Prey Drive In English Springer Spaniels

12 Mar 2024, 5:50 a.m. by Tracey McLennan


These are a gundog breed. Spaniel type dogs are said to have been mentioned for over 2000 years, as far back as 17 A.D. In the late 14th century, a French Lord described his hunting dogs as quartering in front of people, flushing game and retrieving from land and water but it wasn't until 1902 that the English Springer Spaniel was recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club.

The breed tend to be energetic and popular dogs in scent work sports and as detection dogs. They have been selectively bred to move with their noses to the ground following bird scent until the birds fly into the air. They also often retrieve shot birds.


Predatory Motor Sequence statistics for English Springer Spaniels. The graph shows the percentage of Springers in my research study that had no interest at all in each behaviour.

Bar chart showing the percentage of Springer Spaniels with no interest in each part of the predatory motor sequence

Hunt: 0%

Orient: 2%

Eye: 20%

Stalk: 41%

Chase: 2%

Grab-bite: 3%

Possess: 2%

Kill-bite: 36%

Dissect: 33%

Consume: 46%

There were 61 dogs of this breed in my research. As you can see, although the numbers show that they had the highest percentage of dogs with no interest in some parts of the predatory motor sequence , that does not make many of them have no interest in prey animals. For instance, 100% of those dogs had some interest in hunting with 77% of them being described as living to hunt. Looking at chasing, 98% had an interest in chasing with 64% of those dogs being described as living to chase.

If you have a Springer and would describe them as having a high prey drive, you are not alone. The fact is that they are all individuals and many of them have a strong interest in prey. Find out more about your own dog’s preferences by filling in my quiz and letting me give you detailed information about what your dog loves the most when it comes to prey drive.

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Hi - I'm Tracey.

I am the founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff and a massive prey drive enthusiast. I've lived with high prey drive dogs for over 20 years and I love them. I run the awesome High Prey Drive Club where I help my members learn to have fabulous walks and happy lives with their high prey drive dogs.

I am a published researcher in my field with both my original research and my review of the literature looking at prey drive in dogs being published in the respected journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion.

I want to show you how easy and fun it can be to have a high prey drive dog.

If you'd like help with your dog, I'm ready to help you right now.