English Cocker Spaniel
I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. – George Bird Evans
The various Spaniels originated in Spain and have been known in Britain and Europe since the 14th century and have been represented in art and literature for 500 years.
The English Cocker Spaniel is the original Cocker Spaniel and was developed in Wales and southwest England as a gundog. Historically, spaniels in England were divided into those who worked on land and those who worked primarily in water. It was not until the 1850s that the land spaniels were further divided into types based on their weight. At that time, Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels could come from the same litter.
In the late 1800s Spaniels were divided into two groups: Springer Spaniels whose function was to “spring game”, and Cocker Spaniels named for their ability to flush and retrieve birds (woodcocks) from dense undergrowth.
In England, the English Cocker Spaniel is known as simply the Cocker Spaniel but in the rest of the world, he is called the English Cocker Spaniel to differentiate him from his American cousin.
The English Cocker Spaniel has won more Best in Show titles at Crufts than any other breed.
Photos displayed courtesy of David and Della Kyncl, Winauby Kennels, Alberta
The English Cocker Spaniel is compact but bigger than the American Cocker Spaniel.
Nevertheless, his size allows him to fit in most home environments. He stands 16-17 inches (41-43 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs 28-34 pounds (13-15 kg).
He has a medium length, silky coat. It can be solid or self coloured in black, red, liver, golden, as well as black and tan, tri-colour, or roan. Roan colouring has solid patches and white patches speckled or “ticked” with the same colour as the solid patches which can be blue, liver, red, orange and lemon.
The English Cocker’s coat sheds and requires regular brushing and trimming. In fact, grooming should be part of the daily routine. As with any dog that has long ears, it is very important that they be kept clean and free of hair so that infections are kept at bay.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a sporting breed and a popular pet. He is energetic, playful, affectionate, and eager to please in nature. He enjoys family life, and is a loyal, faithful and loving companion who gets along well with other pets. Of a happy disposition, this dog doesn’t just wag his tail – he wags his body! His alertness and courage are a breed characteristic.
He is noted for his intelligence and merry disposition. He is a responsive and willing worker both in field and as a companion. Consistent and understanding training will yield the best results.
As an active and energetic sporting dog, bred for the hunt, the English Cocker Spaniel needs regular exercise to combat a tendency to gain weight. He should have a home with a fenced yard and an owner who is patient and will not spoil him. He can suffer from separation anxiety which may lead to destructive behaviour and excessive barking.