Like most other owners I had absolutely no
idea of the difference between a Show
Cocker Spaniel and a Working Cocker Spaniel until I'd had Ellie
for about three
months. A lot of people say they have a working Cocker Spaniel
just because they
work them but in fact they have a 'working' Show Cocker Spaniel.
is that the true Working Cocker is very similar to a Welsh
Springer. They have
much shorter hair, longer legs and much shorter ears along with
a longer head than
Show Cockers. In fact they really shouldn't be called Cocker
Spaniel at all as they
really are a completely different breed.
They are still as gentle as gentle can be, rarely bark but would
happily run all day
every day. I go for regular 12 mile bike rides with her running
at 15-18 mph for the
entire run! Gets you fit! Be warned though, the second
they are spayed they pile on
Pat Comments: I wanted one of these when
we were looking for another dog but it was very difficult to
find a true working cocker. I saw some advertised at £400
each but they'd all gone almost as soon as they were advertised.
They love agility but they can be very, very noisy in an
exciting environment such as an agility class. Can anyone
send a photo of a typical working cocker for this Agility Bits
Pat says:Matthew has now kindly sent some photos of Ellie (above). Many thanks for these super photos.
Just following on from what a few people say and my last post about Ellie....
Because the WORKING Cockers are so used to running around they dont take to leads
very well. Ellie is now 3 and has pulled on a lead since day one. Last week I was
advised by a police dog handler to get a HALTI and she is like having a new dog now
on a lead! She walks absolutely perfectly and would highly reccomend them. They are
not a body harness, just literally fit over their heads and when they try and pull
it pushes their head downwards so they cant see where they are going. They are not
cruel, they don't hurt them in any way but they dont like not seeing ahead of them
so they don't pull. It took all of ten minutes for her to get used to it! However
don't keep them on when its time to run in the field. They soon realise that when
the halti goes on it's time for work and when it comes off its tine to play! For
anyone at all I highly reccomend one! I just wish I'd have been told about them
three years ago! My arms would be normal length now if I'd have known!
I have a four year old black working cocker, Seamus who barks incessantly when I am
out with him if I speak to other people or stop to pause on a walk. This only
happens when he is off the lead, never on.. Any advice please? He barks a lot at
home too and is over excitable when visitors arrive.. Have tried squirting water,
lemon etc and he thinks its a game!
Pat comments: Water isn't a good
idea. A lot of dogs love love it. A calm atmosphere
in the house will help and you need to find a way to break the
habit. Try to calm him down and praise him when he's good.
Don't let visitors make a fuss of him until he's calmed down.
He'll soon learn that calm behaviour gets rewards where
excitable behaviour doesn't.
I have a working cocker and and English cocker, I would certainly recommend a
working cocker if you are active, they are energetic, loving, loyal and I found
easy to train, they are always willing to please and learn. My working cocker is 3
years old and before I got him I had never seen or noticed this breed. My English
cocker is 6 and more laid back. If I ever get another dog it would certainly be a
working cocker they are brilliant dogs. My working cocker is called Clark and my
English cocker is Clive, I also have 2 cats Clara & Cloe and a budgie called
Charlie, they all get on great
Working cockers, love them and it looks like they are getting more popular as I have
seen more recently when out for walks
I have a 5 year old English cocker spaniel he looks like a show dog but acts like a
work dog he never bites and accepts any other dog
Golden cocker (show type) We have a very handsome golden cocker (boy) but he's very
lazy, he doesn't like walking (especially up hills!) he's 5 years old, and very
chunky. He's not greedy but very over weight. He was 3 years old when we got him,
and I thought I would soon slim him down with plenty of exercise! but I've failed
miserably, is this common?
Pat comments: We had to reduce Tilly's
food and cut out titbits in order for her to lose weight.
A healthy cocker is normally lively and keen to walk. In
fact they don't walk they trot. Your vet may have a
nutritionist and/or a slimming club for overweight dogs and this
would really help. It's a bit like going to Weightwatchers
We got a cocker from a domestic setting at 8 weeks old and he is a typical cocker
to look at with the ears and is golden in colour, however we have since got a
working cocker from a breeder she is just two weeks younger that 16 week old George
but loads smaller she is like a pocket rocket and makes our lovely George look
positively cumbersome but we love both of them dearly, and when they are old enough
look forward to long romps on the heath together, they get on realy well but the
new pup still crys a bit at night and first thing in the morning even though she
has George for aompany.
Alicia Thomson age 9 from Alford, Scotland:
My dog's name is Rollo he is 10 month's old when he is hype he tucks his tail
between his back legs and he's off. Very loving dog.
