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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: English Cocker Spaniels Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:46 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 25 Jan 2002
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
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English Cocker Spaniels
Denise Gormish, Gormish@ecsca.org
* Created September 1995
* January 1996: History section updated, grooming section expanded,
misc. corrections in Resources.
* September 1996: relevant web links added, mailing list noted,
rescue contact updated.
* October 1997: Misc corrections and various address/URL updates.
Table of Contents
* Breed Characteristics and Description
+ Online Resources
English Cocker Spaniels are members of the Sporting Group. They were
originally designed as a hunting companion for flushing and retrieving
game. English Cocker Spaniels can still be used for hunting purposes
provided a dog is chosen with the proper structure and temperament.
Most English Cocker Spaniels, however, are companion animals. They are
friendly, gentle, obedient and adaptable.
In the 1800's, small spaniels were developed to hunt woodcock. The
sizes of puppies from these early litters varied widely. The first
stud book of the Kennel Club (United Kingdom) divided the dogs by
weight alone. If a spaniel weighed under 25 lbs, it was called a
Cocker Spaniel. If a spaniel weighed over 25 lbs, it was called a
Field Spaniel. Problems existed with the weight designations, so it
was decided that type should be considered more important than weight.
The Spaniel Club, which was formed in 1885, created Breed Standards
for each spaniel type. The Kennel Club had separated the different
types of spaniels in the Stud Book by 1893.
In America, after World War I, the English Cocker type was less
favored than the American cocker type which was forming. The American
type was smaller and more elegant. The two Cocker Spaniels were shown
together, competing against one another, until 1936 when the English
Cocker received status as a variety. Pedigree research began in order
to separate the English Cocker from the American Cocker. The English
Cocker Spaniel Club of America pledged not to interbreed the two
types. The American Kennel Club granted a separate breed designation
for the English Cocker Spaniel in 1946.
In the 1960's the American Cocker Spaniel gained popularity as a show
dog in the United Kingdom and qualified for its own breed
classification in 1968. Although the American Cocker Spaniel has
gained popularity as a companion dog in the United Kingdom, the
English Cocker Spaniel remains among the most popular breeds in the
In the United Kindgom and much of the world, the name "Cocker Spaniel"
refers to the English Cocker Spaniel, while in the United States the
name "Cocker Spaniel" refers to the American Cocker Spaniel.
Breed Characteristics and Description
The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, yet compact sporting dog. As
a sporting dog, the English Cocker Spaniel is designed to
energetically cover ground and penetrate dense cover in order to flush
and retrieve game.
The physical features of the English Cocker Spaniel are designed to
create a capable hunting companion. The characteristics of the head
include long, low set ears, a flattened skull, wide jaws, wide
nostrils and medium-sized, slightly oval eyes with tight lids. The
body is compact with a deep chest and a short back. The tail is docked
and carried horizontally. The coat is medium long on the body and
short and fine on the head. The legs are moderately angulated and the
feet are round and catlike. Females are 15-16" tall at the withers and
26-32 lbs while the males are 16-17" at the withers and 28-34 lbs.
There is a wide variety of coat colors including solids, parti-colors
and roans in black, red, liver, orange or golden. Any of the colors
may include tan points on the eyebrows, muzzle, throat, chest, under
the tail, and feet. The most popular color is blue roan.
The English Cocker Spaniel differs from the American Cocker Spaniel in
several areas. The head is shaped with a longer muzzle, flatter head
and less prominent eyes. The English Cocker Spaniel is slightly
taller, heavier and more solid. The English Cocker Spaniel does not
have the profusion of tummy coat and leg furnishing found on the
American Cocker Spaniel.
The classic temperament of the English Cocker Spaniel is that of the
"Merry Cocker." English Cocker Spaniels are friendly, affectionate,
and loyal. This is most obviously displayed in the incessant tail
wagging of a happy English Cocker Spaniel. They are good with children
and make wonderful companion dogs. English Cocker Spaniels need daily
exercise as a outlet for their energy. They make wonderful dogs for
many activities including hunting, obedience, tracking, agility,
fly-ball and therapy. Although, English Cocker Spaniels are alert,
they will not attack strangers. They are more likely to lick a burglar
than to protect your home. English Cocker Spaniels are sensitive and
quick learners, especially when trained with motivational methods.
They do exhibit some independence when outside the home due to their
hunting background, but do not wander out of your eyesight. Inside the
home, they stick close to you. They will watch you take a shower,
share your bed, give you kisses and play a game at any moments notice.
English Cocker Spaniels can live in any environment, provided they
have daily exercise. Brisk walks, fetching or field work can keep an
English Cocker Spaniel in excellent shape.
English Cocker Spaniels need human companionship. Although they can
sleep all day while you're at work, they require lots of attention and
exercise when you're home.
