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.

 

breeding cocker spaniels puppies

Breeding cocker spaniels: here’s what’s really involved

The reality of breeding cocker spaniels My phone buzzed in my pocket with an incoming WhatsApp from my wife, Clare. Her message simply read “Deed is done”. The short missive was accompanied by two photos. In both, the low mist-shrouded fields of a Lincolnshire landscape filled the background. In the…

working cocker spaniel puppy

Was getting a cocker spaniel a mistake?

Q: I am wondering whether getting a cocker spaniel was a mistake. I bought my first cocker spaniel last year. I was sure to do my research on reputable breeders and health-tested parents. The pedigree is very impressive, with many field trial champions, and the mother had a lovely temperament.…

cocker spaniel

How the cocker spaniel has changed

My first-ever dog was a remarkably handsome blue-roan-and-tan cocker spaniel. I loved him dearly, but he was inbred, neurotic and not really a nice dog at all. He was show bred, but I took him shooting and it was an infection of tetanus, picked up on a shooting day, that…

cocker spaniel waiting

Would a working cocker spaniel be right for you?

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.) Celeb owners of working cocker spaniels Guy Ritchie – film director…

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…

springer vs cocker spaniel

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

So you’re looking for a spaniel, rather than a Labrador. But that’s just where the decision starts. What sort of spaniel would suit you best? What are you considering in the springer vs cocker debate? There’s plenty to say in defence of each breed – and each also has its…

Duchess of Cambridge with dog Lupo

Prince William’s working cocker spaniel Lupo dies age 9

Lupo, the working cocker spaniel belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has died aged nine. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@kensingtonroyal) Lupo was a wedding present to the couple from the Duchess of Cambridge’s brother, James Middleton. Not long…

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…

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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…

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…

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.