The English Cocker Spaniel was considered merely a variety of Cocker Spaniel until 1935, when the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was founded. Spaniels were first differentiated by size--the larger ones springing game and the smaller ones hunting woodcock. These types became the Springers and Cockers. Dog people in this country refined the Cocker even more to create the Cocker Spaniel, while the English Cocker stayed truer to the original Cocker.
Like the American, the English Cocker Spaniel is sensitive. Handled with tenderness and respect, he makes a willing learner. English Cockers are joyful, entertaining, and active friends to all people.
English Cockers' coats have the same sorts of colors and markings as American: solid black, liver, or red; parti-color (white with color markings); and tan markings with solid colors. Their eyes have a soft, loving expression, and should be dark brown or hazel in the liver Cockers. The tail is docked. Like the Cocker's, the English Cocker's coat requires a commitment to regular grooming.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: An active, merry sporting dog, compactly built. Alive with energy, powerful and ready to dive into dense brush to flush and retrieve game. Very active docked tail.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height at withers--males, 16 to 17 inches; females, 15 to 16 inches. Weight--males, 28 to 34 pounds; females 26 to 32 pounds. Height slightly greater than length.
The English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning had a Cocker in the 1840s named Flush. Her devotion to her dog--and his to her--is recorded in her letters:
"He will sleep at nights, now, nowhere except with his head on my shoulder. . . . If you were but to see him eat partridge from a silver fork. . . . Of course, he has given up his ice creams for the season, and the favorite substitute seems to be coffee . . . not poured into the saucer, but taken out of my little coffee cup." She even wrote a poem about him called "Flush or Faunus."
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.