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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.
At 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 guns. 

 

History
 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 Spaniel breed. 
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 "American cocker".

 

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