Spaniels may not obviously to come to mind when speaking of hunting dogs, but the English springer spaniel showcases all the desirable qualities for a top hunting breed. Considered gundogs or bird dogs, these medium-sized canines get their name from their talent for flushing, or springing, birds out of hiding for their masters to shoot.
While smaller than typical gundogs -- 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23 kilograms) and about 20 inches (51 centimeters) tall -- what spaniels lack in size they make up for in spunk. Their strong legs and high energy level make them ideal for long days on the hunt, and their coat, a dense, short undercoat covered by a long top coat, can effectively withstand a variety of weather and climate conditions.
Though they were bred primarily to flush game, the springer spaniel's gentle mouth grip is also well suited for retrieving without inflicting damage. These qualities, combined with an eager-to-please attitude and trainability, make this versatile hunting dog a preferred companion for many outdoor enthusiasts.