The Cocker Spaniel

Ginny Roop
Dorothy Heindsmann
Lloyd Alton

The Cocker Spaniel
he American Kennel Club's The Complete Dog Book points out that as far back as 1368 "Spanyells" were mentioned.  As they developed they were divided into two purposes - land and water hunters.  The tiny spaniels became the toys, basically the English Toy and the forerunner of the Cavalier called Marlborough Spaniels.  The larger spaniels became Springers.  Very often in the early days of their existence the different sizes and types could occur in one litter.

The cocker was named because of his proclivity to hunt woodcock which is not a large bird.  In England classes for cocker type dogs were provided from about 1883.  He was inducted into England's Kennel Club stud book in 1892.  In the United States the American Spaniel Club was formed in 1881.  Through the efforts of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge of the Giralda Kennels and a few other diehards devoted to the larger English type cocker, in 1947 the AKC divided the two breeds.

Through breeding to a select number of sires starting basically with the imported Obo II the American cocker has had a long reign to the present as a companion and hunter.  A wide color scheme no doubt added to the popularity of the cocker.  They come in a range of solid and parti colorings to please any palette.

For a more detailed study of cocker history consult the hardcover books Cocker Champions in Story and Pedigree (three volumes) by the late Dr. Frances Greer and Norman Austin and The World of the Cocker Spaniel by Bill Gordoner and Lloyd Alton.

For more information about the Cocker Spaniel, visit the American Spaniel Club web site.
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