Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Sprollie
Timo Kaipiainen / Flickr.com

The Sprollie is the perfect companion for the dedicated and active owner who wishes to have a dog with whom to share their life. They need an immense amount of exercise and interaction and will almost certainly develop behavioural issues if either their mental or physical needs are not adequately met. Due to this, the Sprollie is not the breed for everyone and owners should be fully aware of the commitment they are making before getting one.

Attractive dogs with muscular and athletic bodies, the Sprollie typically inherits the pendulous, furry ears of the English Springer Spaniel and are often (though not always) the classic black and white colour of the Border Collie. Their alert and inquisitive expressions are a true reflection of their personality.

About & History

While difficult to prove, most breed fanciers believe that the Sprollie originated in the UK several decades ago. They are becoming increasingly popular as both working farm dogs and as family pets in rural areas.

The Border Collie

The Border Collie is known to be a highly intelligent and hard-working dog. Sadly, they are frequently misunderstood and it is not unusual for them to end up in rehoming centres after being purchased by inappropriate owners who are unable to meet their needs. Bred to tirelessly herd sheep, these dogs can be trained to an incredibly high degree and are exceptionally obedient.

They have fantastic stamina and seem to have the energy of a Duracell bunny! The ‘Border’ in their name is a nod towards their place of origin; the land on either side of the English and Scottish border. It is thought that the original border collie was a male called Hemp who was exceptionally talented at herding and was used as a stud dog, fathering a large number of pups.

The English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is renowned for its loving and affectionate nature and makes a superb gun dog. Enjoying a longer history than the Border Collie, this breed dates back to around the 1400s when hunting was extremely prevalent within England and elsewhere.

As well as flushing prey out of hiding, the English Springer Spaniel is also capable of retrieving the shot animals with a soft mouth, so as not to damage them in any way. Cocker Spaniels are probably the closest relative of the Springer Spaniel and are currently the more popular of the two. As Springer Spaniels have very sensitive noses, they are not only used for hunting but also as sniffer dogs, helping to detect bombs, drugs and other illegal substances.


Sprollie Large Photo
Timo Kaipiainen / Flickr.com

The Sprollie is a good-looking, medium-sized dog with a well-proportioned body and an even and sporty gait. They have a wide forehead and ears that are usually pendulous and set high on the head. Their muzzle is a good size, ending in a broad nose that may be either black or brown. Their intelligent, oval-shaped eyes can be brown or amber. They should have well-sprung ribs, a solid body and muscular limbs. Their tail is typically impressively well-feathered and is one of their best features.

Once mature, a Sprollie will weigh roughly between 14kg and 24kg and grow to heights of 46cm to 56cm. As is true of many breeds, males are often more muscular and will weigh slightly more than their female counterparts. Sprollies have straight fur, which is short to medium in length, and either black and white or a rich brown and white. They tend to have longer fur on their ears, belly, back of their legs and tail.

Character & Temperament

Not shy to show affection, the Sprollie will often fawn lovingly over their masters, keen for cuddles any time of the day. They are sweet and gentle around children but do need to be taught boundaries and require ample socialisation when young to prevent any conflict.

Perhaps the most over-riding characteristic of the Sprollie is its abundant supply of energy. This is a dog that thoroughly enjoys keeping active and can run for miles without breaking a sweat. They become quickly fed up if not provided with plenty of things to do and their boredom generally leads to unruly behaviour and destructive tendencies. This is the main reason that the Sprollie is not for everyone and is not-suited to small apartments or inactive families.

Most can get on well with other pets and are happy to exist in multi-pet households. However, it would be unrealistic to expect a poorly socialised Sprollie to welcome a new cat or dog into their life at a later age without batting an eyelid. As with other breeds, the key to harmony within the home is to make introductions when the Sprollie is young and accepting.


Photo of Sprollie puppy
Lawrence Wright / Flickr.com

With parents from a working background, the Sprollie is a quick learner and is obedient by nature. They are happiest when given a task to complete and they will give that assignment every ounce of their attention. As well as having a superior attention span, these dogs also have a good deal of stamina and are happy to train and work for long periods of time.

A versatile designer dog, the Sprollie not only makes a wonderful sheepdog and hunter but can also excel in sporting activities, such as agility and doggy dancing. The more varied their workload, the happier and more balanced they are likely to be. Any activity that encourages them to use their brain, as well as their body, is a winner in their books.


Sprollies can be long-lived dogs, often enjoying good health into their teens. As they are a hybrid, many will enjoy better health than either parent breed, although this is only as long as they have been bred responsibly in order to capitalize on the increased gene pool available.

Ear Infections

As marvellous as those long, floppy ears are, they are a natural breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. The thick fur traps in moisture and humidity and the fact that they don’t stand erect means that the airflow to the canal is restricted. When microorganisms multiply, an infection ensues and dogs can suffer with red, painful ears. Signs include ear scratching and a bad smell.

Thankfully, most infections can clear quickly with a course of medication. However, for some dogs, ear infections can become a recurring theme in their life and infections that grumble along can be frustrating for owners and pets alike. Maintaining good ear hygiene and treating infections before they have had time to become established can be especially useful.


A dog is diagnosed as epileptic when they experience repeated seizures (or fits) for which no specific cause can be found. Most are managed on daily medication, the aim of which is to control the seizures and lessen their frequency. It is rare for an epileptic dog to be so well-controlled that they never have any seizures at all.

Hip Dysplasia

Arthritis in the hips is the inevitable consequence of hips that are not well-formed. This leads to pain, reduced range of motion and eventual muscle wasting. Hip dysplasia reduces a dog’s ability to work and exercise and results in chronic pain. To avoid dogs passing on the condition, it is not advised that any Sprollie with hip dysplasia be bred from.


A decrease in the circulating thyroid hormone results in a dog that is sluggish and puts on weight easily. For some, this is caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis, whereas for others it is a result of idiopathic atrophy. In reality, what causes the condition is irrelevant as it is treated in the same way. The thyroid hormone is artificially replaced with daily tablets and dogs can go on to live relatively normal lives.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Runs, hikes, swims and sport should all play a big part in the life of a Sprollie. They love to be outside in nature and dislike being confined in the home for too long. Whenever possible, they should have access to a back garden.


Brushing a few times a week is essential to prevent matting of the coat, particularly under the belly, armpits, groin and on the ears. Ears must be cleaned regularly and checked for any sign of infection on a daily basis.

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