Do Springer Spaniels Hunt Rabbits? Answered!
Springer Spaniels are an intelligent and versatile breed of dog. Their swift nature may make you wonder what they were bred for. Hunting rabbits makes sense, right?
Do Springer Spaniels Hunt Rabbits?
No, Springer Spaniels do not kill rabbits. During a hunting expedition, Springer Spaniels are typically used for hunting waterfowl, but they have a prey drive for rabbits too. Springer Spaniels can hunt rabbits just as easily as waterfowl if given the opportunity.
They are not usually driven to kill them, as they are more likely to flush them out during a hunt, but anything is possible with a hunting dog.
That being said, some specific dog breeds are known for hunting small animals that could kill them. Spring Spaniels are not one of them, which doesn’t mean there are not any that have or could do that.
In nature, it’s survival of the fittest, and many dogs are generally drawn to chase things that run. Most, however, will never catch a tricky rabbit, let alone harm it if they do, and Springer Spaniels are hunting dogs, so they easily could.
Their strength, speed, endurance, intelligence, and abilities could easily make it possible for them to grab a rabbit if they’ve set their minds to it.
As hunting dogs, they are adaptable and could easily transition to the role of hunting rabbit, but they still are not likely to kill it.
The important thing to remember here is their training. Hunting dogs go through a great deal of diverse training to prepare them for being a hunting partner. Their training will require a traditional house or obedience training and specific hunting training.
This training can be quite rigorous, lengthy, and in-depth. Since they are trained to hunt alongside their human companion and follow their command, unless the hunter gives that command, it will probably not happen.
Intelligent Springer Spaniels are sporting and hunting dogs; if they are bred ethically and with the breed standard in mind, they have certain qualities. These qualities make them excellent at flushing out and retrieving waterfowl and following the commands of their hunting companion.
Of course, there is always the potential for a wayward Springer Spaniel with a mind of its own to decide to do its own thing. That would be true of any dog, though.
In everyday life, a Springer Spaniel, a family companion, could go after a rabbit and kill it if they wanted. Rabbits are quick, tricky creatures that don’t make it easy for dogs, and the chance the Springer Spaniel will succeed before their parent catches them is small.
Family companion animals need good training to live in our world. They need socialization, obedience training, and review at certain times in their lives of the expected behaviors.
Training should be done with a loving but persistent hand. Springer Spaniels are intelligent hunting dogs and should have no problem catching on easily.
Even with a good amount of training and a great personality, the drive to hunt will still be there; they could hunt or even kill a rabbit. If they do, there are certain things a parent should do.
What do I do if my Springer Spaniel kills a rabbit?
What you should do first if your Springer Spaniel kills a rabbit is to not panic. As noted above, hunting other creatures is part of dogs’ lives, and some have the instinct more than others, and Springer Spaniels are a dog breed with that instinct.
While it is unfortunate what they did, it means that they need a review of their training and social skills. This review will require that you and the dog take some time to ensure they are trained properly. It is possible that they just need a gentle reminder of what is expected of them, at the park, in the yard, or wherever.
How long this review takes is dependent on the individual dog. It is important to not panic and understand this can be a one-time thing. Many dog owners worry if their dog kills another creature, it will mean they will go after others. They may also worry the Springer Spaniel will go after other small dogs or cats.
Animals give off hormonal scents, which distinguishes them from other creatures. Even though the rabbit has fur like the tiny teacup dog down the street, it doesn’t mean the Springer Spaniel is now going to attack or kill that dog.
That could be the potential if the dog didn’t have good social skills and training. The potential for incidents with inferior bred dogs or dogs with poor social skills and training is greater than with other dogs.
If your Springer Spaniel managed to catch and kill a rabbit taking a step back for a time to go over training again will help. We all need reminders, and your dog is no different. Sometimes we forget they are domesticated animals that follow the same principles of nature.
If this wasn’t the case, they must be walked and spend time outside on a strong, sturdy leash. Doing this prevents the likelihood that catching or killing a rabbit will happen again.
Part of a dog’s makeup is to be prey driven, and the reward is to catch what they hunt. Some dog breeds have more of this drive than others, but all can be taught to control it at the very least, which is where good breeding and training come in.
Socialization is just as important as when they experience others teaching them who is a friend and who is not based on scent. Rabbits give off a different scent than a dog, no matter the size, and your Springer Spaniel will learn the difference.
Often the killing of a rabbit might come as a surprise to the Springer Spaniel and is merely part of the game of chase and catch. Quality bred hunting dogs with good social skills and training will follow the training commands of their hunting companion.
Other Springer Spaniels may need review, but most importantly, don’t automatically assume this will happen again. Keep a close watch and leash on your dog when outdoors while you go through the review process.
It can take time but attaching a negative outcome to the situation is not something a Springer Spaniel owner wants to do. Dogs are instinctual and prey-driven, but one incident doesn’t always mean another will occur.
Do I have to worry about my Springer Spaniel and my pet bunny?
You shouldn’t worry about your Springer Spaniel and pet bunny getting along if introductions, home socialization skills, and training were thorough. All dogs have the instinct to hunt, chase and catch smaller creatures to a certain degree.
However, like the house cat, or other dogs inside the home, your Springer Spaniel will learn with time that they are family.
That doesn’t mean they won’t chase after the rabbit if it out and tries to run under the couch. That instinct may be there, but you should be right there, reminding the dog that the behavior is unacceptable.
The possibility that the Springer Spaniel will catch the rabbit is small, but it is most important for the parent to always keep watch. Just like with children and dogs, anything in life is possible. They are different creatures, and dogs are prey driven, so if determined or forgetful, your Springer Spaniel could go after the rabbit.
Best to play it safe and keep an eye, which is most often what good parents do. Socializing the Springer Spaniel to many different creatures safely can help reduce this tendency for family companion dogs.
Springer Spaniels are hunting dogs but won’t usually kill rabbits. They can learn diverse hunting skills for that purpose, but it’s not likely to happen in an everyday setting.
Rabbits are tricky to catch. It’s one of their survival skills, the way they maneuver. Good training and social skills can minimize issues. Since Springer Spaniels are dogs, the thrill of the chase and catch is always there but unlikely to occur!