Hunting

English cockers are compact, sturdy dogs and they are often called ‘merry little hunters’ because their tails never seem to stop. They are also smart and great little problem solvers.
Although they work well in open fields, they are best suited for hunting in woods, briars, hedgerows or even in cattail

Due to their size , English Cockers, can go places where larger dogs have difficulty. They are active, happy little dogs and ideal for hunters that live in a city. They do need to be exercised regularly to keep them happy but that is true of every sporting breed. They’re a close-working dog with moderate speed which makes them a great dog for hunters who enjoy a relaxing day in the field.”

A spaniel is a type of gun dog. Spaniels were especially bred to flush game out of denser brush. By the late 17th century, spaniels had been specialized into water and land breeds. The extinct English Water Spaniel was used to retrieve water fowl shot down with arrows. Land spaniels were setting spaniels—those that crept forward and pointed their game, allowing hunters to ensnare them with nets, and springing spaniels—those that sprang pheasants and partridges for hunting with falcons, and rabbits for hunting with greyhounds. During the 17th century, the role of the spaniel dramatically changed as Englishmen began hunting with flintlocks for wing shooting. Charles Goodall and Julia Gasow (1984)[1] write that spaniels were “transformed from untrained, wild beaters, to smooth, polished gun dogs.”
The word “spaniel” would seem to be derived from the medieval French espaigneul—“Spanish”—modern French, espagnol.

In assisting hunters, it is desirable that Spaniels work within gun range, are steady to shot, are able to mark the fall and retrieve shot game to hand with a soft mouth. A good nose is highly valued, as it is in most gun dog breeds. They are versatile hunters traditionally being used for upland game birds, but are equally adept at hunting rabbit and waterfowl. Whether hunting in open fields, woodlands, farm lands—in briars, along fencerows or marshlands, a spaniel can get the job done.

On the basis of function and hunting style, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) draws a distinction between continental and Anglo-American spaniels. FCI places continental dogs of the spaniel type in the pointing group because they function more like setters which “freeze” and point to game. Breeds in this group include the Blue Picardy Spaniel, the French Spaniel, the Brittany, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel, and the Small Münsterländer. FCI classifies most other dogs of the spaniel type as flushing or water dogs

Types of Cockers:

There are two distinct types of English Cocker Spaniel in the UK, and they are quite different. People who are interested in field sports/hunting will be most familiar with the Working /Field Cocker, but the Show Cocker Spaniel has his origins in the same place.

 

The working cocker spaniel

From over a hundred years of selective breeding, these dogs have evolved to be brave, with have a high hunting drive but a biddable nature that makes them relatively easy to train.

In recent years Work and Show types have increasingly separated to become very different little dogs.

A cocker bred from working lines physically resembles their ancestors quite closely. They are small but strong and robust, with high hunting and retrieving instincts.

For their size they can lift heavy objects larger than their own size, jump high fences and hedges easily and run fast. They have bright eyes with tight lids, a medium length coat and feathered legs, chest and ears.

Their ears can also lift up on his head when he is paying attention, and won’t normally hang below his chin. Working Cocker Spaniels are popular as working companions, but also make lovely house pets for an active family.

Show Cocker Spaniels

The cocker spaniels bred from show lines will have a rather different appearance to his ancestors.

They will be a similar height to his working cousins, but his head is an altogether different shape. With a domed forehead and very long ears, that droop down well below his chin.Also , their coat will be much longer, and will need more grooming and attention.They may still have some of the hunting drive of their forefathers, but they will often be a calmer and more sedate companion for a family.

Whilst show bred cockers could be worked, they will not be as well suited to the activity. They can also no longer legally be docked, which will put them at risk of tail damage when working in dense cover.

 

Hunting is a great way to teach your dogs basic obedience while enjoying an outdoor activity. A true cocker has a natural instinct of finding prey and interest to hunt.

We can proudly say that all our cocker obtained their Working Test Certificate.


Here are some pictures of our cockers from past hunting exams/ field trials: