The English cocker spaniel is a compact gun dog perfected in England, whose development may be traced back to the original spaniels of Spain. It stands about 16 in. (40.6 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 30 lb (13.6 kg). Its medium-length coat is flat and silky and forms fringes of longer hair, or feathers, on the dog's underside, ears, chest, and legs. It may be any of various colors or parti-colored the most popular being black, gold, black/tan blue roan, orange roan & chocolate roan. The tail was traditionally docked but since the reform of The Animal Welfare Act 2007 when it became illegal to dock dogs other than working dogs the show type Cocker Spaniel now sports a natural tail while his working cousin is still sometimes docked . Until its official recognition by the Kennel Club of England in 1892 as a separate breed, it and the larger Springer spaniel were distinguished by size only. Thus, the same litter could produce both dogs, the Cocker being used to hunt out or 'flush' smaller game, such as woodcocks and then retreive them and gently carry the kill back to their handler. The Working Cocker is still trained for that purpose today but the Show type has steered more towards looks and temperament and is widely kept as a house pet as well as featuring heavily in the show ring. The Cocker Spaniel has had more BIS at the famous Crufts dog show than any other breed. The smaller Cocker spaniel of America, known in the UK as The American Cocker or 'Yankie' derived from it and has been established as a separate breed.
The show type Cockers are busy, friendly little dogs who thrive on human companionship, wanting nothing more than to please their owners. They are ideal pets where there are children about and get on well with other household animals. Cockers can be very manipulative - who can resist their soft, pleading eyes? The sad eyes, however, are a misconception, Cockers are a very happy breed, constantly wagging their tails and bringing 'presents' to one and all. Working Cockers may be too much of a handful for most pet homes and are quite different in appearance to their show type cousins but with clever training they can make suitable companions for very energetic families or of course for someone wanting to train to the gun.
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