cocker spaniel on peg

Cocker spaniels were originally bred for hunting woodcock

The working cocker spaniel has had a real resurgence out in the field since the 1960s. The breed is energetic – which makes them a real asset in the beating line. The little dogs were originally bred for hunting woodcock – hence the name ‘cocker’.

They can also retrieve pheasants and partridges and some will even try carrying a goose. They have stout hearts and are keen to please.

Working cocker spaniels are attractive dogs and come in a variety of colours. Their size also adds to their appeal, as they fit easily in a car and will live happily in a small house.

If you’re thinking about taking on a working cocker, then read through our guidance below which covers how to choose a cocker spaniel puppy, what’s behind their recent popularity, how to train a working cocker spaniel and the working cocker breed’s characteristics.

Three famous working cocker spaniel owners

  • Prince William
  • Guy Ritchie
  • David Beckham
differences between cocker and springer spaniels

13 reasons why cocker spaniels and springer spaniels are different

Both springer and cocker spaniels are capable of doing a useful day’s work out in the field. Both are biddable. However, they do have different characteristics. Differences between cocker and springer spaniels Springers have a size advantage over cocker spaniels Cocker spaniels have a better engine and more staying power…

cocker spaniel as a peg dog

What happens when you try to train a spaniel as a peg dog?

My new cocker spaniel puppy is eventually going to replace my 10-year-old springer spaniel. I have spoken to several people and have received different views on training a cocker spaniels. I would appreciate some advice.

cocker spaniel or springer spaniel

What exactly ARE the differences between cocker spaniels and springer spaniels?

Our two most popular breeds of spaniel Cocker spaniel or springer spaniel. Which is better? Choosing between the two breeds has never been more difficult. According to the Kennel Club’s (KC) figures, cockers are the most popular of the two, with 23,297 registered in 2018, compared with just 10,152  English springers.…

Working cocker spaniel

Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

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…

springer spaniels

Which breed of spaniel should I buy?

Don't overlook the minor breeds, like Clumber, Welsh springer or Brittany spaniels, although their natural hunting, retrieving and training ability probably won't be as strong as a Cocker or Springer

Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen attends Cocker Championship at Sandringham

An £800 pair of dummy launchers proved key in the training of young bitch Abiann Flawless, which landed the ultimate accolade at the 88th Cocker Spaniel Championship, held on the 6,400-acre Sandringham estate on 8 and 9 January 2018 by gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen. After two days…

dog tail injury

Help! My cocker spaniel keeps injuring his tail …

Q: I have a four year old cocker spaniel with a partially docked tail. I have used him over the past two seasons and twice now he has damaged his tail, causing it to bleed but not enough to prevent him working. My vet has offered to dock him further…

working cocker spaniel puppy

How to choose a cocker spaniel

Q: I have owned English springers for many years but after seeing a cocker trial I am tempted to change breeds to cocker spaniels. First I would like some advice or information on the differences in training. Eventually 
I would like to take part in competitions if I can. A:…

Cockerpoo gundogs

A cockerpoo as gundog?

I must admit that I’ve never seriously considered the potential of the cockerpoo (cocker spaniel-poodle cross) as a gundog, but a recent encounter on a Sussex shoot did give me food for thought. Four cockerpoos were in the beating line, and from what I saw they were doing an excellent job, hunting with enthusiasm and no fear of cover.…

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…

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 breeds seen in the shooting field. Spaniels were especially bred to flush game out of dense brush. By the late 1600s spaniels had become specialised into water and land breeds. The extinct English water spaniel was…

Sprocker spaniels

Sprocker spaniel versus cocker spaniel

It’s a sad fact that in virtually every competitive sport there are those prepared to try to win or fix a result by unfair or unsporting means. Sometimes it’s for financial gain or it may be for personal glory, but it’s all about cheating. You don’t have to look far to find examples in cricket, cycling, athletics, even pigeon racing.…

cocker spaniels on grouse moor

Advice for beating with cocker spaniels on grouse moors

Q: I have been invited to take my two young cockers beating on a grouse moor for a couple of days in the north of England. I do not know what to expect as I live in Surrey. My dogs have had one season beating and shooting on pheasant in…

Grouse counts

Grouse counts with cocker and springer spaniels

There I was stretched out on a sun-kissed beach drinking cold rum and cokes when all of a sudden I could hear a high pitched shrieking – it was my alarm. As I slowly opened my eyes I realised it was 4.30am and I was “back up north” to help out on a couple of days’ grouse counting.…

Korthals griffon

Popular gundog breeds – what’s on the rise?

Has the pedigree dog had its day? While it might be much too early to predict its eventual extinction, figures from the Kennel Club (KC) show compelling evidence of its decline. In 2006, a total of 103,773 gundogs were registered with the Club in the UK. Numbers held steady for the next…

spaniel in brambles

Are dogs really colour-blind?

ONE OF THE extraordinary things about dogs is that they may be able to mark a falling bird 200 yards away, but they will run straight past a dead bird lying in the open without seeing it. It’s a reminder that a dog’s eyesight is very different from our own.…

Reader's photos of the week

10 photos of the week from our readers

From young shots, jumping dogs and spectacular winter scenery, our inbox has been overflowing with fantastic photographs this week. If you would like to send us your photographs to be shared on our Facebook page or right here on the site then please email or message our Facebook page.…