English Cocker Spaniel

FCI standard Nº 5

Origin
Great Britain
Group
Group 8 Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs
Section
Section 2 Flushing dogs
Working
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Wednesday 10 April 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Monday 08 October 2012
Last update
Friday 23 November 2012
En français, cette race se dit
Cocker Spaniel anglais
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Englischer Cocker Spaniel
En español, esta raza se dice
Cocker spaniel inglés
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Engelse Cocker Spaniel

Usage

Flushing dog.

Brief historical summary

Cocker Spaniels were recognized as a separate breed from Field and Springer Spaniels soon after the formation of the Kennel Club in 1873. He originated as the ‘cocking spaniel’, and derived this name from flushing woodcock. As with a number of gundog breeds there is nowadays a difference between those used for work and those used for show: the show Cocker is a sturdier, heavier version of his working counterpart.

General appearance

Merry, sturdy, sporting; well balanced; compact.

Important proportions

Measuring approximately the same from withers to ground as from withers to root of tail.

Behaviour / temperament

Merry nature with ever-wagging tail shows a typical bustling movement, particularly when following scent, fearless of heavy cover. Gentle and affectionate, yet full of life and exuberance.

Head

Cranial region

Skull
Well developed, cleanly chiselled, neither too fine nor too coarse. 
Stop
Distinct, set midway between tip of nose and occiput.

Facial region

Nose
Sufficiently wide for acute scenting power.
Muzzle
Square.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Cheeks
Not prominent.
Eyes
Full, but not prominent. Dark brown or brown, never light, but in the case of liver, liver roan and liver and white, dark hazel to harmonize with coat; with expression of intelligence and gentleness but wide awake, bright and merry; rims tight.
Ears
Lobular, set low on level with eyes. Fine leathers extending to nose tip. Well clothed with long, straight silky hair.

Neck

Moderate in length, muscular. Set neatly into fine sloping shoulders. Clean throat.

Body

Body
Strong, compact.
Topline
Firm, level, gently sloping downwards to tail from end of loin to set on of tail.
Loin
Short, wide.
Chest
Well developed and brisket deep; neither too wide nor too narrow in front. Ribs well sprung.

Tail

Set on slightly lower than line of back. Must be merry in action and carried level, never cocked up. Previously customarily docked.
Docked : Never too short to hide, nor too long to interfere with, the incessant merry action when working.
Undocked : Slightly curved, of moderate length, proportionate to size of body giving an overall balanced appearance; ideally not reaching below the hock. Strong at the root and tapering to a fine tip; well feathered in keeping with the coat. Lively in action, carried on a plane not higher than level of back and never so low as to indicate timidity.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Legs well boned, straight, sufficiently short for concentrated power. Not too short to interfere with tremendous exertions expected from this grand, sporting dog.
Shoulders
Sloping and fine.
Forefeet
Firm, thickly padded, cat-like.

Hindquarters

Generality
Wide, well rounded, very muscular; legs well boned.
Stifle
Good bend.
Metatarsus
Short below the hock joint, allowing for plenty of drive.
Hind feet
Firm, thickly padded, cat-like.

Gait and movement

True through action with great drive covering ground well.

Coat

Hair
Flat, silky in texture, never wiry or wavy, not too profuse and never curly. Well feathered forelegs, body and hind legs above hocks.
Colour
Solid colours: Black; red; golden; liver (chocolate); black-and-tan; liver-and-tan; No white allowed except a small amount on chest.
Particolours: Bicolours; Black and white; orange and white; liver and white; lemon and white. All with or without ticking. Tricolours: Black, white and tan; liver, white and tan.
Roans: Blue roan; orange roan; lemon roan; liver roan; blue roan and tan; liver roan and tan.
Any colour or marking other than the above is undesirable.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Height approximately : males 39 - 41 cms, females 38 - 39 cms
Weight
Weight approximately 13 - 14, 5 kgs

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

The English Cocker Spaniel, commonly known as the Cocker Spaniel and, in France, the Cocker, belongs to the large family of Spaniels and Continental Spaniels, these Oysel Chieps and wadding dogs known since the Middle Ages to have replaced the common dogs, with bloodhounds and Brachets, deemed not very effective for hunting birds. It was at this time, in fact, that the Spaniel was started to raise the game birds, so that the lord could let go of his hawk or the valets throw their leaden nets.

For a long time, the very name Epagneul - Spaniel for the English - has sparked endless debates within the cynologists. Is it linked to a Spanish origin, as Gaston Phoebus said in the Middle Ages, "so that this nature comes from Spain, how many there are in other countries? This seems unlikely inasmuch as there has never been, it seems, any Spaniel in the Iberian Peninsula. Max Siber, overcomes this difficulty by considering that the reference to Spain does not concern the origins of the dog but the hunting methods for which it was used, methods that would have been, on the other side of the Pyrenees, a legacy of the Romans for net hunting, and Arabs for falconry. Another hypothesis, perhaps more convincing, is based on the verb "s'espagner", an old synonym for "to lie down", used to describe the action of dogs that flatten on the ground so as not to hinder the hunters throwing their snare.

Clearly, therefore, the origins of Spaniel, like those of many other races, are very controversial. What is proven, however, is the age of the presence of such dogs in Britain. Edward de Langley (1344-1412), grand master of the hunts and dogs of Henry IV of England, praised the hunting qualities of the Spaniels in his Mayster if Came published in 1406; the poet Chaucer, author of the famous Tales of Canterbury, boldly compares the behavior of the woman towards man to that of the Spaniel, because as a Spaniel, she wants to jump after him, and to ensure, for good measure, that the Spaniel is a very affectionate dog, as much as a woman in search of a husband.

