UNDERSTANDING THE PROPERTIES OF THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL HEAD AND EXPRESSION BY THE BREED EDUCATION COMMITTEE FOR THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL CLUB OF AMERICA, INC. ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICIA JANZEN AND GENELLE JOSEPH
N ot only the hallmark of the breed, the distinctive fea- tures of the English Cocker Spaniel’s head also rep- resent the original purpose and function they were bred for. English Cocker Spaniels are built to find, flush, and retrieve game that is often quite large in relation to the dog. In order to pick up and carry such quarry, they must have strong jaws. There- fore, their heads must provide the infrastructure to support the muscle required to perform the task. “ Strong, yet free from coarseness, softly contoured, without sharp angles. ” “ Taken as a whole, the parts combine to produce the expression distinctive of the breed. ” The expression of an English Cocker is: “ Soft, melting, yet dig- nified, alert, and intelligent. ” The head and, particularly, the kind, endearing expression are the appeal of the breed. The soft eyes draw you in, and you instinctively know that this is a breed that exudes a willingness to please and is game for anything involving human companionship. CORRECT EYE SHAPE AND EXPRESSION There is a slight lift to the top eyelid, which gives the Eng- lish Cocker an alert expression, not “hound-like” or mournful. His expression should never appear hard or startled. The head is strong, but clean and gently contoured. A correctly fashioned headpiece allows for important functionality in the field.
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