English Springer Spaniels (ESSs) are adept hunting dogs, bred for their ability to “spring” game birds into the air. They are affectionate and excitable family dogs, descended from Norfolk Spaniels in the mid-1800s, and became a recognized breed by the Kennel Club of England in 1902. A Beresford English Springer Spaniel is a spaniel descended from those bred at the Beresford kennel, operated by David and Trudy Topliss. The Topliss’ began breeding Beresford spaniels in 1985 at their home in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Since 1985, Beresford spaniels have had a formidable presence in the show-ring, and are especially known for being fantastic representations of the ESS breed, both in show and as family dogs.
Aesthetically, a true ESS stands approximately 49 – 51 cm tall and weighs 23 – 25 kg for males, while females are slightly shorter, standing 47 – 48 cm tall and weighing 17 – 19 kg. The coat of an ESS bred for show is moderately long, and coloring may be liver and white, black and white, or tricolor, which consists of liver, black, and white with tan markings. The most recognizable characteristic of an English spaniel is his ears: they are long and feathered, extending almost shoulder-length. Beresford English Springer Spaniels are predominantly display liver and white coloring.
English Springer Spaniels are fantastic family dogs, as they are eager to please, willing to learn, and quick to obey commands. They are sociable, affectionate, and easy-going, which bodes well for families with children and other pets. Athletically, ESS dogs are known for their stamina and are the quickest of all the spaniel breeds. Exercise is important for any dog, especially for ESSs, because boredom can quickly lead to destructive tendencies. English Springer Spaniels are known as water-loving dogs, so a fun activity for them can be swimming or playing fetch in a nearby pond. The Topliss’ cherish their dogs as family pets outside of the show ring, so one can expect a Beresford ESS to maintain the best traits of a familial companion.
The life expectancy of an ESS is 12-14 years, which is slightly above average among purebreds. English Springer Spaniels are prone to a number of health problems, many of which are not uncommon among show-bred dogs. These include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, elbow dysplasia, retinal dysplasia, and Phosphofructokinase deficiency (PFK). Essentially, ESS dogs have a higher-than-average tendency for arthritis or blindness. Other common health problems unrelated to genetic issues include ear infections, due to their floppy ears. Beresford English Springer Spaniels involved in breeding have all been eye tested and are not carriers for PFK.
In the show-ring, ESS dogs tend to fare well. Since 1907, an ESS has won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show a total of six times, most recently in 2007. The ESS stands only behind the Wire Fox Terrier and Scottish Terrier in number of wins. The Beresford ESS dogs hold a number of Best in Show titles, as well as Champion Certificate and Reserve Champion Certificate designations.