Welcome To Our Complete Guide To The Springador.
The Springer Spaniel Lab Mix.
We Take A Look At This Popular Designer Dog Breed.
Finding Out What Kind Of Pet You Can Expect, And Investigating The Controversy Over Mixing Purebed Pets.
Springadors have been around for a long time now informally.
But if you are just thinking of bringing home one as a puppy, you will have a lot of questions.
What do they look like? What’s special about them?
If you want one, how can you find one? And what can you expect from their personalities, their health, and their lifespans?
And why do some people object to breeding Labs and Springer Spaniels together?
Let’s take a look at that first.
Fans of designer dogs love them. The way you can bring together two quality breeds to try and form a beautiful blend.
But some pedigree fans seriously object to this.
They feel that mixing takes away what makes a pedigree dog special. Giving unpredictable outcomes in terms of characteristics and temperament. They also claim they are less healthy and not such good pets.
But who is right?
Well, they both are in a way. Mixed breed dogs do have unpredictable outcomes, however every pedigree breed we have today started as a mix. Albeit some years ago!
What we do know is that well bred designer dogs, from health tested parents, are not inevitably less healthy.
In fact, pedigree dogs are bred on what is known as ‘closed registers’. This means they have a limited gene pool, and this can cause serious probems.
Hybrid vigor is very real, and mixed breed dogs massively increase the gene pool.
You can read more about the debate here, but in the meantime let’s get back to the fun loving Springador!
What is a Springador?
Springadors are a mix between a Springer Spaniel and a Labrador Retriever. They are also called Labradingers or Labradinger Retrievers.
Over the past few decades, as hybrid dogs have become more popular, certain crosses have become much desired.
Springadors are one of these, because Labradors and Springer Spaniels are such popular family pets.
Springadors are “designer dogs” – dogs from different breeds deliberately created, then given a blended name.
Although they are only just now gainging popularity in the designer dog world, this mix has been around informally for generations in the sporting dog world.
These pups often take on the colors of a Labrador – yellow, black, and chocolate – and become fairly large.
They may also develop the curly hair and white markings that typify Springer Spaniels, though!
They are friendly, loyal, and very high-energy.
They definitely live up to their roots as good hunting dogs – workhorse Labs combined the more aristocratic-looking Springer Spaniels.
Although if you are looking for a working dog to do a specific job, you might prefer a purebred as Labs are designed to retrieve and Springers to hunt.
But how did a Springador come to be? Let’s take a look.
There, small water dogs bred with Newfoundlands to create the St. John’s Water Dog, widely considered an ancestor of today’s Lab.
They retrieved fish from hooks or traps for their owners. In the 19th century, the Earl of Malmesbury is said to have imported one of these dogs into England.
His family bred them for hunting, and gave them their Labrador name.
Labradors became known for being the best dog to have with you if you were doing any kind of shooting, as they are skilled at running, swimming, fighting, and following their sense of smell.
The breed died out in Newfoundland because of a crippling dog tax and quarantine laws. Labs were interbred with other types of dogs, but ultimately survived.
Labs were recognized as a distinct breed by the English Kennel Club in 1903. Some pedigrees of English Labs go back go 1878!
The American Kennel Club recognized them in 1917. In the decades following that recognition, many British dogs were imported into the U.S.
They are the most popular breed of dog in the U.S. today.
Springer Spaniel History
Springer Spaniels are an old breed; the Romans are said to be responsible for their original European distribution.
They came from Spain and other parts of Europe to England.
In 1880, the American Spaniel Club was founded. This organization classified Springer and Cocker Spaniels based on size alone – anything under 28 lbs. was a Cocker, and anything over was a Springer.
In 1902, the English Kennel Club finally recognized them as separate breeds. In 1924, the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was formed and eventually became the parent club of the breed.
The American Kennel Club recognized Springer Spaniels in 1910.
They are bred to be sporting dogs that retrieve and flush out game. They are known for being elegant, active, and friendly – and for causing lots of trouble!
So how did they come to be mixed?
In a way, the crossing of these two breeds seems natural, as both are considered to be good sporting dogs. Skill in retrieving is well-known in both breeds.
With sporting dogs, breeds have often been crossed to improve their hunting skills
Labrador crosses of all kinds are high in demand because the Lab temperament – sweet, friendly, active, easy to train, and easy to socialize – often shines through.
We don’t know exactly when Labradors started being bred with Springer Spaniels, but they’ve been around for some time, in an unofficial way.
Being mixed by gamekeepers either intentionally or by accident for generations.
Not a lot is known about the date of origin, or who originally bred them.
