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Cocker Spaniel

Origin

Cocker Spaniel refers to two modern breeds of dogs of the spaniel dog type: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, both of which are commonly called simply Cocker Spaniel in their countries of origin. It was also used as a generic term prior to the 20th century for a small hunting Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs in the United Kingdom, with the term "cocker" deriving from their use to hunt the Eurasian Woodcock. When the breed was brought to the United States it was bred to a different standard which enabled it to specialize in hunting the American Woodcock. Further physical changes were bred into the cocker in the United States during the early part of the 20th century due to the preferences of breeders.

Spaniels were first mentioned in the 14th century by Gaston III of Foix-Béarn in his work the Livre de Chasse. The "cocking" or "cocker spaniel" was first used to refer to a type of field or land spaniel in the 19th century. Prior to 1901, Cocker Spaniels were only separated from Field Spaniels and Springer Spaniels by weight. Two dogs are considered to be the foundation sires of both modern breeds, the English variety are descended from Ch. Obo, while the American breed descends from Obo's son, Ch. Obo II.

In the United States, the English Cocker was recognized as separate from the native breed in 1946; in the UK, the American type was recognized as a separate breed in 1970. In addition, there is a second strain of English Cocker Spaniel, a working strain which is not bred to a standard but to working ability. Both breeds share similar coat colors and health issues with a few exceptions.

Description

There are two modern breeds of cocker spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. They were bred as gun dogs; to use their sense of smell to cover low areas near the handler in order to flush birds into the air to be shot, and to use their eyes and nose to locate the bird once downed, and then to retrieve the bird with a soft mouth. The major differences between the English and American varieties is that the American is smaller with a shorter back, a domed head and a shorter muzzle, while the English variety is taller with a narrower head and chest.

Cocker spaniels coats come in a variety of colors including black, liver, red and golden in solids. There are also black and tan, and sometimes liver and tan, as well as a variety of color mixtures of those solid colors including roans, roan and tans, tricolors and those solid colors with additional white markings.

There are physical differences between the show strains and working strains in the UK. While the show strain is bred to the conformation standard, the working strain is bred for working ability and as such several physical differences have appeared. Working type dogs tend to be larger with flatter heads and shorter ears. The coat also tends to be finer than the show variety and have less feathering

The American Cocker Spaniel was bred smaller as American Woodcocks are smaller than their European cousins, and the breeds appearance changed slightly during the first part of the 20th century as the preference by American breeders was for a more stylized appearance.


Height

Male

ACS: {14.5–15.5 inches (37–39 cm)

ECS: 15.5–16 inches (39–41 cm)


Female

ACS: 13.5–14.5 inches (34–37 cm)

ECS: 15–15.5 inches (38–39 cm)

Health Problems

A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections. If your Airedale Terrier has dry skin, he should be fed a food high in omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid.

Living Conditions

The Airedale Terrier is not recommended to live in flats or small dwellings. They are very active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized garden.

Exercise

Airedales were bred for active work, and therefore need plenty of exercise. They need to be taken for at least two medium to long walks a day. Most of them love to play with a ball, swim, or retrieve objects and once fully grown will happily run alongside a bicycle. Without enough attention and exercise the Airedale Terrier will become restless and bored and will usually get itself into trouble. The exercise requirement can go down somewhat after the first two years (as with many dogs) when they start to get mellower

Life Expectancy

About 10-11 years

Health Issues


Cocker spaniels and other dogs that have long, pendulous ears are more predisposed to ear problems than some other breeds. The fold of the ear can prevent air from entering, and it also creates a warm, moist environment where organisms can grow. Otitis externa is an inflammation of the ear canal which can be caused by a variety of factors including parasites, microorganisms, foreign bodies, tumors, and underlying dermatological disease. Ear mites can cause otitis externa; ticks and fleas can also live in dogs' ear canals.

The most common canine ear problems are caused by microorganisms, especially yeast infections. The most common variety of this is Malassezia pachydermatitis. Symptoms can include the dog shaking its head or scratching at its ears more frequently. The ear canal will appear inflamed, a pus-like substance will be discharged in some cases, and the ear will smell quite pungent in most cases. Treatment for the more common causes of otitis externa in dogs often includes flushing the ears with an antibacterial solution. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication is prescribed. Some conditions can increase the chance of ear infections, including living in a humid environment and frequent swimming or bathing without adequate drying of the ear afterwards.

Eye conditions

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a term given to several diseases which affect a dog's eyesight and can lead to blindness. It has been documented in a large number of different dog breeds including both the American and English Cocker Spaniels. The two types of Cockers are susceptible to a specific type of PRA called Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD), symptoms include night blindness leading to total blindness between the ages of three and five. PRCD is the most widespread hereditary retinal disease which may lead to blindness in dogs.

Another leading cause of blindness is Canine glaucoma. This is an increase in the pressure of the fluid in the eye which, if left untreated, can cause visual impairment and eventual loss of sight. The condition can be inherited (Primary glaucoma) or a secondary condition to a variety of other eye issues including tumors or lens luxation. Both breeds are affected by juvenile cataracts which can occur at up to four years of age. Symptoms can include discoloring of the pupil, and treatment may include surgery to remove the cataract


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