THE ORIGIN OF THE COCKER SPANIEL And THE AMERICAn SPAnIEL CLUB by ELAInE E. MATHIS
CoCker Spaniel HiStory S paniels in America can be traced back to 1620 and the landing of the Mayflower. This vessel carried two dogs on her voyage to New England— a Mastiff and a Spaniel. However, it is impossible to trace the ancestry of the blooded dogs of today to these two dogs since pedigrees and stud books were not available prior to the early nineteenth century. In those early days, the Spaniels were divided into two varieties—land and the water spaniels. From those early specimens have sprung the many varieties of Spaniels we have today, including the Toys. After that terms such as Springer, Springing Spaniel, Cocker, Cocking Spaniel, Field, English Type and others seem to have applied to Spaniels of all sizes and the division we have today in the Spaniel family devel- oped from that period. Also, because all Spaniels derived from the same blood- lines, the top weight limit of 28 lbs. was the dividing line between the Cocker Spaniel and the Field Spaniel. The term “Cocker” was given to the smallest, more compact of this family and it came about because they were being used for woodcock shooting. Cocker registrations can be traced to 1879. The first Cocker strain to become well known and to make definite strides toward the Cocker’s recognition as a separate and distinct breed in England was the Obo Kennel of Mr. James Far- row. The National American Kennel Club (now the American Kennel Club) published its first stud book in St. Louis, Missouri. The very first Cocker regis- tered was a liver and white named Cap- tain and assigned No. 1354. The first black and tan registered was Jockey, No. 1365. Not until Volume 2 was pub- lished in 1885 did a black Cocker make his appearance. This was registered as Brush II, No. 3124 and was imported by Commings Cocker Spaniel Kennel of Asworth, New Hampshire.
ameriCan Spaniel Club It was about this time that the would- be founders of the American Spaniel Club became actively interested in the dog that was characterized as a Cocker, but not yet recognized as an entirely separate breed of Sporting Spaniel. Established in 1881, the ASC ante- dated the AKC by a few years. When the ASC joined the AKC, it was accepted,and thereafter recognized, as the parent club of Sporting Spaniels. Then in September 1946, the AKC recognized the separation of the “Cock- er” breed, but it was not until January 1947 that breed registration appeared in the stud book under its own heading. With time, the popularity of the Cocker Spaniel increased by leaps and bounds, and with Sporting Spaniels of other breeds becoming better known, Spaniels rapidly grew in favor. As pop- ularity gained, so did the numbers of Spaniel breeders and the ASC recog- nized its inability to do full and equal justice to all of them. The English Springer Spaniel was the first to crowd the parent club’s nest, and this emphasized the need to trans- fer jurisdiction to the new club organi- zation qualified to assume the respon- sibility of parenthood for that breed. Through the good offices of the AKC, this happy result was brought about, and by mutual consent, the English Springer Spaniel passed to the juris- diction of the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, Incorporated. The popularity of the Cocker Span- iel ever increasing, coupled with the introduction and winning favor of the English type of Cocker Spaniel, again invited a change in the rules governing Sporting Spaniels. Once more, through the sympathetic understanding and appreciation of conditions by the AKC, the English Cocker Spaniel was recog- nized as a distinct type of Cocker Span- iel. Separate classes were set up for it, and in due time, it was deservedly admitted to the Sporting Group.
Negotiations were opened with the AKC to affect a transfer of jurisdiction over all breeds of Sporting Spaniels oth- er than Cocker Spaniels to clubs to be organized as parent clubs dedicated to the furtherance of these several breeds of Sporting Spaniels. The AKC approv- ing and consenting this was brought about, the American Spaniel Club retaining its right without consultation or permission of any specialty club to offer classes for all breeds of Sporting Spaniels at its specialty show. The ASC stands out today from all the specialty clubs in this country, and perhaps including the old world as well, the first and original club devoted to one breed of dogs, with steady devotion to the Sporting Spaniel. tHe CoCker Spaniel breed today The popularity of the Sporting Span- iel is established for all time, and the smallest, the Cocker Spaniel’s inherent desire to hunt renders him a capable gun dog when judiciously trained. The usual method of hunting is to let him quarter the ground ahead of the gun, covering all territory within gun range. This he should do at a fast, snappy pace. Upon flushing the game he should stop or preferable drop to a sitting position so as not to interfere with the shot, after which he should retrieve on com- mand only. He should of course, be so trained that he will be under control at all times. He is likewise valuable for occasional water retrieving and as a rule takes to water readily. The breed is excellent in breed, obedience and field work, with many having dual and triple titles. As a pet and companion his popularity has been exceptional. He is a great lov- er of home and family, trustworthy and adaptable. referenCeS 1. Complete Dog Book by American Kennel Club 2. American Spaniel Club Annual Reports 3. Cocker Spaniel by Ruth Kraeuchi
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