The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of gun dog. The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, good-natured, sporting dog standing well up at the withers and compactly built. There are "field" or "working" cockers and "show" cockers. It is one of several varieties of spaniel and somewhat resembles its American cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel, although it is closer to the working-dog form of the Field Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel.Outside the US, the breed is usually known simply as the Cocker Spaniel, as is the American Cocker Spaniel within the US. The word cocker is commonly held to stem from their use to hunt woodcock.
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-19th century. During this time, the land spaniels became a bit more specialised and divisions among the types were made based upon weight. According to the 1840 Encyclopedia of Rural Sports, Cockers were 12–20 lb (5.5–9 kg). The two Cocker Spaniels were shown together in America until 1936, when the English Cocker received status as a separate breed. The American Kennel Club granted a separate breed designation for the English Cocker Spaniel in 1946.The breed standard indicates that the males of the breed are on average between 39.4cm - 40.6cm at the withers with the females a little smaller, growing to between 38.1cm - 39.4cm. Both males and females of the breed weigh approximately 13kg - 14.5kg. American Cocker Spaniels are smaller, with the males being on average between 36.2cm - 39.4cm, and females again being smaller on average at between 34.3cm - 36.8cm, both weighing approximately 11kg - 13kg.The English Cocker Spaniel is similar to the English Springer Spaniel and at first glance the only major difference is the larger size of the Springer. However English Cockers also tend to have longer, and lower-set ears than English Springers. In addition Springers also tend to have a longer muzzle, their eyes are not as prominent and the coat is less abundant.
Breed standards restrict dogs to certain colours for the purposes of conformation showing (dependent on country), whereas working Cockers can be any of a wide variety of colours. For instance, the breed standard of the United Kingdom's Kennel Club states that in solid colours, no white is allowed except for on the chest. blue roan, liver roan orange roan with black or brown pigmentation, lemon roan with black or brown pigmentation, black and white ticked, liver and white ticked orange and white ticked with black or brown pigmentation, lemon and white ticked with black or brown pigmentation, black and white, liver and white with brown pigmentation orange and white with black or brown pigmentation, lemon and white with black or brown pigmentation. Of the solid colours, sable is considered rare, and is classified by some countries as being a type of particolour on account of its mixed hair shafts. White is black/brown pigmentation is also considered rare, and is also usually classified as a particolour too. In addition a silver/ash colour, usually associated with the Weimaraner breed of dog, is considered genetically possible but is yet to be recorded by the United Kingdom's Kennel Club. and will bond strongly to an individual person in a family, usually the one who feeds it. Known for optimism, intelligence and adaptability, the breed is extremely loyal and affectionate. The English Cocker Spaniel has a cheerful nature. They rank 18th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of excellent working/obedience intelligence.
Due to the breed's happy disposition and continuously wagging tail, it has been given the nickname "merry cocker". They can also be dominant but loyal to their companion.With a good level of socialisation at an early age, Cocker Spaniels can get well along with people, children, other dogs and other pets. This breed seems to have a perpetually wagging tail and prefers to be around people; it is not best suited to the backyard alone. Cockers can be easily stressed by loud noises and by rough treatment or handling. When trained with a soft hand and with lots of rewards, the Cocker Spaniel will be an obedient and loving companion with a happy, cheerful nature.