Information about the Russian Spaniel

The Russian Spaniel is a type of spaniel first standardised in 1951 in the Soviet Union after World War II by cross breeding English Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels and other spaniel breeds. Physically it is similar to a Cocker Spaniel, but has a shorter, tighter coat and a longer body. Developed and used as hunting dogs, this breed does not suffer from any major health complaints other than those normally associated with spaniels. Popular in its native Russia, the breed was only introduced overseas in the 1990s, and is not yet recognised by any major kennel clubs.

The Russian Spaniel is a small, sturdy dog with a short, tight, silky coat with feathering on the ears and legs. Colors can vary greatly, and can include solid colors without white markings, piebald, speckled, black and tan, and combinations. The head and ears are also usually dark.

The Russian Spaniel resembles the English Cocker Spaniel, with a body similar to the field lines of that breed though with the longer ears of the show line. The body of the Russian Spaniel tends to be longer than that of the English Cocker however, and the breed has only one line rather than being split into separate specific show and field lines of the same breed.

Both the male and females of the breed weigh on average 28-40 lb (13-18 kg) and are around 15-17 inches (38-43 cm) at the withers. This makes them similar in size or a little larger than the English Cocker Spaniel which weighs approximately 13-14.5 kg (29-32 lb) and is on average between 15.5 and 16 inches (39 and 41 cm) with the females being a little smaller at 15-15.5 inches (38-39 cm).

Bred primarily as hunting dogs, their goal is to find the bird, send it into the air and then to retrieve it on command after the hunter has shot the quarry. The Russian Spaniel is suited for hunting in marshland, fields, woodland, for birds as well as rabbits and other small game. The breed is also popular in their native Russia as their small size makes them suitable to be kept in busy cities, and easily transported to hunting sites.

As with all long-eared spaniels, Russian Spaniels require checks to prevent ear infections. The breed does have an inclination to gain weight easily, which can be prevented by controlling food intake. The Russian Spaniel can be prone to food allergies, which are usually identified at between 1 to 5 months of age with the most common allergens being chicken and carrots. There are no other breed-specific health issues currently known.

It is an energetic, free-spirited breed. Even though it is a gundog, it is also kept as a companion dog because of its easy-going nature and devotion to its owners. It is a cheerful, active dog and is always ready to play, responding to any form of attention with a happily wagging tail. Russian Spaniels are trainable, can make a good watchdog, and are amiable with children.