BALANCE AND MODERATION IN THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
THE REAR ASSEMBLY IS MODERATE AND IN BALANCE WITH THE FRONT On a correctly constructed rear ( below left ) , if you drop a perpendicular line from the furthest projection of the buttock to the ground, it should land directly in front of the rear foot. The femur and the tibia are equal in length. The distance from the hock joint to the pad (rear pastern) is short. Thick, shorter muscles attach to this frame. This is an over-angulated rear ( below right ). The tibia is longer than the femur, placing the rear feet too far behind the body, making the dog stand over too much ground. The distance from the hock joint to the pad tends to be longer. Longer, leaner muscles attach to this frame. This is a very common problem in the breed today.
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN ANATOMICALLY? This is a short-backed, compact, cobby breed. From the points of measurement, the withers to the set-on of the tail, he is slightly taller than long. The elbow is the midpoint between the withers and the ground. The breed is neither “leggy” nor low on leg. With the ideal 90-degree shoulder, formed by the scapula and the upper arm, the front legs are located under the body, rather than on the forwardmost end of it. The rear angle and length should match the moderate angles of the front, with the rear foot located under the dog to support its weight. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Remember, this breed was developed to hunt in the dense and unforgiving cover of the English countryside, required to push through the cover to find and to retrieve relatively heavy game. This requires strength, balance, and above all, MODERATION. HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THIS? A dog with a properly angulated front will have a well laid-back shoulder and a scapula and upper arm of approximately the same length, placing the elbow directly below the withers. A moderate dog will have rear angles that match the front. A perpendicular line dropped from the furthest projection of the buttock to the ground should land directly in front of the rear foot (with hocks perpendicular to the ground). Exaggeration of any characteris- tic will throw off the balance of a compact, well-knit dog. He has a SLIGHTLY slop- ing back, with a tail that is carried level off a gently rounded croup. On the move, there should be equal reach and drive, and no wasted motion that will tire a dog in no time. Feet should remain close to the ground at full extension. SUMMARY The English Cocker Spaniel is, above all, a dog of balance, both standing and moving, without exaggeration in any part, the whole worth more than the sum of its parts. Your eye should never be drawn to any one specific feature. This is a well-knit, one-piece dog, balanced and moderate throughout, and free from exaggeration of any kind.
Correct Rear Assembly
Incorrect Rear Assembly
Correct, Balanced, and Purposeful Movement with Equal Reach and Drive
292 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2021
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