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English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

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Breed Organization
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America
Native Country
Great Britain
Other Names
Cocking Spaniel, Merry Cocker
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-7 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC - Sporting
Breed Appearance
The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of gun dog. The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, good-natured, sporting dog standing well up at the withers and compactly built. There are "field" or "working" cockers and "show" cockers. It is one of several varieties of spaniel and somewhat resembles its American cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel, although it is closer to the working-dog form of the Field Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel.

Breed Description
Head: Long. Well-developed, chiseled skull. Pronounced stop. Very angular muzzle. Strong jaws. Wide nose.
Ears: Set on low, lobe-shaped, thin. Long, straight, silky feathering.
Eyes: Brown or hazel, depending on coat color.
Body: Stocky, square build. Neck moderately long, muscular, without dewlap. Well-developed chest. Well-sprung ribs. Short, broad loin. Broad, well-muscled croup.
Tail: Set on low, carried level to the ground, never raised. Usually docked. Constant wagging of the tail in action is typical.
Hair: Flat, silky, never wirehaired or wavy, not too thick and never curly. Feathering on the legs and body.
Coat: Various colors. In the whole-colored variety, white is allowed only on the chest.
Size: Dog: 39 to 41 cm (15.5-16 in).Bitch: 38 to 39 cm (15-15,5 in).
Weight: 12 to 14.5 kg (26.5-32 lb).

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-19th century. During this time, the land spaniels became a bit more specialised and divisions among the types were made based upon weight. According to the 1840 Encyclopedia of Rural Sports, Cockers were 12–20 lb (5.5–9 kg). 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.

There is no indication from these early sources that spaniels were used to retrieve game. Rather they were used to drive the game toward the guns.

During the 1850s and 1860s, other types of Cockers were recorded. There were Welsh Cockers and Devonshire Cockers. Additionally, small dogs from Sussex Spaniel litters were called Cockers. In 1874 the first stud books were published by the newly formed kennel club. Any spaniel under 25 lb (11 kg) 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.

The sport of conformation 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.

Vigorous, very active, tenacious, and lively, the English Cocker is a great hunter of fowl and ground game on rugged terrain. He does not fear brambles. With his very keen sense of smell, he tracks ten or fifteen meters away from the hunter. His search is hard-driving. After pointing, he snaps at any game and uses his voice as he flushes it. He has been used widely on rabbit. He is a good retriever but sometimes has difficulty carrying a duck in his mouth in deep water. Merry, playful, exuberant, and bursting with life, he is strong-willed and independent but also affectionate and gentle. He is a charming pet.

Prone to ear infections. During the summer, the ears should be checked often. Hanging close to the ground as they do, they can become host to ticks or burrs, often the cause of deafness. Gains weight easily; do not overfeed.

He can live in an apartment, but long, daily walks are necessary. He requires brushing and combing twice weekly and grooming twice or three times per year. His ears must be checked regularly. Hunting dog. Companion dog.

Hunting Dog, Companion Dog.

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