The Springador: Beauty And Boundless Energy, But Is This The Dog For You?


The Springador is a medium sized, energetic, mixed breed dog. It’s a cross between a Labrador Retriever and an English Springer Spaniel. The Springador will often have a black or brown coat with some white markings and the ones I have known have all had a friendly, outgoing nature.  


In the UK Springadors are quite numerous, especially in rural areas, owing to the popularity of the two parent breeds. And most small towns and villages are home to one or more of these charming dogs, as either pets, or hunting companions. In the USA and other parts of the world this Lab Spaniel mix is less common.

If you are thinking of rescuing an older Springador you’ll be able to see what the adult dog will look like and get an idea of the dog’s temperament and character. 

But if you are looking at a litter of Springador puppies with a view to buying one, it’s important to be aware that final size, and weight may vary between litter-mates. And raising your Lab and Spaniel mix puppy may hold a few challenges. 

It’s a good idea to know what these challenges might be, so that you can make a good decision on whether this dog is right for you at this point in your life. 

Springador Size, Weight & Energy

An adult Springador is going to weigh somewhere between 30-50lbs. I appreciate that this is a wide range and that’s because it’s hard to make accurate predictions for an individual puppy.  

Some Springer Spaniel Lab mix pups will take after their Labrador parent and may grow into an adult dog weighing 50lbs or more with energy and pulling power to match!  

Others in the same litter may favour their Spaniel parent and be nearer the lower end of the scale at 30lbs. 

All Springadors, no matter what their size, are high energy dogs. And for many this trait will persist until old age.


I have raised a number of Springer Spaniels and Labradors. And they do have quite a few character traits in common in addition to that energy.  

But there are some differences too, and it’s important to be aware of them. Because a Spaniel Lab mix may inherit those traits in varying and unpredictable proportions

Temperament and Behavior

Adult Labradors, are generally amenable, friendly and easy going dogs.  I don’t want to over emphasise the laid back nature of the Labrador here. Temperament problems, especially reactivity, can and do crop up in the breed, especially in working lines.  And all Labrador puppies over four or five months of age can be extremely boisterous, clumsy and excitable

However, with a bit of luck, raising and training a Labrador is usually straightforward, and most Labradors are happy to stay near you and to go home with you at the end of a walk.  Some Springadors will inherit this type of character, but not all.

English Springer Spaniels, especially from working lines, can be much more challenging to manage.  The Springer is bred to hunt, specifically to hunt and flush live game such as pheasants and rabbits.  Like Labradors, they are expected to retrieve game once it has been shot.  But it is the hunting part of the equation that drives some of the Springer’s more challenging behavior. 

All spaniels are ‘busy’ dogs. They are nosey, and like to be involved in everything.

If the spaniel parent of your future pup is from show lines, then there is a good chance that their temperament, once adult, will be relatively calm. But in some working line spaniels the word ‘frantic’ is a more accurate descriptor than busy.  

Recall is often an issue in these dogs. And I see a lot more Springer Spaniel owners struggling with recall problems than Labrador owners. That hunting drive we talked about earlier can make it much harder for you, as the dog owner, to make yourself the center of your dog’s world, and to build a strong bond with your pup

Sociability And Companionship

One thing that both Springer and Labs have in common is that they are very sociable dogs. Neither Labs nor Springers enjoy spending hours and hours on their own. And a proportion, if left alone for too long, may be very vocal, and/or destructive

Springers in particular can suffer from repetitive behaviors and self mutilation issues if crated or confined for long periods. They may spin on the spot for minutes at a time, or chew their own paws until they bleed for example. These dogs need company. So if you work full time you’ll need to dip into your wallet for doggy day care. 

Springador Training

So what does all this mean for the prospective Springador parent? If you are buying a Springador puppy as a pet, and it inherits a largely Labrador like temperament.  You probably won’t have too many problems with training.  The catch is, you won’t know until its too late what kind of hunting drive your puppy has.  

