Before I do anything else, I would like to reiterate my stand for the original hunting dogs out there. With so many new American breeds and cross breeds, with great athleticism, we sometimes forget the roots of these dogs and the finesse that some hunting dog breeds like the English Cocker spaniel bring to the sport.
As many hunters will know, the English cocker is one of the oldest spaniels and hunting dogs around. The breed is centuries old and is the same DNA as the Springer spaniel (which is essentially a tall version of the English Cocker). The American Cocker Spaniel is the SHOW version of the English cocker, meaning that it has very little hunting skills, but looks good.
The name COCKER comes from the dog originally almost exclusively hunting the woodcock bird for their owner hunters. So the dog is programmed over centuries to love everything about the bird.
English Cocker Spaniels Hunting Skill set
- A perfect GUN dog used to difficult terrain (thick coat and determined attitude)
- Works very well in both wet swampy conditions and on dry land. They have webbing between their toes for good swimming abilities.
- Brilliant at flushing BIRDS and retrieving game. From birds to rabbits .
- Very gentle mouth means that it will not bruise any bird or meat retrieved.
- Good listener and fast learner of commands. Food orientation means treat training will accelerate learning.
- With an exceptional nose (often used in drug detection) they are also great at tracking and finding prey.
- They can be a sensitive dog so negative reinforcement and shouting will either make a timid or aggressive dog, not anything you want in a hunting retriever dog. So dont do it !
- Lesser known abilities include: watchdog, agility and obedience trials.
The ENGLISH cocker spaniel at home
These dogs make one of the best companion and home dogs around as well as having the brilliant hunting abilities.
But because of their hunting instinct you will want to walk them and socialize them daily. The breed are meant to have high energy and high metabolism meaning that without walking they get bored and get a lot of separation anxiety.
They are great with children and other dogs and even cats – because with an intelligence, small size and retrieving rather than killer instinct they know how to play well.
Be aware that this is a hunting dog no matter how cute they look, and was breed to survive freezing waters by easily putting on a layer of fat. Over feed them and dont walk them and you will get a grumpy obese dog.