At Hearing Dogs we have found the most success with the English Cocker Spaniel from the Spaniel breeds, or mixes of Cocker with another Spaniel.
It is generally believed that the Spaniel breed types originated from Spain. Initially they were grouped together with no defined breeds. By the nineteenth century three general classifications were established according to size. The smaller spaniels, called Cockers were used to flush woodcock and the larger Spaniels, known as Field or English were used to spring game. Later other spaniel breed types were developed according to physical attributes and their function in the field. These include Springer’s, Sussex, Clumber and Irish Water.
Originally bred as working gundog, the Cocker Spaniel has great stamina and requires plenty of exercise and stimulation. In the field, these dogs needed to work closely with their handlers flushing and retrieving game. As a result they are usually a sociable, biddable and trainable breed. They love to be involved in all the family activities and are generally good with children and other household pets if socialised with them from a young age.
Cocker Spaniels are adaptable dogs that will happily live in an urban or country environment. They also adjust well to the changes that hearing dogs must go through as part of their training (from living with their socialiser, to a sound-work trainer and then to the recipients home).
Although the Cocker Spaniel was bred to be a working gundog, it has developed over the years in to two distinct types: the working Cocker and the Show Cocker. The Working Cocker’s have been developed for their ability to work in the field which requires reserves of energy, an ability to pace themselves or “switch off” and a high biddability. These dogs usually excel at their sound work and obedience training. They are ideally suited to recipients with a busy and varied lifestyle. The Show Cockers have lower energy dispositions by comparison. However, they are still energetic, biddable dogs that love to be busy.
Marley (pictured above) is one of our current sponsorship puppies. If you'd like to sponsor him please click here.