- One of the largest families of dogs, spaniels were developed at least by the 1300s to flush birds into nets or to waiting falcons. Later in their development they also found and pointed birds.
- Spaniels became specialized by their size, the terrain they hunted over, and the type of birds they hunted.
- In 1892 the smaller land spaniels that specialized in hunting woodcock were designated as Cocker Spaniels.
- In 1878, the AKC recognized the Cocker Spaniel.
- As the Cocker became the most popular breed in America in the 1930s and 40s, and also a successful show dog, the type diverged such that the show dogs winning in American rings tended to be smaller, longer legged, and rounder headed than the original stock from England.
- In 1936, the AKC split the breed into two varieties: the traditional English Cocker Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels. In 1946, they split them into two breeds (Varieties can be interbred; breeds cannot). Only in America are these names used; elsewhere they are known as Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels, respectively.
- The English Cocker Spaniel remains the breed more true to the type of the original Cockers, but in America they are not as popular as American Cockers.
English Cocker Spaniel Behavior Concerns
- Makes a cheerful and devoted companion.
- Usually very good with children.
- Eager to please and quick to learn.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- Gets along well with other pets and dogs.
- Enjoys retrieving and hunting.
English Cocker Spaniel Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm housedog if given adequate exercise.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk, jog, or energetic games.
- A good candidate for dog parks.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
English Cocker Spaniel Grooming
- Coat is fairly long, silky, and either flat or wavy.
- The coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week to prevent mats.
- Hair on the head and ears should be clipped every month, and hair on the feet and tail should be cut every two months.
- Special attention should be paid to keeping the eyes clean and clear of stray hairs.
- The ears must be checked weekly for problems.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested English Cocker Spaniel Nutritional Needs
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a balanced a puppy food.