© Tim Flach. Above: English Springer Spaniel.
“Suddenly there’s a clattering flutter of wings, the pheasants wheel up into the sky and the hunter can get his gun to work. And who can make that happen to order? The springer spaniel, that’s who—springer by name and by nature, the dog ‘springs’ or ‘flushes’ the birds out of the undergrowth. As with the pointer, it is skilled in scenting and tracking down game but then comes the crucial difference: while the pointer stops and indicates, the springer will bound in and flush the birds. The breed can be traced back to the early 1800s when it was first clearly separated from the cocker spaniels, which are smaller and associated with hunting woodcock. In those days, the springer might flush so that a trained falcon would take the birds. Today, the breed has found its skills also adapted to policing work, where, for example, it was used as a sniffer dog for explosives after the 2005 London bombings. Other applications of its scenting ability include finding illegal immigrants, mobile phones in prisons, and bumblebee nests. This picture was taken on the Elveden Estate in Norfolk, England which was developed into a great shooting property in the nineteenth century by the Maharaja Dalip Singh who, in exile from his homeland in the Punjab, becamepassionate about raising pheasants.” – Lewis Blackwell, text from Flach’s book, Dogs Gods. Tim Flach is a photographer based in London. To see more of his work click here.