Friday, December 3, 2010

What is a Field Bred English Cocker Spaniel?

At the end of this post I will include links to a couple of detailed descriptions about the ECS, but I wanted to take a stab at describing the two cockers that I have the pleasure of owning. While they both have their idiosyncrasies, they also have similarities that I believe are prevalent throughout the breed.
The ECS breed is a happy breed in general. They are constantly wagging their tales and they love people. They also are incredibly loyal and attached. I cannot walk from the kitchen to the living room without my cockers following me. They always want to be with me. When I take a shower, they will sit outside of the shower waiting for me to finish…they literally try to go anywhere that I go. The breed also tends to be very biddable. That is, they generally want to please their owner. Because of this, I do not own an e-collar for my dogs, and I have not desire to purchase one. While they are not always perfect angels, generally a harsh word or a little scruff of the neck is all that it takes to get them in line.  My dogs are also excellent with kids. I had Macy for almost a year before my daughter came along, and while that was definitely an adjustment for Macy, she still does an excellent job of tolerating the baby. Rocky, on the other hand, did not know life “pre-baby” and assumes that being pulled on, sat upon, and yelled at (yes, my daughter yells at the dogs) is a part of life.
As far as a hunting dog goes, the ECS excels in-spite of its size. They go hard and they can go all day long. While there are certain types of cover that are more difficult for the cocker to penetrate, they will never give up. I have found that they sometimes struggle in thick, deep, water-way type grass (and what dog doesn’t?) However, in the types of cover that most upland birds frequent they have no difficulties getting around. On a number of occasions, My cockers have amazed other hunters at their ability to get through thick cover all day long. The cocker goes through cover in a somewhat unique way. If the cover is very thick, they will often “bounce” through the cover. This is one of those things you kind of have to see to understand…it’s hard to explain. If the cover isn’t too thick, or if it is scrub oaks, or high horseweeds, cockers will keep their nose to the ground and “thread” their way through the cover. My opinion is that the small size of the cocker is a distinct advantage over larger breeds in many types of cover. They are able to get through the cover using minimal energy because they aren’t forcing their way through.
As to appearance, in a lot of ways the ECS looks like a Springer Spaniel that got its legs cut off at the knees. They also have a broad, deep chest for their size. The ECS eye’s are set back in the eye socket so as to avoid being injured or picking up debris while going through cover. Their ears are long, but not long to the point of being ridiculous; they are also set higher on the head than a show cocker. The color of a ECS is about any color combination that you can imagine. While not an exhaustive list, some of the colors are black, liver, red, golden, black and white, liver and white, black and tan, etc. Some have heavy ticking, others have no ticking at all. The cocker can weigh anywhere from 20lbs all the way up towards 40lbs. However, the upper 20’s seem to be about the norm. Macy weighs anywhere from 27-28lbs and Rocky is currently weighing in at 27 pounds, although he is not done growing yet. Males tend to weigh more than females.
More information about the breed confirmation can be found using the following links: (you’ll have to pick through this article…it’s not all directed at the field bred ECS)
And some pictures to keep it interesting (did anyone actually read anything that I wrote above?!)
DSC00188 (2)  CIMG3124 11-13 Upload 037

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