This popular breed has a lot of plus points when you're looking for a dog

Time was when everyone had a black Labrador and was happy. Then there were chocolate Labradors for a bit. Now fox red Labradors seem to be having their moment.

But the dog that seems to be really springing up all over the place is the working cocker spaniel. It seems that everywhere you look these days there is a working cocker. Always working and nearly always springing up.

In the shooting field  the traditional choice in the beating line was the springer spaniel. But now it is cockers right, left and centre. So what is going on?

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Working cocker – the dog on everyone’s list

Guy Ritchie has a working cocker. The Beckhams have a working cocker. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped to raise the profile of working cockers when they obtained their dog Lupo from the Duchess’s mother a few years ago. Everybody wants one.

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On the other hand, the clue is in the name. Working cocker. Working. They go and go and go. They make a Duracell Bunny look positively lethargic. And then they go some more. They are almost pure energy. This makes them an asset in the beating line.

Working cocker spaniel

Boundless energy levels are one of the key attractions of the cocker spaniel

And they can retrieve too. Partridges for choice and hen pheasants for your pleasure.


They also have a lot of charm. It is hard not to like a working cocker. Which is why it will be on your lap in a nanosecond. People like to cuddle them. And they like to be cuddled. Who doesn’t?

The working cocker – a small and portable choice

Size is probably central to the popularity of the working cocker. People live in small houses these days. Labradors are big dogs. A Labrador with a bed, a bowl and a basket takes up a deal of room. Yes, it looks good in a country house kitchen with a six-oven AGA and all the trimmings but it takes over most of the flat in town and needs its own car to transport it to the country. A working cocker, however, can curl itself into a washing-up bowl and be happy in the footwell of a two-seater when driving out of town. And it doesn’t eat much either, so it’s less expensive.

cocker spaniels

The cocker spaniel

The spaniel is one of the oldest “type” of hunting dog and today the cocker and springer spaniel are among the most popular gundog…

So then; small, pretty, charming, flexible, hard-working and cheap. And fantastically fashionable. Did I mention that the Cambridges have one? What’s not to like?