Sprollie - Collie English Springer Spaniel Cross on Grass
Sprollie - Collie English Springer Spaniel Cross Tongue Out
He’s not some obscure British motor car. The Sprollie is one of the many hybrid dogs popping up. A cross between an English Springer Spaniel and a Collie or Border Collie, he tends to be highly active, smart and good-natured but can be a challenge to live with.The Sprollie is a cross between two different breeds, the English Springer Spaniel and the Collie or Border Collie. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed, also known as a hybrid, is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: You never know what’s going to be inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not always subject to a breeder’s control — even less so when two different breeds are crossed.

Sprollies tend to be high-energy dogs. Both of the parent breeds are known for being active and intelligent. Springers tend to be cheerful, fun-loving and bouncy. Border Collies are typically intense, with a strong desire to herd. The Border Collie’s cousin, the Collie, tends to be protective and active and also has a strong desire to herd. What you get depends on both nature and nurture. With a hybrid such as the Sprollie, it’s safe to say that no matter which breed’s temperament is dominant, this dog will need lots of daily exercise.

Because of their high activity level, Sprollies may make good playmates for children who are at least 6 years old, but the dogs may be too rambunctious for a younger child. The dog’s desire to herd may also be an issue. It’s important not to let him learn that it’s okay to nip at children’s — or anyone else’s — heels to get them to move.

Sprollies need early training and socialization so they don’t run roughshod over you. Exercise needs for healthy Sprollies can usually be met by a couple of long daily walks, playtime that allows them to run and fetch a ball or flying disc or participation in a physically or mentally challenging dog sport such as agility, flyball or nose work.

Sprollie puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons this breed is so popular. There’s also a good chance that you can find a Sprollie adult or maybe even a puppy at your local shelter.

If you do choose to buy a Sprollie puppy, select a breeder who has done the health testing to help ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to the parent breeds.

Quick Facts

  • The size of a Sprollie can vary, depending on the size of the parents. Collies, for instance, are 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh 50 to 70 pounds. English Springers are 19 to 20 inches tall and weigh 35 to 50 pounds. Border Collies are 18 to 22 inches tall and weigh 30 to 45 pounds.
  • The typical Sprollie is black and white, brown and white, tricolor or black.
  • A Sprollie usually has a smooth, short coat or a medium-length coat, floppy ears and a mid-length to long feathered tail that is frequently wagging.

The History of the Sprollie

People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in an attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament or working ability. That’s how many of the well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger and more originally got their start.

Sprollies have probably existed for decades in rural areas where farm dogs were allowed to mate freely. Currently, with the rise of the craze for hybrids over the past 10 years, they have also begun to purposely be bred and sold.

The Sprollie is not a breed but a hybrid, or crossbreed. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.

Crossbreeds such as Sprollies have become popular as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that all crossbreeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.

Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less intelligent or healthy.

Whatever his breed, cross or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special and loving companion.

Sprollie Temperament and Personality

Sprollies tend to be bright and affectionate dogs. Their temperament ranges from sweet and obedient to crazy workaholic to destructive dynamo. Your Sprollie may carry a sign that says “Will work for food,” or he may be happy with your smile and a brief word of praise. It all depends on which genes he gets from which parent and how the nurturing he receives affects his personality.

The typical Sprollie is highly energetic, and the first 2 years of his life can be exhausting. While he’s still a puppy, give him plenty of running and chasing play on grass and work his brain with puzzle toys and sports such as nose work. He can also start to learn agility skills that don’t involve jumping (which could damage his still-developing musculoskeletal system). Teach him tricks: He’ll love to show them off.

Once his skeletal growth is complete at 14 to 18 months, take your Sprollie running (overall health permitting and with clearance from your vet) and hiking as often as you can. Get him started in flyball or the jumping portion of agility. Try to keep him interested in fun activities so he doesn’t become bored. A bored Sprollie can become destructive and noisy.

Sprollies are likely to maintain their energetic lifestyle well into adulthood, so make sure that’s what you want to live with. People who are prepared for a Sprollie’s level of activity say they wouldn’t swap them for any other dog.

A Sprollie who has been raised with or extensively socialized to children may make a great companion for families whose children are at least 6 years old. At that age, most children should be capable of understanding how to interact appropriately and safely with a dog. It’s important to recognize that not every Sprollie loves kids, and not every child knows how to interact with dogs, so supervision is always a must.

This dog may love everyone in the family or choose a single person as his favorite. He may or may not seek attention from visitors or strangers on the street. The Sprollie can get along well with other dogs and cats, especially if he is raised with them.

Temperament is affected partly by inheritance and partly by environment, so it can be variable. A Sprollie’s temperament depends on several factors, including the temperaments of his parents, especially the mother, who is more likely to influence a puppy’s behavior; the amount of socialization he receives; and the particular genes he inherits. Neither English Springers nor Collies or Border Collies should be shy or aggressive. Say “no thanks” if a puppy’s parents won’t let you approach them, shy away from you or growl at you or if puppies do any of those things.

Note as well that some Sprollies may be obsessive about chasing lights or shadows. To help prevent this behavior, avoid playing with your Sprollie using a laser toy or flashlight.

