Wire Haired German cross English Springer Spaniel

Crossbreed gundogs: the rise of the working mongrel

Pennine pointer. It’s not a breed recognised by the Kennel Club and it’s not really a breed at all (like all crossbreed gundogs), but it is a tough, all-round gundog that has been produced by gamekeepers working on the grouse moors of the Pennines. They wanted a dog that was…

sprocker or cocker

Sprocker or cocker spaniel? How can you tell them apart?

Should you get a sprocker or cocker spaniel? I admit to being a fan of sprockers as I like their hybrid vigour. They are not a designer cross-breed like a Labradoodle but simply spaniel x spaniel, and it should not be forgotten that both breeds share the same ancestry. However, since a cocker crossed…

sprocker puppy

What should you expect with a sprocker puppy?

Should you get a sprocker puppy? Q: I am intending to get a gundog puppy this spring that I can train to accompany me shooting. Having done some homework and looked at various breeds, I had decided on either a cocker or springer spaniel, but I am a little concerned…

Sprocker spaniel

Just why is the “sprocker spaniel” becoming so popular?

Sprocker spaniels – the lowdown Sprockers have masses of energy and need to be kept busy They are intelligent dogs and easy to train – but keep training consistent. They like to know what their owners want from them Sprockers need to know who is the ‘alpha’ in the household…

cocker spaniel

Should there be random DNA tests for cocker spaniels?

You may recall sprockergate, the scandal that shook the cocker trialling world a couple of years ago. What brought the story into the tabloids was the accusation that HM The Queen owned a dog, competing in cocker trials, that was allegedly a sprocker (English springer and cocker cross). A sprocker…

sprocker working dog

Why does my sprocker refuse to retrieve?

I have a two-year-old sprocker that stops and hunts on command, stays very close and is highly attentive - but in the field she refuses to retrieve.

Young sprocker spaniel

Why has my young sprocker lost form?

Q: My three year old sprocker spaniel had a good summer, even though she failed to conceive after two matings. Since the season started she has been beating with me three days a week and she just looks lacklustre. By early afternoon she is usually walking at my side. A: Presuming…

sprockers spaniel

Sprockers – the aftermath of ‘Sprockergate’

Though the storm 
of “sprockergate” may have passed, it has left behind a lot of stirred and muddy water that will take a long time to clear. For those who missed the sprockergate story, it was the accusation that sprockers — cockers crossed deliberately with springers — were being run…

Sprocker debate

Rocked by sprockergate

Earlier this month, I did something I’d never done before: I bought a copy of The Sun. I’d had a tip-off that the paper included a gundog news story, and sure enough, on the cover was the headline Royal exclusive: Queen’s dog in cheat storm — see page 7. I turned to the page to find a picture…

Queen with spaniel

Sprocker or cocker? Row rocks Kennel Club

The Sun recently reported that rival competitors have called for DNA tests to prove the breed of field trial champion bitch Mallowdale Diamond, which was given to the Queen as a present by handler Ian Openshaw in January 2013 to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. No evidence that Mallowdale Diamond is a…

Working sprocker spaniel

A day in the life of a working sprocker

Every Monday starts full of excitement and anticipation. I watch as the curtains are opened, praying for good weather. Sometimes we’re blessed, sometimes we’re not. Today fog fills the valley and as we travel out of the village the mist slowly disappears. Slowly the sun’s rays break through and by…

English setter

Passing over pedigrees?

EARLIER THIS MONTH The Telegraph asked readers to vote online for their favourite breed of dog, which they did in impressive numbers. More than 30,000 votes were cast during the four days the poll was open. Its results make fascinating reading, for in the number one slot wasn’t a breed at…

English springer spaniels

Time for the super-spaniel?

I don’t know how many English springer spaniels there are in the UK, but my guess would be between 160,000 and 200,000. This is based on 12,000 puppies being registered with the Kennel Club annually, plus the fact that there are many pure-bred but unregistered springers. Assume an average lifespan of…


Why have crossbred gundogs become so popular on shoots?

Are we guilty of overlooking crossbred gundogs? Felicity Winters thought so, and was inspired to write to the editor of Shooting Times, urging us to take more notice of the growing number of crossbreeds working on shoots. Felicity has a point: there are certainly far more springadors (springer x Labrador)…

Will a secondhand Sprocker make a good peg dog?

Gundog training: Someone’s offered me a four-year-old, male, Sprocker - free! It’s been used as a beating dog, and I’m told it will do the odd retrieve and will come back when it’s called.