There are several varieties
of spaniel and some resemble its American cousin, the
American Cocker although it's closer to the working-dog
form of the Field Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel. The breed
is usually known simply as the
Cocker Spaniel. these type dogs have been found in art and literature for
almost 500 years.
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 encyclopaedia of Rural Sports,
cockers were between 12 and 20 lb.
this time it was not uncommon for the Cocker and Springer 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 use to drive the game toward the
During the 1850's and 60's other dogs
types of cockers were recorded. There were Welsh Cockers ,Devonshire
Cockers. and Sussex Spaniel cockers. 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 ,in those days only those dogs up to a
hard days work and sensible specimens were allowed to live, as
absolute sporting purposes were about their only enjoyment. During
the 1920's and 1930's a change came about to the English Cocker
The bloodlines that were being developed by
breeders were following a different type of conformation. The
head became smaller, the height of the dog was shrunk by 1 to 2
inches, and the dog became lighter in weight. The coat became
longer, silkier and softer.
The new breed of Cocker Spaniel became
used as a family pet, instead of a hunter's helper.
In 1946, the A.K.C.
recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a separate breed from the
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