The English Cocker Spaniel
is a breed of gun dog. It is one of several
varieties of spaniel and somewhat resembles its American cousin, the American
Cocker Spaniel, although it's closer to the working-dog form of the Field
Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel.
Outside the US, the breed is usually known
simply as the Cocker Spaniel, as is the American Cocker Spaniel within
the US. Due to the breed's happy disposition and continuously wagging tail, it
has been given the nickname "merry cocker".
The Cocker is a sturdy, compact, well-balanced dog. It has a characteristic
expression showing intelligence and alertness. Its eyes should be dark and its
lobular ears should reach the tip of the nose when pulled forward.
slightly loose skin and feathered coat allow it to fight through any brush
unharmed. The Cocker's tail is customarily docked in North America. The tail is
generally docked at about 4 or 5 inches in field-bred dogs.
Height at withers:
- Dogs: 15-17 inches (3843 cm)
- Bitches: 15-16 inches (3841 cm)
- Dogs: 2834 lb (1315 kg)
- Bitches: 2732 lb (12-15 kg)
Show dogs are restricted to certain colours dependent on country, whereas
working Cockers can be any of a wide variety of colours. They come in solid (or
"self") colours, where white is restricted to only the chest in show dogs, parti-colour,
roan, and merle.
Many hunters prefer to have some white in the coat to make the dog more
visible to gunners.
Cockers are renowned for their friendly, faithful, playful, and affectionate
natures. They are easily trained and make a good medium-sized family pet. Very
few Cockers have temperament problems; in a 2002 survey consisting of 487
cockers, only 1% of the dogs were aggressive to people and 2% were aggressive to
Picture of Reuben sent in by Irene - Many
My beautiful boy Reuben. He is 2yrs old and very handsome.
The Cocker is generally a healthy breed. Its main health problems are
progressive retinal atrophy, kidney disease, and hip dysplasia. They are also
often prone to ear infections because of their pendulous ears.
They live for approximately 13 to 14 years on average.
Spaniel type dogs are have been found in art and literature for almost 500
years. (Kolehouse). Initially, spaniels in England were divided among land
spaniels and water spaniels. The differentiation among the spaniels that led to
the breeds that we see today did not begin until the mid 1800s.
time, the land spaniels became a bit more specialized and divisions among the
types were made based upon weight. According to the 1840 Encyclopedia of Rural
Sports, cockers were between 12 and 20 lb. (Kolehouse). At this time it was not
uncommon for cockers and springers to come from the same litter. Even a puppy
from a Toy sized lineage could grow to be a springer (Kolehouse).
There is no indication from these early sources that spaniels were used to
retrieve game. Rather they were use to drive the game toward the guns. (Kolehouse)
During the 1850s and 60s other dogs types of cockers were recorded. There
were Welsh Cockers and Devonshire Cockers. Additionally, small dogs from Sussex
Spaniel litters were called cockers. (Kolehouse) In 1874 the first stud books
were published by the newly formed kennel club.
Any spaniel under 25 lb was
placed in the cocker breeding pool, however the Welsh Cocker was reclassified as
a springer in 1903 due to its larger size and shorter ear (Kolehouse). "...in
those days only those dogs up to a hard days work and sensible specimens were
allowed to live, as absolute sporting purposes were about their only enjoyment
and dog shows were hardly heard of..." (Kolehouse)
The hobby of dog showing began in earnest among spaniels after the Spaniel
Club was formed in 1885. When showing, the new Springer and Cocker,
both were in the same class until The Spaniel Club created breed standards for
each of the types.
The Kennel Club separated the two types eight years later.
Since then, the Springer and Cocker enthusiasts have bred in the separate traits
that they desired. Today, the breed differ in more ways than weight alone.
In America, the American Cocker type was forming. As a result, the English
Cocker lost favour. The two Cocker Spaniels were shown together until 1936, when
the English Cocker received status as a separate breed. The American Kennel Club
granted a separate breed designation for the English Cocker Spaniel in 1946.
Field-Bred English Cocker Spaniel. Note
This breed, like many others with origins as working dogs, has some genetic
lines that focus on working-dog skills and other lines that focus on ensuring
that the dog's appearance conforms to a breed standard; these are referred to as
the "working" (or "field-bred") and "show" strains, respectively.
After World War II, the show-bred Cocker Spaniel increased enormously in
popular appeal and, for a while, was the most numerous Kennel Club registered
This popularity increased the view that all Cockers were useless as
working dogs. However, for many dogs this is untrue, as even some show-bred
Cockers have retained their working instinct.
Pictures of Max sent in by John - Many
HI - Met Max our 12 wk blue roan cocker spaniel enjoys gardening
ie digging holes in the lawn and pruning any shrubs that may get
in his way great little dogs full of fun always happy and loving
Today, this breed is experiencing a resurgence in usage as a working and
hunting dog. Their happy and inquisitive personality makes them ideal assistance
or detection dogs. Dogs from working lines are noticeably distinct in
appearance. As is the case with the English Springer Spaniel, the working type
has been bred exclusively to perform in the field as a hunting companion.
coat is shorter and ears less pendulous than the show-bred type. Although
registered as the same breed, the two strains have diverged significantly enough
that they are rarely crossed. The dogs that have dominated the hunt test, field
trial and hunting scene in the United States are Field-Bred dogs from recently
imported British lines. (Thoms 2002).
Working-dog lines often have physical characteristics that would prevent them
from winning in the show ring, such as heads that are more domed than desired or
other traits. This is a result of selecting for different traits than those
selected by show breeders. The longer coat and ears, selected for the show ring,
are an impediment in the field.
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|My favorite dog at the moment is our English
Cocker Spaniel Shadow, all cockers are wonderful, and so so loving.
Before Shadow there was Scooter our American Cocker Spaniel and he
lived for twelve years. They love you forever and give you all that
they can without argument.
|Nice Molly with flower. Ahh..
Its great stuff what dog can do isn't it? they always have good
traits.. fun to be with them...