We have sasha, 11 month old show cocker, golden in colour with huge ears and she is
totally gorgeous. Been to obedience classes, still not heeling and yanking my arms
off everytime we go for a walk. However, I am tending to take her to the woods
more and over fields as she loves to run around and off lead is much better. She
hates the halti, any suggestions.
Pat comments: You could try
using a harness. I
bought a Halti harness for Jamie and and Easy Walk for Sasha.
They both work well.
I bought a Cocker Spaniel five years ago and told he was a working breed. However,
during a recent visit to a vet she thought there was some collie in him. On
reflection, at the time did not get any Kennel Club docs. and if there is any collie
in him would like to know what to look for in our dog as we find photos so far
Pat comments: It's almost impossible to be
certain what's in a dog unless you pay for a DNA test to
determine the breeds. The
sprollie page will give
you an idea of what characteristics to look for in a spaniel
I really don't know if my cocker is a Working Cocker Spaniel or a Shown Cocker
Spaniel .... what I know is that he loves Agility.
He is a strong and big cocker , with 43cm tall and 18 kg weight .. is a very big
and strong cocker , so for me is a Working Cocker Spaniel
I think that agility is the only thing that he thinks ( ok ..food too :) ) , he is
very fast, with very nice turns and contacts ... and he keeps barking all the course
So if you have a cocker ... agility is the best for him
I have 2 working cockers - Lacey is a small and Rogue a medium !
Lacey is like dynamite she is the sooo fast and I had to do a lot of intensive
training when she was younger to channel her speed and drive as she would get
overexcited and nip me - this was easily focussed onto her tennis ball. She is 100%
focussed on me when we are competing which is not always good as she will run into
jumps instead of looking where she is going!!. rogue is entirely different and is
nose to the floor gone hunting ! however he is a rescue and is now responding well
to positive training with high energy rewards :)
They are a joy to live with buy definitely not for the faint hearted!
I have a cocker spaniel puppy called Archie. He is very good at agility. He Goes over A slim box , hoops and poles. He is very cute at it too.
Pat comments: Bethany, don't let
your puppy do any jumping until he's at least 12 months old.
That will protect his joints and will stop him from hurting
himself. You can do obedience with a puppy and you can put
poles on the ground and send him through tunnels. Things
like weaving and jumping can cause long term problems if a dog
starts too young. The important thing is to have lots of
fun with your puppy while he's learning. Larger breeds
should be older than 12 months when they start. If anyone
is wondering when to start agility with a young dog the best
thing to do is to get advice from a trainer who can assess your
dog individually and decide how much it's safe to do.
We have 3 lovely working cockers, the first one was by accident, thinking he would
be a 'typical' cocker. The other 2 were entirely by design. They are all friendly,
very intelligent, energetic and so keen to please. I'm looking to take my youngest
to agility classes to keep his mind active, I hope it does the trick!
Aoife & Dusty:
He jumps more than double his height despite being a bit on the fat side. I see a
lot of potential in this breed. :]
Pat comments: It sounds as if your dog
really loves jumping and dogs like this should be encouraged to
enjoy agility. In the UK a dog in the medium category will
only be asked to jump 45cm maximum, and this is when they are
fully fit and not overweight. Please can I make a
suggestion that you lower your jumps to 35cm. This will
give you the big advantage of being able to concentrate on
doing more difficult sequences of lower jumps. If your dog
is taller than 49cm then you could raise the jumps to 45cm when
he has slimmed down a bit. (The height categories for small and medium dogs are:
Medium Dogs over 350mm (1ft 1.75ins) and 43cm (1ft 5ins) or under at the withers,
dogs 35cm (1ft 1.75ins) or under at the withers.
We were always aware of the difference between the two types of Cocker, because the
father-in-law bred and worked them all his life. Sadly, he has now passed away and
his pack of workers sold on (no sentimentalism in the working community!) but he
left us with a gift we shall treasure for years - the last bitch of his last
litter. Ellie is loving, loyal, and biddable (and cunning and mischevous!), learns
faster than we do, and has taken to agility like a duck to water. Working Cockers
are very special dogs, easier to look after than Show Cockers because of their
shorter ears and coat, and no problems with eyes or hips. If you are thinking of
agility, they are perfect. As long as there are no interesting smells, or water, or
food... We are already considering another. As they say, Would Recommend.
