BALANCE AND MODERATION IN THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
BALANCE AND WRITTEN BY THE BREED EDUCATION COMMITTEE OF THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL CLUB OF AMERICA, INC., 2021 ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICIA JANZEN AND GENELLE JOSEPH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MODERATION IN THE ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
T he English Cocker Spaniel is a big dog in a small package—strong for his size, compact, and very active in the field. These qualities make him an ideal dog for hunting in rough terrain and dense cover, often taller than the dog. To perform efficiently, he is notably balanced, compact, and round in build, never rangy, extreme and narrow. He is a dog of power rather than speed. WHAT DOES THE STANDARD SAY? The word “moderate” appears six times in our AKC Breed Standard. It is also implied numerous times throughout. From the opening paragraph: “He 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.”
From the Forequarters section: “The English Cocker is moderately angulated.” From the Hindquarters section: [Rear] angulation moderate and, most importantly, in balance with that of the forequarters.” From the Gait sec- tion: “He covers ground effortlessly and with extension both in front and in rear, appropriate to his angulation.” The English Cocker is, above all, a dog of moderation rather than extremes; exaggeration of any character- istic will upset the balance of a compact, one-piece dog.
Balanced and Moderate
Unbalanced and Extreme
HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY BALANCE AND MODERATION IN THE BREED? To simplify the images shown above and to encourage your eye to see the balance as well as the exaggerations, we have made the dogs shown into silhouettes. Note how the dog on the left is beautifully balanced, all parts in harmony, with no one part standing out. The degree of shoulder angulation is the same as the rear angulation. The contours are gently rounded, and each piece is in proportion to the whole dog. On the right, we have an image of a dog with an upright (straight) shoulder and an over-angulated rear that stretches way beyond his body, therefore making the dog extreme and out of balance. Because of this lack of balance, the dog would tire easily in the field. Balance is essential for this breed, bred to work in tough terrain, quartering and pushing into the thicket and hedgerow, then retrieving the game. There can be no weak joints or overdone parts; he must be balanced, moderately made, and sound.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2021 | 287
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