Do Labradors & Springer Spaniels Get On? (Complete Guide)

Both English Springer Spaniels and Labradors are arguably among the most demanded pets in the world for how popular, sporty and affectionate they are by nature.

It comes to no surprise as to why many dog lovers have contemplated getting these dogs on board together for their great versatility and companionship. 

However, there are slight nuances between these two breeds that are worth paying attention to if you’re interested in settling both of these breeds together.

Here’s whether or not Labradors get along well with an English Springer Spaniel: 

Labradors and Springer Spaniels are of the same sporting group, therefore they share various similar but nuanced traits. English Springer Spaniels come in two subsets; field-bred and show-bred. And a typical household Labrador would get along really well with a Show Springer Spaniel. Even though both of these breeds do generally get along well with proper socialization, the compatibility between the two are contingent upon their temperament, gender, age as well as their sizes.

In order to properly analyze the compatability of both breeds, a better grasp and tips on their predisposed breed characteristics as well as their individual temparaments are of utmost importance.

Amongst the factors that we’ll dive into are as follows:

  • Breed history
  • Friendliness
  • Level of devotion to owners/Possessiveness
  • Prey drive
  • Intellect and trainability

Note: Our articles are comprehensive and in-depth. Feel free to expand the table of contents below and skip ahead to sections that interest you.

Breed History

These labradors rose to popularity for their extraordinary skills with water, including their diving skills. They are also well versed with waterfowl hunting given their exceptional aptitude for water. And with proper training, labs would make exceptional bird hunting dogs as well. Not only that, but labradors have also proven themselves to be exceptional companions from day one.

On the other hand, English Spaniels have existed even longer than labradors by a millennium. These breeds were originally bred in Spain as “springer” dogs to flush out preys and may have been taken to the English territory by the Romans thousands of years ago.

Fast forward to this day, they have proven themselves to be exceptionally adept at field hunting as well as for their agility skills with great scenting powers. They have also been bred for perfect companionship which easily makes these English Springers a well rounder breed.

It wasn’t till the 1940s when two types of English Spaniels were bred for their specific purposes, particularly for field work and another for shows with the former equipped with more energy and agility.

Show-bred Springer Spaniels are a better match for a domestic pet if you were to consider settling it with a Labrador.

Considering how both of these breeds have been bred to bond well with their human companions, they possess great social skills and will get along well with each other under the right circumstances and with proper training. 

Friendliness

Both Labradors & English Springer Spaniels are well known for their good-natured amiability with just about everybody as it’s in their DNA to be loving, and affectionate. Hence, they are a top choice for first time owners for how laid back and easy-going both of these breeds are for the most part.

Both of these sporting breeds are generally extremely sociable dogs as they are highly adaptable and obedient, as long as they were trained well. There is a very high chance of compatibility between these two breeds as it’s in their genes to be predisposed for socialization and bondings with both humans and dogs alike.

However, Springer Spaniels can be quite a barker whenever they’re confronted with strangers or smaller animals that resembles a prey. Despite this, they would quickly get off it and expect attention from strangers given how sociable this breed is. With that said, both a Labs and Springer Spaniels combo wouldn’t actually be a hassle if you regularly get visitors to the house.

Given how friendly and sociable they are, both labs and springer spaniels will perceive one another as a member of its own pack and eventually open up to a life-long camaraderie with their household counterparts.

Read also: Are Labradors Better In Pairs? (Or With A Different Breed?)

Loyalty to owner & each other

Both Labradors and Springer Spaniels are immensely loyal to their parent owners as they are natural pleasers and affectionate by nature. Their ease of bonding coupled with their ingrained lively and bubbly tendencies do make them easily devoted to their owners. And that alone facilitates the compatibility of these two breeds together. 

Both breeds almost always tend to have a favourite person who dedicates the most time with it, though they may appear devoted to every family members on a surface level.

Also, they will be able to stand each other if left to their own devices for hours given how energetic and playful both of them are.

It’s important to note that their casual interactions and exceeding friendliness with strangers should never be taken as a sign of their dissatisfaction or disloyalty because they’re social butterflies by nature. They’ll only follow your commands and stick by your side after all. 