As with all hybrids, you may not be able to predict which qualities of a Labrador and which qualities of a Springer Spaniel will be dominant in a Springador puppy.
Your Springer Lab cross could have dominant Lab traits, dominant Springer traits, or simply get a bit of everything.
Even pups from the same litter will not have the same amounts of mom and dad within them.
So, if you are looking for a particular quality, you won’t be guaranteed that the mixed breed you pick has it.
Springador Size and Weight
Springer puppies can weigh from 55-80 lbs. They range from about 21.5-24.5 inches in height.
Springer spaniels are slightly smaller than Labs, at 19-20 inches. They weigh around 40-50 lbs.
A Springador full grown, being a mix, can take on the smaller size of Springer Spaniels, or grow to be as big as Labs.
You just never know with cross breed dogs!
The Springador Temperament
Labradors are known for being friendly and outgoing, and for mixing well with others. They are good with children and other dogs, as long as they are supervised.
They bark when necessary, and are very even-tempered.
English Springer Spaniels are friendly and playful. They are also known for being hardworking, steady, and obedient to a point.
They are however incredibly driven when it comes to prey, due to their working routes.
This means that they can be hard to control outdoors unless they are very well trained.
Off-leash walks are not necessarily advised with a Springer, and the same warning should be applied to a Springador.
They are good with other dogs and children, as long as they are supervised. Like Labs, they shed a lot in-season and need occasional grooming.
Also like Labs, they bark when necessary and are eager to please. They’re intelligent, too.
Both breeds are very high-energy.
Springer Spaniels especially have a lot of stamina, as they are built to be in the field for long days. Labs, by contrast, generally show higher spirits.
Some lines of Springers develop nervous aggression and may be fixated on chasing, so take note when you’re looking at potential pets.
Show bred Springer Spaniels are more reliably tempered pets.
You may get any of these qualities in your mixed-breed Springador.
All dogs can benefit from basic obedience training and socialization at an early age.
Both Labrador Retrievers and Springer Spaniels are eager to please dogs, and they’re very smart. They are easy to train, and react well to positive reinforcement.
Springer Spaniels especially are very energetic and have a high prey drive, which means they should get recall training from a young age.
All dogs should come to you when called, but it’s especially important for Springer Spaniel mixes because of their chasing tendencies.
Springadors can be headstrong! These dogs, because of their Labrador blood, will pull on the leash if possible, so training them not to do that will help save your arm!
Also, Labradors stay puppy-like for a long time. That means they’re prone to mischief unless their energy is channeled. This is another good reason to train your Springadors.
You may wish to consider advanced training – agility, or therapy, for your Springador. They like to work, and their high activity levels make this good enrichment for them.
Springer Spaniel Lab Mix Exercise
A small apartment may not be the best place for your Springador. With so much energy to spare, they really need space to roam.
Sometimes a quick walk a few times a day isn’t enough for these dogs. If that’s all you can provide, you may wish to consider a lower-energy dog.
Labrador x Springer crosses that don’t get the activity they need may develop nervous or destructive habits.
Their minds must also be exercised, so we do recommend agility training or retriever training to keep them stimulated.
Springer Spaniels especially are not happy when left alone much, so you should take that into account as well.
Lab Springer Mix Coat
Most Labrador Springer Spaniel mixes will probably have black, brown, or cream-colored coats. They may have white markings.
They tend to have medium-to-long coats that are somewhat dense. This makes their fur more waterproof.
The hair can range from straight to wiry and curly. They are high-shed dogs in-season, so if you are allergic these are not the dogs for you!
Labrador x Springer crosses should also be groomed frequently.
Labrador Retrievers are prone to obesity, which can lead to health issues, and is mostly an environmental problem.
Obesity can cause diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions.
Labradors may also suffer from allergies and ear problems as a result of having long, floppy ears. Long ears can create a favorable environment for germs.
They may also be likely to develop certain inherited diseases, such as vision problems and certain types of cancers.
Labradors, like all canines, are vulnerable to hip and elbow dysplasia. In fact, they may get it more than most other breeds.
Basically, hip and elbow dysplasia refer to different developmental abnormalities in the elbow and hip joints.
Dysplasia may result in pain and a loss of function in the affected joints, leading to arthritis in the hips. Dogs with dysplasia may eventually lame or crippled.
Also, Labs may experience centronuclear myopathy, in which they have muscle weakness and wasting or atrophy in skeletal muscles.
They’re also genetically prone to exercise-induced collapse, a condition in which strenuous activity actually threatens a dog’s life. Their muscles get weak, they become uncoordinated, and body temperature rises.
