Above: Photo courtesy Carol Rives, copyright Kevin Devine. Below: Photo courtesy Diane Kepley
Photo courtesy Diane Kepley
and winner of the Purina Pro Plan Cham- pions Cup. Beckham is the only Cocker Spaniel to win three national specialties and Best in Show four times at the Ameri- can Spaniel Club Flushing Spaniel Show. He also won the Sporting Group at West- minster in 2011 and was awarded a group two at the show in 2014. Th e Cocker Spaniel is not only excelling in the conformation ring, it also remains true to its hunting heritage, without the need for a breeding split between bench and field dogs. Th e breed is a wonderful, loving com- panion in the home and has proven to be versatile in obedience, rally and agility, Th e Cocker Spaniel has an innate under- standing of people of all ages, loving chil- dren and often working as a therapy dog. We said at the beginning that this is a breed that not only excels in the show ring, but also is a pleasure to live with because of its loving, merry outlook on life! As the AKC breed standard states, “above all, he must be free and merry, sound, well balanced throughout and in action show a keen inclination to work.” 4 Among the stewards of the breed are the members of the American Spaniel Club, the parent club of the Cocker Spaniel. Th e ASC was founded in 1881 as a club for all sporting spaniels and it still maintains that position, even though the other sporting spaniels have formed their own parent clubs.
Each year the club sponsors a “gather- ing” of other spaniels at the club’s annual Flushing Spaniel Show. Th e limited breed event is a showcase for Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels, Clum- ber Spaniels, American Water Spaniels, Boykin Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels and Field Spaniels and in the past even Irish Water Spaniels. Some of the finest dogs of each of these breeds complete each year for the coveted American Spaniel Club Best in Show title. Th ere is also an award for Best Cocker Spaniel in Show, as well as other non-regular class titles. Th e 2014 Best in Show winner was the English Springer Spaniel, Ch. Telltale American Ride. Prior to this year, the Black Cocker Spaniel, Grand Ch. Casablanca’s Th rilling Seduction, won the event an unprecedent- ed four consecutive years, from 2010-2013. His son, Ch. Ashdown’s Time to Th rill was awarded Best Cocker Spaniel in Show in 2014. In 2006, the stunning English Cocker Spaniel, Ch. Chestnut’s Selling the Drama took home the top prize and returned in 2014 to win its breed out of the veterans class. Julia Gasgow’s Ch. Salilyn’s Condor was awarded Best in Show three consecu- tive years in the 1990s—the third Salilyn English Springer Spaniel to win the cov- eted award. Th ere have also been Clumber
Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, a Welsh Spring- er Spaniel and an Irish Water Spaniel awarded Best in Show at the ASC Flushing Spaniel Show. Th e American Spaniel Club also sup- ports health and rescue e ff orts for Cocker Spaniels through the American Spaniel Club Foundation. It’s most recent project has been “Eye Support Cockers”, an e ff ort to fully fund Cocker Spaniel cataract research at the University of Pennsylvania. Nearly $90,000 has been raised by the American Spaniel Club, the ASC Foundation, mem- ber clubs and other individual e ff orts. More information on the American Spaniel Club and Cocker Spaniels can be found through the club’s website, http:// www.asc-cockerspaniel.org. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Diane Kepley is an AKC Cocker Spaniel breed- er/judge and also judges other sporting breeds. Diane is a member of the American Spaniel Club and serves on its board as a director- at-large. She is an American Spaniel Club approved breed mentor and an AKC Breeder of Merit. Beginning with ASCOB Cocker Spaniels in 1990, she has since bred or owned champions in all three varieties. Dogs from her breeding program have also attained titles in Obedience, Rally, Tracking and Agility.
4 AKC “Cocker Spaniel Standard”, c. June 1992.
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