With that said, both of these breeds will usually perceive each each other as a part of the pack when settled together and will in turn be loyal to one another and to the family as a whole. Thus, these two breeds will get along exceptionally well.

Related article: Do Labs & Poodles Get Along Well? (A Comprehensive Guide)

Prey Drive

Field-bred Springer Spaniels have an overall higher prey drive than a labrador does. This is because these were bred for agility and hunting coupled with their strong sense of smell which in turn makes up for a high instinctual drive. Show-line Springers Spaniels on the other hand have a much lower prey drive but it could easily be activated with training.

Labradors on the other hand have a slightly lower prey drive than springer spaniels because the latter’s hunting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and they are born to hunt through their scents as well as with their natural agility skills. Unlike a labrador who may have a high prey drive but they require an extensive training to be efficient in hunting.

These polarizing characteristics are generally a perfect match for both Labs and Springer Spaniels as they won’t be preying after each other due to their sizes. Also, both of these breeds won’t fight each other for dominance as they have complementary prey drives in general.

You might also be interested in Do Labs & Goldendoodles Get Along Well? (A Complete Guide)

Intellect & Trainability

Labs are generally smarter and sharper than Springer Spaniels because of their innate instinctual intelligence which is contingent upon their obedience, as well as their brilliant adaptability skills.

Springer Spaniels on the other hand have a slightly lower intelligence than a lab does. This is due to their ease of distraction from their strong scenting powers as well as their higher tendency to either be overly submissive or aggressive. Training these Springers require patience, a lot of positive reinforcements and much more effort compared to a Labrador training.

But overall, Springer Spaniels are relatively easy to train and they would get along with a Labrador pretty quick given that both of them are a sociable sporting breed.

Check also: Do Labradors & Rabbits Get Along Well? (4 Factors Explained)

Upon affirming each of the breed’s general characteristics compatibility, further scrutiny on their individual temperament and personalities are of paramount importance.

This is due to the fact that are outliers within a breed, and a dog may or may not bond well with other suitable breeds based on their:

  • Individual temparament
  • Gender of the breeds
  • Size
  • Age

Additional tips will also be included in these factors to facilitate the bonding of both Labrador and English Springer Spaniels.

Temperament & Energy Levels

Both Springer Spaniels and Labs have deeply ingrained high energy levels and stamina as they are both sporting dogs that were meant for hunting and companionship.

It’s advisable to pair up both labs and springer spaniels that have the same energy levels because they tend to vibe with other dogs that are on the same wavelength as they are. They require constant physical and mental stimulation to keep them preoccupied. 

And as both of these breeds are high energy dogs by nature, it wouldn’t be a struggle to pair them up based on this factor alone. These breeds will bond quickly if they are properly socialized and well trained together with patience, rather than having mismatched energy levels where they wouldn’t enjoy each other’s presence.

For instance, if a Labrador’s exuberance knows no bounds despite training and socialization, it’s best to not pair it up with a calm and reserved English Springer Spaniel.

Check also: Do Labs and Pitbulls Get Along? (Complete Guide)

Gender

As far as the genders are concerned, Labradors and English Springer Spaniels of the opposite sexes are your best bet for a harmonious home.

According to the experts and from my anecdotal experiences, neutered breeds of the opposite sexes tend to get along much better compared to breeds of the same gender. A combination of two female would incite more violence compared to two males.

The presence of two males would inevitably lead to the need of forming a stable pack order — an establishment of dominance and submissiveness between the two.

Fights will always erupt if neither one decides to cave in, and it may permanently change their personalities. This is because your pooch may become more overtly dominant than it could have otherwise been, and the same applies vice versa in terms of submission. This may lead to distress over time.

On the other hand, two females would lead to a much more brutal fight that would sometimes lead to death. This is due to the fact that neither female dogs would usually compromise to form a stable pack order as female dogs are slightly independent in nature.

Also dog scuffles among females always spill blood and you’d almost always end up with a high vet bill, compared to male dog fights where it’s usually posturing/scrappy fights to lead.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some female dogs have formed amicable life-long bonds with one another but exceptions aren’t the norm.

