Breed Type

Sporting or Gun Dog

History

It is believed that the ancestors of modern Spaniels originated in Spain, where they were bred as hunting and retrieving dogs. By the 14th century there is evidence of them reaching England, where they were selectively bred into many different Spaniel breeds to suit different hunting functions. The Cocker Spaniel was developed as one of the smaller land spaniels, to be able to get in amongst thick vegetation and under hedges to flush out sheltering birds for a hunter to shoot.  

Description

Sturdy, well balanced medium-sized dog with a deep chest, long ears that hang down close to the head, and a medium length silky coat. They come in a wide variety of solid colours as well as an almost endless array of particolours which can be ticked or roan with white in a multitude of patterns. They have an excellent nose for following scents, and have a powerful and effortless gait. 

Size

Females: 38-41 cm (15-16 inches) at the shoulder, and 12-14½ kg (26-32 pounds).
Males: 39-43 cm (15½ - 17 inches) at the shoulder, and 13-15 kg (28-34 pounds).

Coat

A flat or slightly wavy silky coat, which is fairly short on top, but with long feathering on the ears, legs, tail and underbelly. They are average shedders, have an undercoat to protect them in cold weather, and have a moderate to high requirement for grooming. A quick brush every couple of days should keep their coat in good condition, and a trim every 2-3 months will keep the longer areas of the coat more manageable. 

Temperament

Gentle, playful dog with an enormous enthusiasm and zest for life. Some may have a tendency to be a little sensitive, becoming quite subdued if treated or spoken to harshly.  

Longevity

12-14years

Health

Fairly robust and healthy breed, but may be prone to ear infections and obesity if not managed correctly. 

Possible Genetic Disorders

Some lines may carry Familial Nephropathy (kidney disease), Hip Dysplasia and the eye disease Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Health screening for these disorders is available, and should form part of any discussion when considering a purchase.  

Best Suited

  • Apartment, house or country, provided they are sufficiently exercised
  • Household with plenty of human contact
  • Household with children
  • Household with retirees

Worst Suited

  • Households where the dog will be left alone for long periods