As for Dr. Caius, personal physician of Queen Elizabeth I, he expressly designates them in his book De Canibus Britannicis, published in 1570: They are commonly called Spaniels as if these dogs came from Spain. It is also known that Elizabeth I had, in addition to Greyhounds, Spaniels which were considered by P. Sidney as "the gentlemen of the royal packs"

All these elements support the opinion of Paul Caillard - to whom we owe the introduction of the race in France at the end of the nineteenth century - according to which the presence of Spaniels across the Channel dates back at least to the fourteenth century. This eminent specialist ensures, indeed, that paintings and engravings of this time, in particular in Scottish castles, stage Spaniels.

As for the appearance of Cocker Spaniel proper, it is of course much less old. It must be known that, for a long time, the amateurs were satisfied with the only name of Spaniel to designate a whole range of dogs, more or less big, heavy or light, of hunting or luxury, whereas it existed, next to the common Spaniels of which the most direct descendant is the current Springer, smaller Spaniels and truly miniature Spaniels (toys) and considered as hounds. British dog breeds could only distinguish Land Spaniels (employed on land) and Water Spaniels (working on water). If the latter type is no longer represented by only one breed (Irish), the Land Spaniel would stop to diversify until the twentieth century.

From 1859, things were going to be more precise: many amateurs, at least in the exhibitions, separated the Land Spaniels into two groups: the Land Spaniels proper and the Field Spaniels. However, it was not until 1883 that the Cocker was recognized as a race in its own right. The weight criterion then played a fundamental role, since that of the Cocker Spaniel had to be less than 25 pounds, whereas that of the Field Spaniel could only be higher. But there was another element of differentiation: while the Cocker, thanks to its small size, could penetrate the thickest thickets and hedges, the field was devolving the open fields. With the effects of growing fashion in Britain, where exhibitions became worldly events, the Field Spaniel quickly evolved into a low-legged, long-bodied type, more like a Basset than a Spaniel. morphology that made him unfit for hunting while not making him a pet, so he almost disappeared in the aftermath of the First World War, the Kennel Club even suspending the inscriptions in 1919.

At the same time, the Cocker was going to make a beautiful place for himself in the sun: a very active, passionate, eriduring, "swarming" hunter - to use the expression that characterizes his temperament - he was quickly appreciated by many British, both to hunt game and to be a charming companion at home.

It is clear that the Cocker has benefited from the hard work done by British breeders at the end of the last century and the beginning of ours, in order to accentuate and fix the characteristics clearly differentiating each Spaniel. Some breeders played a major role in this selection work, including Ted Obo, born in 1879 and owned by Mr. Farrow, who did a lot for the development of the breed. In the United States, where a club was founded in 1881, many subjects were imported, among which were prominent descendants of the already famous Obo. The rapidity and scale of the Cocker's success in the United States and Canada also led to some disagreements on the evolution of the breed between English and American breeders, the latter seeing the Cocker only as a show dog. company. Rejecting the American point of view, the British wanted to give the Cocker his dual role of hunter and companion. To do this, they had to assure him a solid official position, appealing, in particular, to the authorities who watched over the future of the canine world: in 1893, the Kennel Club began to register representatives of the breed, and around 1900 a standard was defined. The Cocker quickly demonstrated his qualities, trusting the successes in the first field-trials, where all the Spaniels competed. One club was founded in 1904. Among the first to be listed were Bebbe, the alleged ancestor of the Red Cockers, and the subjects of the breeder HS Lloyd, whose affix "of Ware" remained famous.

France was not left out to adopt the little Cocker: the first specimens were registered with the LOF since 1885. Then, in 1898, around Paul Caillard, fervent promoter of the race, the French Spaniel Club was created (which is thus revealed one of the oldest breed associations still in existence today), and in 1904 a standard was drafted.

The amateurs of the time, very Anglophiles, were raving about the English races, with some reason since, in the first field-trials organized in France, they demonstrated in a striking way of obvious qualities, in particular a quest fast and very fine nose. Because of its versatility, the Cocker has attracted many French hunters who, unlike their colleagues from across the Channel, can not usually afford to have both a dog and another to the report, even a dog for the plain and another for the wood.

For a long time, the Cockers most common on our soil were white and brown or white and black, first of all because the white dress was the most visible (detail of importance for a dog intended, during the hunting periods, to evolve in thickets). The blue and black were however very appreciated by the amateurs of exhibition, which did not prevent them from participating in the field-trials. These dogs were also very small, the famous cynologist Paul Mégnin writing in 1923 that they did not exceed 30 centimeters at the withers (which corresponds to the 25 pounds already indicated!).

The Cocker's size, however, was gradually growing, particularly in Great Britain, thanks to a more complete diet but also for the sake of efficiency in field trials. So much so that, after World War II, the French breeders who wanted to import British subjects to raise their decimated livestock found that these dogs were 45 centimeters at the withers, or more.

The president of the French Spaniel Club, Dr. Paul, then asked the British authorities to review the size standard (downward), so that the Cocker could really earn his reputation as "the smallest hunting Spaniel". This was done, thus avoiding the Cocker to become, as Rene Gravigny feared, a Setter in reduction.

Today, the Cocker has conquered the world: popular in all countries of Western Europe, it is also in the east, and even in the Soviet Union. J. Guerville-Sevin, often called to judge abroad, was able to note that, during exhibitions held in Moscow and Poland, the Cocker classes had between 100 and 300 subjects - that is, as many as if not more than in our countries! The Cocker is perfectly adapted in distant lands, since it is one of the two or three favorite breeds in Argentina and Australia.

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