I've not long had a 2yr old rescue cocker, she's been badly treated and doesn't
like many other dogs, although have got her out of the snarling and growling now
unless another dog comes flying at her. Would so like to have a go at agility with
her as she's so full of energy and life she just needs some focus I think? Do they
have to be perfectly behaved to go to a class, I can control her as long as she is
not in confrontation with other dogs and then sometimes we do have a good bark n
rumble. Can muzzle her but don't like to as believe we're past that stage. Any
Pat comments: If you have a dog that doesn't like other
dogs it's best to speak to the person who is taking the agility
class. Some dogs become so focused on agility that they
forget about the dogs around them and it can really help.
As long as you have control there shouldn't be a problem but
they do have to be off lead (one at a time). One thing to
avoid is the kind of class where people take two or three dogs
along and tie them to a fence whilst they're working another
dog. This is guaranteed to create an aggressive
atmosphere. I know several people who have rescue dogs
that weren't properly socialised as puppies. The dogs are
no problem as the handlers have complete control and don't allow
them to fly at other dogs. Many of these dogs have
been competing for years. Go for it!
I love them they have lots of intelligence and love to play,especially fetch.
My cocker spaniel Barney is a working cocker from the Nancarrow stock in Truro Cornwall and he is beautiful in looks.
He is gold in temperament and I have found him to be loyal and
he loves to be with us as much as possible.
He is just 20 months old so I look forward to many more years with him. I love him to bits.
I have a very energetic working /show cocker spaniel who is only 8wks old . She is
called Tilly . I also was not aware of the different types of cockers. Has anybody
else got one that can give me a report on the temperament of these ? I have already
taught her to sit and lie down (that's with treats involved )! So I think she is
going to be quite intelligent.
We have an 18 month working cocker named Meg she is full of life and never stops,
she loves agility and was very quick to learn. she does get mistaken for a small
springer all the time. I would love to get another one soon and would recommend
them to any one one who wants a lovely dog.
I have one 13 year old English cocker called Jim, sadly he won't be with us much
I will, however be getting at least one if not two cocker puppies, probably working
English working ones, I was glad to hear of their good reputation with agility. Jim
is a bit past that now but I can't wait to try it with the puppies!
Pat adds: There's lots of groundwork you
can do with puppies until they are old
enough to start jumping at around 12 months. As well as
obedience you can put poles on the ground between jump wings to
get them used to the equipment and they can go through tunnels.
The weave is stressful to the spine so leave that alone but you
could do some very small contacts.
(Definitely not the full sized ones.) Look after Jim
first, though. There will only ever be one Jim and he is
precious to you.
We have got two English Cocker Spaniels at home and they are both beautiful dogs
with a calm yet energetic when they want to be temperaments. I would recommend them
to any family looking for a dog they are great with children and other dogs. They
are easy to train because there so clever and their love of treats. I'm only 13 and
I have taught them both lots of tricks including agility. They're so loving and if
you get one you'll see for yourself.
Cocker Spaniels have a lovly temperament and are active dogs. Because they are
greedy dogs they will do anything for a treat. So this means they are pretty easy
Maya is a working cocker, we didn't know there were two different types when we got
her. She's 16 months old and on a waiting list for agility. If offered a treat
she will sit, do down, flat, twist and paw all in one go in the hope that one of
them is the right one. She only has to see me go to back door and is there before
me and waiting to see if I'm going up the garden or to the garage and always gets
(Working cocker - field trial breeding):
Our Flash is very, very bright, and needs careful
handling to prevent him
anticipating what we want. Calmness always from the
handler. Very athletic dog,
ready and happy to work all day and to please us.
I have a working cocker spaniel and it's true the tail never
stops wagging. She is
also into every tussock of grass and every hole in the ground. They learn very
quickly, it's sometimes hard to keep up with them.
Don't forget that there are two very different
types of cocker spaniels (not counting
the American) - the show cocker and
the working cocker, which is often
mistaken for an undersized springer. The workers are bred
purely to work and for their
temperament, and just live to investigate every twig and leaf.
They are fast, keen to please and
learn VERY quickly. Having tried ours (who is only 10
months, so cannot start agility
proper), we are now looking for a suitable club
close to us. By the way, no-one told him he was too
young to jump - trying to stop
him on a romp with friends in the fields is impossible.
Having had a show type
cocker before, I can vouch for the fact that the workers
are faster and more agile, and learn
crossing these two breeds (done specifically for pets) you do
not run a great risk of getting any of the inherent problems
from either breed ie heart problems from the cavalier or
liver/kidney problems from the cocker. Also the
temperament is loving and quick to learn (and fast). Will
run around around all day then cuddle up on your lap.
Colin would recommend this cross for agility and would choose
this type of dog again.