Origin: United Kingdom (England)
Dog Breed Group: Gun Dog
Life Span: 12-14 years
Weight: Male: 13.5-15.5, Female: 11.5-14.5
Height: Male: 16-17, Female: 15-16
Origin of Name: The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of gun dog.
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The breeds of the AKC Sporting Group were developed to aid hunters of the winged game. These ""sporting dogs"" (also known as goondogs or bird dogs) are subdivided by function - that is, how they hunt. They are Spaniels, Pointers, Setters, Retraisers and European utility breeds. Of these, Spaniels are generally considered to be the oldest.
Spaniel breeds of England evolved centuries ago from dogs of Spanish stock (the term ""spaniel"" derived from ""Spanish""). This was long before the invention of reliable hunting rifles, when bird hunters used dogs in conjunction with nets, bows, and sometimes hawks.
The early authorities divided the Spaniards not by race but by type: either the water Spaniels or the Land Spaniels. Land Spaniels began to divide by size. The larger types were ""Springing Spaniels"" and ""Field Spaniels"" and the smaller ones, which specialized on flushing woodcock, were known as ""Cocking Spaniels"".
In the 19th century, the rise of the dog show, combined with the frenzy of Victorian England for classification, designated various spaniel types as official breeds. Thus, through English Springer Spaniels, Field Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, and all of today's British Spaniels breeds.
American dog fans of the early 20th century developed a companion-bred cocker. It was smaller, with a more opulent coat, a shorter head, and a more domed skull, than its English cousin. Those who favored the old English Hunting Dog formed the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America in 1935. In 1946, the AKC officially recognized the Cocker Spaniel (U.S. type) and the English Cocker Spaniel as separate breeds.