The history of Cocker Spaniels goes back quite a few years, and before they were categorised, all they were all known simply as 'Spaniels'.
They first originated in Spain, back in the 14th century, and it's thought their name is derived from the old French word for Spanish - Espagnol.
You may also occasionally see the name spelled as Cocker 'Spanial'.
If we look at the history of Cocker Spaniels, we can see that at around the time of the 17th century, a variety of Spaniel breeds began to emerge in Western Europe.
These dogs were popular with hunters as the eager little canines would flush out and retrieve game and birds, in fact, anything that moved!
Although the work of flushing and retrieving was quite similar, the hunting landscape and type of animals hunted were different depending upon the region, which created a need for different characteristics in the breed.
As a result, the best dogs were bred to create puppies which developed into keener, stronger hunting companions.
The characteristics of these puppies were often inconsistent, however, in 1885 the Spaniel Club formalised breed standards to help identify the differences.
The American Spaniel Club was established in 1881 but didn't formally recognise the English Cocker until September 1946.
In 1892 the Kennel Club formally recognised the Cocker Spaniel and introduced a weight classification.
Those under 28lbs became know as Cockers because of their ability to flush out woodcock in low dense woodland and thick undergrowth.
Those over 28lbs were classified as Springer Spaniels or Field Spaniels because they were very efficient at springing game.
The Cocker Spaniel Club was formed in 1902 and its aim was to promote the welfare of the Cocker, and to encourage breeders to conform to a true standard of dog breed.
Whilst we recognise that there are many varieties of Spaniels, our objective is to focus on the English Cocker and it's American cousin.
I hope I've given you just enough background on their history to satisfy your curiosity.
If you're hungry to learn more about this lovely breed, why not take a look at some of the titles below, perhaps starting with the Cocker's endearing characteristics and wonderful temperament - you'll soon see what all the fuss is about!
The Cocker Spaniel is truly a gentle, loving and most loyal companion.
Photo Credits - In order of viewing:
1. Jo at Jo's Pet Portraits