English Springer - Early Breed History

















No single Web Page can hope to cover the history of a Breed, which is thought to have originated in Spain, brought to the UK by the Romans and evolved through the generations into many distinct and separate breeds.

Within literature, mentions of the Spaniel date back to the 1400's where they were described as being used for springing of game for the hawks and hounds. However it was not until 1570 that the use of the word 'Springer' first appeared when Caius (Edward VI's physician) classified dogs, defining his fowling into two - the 'Index' (Setters) and 'Aquaticus' (Spaniels)

Towards the end of the 17th Century the Spaniel family was beginning to split into three groups - The Toys, The Cockers (for woodcock and small game) and The Field. This split continued into the early 1800's with the evolution of classifying and separating the different varieties of Spaniel by bloodlines rather than by size.



In fact it was in 1800 that the Boughey family of Aqualate in Shropshire founded their Aqualate strain of English Springers and in 1813 started keeping their own stud book. It is generally recognised that "Mop I" welped in 1812, although Clumberish in style, was of true Springer type.

Over a century later, in 1903, Sir Thomas Boughey bred Ft Ch. Velox Powder, owned by Mr. C.C. Eversfield he was fourteen generations descended from the original 'Mop I.

It was only in 1859, with the advent of dog shows, that the various Spaniels breeds really began to separate, initially by size and colour. However the founding of the Kennel Club in 1873 with its official registrations and stud book set the seal on breed definition and separation.

1885 saw the formation of the Spaniel Club and the publication of breed standards, followed by, in 1902, full Kennel Club recognition of the English Springer Spaniel as a distinct breed.


Pedigree of Velox Powder




1902 also saw the awarding of the first Challenge Certificates to the breed at the KC Show held in the Crystal Palace. Judged by Mr. Arkwright the winners were Dogs - Mr. Winton Smith's Beechgrove Will, Bitches - Mr. Harry Jone's Fansome.

Beechgrove Will being made up to a Ch. at the next two shows in 1903, while Fansome followed him in 1904. The photo on the right shows (left to right) Ch. Beechgrove Will, Beechgrove Primrose and Ch. Beechgrove Alexandra ( a sister of Ch. Fansome)





The first field trial was held in Sutton Scarsdale Derbyshire on the 3rd January 1899 but no Springers were in the awards. It was not until 1913 that the first English Springer Spaniel - Rivington Sam - became a field trial champion. Sam having been bred by Mr. C.A. Phillips from an over-size Cocker (Rivington Riband) mated to a local working Springer (Spot owned by a Melville White).

However Sam's influence on the breed was was mainly through his grandson Ft. Ch. Rex of Avendale who appears in most of the lines of many of our present day pedigrees.




Some Influential Springers from the past



Click on the image for a pedigree









Early Kennels & Breeders









By 1914 and the start of the first World War only some 9 Springers had achieved their championship.

The 3rd of December 1919 saw the restart of Field Trials with the Duke of Hamiltons Rex of Avendale winning the first prize. Rex features in many of the present day pedigrees both in the UK and the USA through his grandson Ch. Rufton Recorder.

The Championship show scene did not recommence until 6th October 1920 with the Scottish Kennel Club where Little Brand won the Dog CC while Horsford Honeybell won the bitch ticket.

By 1924 some 15 championship shows were classifying English Springers - and the rest is history !

However the real history of the English Springer's early years from 1919 onwards lies in the breeders - some of whom were as follows



Kennel Name


Influential Dogs


The Duke of Hamilton

Rex of Avendale, as mentioned above together with Dual Ch. Flint of Avendale who's main influence on the breed was via. his grandson Ch. Marmion of Marmion.


Lorna, Countess of Howe

Ft Ch. Banchory Bright a winner of 33 Stakes & Banchory Tranquil the dam of Ch. Nuthill Dignity who sired the famous Ch. Beauchief Benefactor.


Frank Warner Hill

The foundation bitch of this famous kennel was Beauchief Lady Barbara, mated to Ch. Jambok of Ware she produced Ch Beauchief Nicholas who went on to sire Chs. Beauchief Buchanan and Bonnetta. Bonnetta being the dam of Ch Beauchief Benefactor who has gone down in the record books as the first English Springer bred and owned in the UK to go Best in Show at a Championship Show


F Winton Smith

 One of the very early Springer kennels who produced the breeds first Champion - Beechgrove Will


Mr George Taylor

 Stretching form the 1920s through to the 1950s this kennel has an enviable record. In the 20s fomous for such as Carnfield King , while in the 40s Carnfield Chick & Christabelle. While in the 50s Carnfield Ranger and Christopher both gained stud book entries.


