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Guidelines for Responsible Breeders of English Springer Spaniels

Responsible breeders:

  1. Strive in each and every breeding to achieve the highest quality possible relative to the breed standard for conformation; excellence in hunting for field; trainability for obedience, tracking, and the field; and temperament to maintain our breed’s characteristics.
  2. Use only physically sound, mature dogs of stable temperament for breeding. These characteristics are rarely, if ever, determined before the age of two years for either males or females. A minimum breeding age of three years is strongly recommended for breeders to determine with greater certainty that the parents are of good health and sound temperament.
  3. Continue to educate themselves about genetic diseases pertinent to the breed, including, but not limited, to hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, seizure disorders, allergies, heart disorders, and PFK, and information about their modes of inheritance. Use genetic tests as suggested by the needs of their individual dog(s) and close relatives thereof. Documentation of hip, elbow and eye screening should be available to prospective puppy buyers. A letter of evaluation from a board-certified veterinary radiologist is acceptable documentation for results of radiographic evaluations of hips and elbows; however, to provide a database for the breed, breeders are encouraged to radiograph hips and elbows and use the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHip evaluations for screening. Eyes should be evaluated by a board-certified diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO), and reporting of results to the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is recommended.
  4. Apply the same high standards to bitches accepted for breeding to their stud dogs as they apply to their own breeding stock.
  5. Match each puppy’s personality as carefully as possible with a compatible buyer/family. Temperament testing of a litter before puppies are offered for sale is encouraged.
  6. Have each puppy examined by a veterinarian for general health and examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for congenital or genetic eye disease before placement. Each puppy should be vaccinated and wormed by or in consultation with a veterinarian. Proper documentation indicating normal health and eyes for the age of the puppy, or specifying any health or eye problems found at examination, should be furnished to puppy buyers.
  7. Encourage buyers of companion puppies to spay/neuter. Methods should include written spay/neuter contracts, limited registration, and/or spay/neuter rebates.
  8. Endeavor to gain personal knowledge of the temperament and health of every dog they breed, or to which they breed to gather information about which to base future breeding decisions. They share this information fully and honestly with other breeders and with prospective buyers.
  9. Sell breeding prospects to knowledgeable, ethical, and experienced persons or are willing to help educate and guide novices. They should at any time accept the return of any dog/bitch their breeding program produces, and they should always help when relocation is needed.
  10. Do not engage in misleading or untrue advertising, and do not use ESSFTA membership as a marketing tool.
  11. Do not sell, supply, donate, or surrender any dog for which they are responsible to a pet shop, raffle, catalog house, wholesale dealer or laboratory. They should have reasonable assurance that each person receiving a dog will provide a home with appropriate shelter, restraint, control, and responsible dietary and veterinary care.
  12. Unless the Springer is otherwise being trained for a specific discipline they should encourage owners to take their puppies to puppy and obedience classes. The achievement of an AKC STAR Puppy Certificate and/or a Canine Good Citizen Certificate is encouraged.
  13. Participate and/or cooperate in research studies into heritable defects affecting the English Springer Spaniel.

See the Breeder Referral Page if you would like additional information on obtaining an English Springer Spaniel from a breeder who agrees to support and follow these ESSFTA Guidelines for Responsible Breeders.

BERP Application * BERP Complaint Form