English Cocker Spaniel Breed Magazine - Showsight

hardworking and determined compan- ion, flushing as well as retrieving game, even from water. Proportion: “Compactly built and short-coupled, with height at withers slightly greater than the distance from withers to set-on of tail.” Slighter taller than long by the mea- surement listed in the standard, this breed should appear neither leggy nor low on leg. The correct, symmetrical make and shape of a cocker allows them to penetrate the type of dense cover that taller, leggier animals could not. They have just enough neck to comfort- ably reach down, pick up a bird and carry it without interfering with their gait. This is a breed of moderation and balance by necessity, as exaggeration of any characteristic could cause them to tire easily and therefore be incapable of fulfilling the task for which they were bred. Coat: “On head, short and fine; of medium length on body; flat or slightly wavy; silky in texture. The English Cocker is well-feathered, but not so profusely as to interfere with field work. Trimming is permitted to remove overabundant hair and to enhance the dogs true lines. It should be done so as to appear as natural as possible.” An often overlooked essential of breed type, the correct coat on a Cock- er works as a protective shield from the weather and unforgiving terrain. It should be silky, with a topcoat jacket of longer, protective guard hairs and enough undercoat to keep them warm. The feathering should not be too profuse, nor over groomed. A correct coat will

characterized more by drive and the appearance of power than by great speed.” Bred to be a steady hunting com- panion, they should cover ground soundly and efficiently. However, this breed is not one of exaggeration and a moderate stride is desired. The English Cocker should reach to the end of his nose, without wasted motion or restric- tion. Their ever-wagging tail and the darting action they show while seeking game has led to the descriptive term of bustling. In summary, this merry, active breed has won the hearts of many and deserves his place in history. Never let the window dressing he may be found sporting detract from the hardworking little hunting companion he was bred to be. “He is an ideal companion & housedog; a great sportsman in the shooting field and is capable of doing all the work his bigger broth- ers can do, putting that joy into the task which has earned him the epi- thet ‘The Merry Cocker’, his actions denoting the pleasure he derives from his hunting”. Quote taken from the introduction to “Cocker Spaniels” by H.S. Lloyd, of Ware Cockers, Middlesex, England. To see the English Cocker Span- iel breed standard, go to www. ecsca.info/index.php/breed-info/ breed-standard. For more information on the English Cocker Spaniel, please visit ecsca.info.

self-strip in the field, allowing the dog to work while avoiding mishap. A poor, cottony coat will cause a dog to snag and tie them up at the first bramble. A Cocker should also have supple, pliable skin, with enough give to allow them to hunt in the most difficult countryside without injury. Head: “Strong, yet free from coarseness, softly contoured, without sharp angles.” The characteristic head and expres- sion of an English Cocker sets them apart from all the other Spaniel breeds. They have a soft, melting and endear- ing expression, with tight eye rims to keep them free from debris. The skull: “Arched and slightly flattened when seen both from the side and from the front. Viewed in profile, the brow appears not appreciably higher than the back-skull.” The skull is arched and slightly flat- tened (not flat) to allow for the well- muscled jaw. They must not drop off too much in the backskull, as this will inhibit their ability to hold the bird in their mouth and retrieve in water; a down faced dog will be looking up into the sun. Muzzle: “Equal in length to skull; well cushioned.” Their muzzle is well cushioned to protect them from the thorns and thick- ets they work in, as well as the talons of the birds they hunt. They have strong jaws and teeth the size of a much larger breed. This breed is meant to do heavy lifting! Gait: “The English Cocker is capable of hunting in dense cover and upland terrain. His gait is accordingly


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