physically, emotionally, and intellectually capable of carrying out the tasks required by the owner. There are, however, general characteristics that every service dog should have.
Service dogs should:
- Be intelligent
- Easy to train
- Alert- but not reactive unless required
- Calm no matter what the setting
- Eagerness to please
- Well socialized
- Able to perform tasks that may be repetitive.
An English Springer Spaniel is all of the things mentioned above and more.
English Springer Spaniels can potentially be almost any kind of service dog. They are nearly ticking virtually every box regarding being a service dog. If the proper training is provided and the owner is a suitable match, they will succeed with the task. What these dogs may lack in strength and stature, they make up for with their astute senses, loyalty, and good manners.