The dog above is an American cocker spaniel. Very few of these dogs are ever used to do their original work– for obvious reasons. The very few that are used for this work are clipped very close. Many, however, don’t have working spaniel instincts. Indeed, you are more likely to find a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with working instincts than you are to find an American cocker with them.
Some of these dogs have very bad temperaments– the result of decades of unscrupulous breeding. This breed was once the most popular breed in the United States, and numb skulls started breeding.
I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to go crazy with the feathering on this dog. But whoever it was, they really had no interest in having a small flushing spaniel.
If you want a small flushing spaniel, there is an alternative.
Remember, there are two breeds of cocker spaniel in this country. The English cocker still has a working form.
Now, its mass-bred pet form in Europe is as screwy as the show American cocker– and then some. This is the breed of cocker that is well-known for a condition called avalanche of rage syndrome, which seems to be associated with the dark red color that is so popular in pet English cockers. This condition, as far as I know, doesn’t exist any cocker population in this country (it’s just regular aggression). But a dog with this condition will be nice one second, and then fly off the handle the next. Dogs with this condition are often euthanized. I’ve heard of this condition in English springer spaniels in this country, but not in the cocker breeds.
The working form of English cocker is very much like a small working English springer that comes in more colors than the springer. And they do look like gun dogs.
And another one:
I could see myself with one of these working English cockers.
Small dogs are much more useful in heavy cover than large ones. And actually, the are more useful than short-legged dogs. Anyone who runs beagles knows this. Those 13 inch dogs are very good in dense cover.
A little spaniel can get into dense cover that a bigger one might not be willing to traverse or even reach.
But if you load one up with coat like the modern American cocker, you are just shooting yourself in the foot.