The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of Britain’s gundogs. Once owned primarily by rough shooters and trainers, it is now a popular companion in working homes.
This high-energy hunter descends from ‘land’ spaniels, which were divided into ‘springing’ and ‘cocking’ spaniels based on the size of the pup. Cocking spaniels were used in dense cover to hunt and flush smaller game like woodcock.
Cockers come in an array of colours and markings, making them one of the most eye-pleasing and differentiated gundogs. This versatility means there's a look that appeals to everyone, which isn't always the case with other breeds. They have a compact body, pendulous ears, silky coat and ever-wagging tail. Active and affectionate, they also possess great stamina at work.
With early socialisation they are friendly with people, children and other dogs, although their exuberance can be challenging for novice owners. Cocker Spaniels need plenty of exercise due to their history as working dogs, and this is an important consideration for anyone thinking about choosing this breed.
Cocker Spaniels are smart dogs, and with the right training can be used in a range of activities, which is part of what makes them a popular choice across the country.
The working Cocker Spaniel breed is an ideal choice for sportsmen and women involved in multiple activities, like driven shooting, rough shooting, walked-up days, duck and pigeon shooting, picking up and working the beating line.