For that reason, you need to err on the side of caution and train your puppy from an early age to see you as the center of the universe and the source of all good things.  And to make sure they don’t have too many rewarding experiences (chasing rabbits for example) away from your side.  Happily, this type of positive reinforcement training, and careful approach to free exercise is beneficial to all dogs. 

Walking Your New Springador

There is nothing a lively Springador dog will enjoy more than a good long walk. But if you are rescuing a Springador, bear in mind that many spaniel mixes end up in rescue due to recall and obedience issues generally.  

So be prepared to embark and a good program of training to bond with your dog. And only introduce access to off leash exercise gradually, and under controlled conditions. 

Health Issues

While these are broadly healthy, well structured breeds, both Springers and Labs suffer from a range of health conditions that your puppy’s parents should be tested for before being used for breeding. 

Because mix breed litters are often accidents, these screening tests may not have taken place. In which case you won’t know whether or not your puppy will be more likely to get hip dysplasia or suffer from progressive congenital blindness for example.  

Health insurance for pets is a good way to protect yourself against the financial impact of expensive veterinary treatment. And insuring your Springador puppy against illness is particularly important if the parents have not been health screened. 

Should I get a Springador?

A big catch to cross bred dogs is this difficulty in predicting outcomes. Especially in puppies.  Pedigree dog breeds have their fair share of issues, especially when it comes to genetic health. But in general you do have a better chance of estimating what kind of dog your puppy will be as an adult. 

If you buy a purebred dog you only have one set of potential traits to consider. But with a mix breed, the dog could take after either parent. And you won’t know which parent, or in what proportions those traits will be expressed, until your puppy is six months or older

On the other hand, your mix breed puppy is likely to live longer than their purebred parents, will be more unique in appearance, and just as likely to bring pleasure and happiness to your family as one of their purebred cousins. 

And unless the owners are trying to market their puppies as designer dogs, a Springador may well cost you a lot less than a purebred Springer or Lab, and may be cheaper to insure. 

Should you get a Springador?  Well, if you want a dog to go for long walks with or jog with, if you have free time each day for training and are willing to learn how to train a high energy dog using modern methods, then a Springador might suit you well. 

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson(paid link)

If you work long hours away from home, can’t take your dog with you, and can’t afford doggy day care. Or if you are a bit of a couch potato, then a Springador is probably not the right dog for you at this time. 

If you already own a Springador, we’d love to hear from you. You can comment below, or check out our Facebook page to see what people are saying about these fun, family dogs. 


Springadors a complete guide - dog breed guide

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. My Springador is nearly 2 years old – she’s a wonderful calm cuddly dog in the house, but has boundless energy for outdoor adventures. Recall is definitely an issue as you described, her prey drive is mega. She is less greedy than typical full labs though, so harder to train with food than I would have expected. Love this article – they are a great breed

  2. I have one and he is the best! He’s the most loving gentle dog I’ve ever seen! He loves to run! I love him so much mine is 7 years old and very spoiled! He is my world!

  3. I bought my Springador (Barney) for £200 in 2007, so he is going to be 14 yrs old in Sept. I was lucky enough to have the pick of the litter and the owner said that Barney was her fave as he was so friendly. As he was almost completely black, it was an easy decision to take him. What a wonderful dog he’s been, relentlessly energetic, but always wants to please and therefore incredibly obedient. Has never liked being on his own and follows you around the house to sleep whereever you go.

    Sadly he got elbow dysplacia around 8yrs old and the walks became shorter and shorter. He still gets out twice a day, but sometimes its just for a sniff and to see what he can find to eat!! He’s been on Metacam all this time, which seems to have helped and we given him Yu move tablets for the past couple of years….no idea if they help! He’s now losing his hearing which at least means he’s not scared of fireworks anymore, but still a beautiful boy we treasure greatly.

  4. Hi all, we’ve recently rescued a Springador (we weren’t too sure she is one but after reading this regarding the markings, I think she is).