Mr C. C. Eversfield

 One of the pioneering kennels from the eary 1900s with such Trial winners as Nimrod, Canonote Powder, Nitro Powder and Velox Powder.


Lt. Col. F. B. H. Carrell

 Dating up to and just after the Second World War this kennel was renouned for its working springers the most famous being Georgina of Harting, Rollick of Harting and Dual Ch. Thoughtful of harting - of of the very few Dual Champions ever bred.


Miss C. M. Francis

 A kennel that spanned the Show Ring and Fiels Trials, produching such as Ch Higham Teal the dam of Ch Higham Tom Tit and Higham Ticket. Ticket went on to sire Ch Waddon Chase Robin while Tom Tit was a prolific sire producing amongst aothers Ch Waddon Chase Snipe, Ch Waddon Chase Bonny Tom & Replica of Ranscombe


Mr. William Humphrey

 Another kennel involved in both Showing and Field Trialling who bred and owned one of the few dual Champions Horsford Hetman.


Mr. A. McNab Chassels

 A Scottish kennel who produced many Champions including Inveresk Careful, Cocksure, Coronation and perhaps the best known - Inveresk Chancellor. Chancellor went on to become, under the ownership of Mr. H. J. Placey of Quebec a Triple International Champion.


Lady Portal

From the 1920's onwards this kennel produced many winners including Chs. Laverstoke Pepper & Pattern. Pattern, under the ownership of George Scott being the dam of Ch Marmion of Marmion - see below


Mr David McDonald

 A kennel from Dundee in Scotland. Arguably Mr McDonalds most famous Springer being Ch Little Brand who won the first CC on offer after the recommencement of Championship Shows in 1920. He carried on to produce Ch L'ile Buccaner, L'ile Winnie Lass & L'ile Brown Jack. He also owned Ch Nuthill Dignity who went on to sire such dogs as Ch Beauchief Benefactor and Rufton Rarity in the UK, while in the USA his lines can be trached via his daughter Woodelf of Breeze.


The Hon. George Scott

 From the early 1930s - this kennel produced Ch Marmion of Marmion who went on to sire such as Ch Dry Toast, Ch Higham Tom Tit and Ch Mockerkin Domino and features behind many of tdays winning pedigrees.


Mr. E Trimble

 Dating from the late 1920s this produced dogs such as Ch Matford Shot, Sport & Scamp.


Miss Morland Hooper

 From the 1920s notable for her Ch Ranger of Ranscombe, who was registered as a 'golden liver and white' by Dash out of Bell he sired many winners.


Miss F. L. Turner

 A dual purpose kennel of the 1930 era who produced such as Renrut Rose the dam of Ch Belarosa of Bramhope.


Mr. C. A. Phillips

 A field trialling kennel from the 1920s which had a lasting influence on the working strain. However these lines can be found way back in the pedigrees of all of the Springers being shown today.


Mr. S. H. Till

 Arguably the most famous being Ch Roundwood Lass who won a total of 27 CCs in the 1930s.


Mr. R Cornthwaite

 Will always be remembered for the Ch Rufton Recorder who exerted a great influence on the breed in the UK, Canada and the USA, where many of the present-day Champions can trace a direct line back to him.


Mr. R. Grierson

 From the 1930's when Chs Advert of Solway, Admiration of Solway, Follow Through of Solway and Lovebird of Solway won no less tahn 14 CCs in one year. The line was carried on in 1935 by such as Ch Winning Number of Solway.


Mr. H. S. Loyd

 Mainly famous for Cocker Spaniels however the impact of this kennel on the English Springer Breed both in the UK and the USA cannot questioned. Dogs such as Jambok of Ware & Springbok of Ware spread inflence. Springbok was exported to the ownership of Mr. Chevrier who founded the Avondale kennels in the USA with the result that he features in the extended pedigrees of both the UK and USA show dogs.



 Pedigrees of all of the above are available at ESSPedigrees.co.uk
















A final thought

On the left

Ch Beechgrove Donaldson who won his Championship in 1910

and 16 generations direct descent later

On the right

the UK Bitch record holder

Ch Mompesson Remember Me





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