You can tell on the first sight that this is a Spaniel. The most distinctive feature are definitely the large, floppy and feathered ears. The Russian Spaniel does resemble the famous English Cocker Spaniel and indeed, the English Cocker and the English Springer Spaniel were used in the breeds development.
Usually, the Russian Spaniel has height between 15-18 inch which is 38-46 cm and the weight is typically between 20-35 pounds, which is 9-16 kg. As you can see this is small to medium sized dog breed. There are no extreme differences between the size of males and females.
The Russian Spaniel is quite a sturdy dog breed with strong built, slightly elongated and straight back, round arched paws, straight tail, that is often times docked. The head has oval shape and the muzzle is broad. The Russian Spaniel has very expressive oval eyes and very long floppy ears that hang down close to the cheek.
The coat is soft and tight fitting. The dog typically has longer fur on the ears and on the back of the legs. Colors can vary greatly, commonly you can find them white with coloured spots and other markings. Common color variations include tri color, white and brown, white and black, white and red, solid black, brown, or tan. The head and ears is normally in darker color than the rest of the body.
Even though, the Russian Spaniel was originally developed as a skilled gun dog, today they are most often living the spoiled life of family companions. And they are truly great fit for both – for hunting and for companionship. Most people describe the Russian Spaniel as lively, spirited, energetic, cheerful, devoted and playful breed.
All the Spaniels must have higher prey drive and indeed, when the Russian Spaniel is hunting, it is very skilled and hard working flushing and retrieving dog. This breed also has very strong nose. This dog is not recommended for households with smaller pets, like hamsters or guinea pigs, because they will most likely try to chase them. But they normally do okay with other dogs and even with cats, especially if they are raised together from the puppyhood.
The Rusian Spaniel is known for being pretty gentle and playful breed, which is why they make good companions for kids. But you should always monitor the situation between a dog and a very young child who does not know how to treat dog gently and with respect.
Great fact is, that the Russian Spaniel is smart and eager to please breed, which makes it quite trainable. But, just like for example the Cocker Spaniel, they know how to be stubborn from time to time, so patient and firm training is needed.
The Russian Spaniel can be easily trained to be a good watchdog, because they are naturally alert and suspicious around strangers. But do not worry, once you show them, that the stranger is your friend, they will accept him or her. And they should never be agressive without a reason.
As i already mentioned earlier in the video, the most important ancestors of the Russian Spaniel is the English Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel. Some other Spaniel type of a dogs were most likely also included in the breeds development.
The breed development started in the early 20th century. The goal was to develop a dog similar to English Cocker Spaniel, but that will have longer legs and that will be more suitable to the russian weather and terrain. Just before the second world war, there was a variety of different Spaniels in the Russia, but no breed standard was written for them yet.
The war was devastating, not only for the people of Russia, but also for the dog population in this area and many of the breeds were on the verge of extinction. But Russians started to purposelly breed the Russian Spaniel and in 1951 the first breed standard was written. The breeds popularity raised a lot in the 1990s, but it is still quite a rare breed outside Russia.
Health and grooming
The typical lifespan of the Russian Spaniel is around 14 years and it is quite a hardy and healthy breed, which does not suffer much from any hereditary health issues. Because of their long floppy ears, they can be prone to ear infections. It is also common for the dog to suffer from food allergies, with the most common allergens being chicken and carrots.
It is not extremely hard to maintain Russian Spaniels coat in top condition. The medium-length coat naturally repels both dirt and water, making it fairly easy to care for. This breed does shed, so brushing the coat regularly will minimize the shedding. Just like with all dogs you should regularly check their ears, eyes and nails and clip them or clean them if needed. And you should také proper care about the ears and keep them clean and dry.