    She’s almost 4 months old, so much energy and very headstrong. She’s doing great with training.

    I was wondering at what age would be best to get her spayed? The vet would usually say 6 months but I’ve read conflicting reports on the benefits of getting her spayed before or after her first heat. Interested to hear your experiences!

  5. Just had our 15 yr old Springador, “Dixie” put down today. She was a great dog. Will get another as soon as my wife’s heart heals a little from this loss. Such a good companion.

  6. After losing my first Springador to cancer I knew the day would come when I would find another. New Years Day 2019 I found one out in PA. The breeder had no idea what he had. Wondered why he had someone coming from 8 hours away. I cannot say enough about this mix. Attentive, smart and as loyal as the day is long. Definitely not for the person looking for a couch potato. Mine will be 2 in October and still has ton of energy. Daily walks and a lot of hunting during the season are needed. I can recommend none better.

  7. Just picked up my springador from the shelter for 75$. He is a high energy loving dog at 8 months he is still a puppy with all elbows and paws. Just learning about the breed and see many years to come.

  8. I just had to put my Springador (Joey) down.
    He had I believe centronuclear myopathy that you described. Joey was a $125.00 dog , just a little over eight and a half years ago. Smart, great with kids and loyal as could be . I took him to 3 different Vets to find a cure and why he was wasting away had them stumped . I thought Lyme disease . But I treated him for over 30 days with a Antibiotic to no avail . Brought him to the U of M Vet school and after a $450.00 bill they said further testing would be needed for diagnosis somewhere between $1200.00 and 2200.00 . That was just for the diagnosis not a cure if there is one ?

    After 7 months he had dropped 20% in weight and looked like skin and bones .
    Trying to get him to eat like he use to I made him Hot dog omelette after he turned up his nose at dog food he use to love !
    He was a fantastic Athletic dog , but became weak in the rear legs with very little strength and extreamly unstable. As though he had Arthritis .

    He may have left my side but he`ll never leave my heart.
    How I miss ” The Joe”.
    Probably the best $125.00 I ever spent. If I ever saw another pup like that again , I`d snap that dog up so quick .

  9. As a dog minder, then dog inheritor, I can vouch for the springador as my favourite dog ever. She was just borrowed (but I loved her to bits)… a joyful, intelligent, empathetic, and compact companion. She was sleek, black, shiny, well trained, and strangely not greedy at all.
    Her coordination and responsiveness was beautiful to see.

  10. We have recently lost our Springador at 14 1/2 years. he was the best dog we have ever had. Extremely clever and a loving companion, we generally have two dogs and he was brilliant with both our bearded Collie and more recently our chocolate labrador- a puppy that grew to be 40kg but with Gussies input knew exactly who was boss (not us ). Gus was brilliant with children, endlessly fetching balls and gentle. His eyes looked into your very soul. Gus was bred by a gamekeeper, he had bred his working springer when he had orders for six of her puppies- she had eight. When we went to collect him we saw mum and dad (in outside working kennels) the gamekeeper reached in and took out a boy puppy (no choosing!) so it was pure chance that we got him. A lucky day indeed

    • I loved my springador…..I never knew he was a springador, rather new term to me. I’ve been looking for a new pup, but can’t really fined breeders in the USA. Got mine the same way…only 1 available.

      Glad you found a new puppy sounds just like my B.D. The shelters here are full of mixed breed dogs…but the mix invariably includes pit bull.

      Have you any recommendations as to where I could fins a pup?

  11. We just rescued a Springador puppy. He’s got the best temperament, and we love his high energy. He’s definitely right for our family.

  12. I have a springador that is now 14 years old and going strong. The best dog I have ever had. I highly recommend them .

  13. Am looking for a springador. Have had two of them and you cannot find a better dog anywhere. That being said , I cannot seem to find one anywhere. Can anyone help me find a breeder?

  14. But I can’t afford it right now. But I would if could. When can afford it . I. Would most definitely do it. In my care for this opportunity and also for this dog