Country/Date of Origin: Great Britain/1800s
The English Cocker Spaniel, or Cocker Spaniel as it is known in the rest of the world, is a bird dog designed to work before the gun springing or flushing game out of cover so the hunter could shoot it. In litters of spaniels the smallest ones were used to work woodcock, a bird that hides in dense thickets. The breed gets its name from the game bird it hunted. Eventually the different types of spaniels were separated into various breeds. The most popular being the little Cockers. Cockers not only flush birds and hares, they retrieve them as well.
In the United States, a distinct variation began to emerge in the early part of the twentieth century. By 1946 the two types of cocker were sufficiently different to be split into two breeds. The AKC granted the name Cocker to the new American variation and distinguished the original by calling it the English Cocker Spaniel.