Spangold Retriever

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Spangold Retriever
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There is a reason that the English Springer Spaniel and the Golden Retriever are two of the most well-loved family pet breeds around. They are both kind, dependable and very sociable. With this in mind, it’s little wonder that breeders have crossed these two popular breeds to create a Spangold Retriever. This hybrid gets on well with the whole family but has an especially soft spot for the younger children.

A medium to large dog, the Spangold Retriever tends to look like a larger Spaniel with smaller ears and a less athletic physique. While a small number inherit the characteristic golden fur of the Golden Retriever, most have black coats with white patches. They have a dense coat with feathering on their legs and beautifully crimped ears.

About & History

Not much is known about the history of the Spangold Retriever. Like other designer dogs, they would have first been bred sometime in the late 20th or early 21st century. Both parents have well established histories and are widely recognised around the world.

The English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is a sweet-natured dog with gentle and soulful eyes, which are indicative of her temperament. Originally bred to both flush and retrieve game while hunting, this is an athletic breed that likes to work and enjoys keeping active and busy. Spaniels are considered a Spanish breed and were used as hunters as early as the 14th century.

Over the years, they were refined and classified as either land or water Spaniels. They were admired for their superior sense of smell and hearing when working, as well as their eagerness to please their master and do as they were told. The very first English Springer Spaniel was established in the early 1800s. Not every English Springer Spaniel is used for hunting and there are ‘show dog’ lines, which contain calmer dogs, more suited to family life. The Kennel Club classify them within their Gundog group and state that they are the most widely-used working Spaniel today.

The Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are popular worldwide thanks to their handsome looks and pleasant demeanours. They have a reputation for being ‘nanny’ dogs that can be trusted with children. These dogs originated in Scotland during the mid-nineteenth century and, much like the Springer Spaniel, were used as hunting gun dogs.

They had an affinity for hunting on both land and water and this versatility made them a popular choice at the time. Interestingly, they descended from the Flat Coated Retriever and the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, so they do already have some ‘Spaniel blood’. Not only have these dogs earned a reputation as trustworthy and loyal pets, many are today employed as assistance and therapy dogs.


The Spangold Retriever will weigh between 27kg and 30kg once mature and will usually measure from 46cm to 61cm, making them a medium to large breed. As with any cross-breed, predicting their adult size accurately can prove challenging.

In the author’s opinion, their most appealing feature is there intelligent eyes, which are almond-shaped and a deep brown. Their ears are not quite as large as those of the Spaniel but are over-sized nonetheless. They hang closely to their face, framing it charmingly. Their rectangular muzzle is medium in length and they may have moderately developed jowls. Their body shape is longer than it is tall and they have moderate muscling. Their limbs are sturdy but not overly long. Tail docking is not recommended and they should have a thick tail with good feathering.

The coat of the Spangold Retriever is thick and wavy. While dogs can be black, golden, tan or brown, many will be black. White patches are accepted.

Character & Temperament

A sweet and well-adjusted dog, the Spangold Retriever brims with confidence and has a cheerful demeanour that can be contagious. They don’t take life too seriously and are always keen to play about and have some fun. As they are energetic, some may find them a little ‘full on’, so it is best if they are owned by relatively active families.

The Spangold Retriever is a friend to all and will gladly welcome both human and animal companionship. They can be trusted with children and have a high level of tolerance, though this should not mean that kids are allowed to take advantage. While they love human interaction, they may bark and be standoffish when a stranger arrives to their home unexpectedly. This means they make adequate watch dogs.

As both parent breeds are natural hunters, the prey drive of the Spangold Retriever is bound to be high. They will be quick to chase any bird or squirrel outside so should be contained in a well-fenced garden to avoid them running so far that they forget where home is!


Happily, the Spangold Retriever is a gem when it comes to its training. They will pick up on new training cues quickly and will be glad to accept any treats they get in return. They do best when it comes to scenting and retrieving as these tasks come instinctively.


Spangold Retrievers have a lifespan of 11-13 years and should enjoy a healthy and dynamic life. There are certain inherited diseases that we may see more commonly in this hybrid than in other breeds.

Otitis Externa

Their ears are prone to chronic and repeated infections as they are so heavy and they are held tightly to their face, limiting airflow. Owners can reduce the risk of infection by cleaning them regularly, grooming their dog often and drying the ear canals well whenever they get wet.

Treating an ear infection early before it worsens is important, so at the first sign of any ear scratching, head rubbing or discharge build-up, the dog should be examined by a vet.

Atopic Dermatitis

There are many things that can cause itchy skin, with atopic dermatitis being one of the main contenders in the Spangold Retriever. Dogs may develop signs from 6 months of age and may display itchiness by rubbing themselves, licking their feet and scratching incessantly.

While there are allergy tests on the market to determine what a dog is reacting, these cannot always be relied upon. Controlling dermatitis can be a challenge and dogs will usually be on a cocktail of anti-itch medicine and antibiotics throughout their life.

Elbow Dysplasia

Forelimb lameness that comes and goes and has no apparent cause may be attributed to elbow dysplasia. As this condition may not show up on an x-ray, tests such as CT scans may be advised. Arthroscopic surgery has good success levels and may be advised.

Hip Dysplasia

Those who have hip dysplasia tend to display signs from a young age that might include hind limb muscle wastage and a dislike of long walks. Unlike elbow dysplasia, this condition usually shows up well on x-rays. Depending on the age a dog is diagnosed and the severity of their dysplasia, they will either be managed with surgery or a conservative approach.

Exercise and Activity Levels

These dogs need quite a lot of exercise – at least 90-minutes every day – to burn off all of their energy. Failing to keep them occupied can result in a frustrated dog who develops attention-seeking habits, such as non-stop barking or digging in the garden.

Clever clogs, owners should aim to provide a variety of activities including chasing, scenting and fetching games for their Spangold Retriever.


The medium length coat of the Spangold Retriever must be brushed daily with a firm, bristle brush as it can be prone to tangling. Owners should focus on the feathered fur of the ears and legs, as well as the armpits, groin and tail.

Owners must not ignore the ears of their Spangold Retriever as they need to be cleaned about every one or two weeks. A canine ear cleaner should be applied and the debris should then be removed with cotton wool.

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