The Hunting Cocker !! 






Some History !!

 Spaniels belong to one of the oldest breeds mentioned in literature. In the fourteenth century and even earlier, working dogs with a pied fur were described, who while running and wagging their tales drove out fowl from their shelter !! Around 1800 , the Cocker or Cocking Spaniel was mentioned for the first time !! These dogs were most suitable for hunting and shooting woodcocks, from which, our spaniel most probably derives his name.

In 1885, in England, the English Kennel  Club was founded, after which, in 1902 the breeding standard was  established and approved  by the English Kennel Club. In 1906 the first Dutch Spaniel Club was founded, who was mainly focussed on field trials. The present Dutch Spaniel Club was founded in 1926.

 The Cocker Spaniel is a dog with a lot of strength, endurance and an inexhaustible activity; attentive and full of interest for everything happening around him or her.

The cocker has a merry character with an ever wagging tail. The lively movement of the tail is one of the typical characteristics of the Cocker, in particular when he tracks down the game; he does not fear heavy shelter (blackberries, buckthorns). The Cocker is good –natured, affectionate, but still full of energy and excitement !!

 At first selection was made on working qualities only. Lateron, the exterior became more and more important and working qualities were abandonned. Speaking of the English Cocker Spaniel,  the usual or “showtype” is described. The working type has a shorter coat, the ears are carried higher and are shorter; the eyes are deeper set. They are build for working in extremely heavy shelter. This type of Cocker is mostly seen in the hunting field and on field trials !! However, luckily, the "showtype" also holds his ground.


Hunting qualities !! 

  The cocker is supposed to hunt selfsupporting under the rifle, to flush the fowl and to retrieve it out of the water after the shot. Inspite of his small measurements, he retrieves all kind of small game. The Cocker usually hunts very precisely. His compact body is very useful in the rough. He can be trained easily and loves working for his master !!








Every year, the Spaniel Union of the Netherlands (SUN) organizes four types of activity:

1. Hunting instructions days.  2. Certifying days.  3. Youth trials. and  4. CAC/CACIT field trials.

  A system has been developed in which every Spaniel owner can be introduced to the specific characteristics of the hunting Spaniel and can join the competition in the way he likes.


The hunting instructions day, takes place in February/March and is ment for starting Spaniel owners and the ones that like to get acqainted with the game. One can also be advised about the type of hunt, which suits the working Spaniel most!! Moreover, the principles of hunting and training of the young Cocker are taught here.

During this instructions  day, it is also possible to subscribe for several group trainings in various regions.



Certifying days, take place in September. During these days, two judges are qualifying whether the Cocker has a certain shooting level and whether the dag is suitable for practice!! People, having trained during Summer with their Cocker, can test during the trial whether their dog is able to fulfil the learned tasks. It is here, where you can find out whether one’s dog is suitable for field trials.

What, however, should be considered, is the fact that it will always be a random indication, which for many young dogs can be very difficult, in particular to pay attention during the whole day.



Youth field trials and CAC/CACIT field trials are meant for huntsmen who like to  subscribe their dogs in field trials. These trials are very important for the breding of hunting Cocker Spaniels !!










By writing this chapter on "the Hunting Spaniel”,  I really hope to have given a valuable contribution to wonderful relaxing acivities in the country, for which the cocker originally is born and bred. The pleasure you will get of working together with your cocker will even get stronger.

  I sincerely hope much more Cockers will find their way to the field !!