The medium long coat on the English Cocker Spaniel does take some
care. The coat consists of long guard-hairs on the top and a soft
undercoat. Grooming styles depend greatly on the purpose, coat texture
and color of the dog. For showing purposes most coats are stripped by
hand or with a stripping knife. The face and top of the ears are
clipped. The feathering is cut so it does not drag on the ground and
the feet are trimmed to keep the hair neat. For a hunting dog, much of
the hair is removed. Field-bred dogs tend to grow less coat. Coat
texture makes each dog's grooming style different. Ask the breeder
about the effect of color and coat texture on grooming.
Commercial groomers can be used with caution. Some groomers are very
aware of the different styles of the American and English Cocker. Some
are not. Many English Cocker owners learn to groom their own dogs and
find great rewards in such as undertaking.
In addition to the coat, the nails should be trimmed and teeth brushed
with a dog toothpaste. The ears require special care. They should be
cleaned weekly with a dog ear cleaning solution.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a generally healthy breed. The most
common problems are Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Canine Hip
Dysplasia and Kidney Disease. For PRA and Canine Hip Dysplasia, tests
can be administered that will show signs of the diseases before
clinical signs appear; therefore all dogs that are bred should be
tested for these diseases. Dogs which have been tested for PRA will
have a CERF clearance number and dogs tested for Canine Hip Dysplasia
will have an OFA clearance number assigned to them.
A dog must be at least two years old before OFA will certify it free
of Hip Dysplasia, and its eyes should be checked annually (as some eye
problems do not appear until later in life). These tests have allowed
breeders to breed from the most sound and healthy dogs. Some incidence
of congential deafness has been reported in the English Cocker
Spaniel. The BAER test is starting to be performed by breeders to
determine if a dog is deaf before breeding.
There are additional health concerns in English Cocker Spaniels. For
more information, see the ECSCA health section (
http://www.ecsca.org/clubinfo.html#Health) or contact Addi Pittman
For more information, please see:
* Canine Hip Dysplasia: http://www.prodogs.com/chn/ofa/hip.htm
* Kidney Disease: http://www.ecsca.org/fn.html
* BAER testing: http://www.vvm.com/~dthacker/baer.html
The English Cocker Spaniel: Jubilee Book of the ECSCA, 2000
Two volume set, illustrated. Breed history 1986-1999. By Beth
McKinney and Kate Romanski. English Cocker Spaniel Club of
America, Inc. 2000. Can be ordered from:
The Cocker Spaniel (English).
By George Caddy. 1993. 352 pages. 441 color photographs. (Out
Cocker Spaniels Today
By Joyce Caddy. 1995. Ringpress Ltd. (UK) "Cocker Spaniels" by
Jennifer Lloyd Carey. 1992. Crowood Press Ltd. (UK)
The English Cocker Spaniel: Jubilee Book of the ECSCA, 1987.
Two volume set, illustrated. Breed history 1936-1986; Directory
of titleholders through 1985. By Beth McKinney and Kate
Romanski. English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, Inc. 1986.
Can be ordered from: http://www.ecsca.org/clubinfo.html#Public.
A Dog Owner's Guide to American and English Cocker Spaniels.
By Frank Kane and Phyllis Wise. 1987.
The English Cocker Spaniel Handbook.
By Beth McKinney and Kate Romanski. 3rd Edition. English Cocker
Spaniel Club of America, Inc. 1989.
The Sporting Spaniel Handbook. By Loren Spiotta-DiMare. 2000. Barron's
Educational Series. Paperback, 144 pages. Color photographs
English Cocker Spaniel-AKC Breed Video.
American Kennel Club.
The English Cocker Show Groom
By Kathleen Moore. For more information contact: Kabree Farms,
4731 Linda Vista Ave., Napa, CA 94558. (707/258-2556 or email
The Cocker Spaniel: The complete guide to grooming, trimming,
hand-stripping, and clipping.
Demonstrated by Jackie Marris Bray. Video by AMP Productions,
UK. For NTSC or American TV standard, contact 4M Dog Books,
Inc. at email@example.com . For PAL vidoetape contact:
Tel/Fax: # 01366 383723 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ECSCA Review.
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, Inc. P.O. Box 252,
Hales Corners, WI 53130. Quarterly.
ECSCA Titleholders Database. English Cocker Spaniel Club of
America. 1999. Nancy Praiswater. 16735 Von Neuman Dr.
Monument, CA 80132. (719-481-9323 or e-mail:
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 252, Hales Corners, WI 53130.
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America Rescue Network
Marsha Wallace, ECRESQR@aol.com.
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America Homepage
English Cocker Spaniel Club of America Rescue Homepage
The AKC Homepage has the Breed Standard for the English
+ An English Cocker Mailing list is hosted by Hoflin
English Cocker Spaniel FAQ
Denise Gormish, email@example.com