Working Type Cocker Spaniels
As a popular gundog breed, the Cocker Spaniel is an active, good-natured, sporting dog, whether the type is of show or working strain. Although show-type Cocker Spaniels are predominantly bred by show breeders and conform to The Kennel Club’s breed standard, they have still retained their natural working instinct in some form or another, and this trait is seen whether it is during times of play or when out on rural walks.
Over the years there have been show-type Cocker Spaniels that have gained their full title of Champion which means they have proved themselves in the show ring by attaining the Show Champion status and also in the shooting field by attaining a Kennel Club qualification of a Gundog Working Certificate.
Given time and correct training a show-type Cocker Spaniel can be dual purpose and prove its winning streaks in the show ring as well as its ability in its hunting/retrieving duties. There is no comparison to the working of a show-type Cocker Spaniel compared to the ‘Working Cocker’ as they are both bred for two different uses.
However, a show-type Cocker Spaniel works not necessarily with top notch speed but can be methodical and reliable in its hunting and is keen to please its owner on return from a retrieve by carrying any form of game in its soft mouth.
There are KC registered spaniel breed clubs that hold working tests/assessments/training days for various types of show spaniels, information on these clubs and how to get involved in the gundog training aspects is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above photo was taken at a Show Spaniel Working Assessment Day
where three different breeds of show spaniels (Clumber, Cocker, Welsh Springer)
competed in hunting and retrieving tests.
Not only in country sporting activities are show-type Cocker Spaniels active, they are also seen taking part in canine sporting events, such as agility – they can be fairly easily to train for the course, and be fast and accurate:
photo courtesy of Jackie Scott
photos courtesy of Maxine Smith
Another area of show-type Cocker Spaniels at work is within organisations, such as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Pets As Therapy. These organisations have also trained show-type Cocker Spaniels as 'assistant dogs' to aid or assist people with varying disabilities.