Is a Welsh Springer Spaniel a smart dog?

Ever scrolled through your social media feed and come across a picture of a beautiful dog with a gleaming red and white coat, and thought, “Wow, what a good-looking dog, I wonder what breed that is?” Well, chances are that gorgeous dog in your feed might actually be a Welsh Springer Spaniel, a gem of a breed not as well-known as its English and American counterparts.

What makes the Welsh Springer Spaniel stand out, aside from its stunning coat and energetic nature, is its intelligence. Yes, you heard that right. Behind those soulful, oftentimes mischievous eyes lies an incredibly sharp mind. When you think brains in the dog world, you might instantly picture a Border Collie, a Poodle or a German Shepherd. But prepare to be surprised, because the Welsh Springer Spaniel is no slouch when it comes to intelligence too.

This is a breed that not only looks good, but also makes for a fun and challenging pet owing to its sharp wit and active nature. After all, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is a working breed that was originally bred for hunting. Its instinctual need for running, jumping, and seeking makes it an enthusiastically intelligent breed that loves problem-solving as much as they love playtime.

But just how smart is a Welsh Springer Spaniel? Let’s delve a bit further and judge their intelligence based on two primary criteria: their working and instinctual intelligence as well as their adaptive intelligence.

Working and instinctual intelligence of a breed is typically based on how quickly and efficiently a dog learns from human signals and commands, and how closely it adheres to its inherent breed characteristics—in the case of the Welsh Springers, that would be hunting and retrieving. Trust me when I say these dogs are pure professionals at their job.

And then there’s adaptive intelligence—that’s where a dog’s learning from its own experiences comes in; their ability to solve problems without human intervention, the ability to remember pathways, and the knack for understanding and reacting to human emotions. Well, Welsh Springer Spaniels have all these in abundance, making them not only superb hunting dogs but also wonderful family pets that connect deeply with their human pack.

Take it from me. Our family goofball—ahem—sorry, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Alfie, has on more than one occasion proven to be smarter than the rest of us at home. Like that one time we couldn’t figure out how Alfie constantly ended up on the other side of what we thought was an Alfie-proof fence. Upon investigation, we found that smart Alfie had figured out the hidden latch that was supposed to keep him in! It didn’t take long for Alfie to show us why Welsh Springer Spaniels are considered smart, beyond just their hunting skills.

But, with all this intelligence, comes responsibility. An intelligent dog needs mental stimulation just as much as it needs physical exercise. Ignore this, and well, Alfie might just turn your garden into a treasure map in his boredom (yep, speaking from experience). But don’t worry if you are not inclined to run a marathon every day, you don’t have to. Mental exercise can come from puzzle toys, tracking games, and obedience training.

So, is a Welsh Springer Spaniel a smart dog? Absolutely, yes! If you are looking for a dog that will challenge your wits, keep you on your toes, and use its adorable ‘puppy eyes’ to trick you into opening the pantry (apparently, they are smart enough to know where the treats are), then this is the dog for you.

Remember though, with great smarts also comes great goofiness (at least in the case of Welsh Springer Spaniels); reminiscent of the class clown who is surprisingly also the class valedictorian. Bundle that with their immense charm and energy, and what you get is a Welsh Springer Spaniel: an irresistible roller coaster ride of adventure and affection! Their intelligence is just a perfect cherry on top of a brilliant doggie sundae.

So, the next time you see the stunning red and white coat flash by on your social feed, you’ll now say: “Wow, what a smart dog!” And of course, you’ll be absolutely right.