Train your Sprollie with positive reinforcement techniques. He will learn quickly if you show him what you like by rewarding him with praise, play and treats. Some Sprollies can be stubborn, wanting to do things their way, or they may have a short attention span. Be patient and creative in your training, and don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a professional trainer who can help you understand and work with your dog’s quirks.

Start training your Sprollie puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 8 to 12 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old and socialize, socialize, socialize.

However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (such as the one for kennel cough) to be up-to-date, and many veterinarians recommend limiting exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.

If you are purchasing your Sprollie from a breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Sprollie, look for a puppy whose parents have nice personalities and one who has been well socialized from an early age.

What You Need to Know About Sprollie Health

All dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run — don’t walk — from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her puppies, who tells you that a mixed breed or crossbreed is 100-percent healthy and has no known problems or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in a crossbreed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Sprollies may be susceptible to the same health problems that affect the English Springer, the Border Collie or the Collie. The nature of genetic variation makes health issues difficult to predict for a mixed-breed or hybrid dog. Please refer to the breed guides on English Springers, Border Collies and Collies for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these breeds. Each of these breeds can develop hip dysplasia, epilepsy and various eye diseases, such as progressive retinal atrophy, Collie eye anomaly and cataracts.

Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. The breeder should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have heart, eye and knee clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

If a breeder tells you she doesn’t need to do those tests because she’s never had problems in her lines or that her dogs have been vet-checked, then you should find a different breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing. You may be purchasing a puppy solely as a companion, but that is all the more reason to make sure you are getting one from healthy parents.

Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in many cases, the dogs can still live good lives. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what caused their deaths.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from a common canine health problem: obesity. Keeping a Sprollie at an appropriate weight is one of the easier ways to help ensure a healthier dog for life.

The Basics of Sprollie Grooming

A Sprollie can have a short or medium-length coat that ranges from sparse to bushy. Brush it at least two or three times a week to help keep the coat shiny and prevent or remove mats and tangles. Remember the areas behind the ears or where the legs meet the body, because they are prime spots for mats to develop.

Sprollies typically shed. Regular brushing helps to keep fur off your floor, furniture and clothing.

Bathe a Sprollie as needed. That might be weekly (if he spends a lot of time on your bed or other furniture), monthly or somewhere in between.

Many Sprollies love to play in water. It’s essential to rinse them (to help remove chlorine, salt or debris) and dry them thoroughly afterward.

Other grooming needs include trimming his nails every week or two, keeping his ears clean and dry and brushing his teeth regularly — daily if you can — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste.

Finding a Sprollie

Whether you want to find a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.

Selecting a respected breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. She is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than she is in making big bucks.

You may also find a Sprollie or Sprollie look-alike at your local shelter or through adoption organizations such as Petfinder.

If you choose to purchase a Sprollie, select a breeder who has done health testing to help ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to the parents’ breeds. Buying from a breeder who is smart and caring enough to do health certifications, even for a crossbreed, is the best way to do that. Avoid breeders who simply say that their breeding stock is vet-checked but have no up-to-date documentation from the OFA or the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC).

It’s also wise to avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. And bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected — or you don’t receive a puppy at all from a fly-by-night scammer. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It could save you money and frustration in the long run.

Many breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters or multiple breeds on the premises, having your choice of any puppy and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders. Internet scams involving dog sales abound. If you’re offered a Sprollie at a low, low price, remember the adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store or another source, don’t forget the equally wise adage, “Let the buyer beware.” Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with high-volume breeders can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100-percent guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy but researching the crossbreed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals) and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization or other reliable source for healthy puppies.

The cost of a Sprollie puppy can vary depending on the breeder’s locale and whether she has obtained health clearances on the pup’s parents. Don’t shell out hundreds of dollars for a pup if the breeder can’t show you up-to-date health certifications for both parents from OFA or CHIC. The puppy you buy should be raised in a clean and loving home environment, temperament-tested, examined by a veterinarian, dewormed and socialized to help give him a healthy, confident start in life.

Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Sprollie might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult Sprollie may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of size, personality and health, and you may be able to find adults through breeders or shelters.

If you are interested in acquiring an older dog, ask your veterinarian if she knows of an adult dog who needs a new home or check your local shelters to see if there’s a dog who meets your desires. And depending on your resources and lifestyle, don’t dismiss the idea of adopting a senior. Under ideal circumstances, Sprollies can have long lifespans, so a dog who is 5 or even 8 years old is likely to still give you years of love. As with any pet, be prepared to provide medical care and deal with any special needs that arise. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.

Adopting a Dog From a Shelter or Sprollie Rescue Group

There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. Here’s how to get started.

1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Sprollie in your area in no time. AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area.

Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.

2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Sprollie. That includes vets, dog walkers and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.

3. Talk to Breed Rescues
Networking can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. Ask a local shelter or rescue group if they ever have Sprollies available. You can also search online for Sprollie rescues in your area.

4. Ask Key Questions
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
  • What is his energy level?
  • How is he around other animals?
  • How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
  • What is his personality like?
  • What is his age?
  • Is he housetrained?
  • Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone?
  • Are there any known health issues?

Wherever you acquire your Sprollie, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers a Bill of Rights for Adopters that can help you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with puppy lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Puppy or adult, breeder purchase or rescue, take your Sprollie to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive care schedule.