What to choose between a Springer or Cocker Spaniel

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If you want a working dog that isn’t as big as a labrador you’ll be looking at a terrier or a Spaniel. A terriers a good dog but I’ve not met many ta have the temperament or versatility of a Spaniel. A smaller working dog but with plenty of working spirit they’re more than capable of getting the job done. Unfortunately, even if you want a spaniel you’ll have the choice between a Cocker and a Springer Spaniel. While the American Kennel Club recognizes 15 different breeds of spaniel the typical choice in the UK is Springer or Cockers. Certainly, not a bad choice to have as both are remarkable breeds but very different dogs indeed. The wrong choice here could lead to some frustration for the owner and the dog. So what is it a Springer or a Cocker Spaniel?

Springer Spaniels

The Springer is the bigger of the two spaniels. Potential to be double the size of some Cocker spaniels but still smaller than a labrador. This puts them at a happy medium between a dog great in cover and capable of heavy retrieves. The Springer gets about its work in a diligent manner making swift progress through cover and great pace in open ground. Naturally very confident picking things up in their mouth and a bird offers no obstacle to this mindset. Often considered more biddable than a cocker they work hard and are less independent than a cocker. Granted this is owner dependent as with either dog will take a fair amount of work to control as their natural drive is so high. Until the Covid-19 Pandemic, they were also the bargain of the gun dog world. Where Labradors and Cockers were between £700-£1000 a well documented springer would cost you less than £500. For what you get in terms of dog this is a bargain and will be with you for a long time.

Springer Spaniel Gundog retrieving Dummy

 

Cocker Spaniels

The Cocker spaniel is the darling of the shooting world. Quite small and an attractive dog the Cocker Spaniel has been the hot ticket for some time. For the Gun who lives somewhere small or with a smaller car to have the Spaniel drive in a 10kg frame is far more appealing. However, just because they are small doesn’t mean they don’t work. This tiny frame means they have brilliant aptitude in cover and can fit in gaps that bigger dogs physically cant. For sharing a pigeon hide they’re perfect as they take up a fraction of the space compared to a labrador for example. For those looking for a variety of colours there are plenty to choose from with the Cocker Spaniel. The Cocker Spaniel comes in 23 different colours. From solid colours to a mix, there are many options for those that want to match your dog to your home for example. There are some studies done that match certain colours with certain temperaments that can read Here.

Cocker Spaniel retrieving Hen bird winter scene

Sprocker

This is a modern hybrid and to the disgust of the Kennel Club quite a good one. If you can’t decide between the Springer or a Cocker then why not a two in one? In terms of Size, Temperament and colour this is hard to say. A Sprocker will be the sum of both its parents. Two big parents will make a big Sprocker and two smaller ones will make smaller pups. The same can be said for temperament, whether you want drive or suppleness you are going to have to be more careful with the choice of parents. A Sprocker really is an opportunity to get the best of both worlds if you play your cards right.  A happy medium between two great breeds. While there won’t be any trialing on your horizon, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a great dog. Whether it’s the vocal tendencies of a Springer or you want a bigger dog than what the Cocker offers then the Sprocker offers the best of both. For more details on a Sprocker please click Here.

Chocolate Sproker puppy dog

Conclusion

Owning a Spaniel is an exciting prospect. There are many people who will dismiss them for being mad and full of energy. Although, to get up at the crack of dawn to go wildfowling or undertake a long drive to go game shooting you’ll need some of that mad energy too! While the Cocker wins the beauty contest the Springer wins the performance competition. That said neither will have a problem with pheasant or partridge. Your heart will likely pick for you in this case and if you can’t make your mind up then a Sproker may be your choice. For a more technical break down on the difference between a Springer or Cocker Spaniel please click Here. Country Life also did a right up on their history which you can read Here.

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