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

Help! My young cocker spaniel won’t hunt away from me!

Q: My 10 month old cocker spaniel is coming along fine in training except for one thing. He won’t go more than a few yards from me before returning. How can I get him to hunt properly?

A: Cockers of this age tend to be far more affectionate than, say, a springer and love to have constant contact with their owner.

Don’t worry though, it’s a trait that will sort itself out in time when the dog’s hunting experience grows.  Cockers might be busy dogs but to get them hunting really well and take their mind off the owner you need to work them on ground where there’s lots of game scent.

 

black white and tan cocker colour

Cocker spaniels come in almost any colour you can think of

Last season, 
I admired a handsome black cocker dog I met on a shoot. His owner, unaware that I make a living from writing about gundogs, proceeded to give me a short lecture on cockers. He assured me that it was a far older breed than the springer, which is…

The Cocker Spaniel by Janet Menzies

Win a copy of “The Cocker Spaniel” by Janet Menzies

The cocker spaniel is one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the UK today. Bred for stamina, intelligence and drive, they make lively, loving pets. If trained properly they are extremely adaptable gundogs. Some first-time owners can find them a challenging breed, but get the training right and…

gundog puppy

Gundog training you can carry out in your garden (or even inside)

Here’s a list of basic gundog and puppy training exercises that you can practise whilst you’re social distancing or self-isolating at home. You don’t need a big area either. Just patience. Getting a puppy used to a lead Place a slip lead around the puppy’s neck, pushing the stop up…

working cocker spaniel

Which breed would suit you better – a springer or a cocker spaniel?

So you’ve decided to take on a spaniel. Springer vs cocker spaniel – the differences Springers have a size advantage over working cocker spaniels Cocker spaniels have a better engine and more staying power than springers Cockers are thought to be ‘prettier’ than springer spaniels and come in more colours…

cocker spaniel with pheasant

We’re all cocker hoop

If you were planning to buy a puppy to train as a rough-shooting and beating dog, which would you get, a springer or cocker? It’s a question I was asked recently by a reader. My correspondent added that he had never owned a dog before and that it would be…

cocker spaniel waiting

All about the cocker spaniel

Look around the shooting field today and you’d be correct in thinking that the cocker spaniel and the springer spaniel are two of the most popular gundog breeds. But the spaniel’s heritage stretches back centuries. It is one of the oldest “type of hunting dog” and was originally bred to…

working cocker spaniel

Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

Once upon a time everybody had a black Labrador. Then chocolate Labradors arrived on the scene. Now fox red Labs are de rigeur it would seem. Mind you, the dog that you’re likely to see in the field just about everywhere now is a working cocker spaniel. Not so long…

teaching a dog quartering

Teaching a young dog quartering

Quartering is probably the toughest lesson to teach a young gundog, and one of the most vital. Joe Irving discusses this most rewarding of lessons for the handler

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.

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.…