History of the Cocker Spaniel

The Spaniel

Cocker spaniels are descended from spaniels, one of the oldest breed of dogs.

Spaniels may have arrived in England as early as Caesar’s invasion (54-55 BC). It is assumed spaniels originated from Spain as the word spaniel may be derived from Hispania (Spain) or possibly from the French phrase Chiens de l’ Espagnol (Dog of Spain).

Spaniels were especially bred to flush game out of dense brush. By the late 1600’s spaniels had become specialized into water and land breeds. The English water spaniel (sadly extinct) was used to retrieve water fowl shot down with arrows. Land spaniels were comprised of setting spaniels—those that crept forward and pointed their game, and springing spaniels—those that sprang pheasants and partridges for hunting with falcons.

During the 17th century, the role of the spaniel dramatically changed as Englishmen began hunting with flintlocks for wing shooting.  Goodall & Gasow (1984), write the spaniels were “transformed from untrained, wild beaters, to smooth, polished gun dogs.”  

Springing spaniels would lay the foundation of all modern-day flushing spaniels. In a single litter of springer spaniels, the larger pups would become springer spaniels, the smaller pups would become cocker spaniels, and the medium-sized pups would become Sussex spaniels: Size alone was the only difference.

Ancestry of Spaniels

Cocker Spaniel

Our English Cockers spaniels are an intelligent looking dog that sit just larger than their American cousins and have a slightly longer muzzle. They have a powerful gait, low hanging ears, and a much less defined stop on their heads compared to American Cockers.

These dogs feed on spending quality time with their families and will remain affectionate and loyal to those who treat them with kindness and respect. English Cockers are nearly always cheerful; their kind spirits can be muted with too much time spent alone and unattended. However, with routine play, socialization, and love, this breed is hard to disappoint.

They are a quick learning breed that loves to please their families and as announced on the TV show Britain’s top 100 dogs, shown in January 2018 it’s no wonder that the Cocker Spaniel came 6th.

For more information on Cocker Spaniels our team are on hand to help with any questions.  Contact us on 01522 789191 or info@littlerascalspuppies.com and we will be happy to help.