The history of Cocker Spaniels can be traced back to the 14th century. They originated in Spain and their name stems
from the French word for Spanish (Espaignol). Learn more about the history of the Cocker Spaniel here.
Before they were categorized, they were all known simply as 'Spaniels', sometimes also spelled 'Spanial'.
During the 17th century a variety of Spaniel breeds began to emerge in Western Europe.
The Spaniel breed was popular with hunters as these eager little dogs could easily flush out and retrieve game and birds, in fact, anything that moved!
the work of flushing and retrieving was similar, the hunting landscape and
type of animals that were hunted differed, depending on the region, which eventually fostered a need for different characteristics.
As a result, the best dogs were bred to create puppies which developed into keener, stronger hunting companions.
Unfortunately, the characteristics of these puppies were often inconsistent, and in 1885 the Spaniel Club formalized breed standards to help identify the differences.
The American Spaniel Club was established in 1881 but didn't formally recognize the English Cocker until September 1946.
In 1892 the Kennel Club formally recognized the Cocker Spaniel and introduced a weight classification.
Dogs under 25lbs became know as Cockers because of their ability to flush out woodcock in low dense woodland and thick undergrowth.
Those over 25lbs 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 breed their puppies to a common standard.
Whilst we recognize 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.
Cocker Spaniel Breed - learn more about this wonderful breed.
Cocker Characteristics - there's nothing that comes close to a Cocker!
Cocker Temperament - their temperament is just delightful, learn more.
Cocker Colors - You'll find this breed in many beautiful colors including chocolate, orange roan (beautiful), solids, parti-colors, roans - I love them all!
Cocker Spaniel Health - Learn about the potential health problems that may befall your pet sometime during his life.
Spaniel Breeds - learn more about other spaniel breeds.
The American Cocker Spaniel - this is their American cousin. They're very similar, but you can see the differences between the two here.