Labradors are also more likely to get retinal progressive atrophy, a denegerative eye disease that can eventually lead to vision loss.
For more information on the health issues of Labrador Retrievers, see the Are Labradors Healthy Dogs? section of The Labrador Retriever.
Springer Spaniels are also prone to hip dysplasia more than other breeds.
They are also prone to some metabolic diseases, such as canine fucosidiosis, which can break down a dog’s nervous system, and phosphofructokinase, which creates abnormalities in red blood cells and muscle cells.
Like Labs, they have long and floppy ears, so they are prone to the same ear issues as Labs.
And also like Labs, they may get progressive retinal atrophy. Entropian (an inverted eyelid) is another eye disorder seen in Springer Spaniels.
Glaucoma is also common. In this condition, the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain is damaged, causing eventual vision loss.
For more information on the inherited health issues of Springer Spaniels, see the Are English Sprinder Spaniels Healthy? section of The English Springer Spaniel.
Springador Parent Health Tests
Because Labs and Springer Spaniels are prone to similar inherited diseases, you might not see the health advantages as much in the Labrador x Springer cross as with others.
The pups of any mixed breed dog will have similar concerns to their parents, so keep that in mind as you shop for Springadors.
But it is impossible to know exactly how those health problems will manifest in a cross-bred puppy.
It is important, always, to have a health screening for your dog, and to know its family health history whenever possible.
Make sure that both parents have good hip scores, clear eye tests and are PRA clear. The Lab parent should also have good elbow scores.
However, in general, both dogs are robust and healthy breeds.
Labrador Springer Cross Lifespan
Labrador Retrievers live for about 12.5years.
Springer Spaniels lifespans’ range from around 12-14 years.
In general, research shows that large dogs don’t live as long as smaller dogs. Also, purebred dogs may not live as long as mixed breeds.
But the longevity of your English Springer Spaniel Lab mix depends on a number of factors, including diet, environment, and quality of life.
It also depends on genetics, so when you choose your Springador, consider the health of both parents and their families.
Your dog may live anywhere from 8-15 years. By keeping your Springadors healthy and happy, you can ensure they live as long as possible!
Cross-bred dogs aren’t recognized by the American Kennel Club, but you’ll still be able to find responsible breeders.
As with all interactions with breeders, do your research. If you can, visit the home where your potential pup is growing up.
That way, you can meet the parents, see the conditions where she was raised, and view for yourself how the breeder interacts with the dogs.
Remember to ask the breeder for health certification for the dogs. A breeder with integrity will have no problems with this.
And make sure you’ve seen all documentation before you fall in love with an adorable Springador puppy and decide to bring him home.
Ensure you meet the Springer parent, just to avoid that nervous aggression problem which can rear it’s head occasionally. Always meet the mother when buying a puppy.
Remember that if you want to buy cross-bred puppies, they are at risk for the same health problems as their parents of either breed.
With mixes, you just don’t know what amounts of each breed you’re going to get. You could get more Lab, or you could get more Springer Spaniel qualities.
This goes for their health issues, their temperament, and their physiology.
So be prepared, if you’d like to get a Springador puppy, to make accommodations suitable for either type of dog.
If you are willing and able to rescue a Springador, rescues do exist.
You may also be able to fix a mix inside a shelter, too.
The main disadvantage of rescuing a Springador is that you aren’t going to get extensive knowledge about the background of your dog.
You will also have less choice when it comes to age, gender, and other aspects of your new dog. Training or re-training may be required.
If you want to rescue a Springador, you may have to be patient to find the right animal for you and your family. The dog you want might not be waiting in a shelter yet.
Is a Springador Right for Me?
Springadors were created by mixing Labradors and Springer Spaniels to create better hunting dogs.
They are friendly, sweet, and loyal, but they are also very high energy dogs because both breeds require lots of activity!
As with all cross-bred dogs, it’s impossible to predict which qualities you’ll get by mixing a Springer Spaniel and a Labrador Retriever.
But you’ll definitely get an eager-to-please pup that’s skilled at hunting activities. Your Springador will require long walks, early training, and plenty of love.
If you can provide all those things, a Springador might be the right companion for you.
Do you have a Springador? We’d love to hear about your experiences with this mixed breed!
- Giger, U. et al (1986). Autosomal recessive inherited phosphorictokinase deficiency in English springer spaniel dogs. Animal Genetics, 17(1).
- Patronek, G. J. (1997). Comparative longevity of pet dogs and humans; Implications for gerontology research. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 52A(3).
- Phavaphutanon, J. et al (2009). Evaluation of quantitative trait loci for hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 70(9).