The Cocker Spaniel – History
While the Cocker Spaniel may have been around for some time they are fairly recent additions to the spaniel world. Spaniels are one of the oldest breeds of dogs believed to have originated from Spain arriving in England during the Roman invasion. From these early spaniels developed strains for work on water or land. The English water spaniel retrieved game from water while the setting and springing spaniels were used to point and retrieve game.
The development of guns and shooting during the 17th century dramatically changed the breed of spaniels. The Spaniel was to develop into a well bred and trained shooting dog. The springing spaniel became the Springer spaniel from which our current Cocker and Springer spaniels have descended. The larger pups would continue the Springer line while the smaller pups became the Cocker. The Cocker Spaniel was a direct offspring from the Springer spaniel. The Cocker spaniel was not recognised by the Kennel Club until 1893.
Cocker Spaniel – Show and Working type
Today the Cocker Spaniel is represented by two distinct strains. The show Cocker being bred for looks conforms to the KC standard. The show Cocker typically has a domed head long ears and long feathered coat.
The working Cocker is bred for working capability rather than looks. The Working Cocker Spaniel is typically much more energetic and needs lots of exercise. In appearance the Working Cocker is sleeker and longer in the body having less feathering in the coat. They will also have a flatter scull, shorter ears and smoother coat.