English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is an attractive, active, merry sporting dog; with short body and strong limbs, standing well up at the withers. His movements are alive with energy; his gait powerful and frictionless. He is alert at all times, and the carriage of head and incessant action of his tail while at work give the impression that here is a dog that is not only bred for hunting but really enjoys it.

The English Cocker Spaniel is well balanced. Strongly built, full of quality and is capable of top speed combined with great stamina. His head imparts an individual stamp peculiar to him alone and has that brainy appearance expressive of the highest intelligence, and is in perfect proportion to his body. His muzzle is a most distinctive feature, being of correct conformation and in proportion to his skull.

Temperament: The character of the English Cocker is of extreme importance. His love and faithfulness to his master and household, his alertness and courage are characteristic. He is noted for his intelligence and merry disposition; not quarrelsome; and is a responsive and willing worker both in field and as a companion.

English Cocker SpanielEnglish Cocker Spaniel

Size: Height: Ideal heights at withers: males, 16-17 inches (41-43 cm); Females, 15-16 inches (38-41 cm). Weight: The most desirable weights: Males, 28-34 lb. (13-15 kg); Females, 26-32 lb. (12-15 kg). Proper physical conformation and balance should be considered more important than weight alone.

Coat and Colour: Coat on head short and fine; on body flat or slightly wavy and silky in texture. Should be of medium length with enough undercoating to give protection. The English Cocker should be well feathered but not so profusely as to hide the true lines or interfere with his field work. Colour various. In self-colours a white shirt frill is undesirable. In parti-colours, the colouring must be broken on the body and be evenly distributed. No large portion of any colour should exist. White should be shown on the saddle. A dog of any solid colour with white feet and chest is not a parti-colour. In roans it is desirable that the white hair should be distributed over the body, the more evenly the better. Roans come in various colours: blue, liver, red, orange and lemon. In black and tans the coat should be black; tan spots over the eyes, tan on the sides of the muzzle, on the throat and chest, on forelegs from the knees to the toes and on the hind legs on the side of the legs, also on the stifle and extending from the hock to the toes.

Head: The english cocker spaniel’s skull and forehead should be well developed with no suggestion of coarseness, arched and slightly flattened on top when viewed both from the stop to the end of the skull as well as from ear to ear, and cleanly chiseled under the eyes. The desirable proportion of the head is approximately one-half for the muzzle and one-half for the skull. The muzzle should be square with a definite stop where it blends into the skull and in proportion with the width of the skull. As the English Cocker is primarily a sporting dog, the muzzle and jaws must be of sufficient strength and size to carry game; and the length of the muzzle should provide room for the development of the olfactory nerve to ensure good scenting qualities, which require that the nose be wide and well developed. Nostrils black in colour except in reds, livers, parti-colours and roans of the lighter shades where brown is permissible, but black preferred. Lips should be square, full and free from flews. Teeth should be even and set squarely. The eyes should be of medium size, full and slightly oval shaped, set squarely in skull and wide apart. Eyes must be dark brown except in livers and light parti-colours where hazel is permissible, but the darker the better. The general expression should be intelligent, alert, bright and merry. Ears lobular; set low and close to the head; leather fine and extending at least to the nose, well covered with long, silky straight or slightly wavy hair.

Neck: Long, clean and muscular; arched towards the head; set cleanly into sloping shoulders.

Forequarters: Shoulders sloping and fine. Forelegs straight and strong with bone nearly equal in size from elbow to heel; elbows set close to the body with free action from shoulders; pasterns short, straight, and strong.

Body: Back short and strong. Length of back from withers to tail-set should approximate height from ground to withers. Height of the dog at the withers should be greater than the height at the hip joint, providing a gradual slope between these points. Close coupled, compact and firmly knit, giving the impression of great strength without heaviness. Chest deep and well developed but not too wide and round to interfere with the free action of the forelegs. Depth of brisket should reach to the elbow, sloping gradually upward to the loin. Ribs should spring gradually to middle of body, tapering to back ribs which should be of good depth and extend well back. Loin short and powerful, slightly arched.

Hindquarters: The hips should be rounded; thighs broad, well developed and muscular, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well bent. Hock to pad moderately short, strong and well let down. Size of feet in proportion to the legs; firm, round, and cat-like with thick pads and strong toes.

Tail: Set on to conform with the top-line of the back. The English Cocker Spaniel is merry in action.

English Cocker Spaniel Faults:

1. Muzzle too short or snipey.

2. Jaw overshot or undershot.

3. Lips snipey or pendulous.

4. Skull too flat or too rounded, cheeky, or coarse.

5. Stop insufficient or exaggerated.

6. Light, round, or protruding eyes.

7. Conspicuous haw.

8. Ears set or carried too high, too wide at the top, insufficient feathering, positive curls or ringlets.

9. Neck short, thick, with dewlap or excessive throatiness.

10. Straight or loaded shoulders.

11. Shoulders loose; elbows turned in or out; legs bowed or set too close or too wide apart; knees knuckled over; light bone.

12. Too long and lacking depth; insufficient spring of rib; barrel rib

13. Too low at withers; long, sway back, or roach back; flat or narrow loin; exaggerated tuck-up.

14. Excessive angulation; lightness of bone; stifle too short; hocks too long or turned in or out.

15. Feet too large, too small, spreading, or splayed.

16. Tail-set too low, habitually carried too high, too short or too long.

17. White feet are undesirable in any specimen of self-colour. Lack of coat, too soft, curly, or wiry.

18. Excessive trimming to change the natural appearance and coat should be discouraged.

19. Deviations from ideal heights to be severely penalised but not disqualified.

Links: American Cocker ; English Cocker Spaniel video on Animal Planet.