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English Cocker Spaniel

Red and white English Cocker Spaniel

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Red and white English Cocker Spaniel

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".

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English Cocker Spaniel Dog

GNU Free Documentation License - by Elf

Red English Cocker Spaniel (Show-Type)

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Appearance

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.

The breed's 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 (38–43 cm)
  • Bitches: 15-16 inches (38–41 cm)

Weight:

  • Dogs: 28–34 lb (13–15 kg)
  • Bitches: 27–32 lb (12-15 kg)
 

Colour

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.

Temperament

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 other dogs.

Picture of Reuben sent in by Irene - Many thanks

Reuben the English Cocker Spaniel dog

My beautiful boy Reuben. He is 2yrs old and very handsome.

 

 

Health

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.

History

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 1800’s.

During this 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 1850’s and 60’s 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 day’s 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.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog

Public Domain

Field-Bred English Cocker Spaniel. Note longer tail.

 

Working Cockers

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 breed.

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 thanks

Max the English Cocker Spaniel in the arms of his master Max the English Cocker Spaniel
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.

Their 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.

Wiki Source

Cocker Spaniel (Collins Dog Owner's Guides) By Lesley Scott-Ordish from Amazon.co.uk

"This book is great for new owners, it has all of the information you will need, and is the best book I have found yet. I already know a lot about cocker spaniels and this book expanded my knowledge even further."

 

Pictures of your dog wanted

Send a picture of your dog attached to this Email, tell us a little about him or her and we will show it here.

Comments

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...

Have_your_say_

 

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