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Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

More popular than ever, the working cocker is a breed with a lot of plus points. Tempted?

cocker spaniel waiting

Today you would be hard pushed to visit a shoot and not see a cocker spaniel working in the beating line, picking-up or sitting at a peg.

Back in the day everybody had a black lab. Then it was fox red labs.

But nowadays you’re probably going to see a working cocker spaniel wherever you go in the field. (Read more about the cocker spaniel here.)

Working cocker spaniel

“Working” is a key description of these dogs. They are grafters.

Celeb owners of working cocker spaniels

  • Guy Ritchie – film director and fieldsports enthusiasts
  • David Beckham
  • HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Wondering whether to get a springer or a cocker spaniel? Read more. 

A post shared by Guy Ritchie (@guyritchie) on

Working cocker spaniels graft

One thing that working cockers aren’t is lazy. They’re not keen on sitting on the peg during the day – they have too much energy. So if they are properly trained they are superb in a beating line. They retrieve too. (You might like to read how to help a working cocker with big retrieves.)

They also have a wonderful character and like nothing better than a cuddle on your lap. They can charm just about anyone, both with their work ethic and their affection.

working cocker spaniel

A working cocker’s size is also an asset

Small and portable

Another reason for the popularity of the working cocker spaniel is almost certainly its size. 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 your food bills will be lower than those of a Labrador owner. (Look at our list of best gundog beds too.)

Ed Wills, deputy editor of The Field, is the owner of a working cocker and says: “Owning a working cocker often has its ups and downs but at the end of the day the cocker spaniel will not let you down in perseverance and loyalty.”

To sum up – a working cocker is small, pretty, affectionate, hard-working, trainable and good value. What’s stopping you? (Read how to choose a cocker spaniel. )

This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.