What is a Cocker Spaniel bred? Original role, jobs, history and more

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Cocker Spaniels were bred to hunt birds such as quail and woodcocks. This is where they got the name “cocker”. They work closely with their hunting mates, and because of this, they don’t like to be on their own. Dessert makers are sociable, agreeable and smart.

In this article, we’ll discuss what Cocker Spaniels were bred for, their history, and how their breeding affects their appearance and personalities.

Cocker Spaniels are brought to Hunt

Cocker Spaniels were bred to hunt quail and woodcocks. That’s actually how they got their name!

They are fast dogs with great noses. Measuring only 13.5-15.5 inches in height and weighing less than 30 pounds, these tiny pups can easily navigate areas that are difficult for taller hounds to traverse, such as areas with thick underbrush.

However, modern-day American Cocker Spaniels tend to be poorly bred when compared to their ancestors and modern English Cocker Spaniels. As a result, they have many more hereditary health problems in comparison.

English Cocker Spaniel On The Grass
Cocker Spaniels were bred to hunt birds such as quail and woodcocks. This is where they got the name “cocker”.

© Labrador Photo Video / Shutterstock.com

Cocker Spaniel History

Cocker Spaniels were referred to as Field Spaniels. It originated in the UK, and its existence dates back to the seventeenth century.

Eventually, they were brought to the United States, where they ended up having shorter legs and longer backs. This has happened at the expense of dogs, as it makes them more susceptible to spinal injuries and other back problems. Unfortunately, this poor breeding continues today.

Today, there are two Cocker Spaniel breeds: the American Cocker Spaniel (simply called Cocker Spaniel by the American Kennel Club) and the English Cocker Spaniel.

English Setters tend to have a healthier appearance compared to better breeding practices. As always, it’s important to only shop with reputable breeders who complete everything Genetic health testing is recommended. This should not be confused with DNA testing kits, which some backyard breeders try to deem adequate.

How does breeding affect the appearance of Cocker Spaniels?

Cocker Spaniels are small and agile to make their way through brush with ease. This is also said to make them more tolerant of heat than larger hounds, perhaps because they exert themselves less frequently.

They have long double coats that help protect them from the elements. Their coats help protect them from sunburn, keep them dry in the rain, and protect their skin from bramble which might hurt exposed skin as they pass.

A Cocker Spaniel’s coats also help them regulate their temperature, keeping them insulated in the winter and cool in the summer. This is why it is not acceptable to shave a double-coated dog, as it will not actually make it cooler but it is more susceptible to overheating as well as sunburn.

The floppy ears help the Komkars search by scent as they work to pick up scents and place them in their noses. Speaking of noses, they also have long noses that help them track scents.

Often, Cocker Spaniels have docked tails. They weren’t born this way but they were docked – amputations, basically.

This harsh practice is believed by some to reduce the risk of tail injuries, but it has not been shown to have much effect.

Less than 0.04% of dogs injure their tails each year. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 500 dogs They will need their tails docked to prevent a single injury.

Most people dock their dogs’ tails for aesthetic reasons. As the numbers above show, there is no real medical argument to be made. Tail docking also harms a dog socially, and sometimes psychologically or physically, for the rest of their lives.

A Golden Cocker Spaniel With Curly Ears Perches On Its Head
The floppy ears help the Komkars search by scent as they work to pick up scents and place them in their noses.

© iStock.com / Bigandt_Photography

How does breeding affect Cocker Spaniels’ temperament?

Cocker Spaniels were bred to hunt alongside their owners, and they don’t seem as prone to wandering off as some other hunting dogs – although it’s still a good idea to keep them on a leash or locked up so they don’t run after smaller animals.

Because of this close companionship, they tend to make good family dogs. They are friendly towards children, other dogs, and strangers. Like all dogs, they should still be supervised around children and introduced to new people and animals slowly.

Baristas are also well adaptable, and they are easy to train. They are intelligent dogs who enjoy a wide variety of activities and love being around their people.

This also makes them prone to separation anxiety. The Cocker Spaniel is not a good dog for you if you live alone and hide most of the day.

They are also very active and enjoy play that simulates hunting, such as games of fetch or tug. During walks, they will want to sniff more than other dogs and will likely pace at a leisurely pace as they explore the area with their noses. This should not be discouraged as it is a great mental enrichment activity.

Finally, like many hunting dogs, Cocker Spaniels are quite vocal. They may be especially excited if they spot something they want to chase.

Final thoughts

I hope this helped answer your questions about Cocker Spaniel breeding and how the breed came to be. Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, fast, and reliable hunting dogs, but they also make great companions when only kept as pets!

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