The Welsh Springer Spaniel – a “distinct variety”

Mrs Dodo Hunton Morgans who, with her husband Mr Noel Hunton Morgans, owns the famous Dalati kennel, explains the characteristics of the Welsh Springer Spaniel. This article was first published to celebrate the Welsh Springer Spaniel Club’s Diamond Jubilee in 1983 and is reproduced by the kind consent of Dog World.

Sh Ch Dalati Sarian

Sh Ch Dalati Sarian

To some people the prospect of owning a puppy might be regarded as possessing something which might grow on to be a nuisance value but, thankfully, there are those who believe that owning a dog is to inherit a faithful and trusting companion. Individual preferences of breeds will differ and as “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” but a good specimen of any breed will be universally appreciated. However, if the chosen breed is a Welsh Springer Spaniel then we have a dog which is in many ways ideal and has found a place in the hearts of many dog lovers throughout the world.

The Welsh Springer is the spaniel product of a country which seems to have been cast in a different kind of mould. His origin with the other varieties of spaniels is, no doubt, a common one but according to records this variety has been preserved and bred in Wales for centuries. It was not until 1902 that Welsh Springers were first placed on the Kennel Club register. Since then the breed has made great headway on the show bench, their numbers steadily increasing year by year. The Welsh Springer is a “symmetrical, compact, strong, merry active dog of around nineteen inches in height with a flat thick coat of silky texture.” Add to this a rich red and white colour and the minimum of trimming and you have an attractive and picturesque dog that would appeal to an exhibitor.


It will probably be the colour that first attracts one’s eye in the direction of this medium sized spaniel. He is smaller than his English counterpart, larger than the Cocker Spaniel and has a style and expression peculiarly his own. Look no further in your search for the ideal companion, the very least you can expect during his lifetime is unquestioned love and loyalty – or else look away before you are close enough to appreciate the distinct Welsh expression in his eye, for once recognised you may be hooked and find yourself enquiring and wondering about this “distinct variety”.

The Welsh Springer has been used in the principality for many generations as a shooting dog, indeed “no shooting expedition, at one time, being complete that did not include a team of these merry red and white spaniels”. As workers they can be trained to a high standard of performance, no day being too long and no cover too strong for their endurance and pluck.

Doubly rewarded

I have often been asked if the Welsh Springer is an intelligent dog. Some question the existence of intelligence in dogs, but whether this is so or not I have found that the Welsh Springer is a quick willed and competent worker, showing individuality and initiative on many an occasion. He may be a little impulsive or headstrong at times, but with a little imagination this can be used to advantage. Use a little understanding and patience in the early stages of training and you will be more than doubly rewarded with the finished product.

When I think of the Welsh Springer as a faithful companion I cannot help thinking of a very touching story told by Dorothy Moorland Hooper in her book on “The Springer Spaniel”. She recounts an incident that Mr Hal Leopard told her that had occurred at Col. Downes-Powell’s funeral. Mr Leopard recalled that as he reached the lych gate to go into the church for the service. “A very fine Welsh Springer came up the road and waited at the gate and so was to pay a last tribute and farewell from the breed the Colonel had loved so much.”

One aim

And so you have the Welsh Springer Spaniel as the exhibitor’s dog, the dauntless worker and a true and faithful companion. His demands upon you are really minimal – loving care and the opportunity always to be near you are all that he asks for. In return you will have a dog whose aim in life is to live to please.

© D Hunton Morgans

The illustration shows Show Champion Dalati Sarian (Tregwillym Royal Mint x Sh Ch Dalati Sal, born 1 June 1985). Sarian was awarded 37 CCs, 28 BOBs, & 4 Group wins, including the Gundog Group at Crufts in 1990 by Group Judge Peggy Grayson. She was the first (& until 2006 the only) Welsh Springer to have reached the final of Crufts.

The Dalati kennel of Dodo & Noel Hunton Morgans was established in 1964 and was successful with various breeds. In 1967 the purchase of Freesia of Hearts was to begin an era of Dalati-bred Welsh Springer Spaniel Champions world-wide. Sh Ch Dalati Afan featured on our Welcome page shows the typical and consistent type produced by the Dalati kennel. Afan was always shown free standing, not stacked, and he had a tail that never ceased to wag.

There can be few dogs in the UK without the name Dalati appearing somewhere in their pedigree. The current Breed Record Holder Sh Ch Russethill Royal Salute Over Nyliram and the bitch Breed Record Holder Sh Ch Northoaks Sea Mist of Menstonia are both sired by Dalati Show Champions.

Related Pages:

The Breed
Is a Welsh Springer for you?
Breed Standard
Historic Kennels
Buying a Welsh Springer
Champions Gallery