The Cocker Spaniel
An intelligent fun loving companion with a zest for life, a tireless work ethic and the most loving of natures, this little dog is a firm favourite for working in the field or an active family member.
Many people new to Cockers don’t realise there are two distinct strains which have evolved over many years. As with a number of gundog breeds there is a difference between those used for work and those used for show. You will find that many people refer to the working bred variety or the show bred variety, and to add to the confusion they are both registered with the Kennel Club as Cocker Spaniel.
As you will see from the pictures one of the main differences is in conformation. The show cocker is bred essentially for looks and for the show ring, although many do work. The working type is bred for doing a days work in the field and are generally smaller and more compact than the show variety.
As long as you source reputable and knowledgable breeders that will steer you in the right direction, both varieties make excellent companions.
The Cocker is an active, happy, small dog, who quickly adapts himself to his surroundings. He is highly intelligent and affectionate, and is in his element foraging around fields and hedgerows. He also employs his retrieving instincts around the house, and can often be found with a toy or slipper in his mouth, his tail wagging furiously, waiting for praise.
We have been involved with the working variety of cocker spaniel for about seven years now, and right from the outset it was love at first sight. They are full of character and living with puppies and young dogs I always liken to being around toddlers, as with their curious nature, they are into everything and often up to mischief!!
The 'working variety' of cocker spaniel, has a lot to offer. They are bred for sound temperament and health, intelligence, stamina, speed and bidability, sound in body and capable of being trained to perform the job they were bred for, hunting, flushing and retrieving game. A versatile breed that can excel in varied disciplines, they are definitely happier when their energy and enthusiasm is channelled into an activity of some sort, whether it be training for working in the field, or enjoying a sport such as agility or flyball, or some of the other modern dogs sports.
The working cocker has a loving and gentle disposition combined with a fearless curiosity and a wonderful zest for life. They are intelligent and quick to learn (bad things as well as good) and have a very biddable nature. Early good manners training and basic obedience is a must, always remembering to be positive, kind and consistent. They thrive on human companionship, are a pleasure to train and great fun to live with.
They are not a breed for the faint hearted, but if you are prepared to put the time and effort into forming a good working relationship, you will end up with a loyal friend that will always make you smile.