The Working Cocker Spaniel
The correct name for this breed is English cocker spaniel a search on the kennel club web site will return Spaniel (cocker).The English cocker is related to the American cocker if you compare the American to the English you can see how diverse a breed can become from different breeding programs where as the American cocker as been recognised as a different breed the English cocker (show) and the English cocker (working) have not.Even though the different breeding programs have produced very different dogs in appearance. Their temperament and enthusiasm remains similar. Here in lies some confusion to people buying their first cocker so I will try to clarify the difference between the show line and the working line. Fist the show type has been bred to conform to a breed standard this breed standard is available on the kennel club web site so I will just highlight the main characteristics the height to the withers or shoulder the length of the body the placement of the ears in line with the eyes the length of the coat with the feathers forming a skirt and an undocked tail. the coat on these dogs requires a lot more attention than the working type and if showing it is necessary to hand strip the coat never use clippers.
The working dog how ever comes in a very diverse array of size and coat where emphasis as been on intelligence stamina a keenness to hunt and retrieve therefore the grooming and care for the coat can vary greatly but in general the coat is shorter and there are is a lot less feathering the places to pay attention to are lugs and matting behind the ears (which are set higher than the show dog ) and under the arms trim the hair between the toes and check for grass seeds as these enter the skin and can cause irritation and infection if not removed. Since the docking law of 2008 only pups intended for work can be legally docked under present rules a docked dog can not be shown at a dog show or event where an admission fee is payable unless it is for the purpose of demonstrating the working ability of the dog as you can see the working dog very rarely conforms to the breed standard making it unsuitable for showing so where a show dog is judged on its appearance and closeness to the breed standard to become a show champion. A working dog is tested in the field and judged on its ability to do the job required to attain the title of Field Trial Champion (FTCH) this is the only title allowed on pedigrees titles like FTW etc are not indications that the dog is any more than average These titles are used by breeders and advertisers to show the dog has competed and may have some merit but before purchasing a dog or puppy whose parents are advertised as such satisfy your self that the dog in question as not progressed any further because a major fault as become apparent it could also be that the breeder trainer just dose not have the time or incentive to continue competing with the dog