Originally bred as a working gundog, the Cocker Spaniel has consistently been one of the UK's most popular family pets. Over the years the breed has also made its mark in many other countries of the world. They are happy, active small dogs that adapt well to most lifestyles. Cockers are extremely intelligent and boast kind, loyal natures never happier than when exploring a back garden, park or countryside with their noses glued to the ground.
The Cocker Spaniel is just at home in a home environment as they are out in the field and will happily retrieve objects around the house, garden or when out on a walk much as they would if they were working. They love to please which in short, means they are highly trainable. The dogs we see today were recognised as a breed in their own right when the Kennel Club was first established in 1873.
It's worth noting there are two definite types of Cocker Spaniel, one being used in the field as a working dog and therefore quite a bit lighter, and the other being a show dog which are quite a bit heavier and sturdier looking. Cockers need to know who is the boss and occasionally need to be reminded of this. They are much happier dogs if they know their place in the pack and who to look up to when they need any sort of guidance and direction.
Spaniels have been around for a long time and can be seen depicted in art and written about in literature dating back over 500 years. Originally, there were two "types" being land and water spaniels. It was only in the 19th century that enthusiasts began to separate them with "land" spaniels becoming a more specialised breed, although there is no evidence of them being used to retrieve game at that point in time, but rather to drive it towards the hunter.
By the mid eighteen hundreds, other spaniel breeds appeared on the scene, but it was not until the Kennel Club was establised here in the UK in 1874 that any dog under a certain weight (11 kg) was deemed to be a Cocker. In 1885, a breed standard was set with enthusiasts introducing more desired traits in the breed. Over time, the Cocker Spaniel became a consistent winner not only at dog shows like Crufts which the breed has won more times than any other, but with families and owners alike due to their gorgeous looks and ultra- kind natures.