Size

As for the size, you’ll have to keep in mind what size of a dog your pooch naturally gravitates to. Most Labradors are familiar with their own breed of any size, but they can form extremely close bonds with other breeds of any sizes as well.

As for the Springer Spaniels, you’ll have to make sure they’re not intimidated by a much bigger Labrador. But for the most part they’ll get along just fine with a much bigger dog as long as long as the latter is just as friendly and energetic as they themselves are.

Springer Spaniels are prone to Canine Hip Dysplasia if they constantly get hit or knocked down accidentally by much larger dog in their playtime together.  Hence, it’s crucial to supervise and keep a constant eye on their playtime together to make sure either party doesn’t get hurt — especially when these two breeds have high energy levels.

An extra tip for taking care of both these Springer Spaniels and Labradors is to never overfeed them or otherwise they’ll be prone to their common predisposed disease —hip dysplasia in both breeds. 

You might also want to check out why Labradors can get super clumsy at times here, hence why monitoring their playtime together is crucial.

Age

It’s advisable for you to get a second Labrador/Springer Spaniel puppy or a young dog of either breed once your current dog is fully grown at minimum 2~3 years of age. This is because this is the age when your existing pooch is physically mature and coincides well with the development of dog selectivity, reactivity and aggression.

That way you’ll know your current dog’s temparament like the back of your hand and you’d be wise enough to pick a second companion that matches your dog’s breed and personality. Or you could easily train a second puppy to get along well with your current dog which always works out great.

Hence, you shouldn’t get both Labradors and Springer Spaniels as puppies as they might grow up to be total opposites and not get along despite being close as puppies. They may also suffer from littermate syndrome if raised as puppies together.

Furthermore, it will be best for you to fully train and socialize your current dog in order for it to be well mannered and friendly for a second dog later.

Fully trained dogs are more likely to bond well with other dogs of different breeds, and plus they have many more good habits to teach young dogs. Besides, they can be a little less high maintenance if you ever decide to get a second puppy.

However, you should never introduce a second young dog/puppy to a current old dog that has past their prime years. Senior dogs and young puppies don’t get along well in the slightest. Those rambunctious pups will be too much for an old dog with health issues to handle.

How to introduce both young Labradors and Springer Spaniel for the first time

The first introduction is key to making sure both dogs are set up for success together. If you’re introducing two young dogs at the same time, you’ll want to make sure either one of your lab or a Springer spaniel is properly leashed trained on your command.

  • Set the first meeting outdoors out on an open neutral space with each dog on a leash. (Amazon).
  • Then walk your Labrador/Springer Spaniel towards the other dog on your command by making sure they are fixated on your attention and the other dog. You’ll have to let your dog know that you’re the boss and the meeting has to take place under your terms.
  • If your dog seems a little more feisty than it usual would without even taking heed of your commands, pull back on the leash and walk in the opposite direction to let it know you’re not allowing your pooch to run the show.
  • After walking your pooch in the other direction for awhile, gradually walk your Labrador/Springer Spaniel again to the second dog and make sure its attention is fixated on you, as if its seeking your approval to meet up with the second dog.
  • Once both dogs are close to each other, let them sniff each other vigorously and pull back on the leash a little every 10 seconds and repeat the same procedure. 

Let them eventually sniff each other’s bottom to get them familiarized with their specific scents, and in turn learning more about one another. Also, keep an eye on their wagging tails.

If both of them are comfortable in each other’s presence with their tails wagging, then gradually take them for a walk together for 10 minutes and nip any aggression in the bud by pulling on the leash and walk away to reinforce a negative association to it.

Walk them long enough till you could gradually let them loose together without a leash on. And be sure to give them positive reinforcements on a good behavior during the introduction.

As for introducing them indoors, let the newer dog get familiarized with the house while keeping the residential dog separated outside. And let the latter walk into the house under close supervision. Chances are they'll get along really well indoors if they've already acquainted well during the first meeting outdoors. 

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Sources

AKC: English Springer Spaniel Info

Labrador Forums: Labs and Springer Spaniels?

Animal Wised: Best Labrador Companions

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