Cocker Spaniel, Breeders, Breed Clubs and Background
The Cocker Spaniel is the most popular of the spaniel breeds, and makes a very cheerful family dog. Some years ago poor breeding led to what was called Cocker Rage Syndrome, when a normally relaxed and cheerful dog would suddenly become uncontrollably aggressive. For some time poor temperament persisted in some lines, but that all seems to be history now.
Also known as the English Cocker Spaniel, they are thought to have originated in Spain in the 14th century when they were used for flushing woodcock, quail and partridge; because of their association with woodcock they were known as Cocker or Cocking Spaniel.
They were recognised by the Kennel Club as a separate breed from the Field and Springer Spaniels soon after the formation of the Kennel Club in 1873. The present show dog is almost entirely separate from the working dog, both in temperament and looks, and unlike many gundog breeds there is very little crossover; few Cocker Spaniel champions are converted into full champions.
Working Cocker Spaniel
The working type is becoming more popular as a family pet, is a steadier and more independent dog, with a less profuse coat and makes an excellent housedog if given sufficient stimulus.
The show type, smaller and lighter-boned, who is generally bought as a pet has a more dependent nature; they love being with their family and tend to find separation more difficult – indeed, separation anxiety is reasonably common. They are a busy breed, they always seem to be bustling about, particularly when they pick up a scent.
Their strong, compact body shape complements this kind of behaviour and any Cocker Spaniel owner would recognise the picture of a nose apparently glued to the ground, ears draping his head being followed by a steadily moving body and merrily wagging tail. The Cocker Spaniel is bred in many colours, from a range of solid colours, in which case there should no white except on the chest, patched and roans.
The coat, particularly in neutered dogs will need professional trimming as it can become very profuse; between visits to the grooming parlour it will be necessary to keep him tangle free; a slicker brush and wide-toothed comb should be sufficient to keep him tidy. He is a popular family pet; measuring between 38-41cm and weighing around 30lbs he is a good size for a housedog and manages to accommodate himself very easily to his household’s activities, and is particularly good with children. However, his popularity is also his downfall, being a breed that is frequently bred simply for profit, so it is essential to seek out a responsible breeder with a track record of commitment to Cockers, whether it be a show or working type.
- Cheshire Cocker Spaniel Club Miss D Stonier 01625 424343
- Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs A Webster 01530 249952
- Cocker Spaniel Club of Lancashire Mrs Grice 01744 605581
- Cocker Spaniel Club of Scotland Mrs A Barnett 01698 889950
- Coventry Cocker Spaniel Club of Mrs L Parker 01908 565088
- Devon & Cornwall Cocker Spaniel Club Miss S Ellison 01884 881 449
- East Anglian Cocker Society Mrs Crowley 01394 384554
- East of Scotland Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs M Hynd 01383 881967
- Hampshire & Sussex Cocker Spaniel Club of Miss G Morris 01243 583208
- Home Counties Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs S Sadler 01206 213680
- London Cocker Spaniel Club Mr D Telford 01268 751342
- Midland Cocker Spaniel Club Mr R M A Pain 0121 453 3215
- North Midlands & Eastern Counties Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs J Pretty 01283 820867
- North of England Cocker Spaniel Assoc Mr Hall 01925 226059
- North of Ireland Cocker Spaniel Club Mr J McDowell 01960 367659
- North Wales Cocker Spaniel Club Miss A Hughes 01745 353715
- Parti-Coloured Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs G Pearce-Gudger 024 7640 3453
- Rotherham Cocker Spaniel Club Mr A Curry 01757 708105
- Solid Colours Cocker Spaniel Association Miss S Kettle 01268 554619
- South Wales & Monmouthsire Cocker Spaniel Club Mrs J M Craig 01792 864402
- Ulster Cocker Spaniel Club Mr J McDowell 01960 367659
- West of England Cocker Spaniel Club Mr D Shapland 01793 751102
- Yorkshire Cocker Spaniel Club Mr D Shields 01751 473620
Breed Rescue and Rehoming
First contact your dog’s breeder and then a local Breed Club for their advice on the best steps to take.