The Working Cocker Spaniel (vs. The Show Cocker Spaniel)
As the name already implies, the WCS is cut out for working and therefore not suitable as a pet without a job. If you don’t work the wocker, he will cause you work! There are no separate pedigrees for WCS and “normal” (Show) Cocker Spaniels. Both are registered under the name Cocker Spaniel.
Generally, WCS have all the advantages and disadvantages of dogs that are bred to work closely together with people, such as Border Collies.
There are some misconceptions about their behaviour, especially compared to the average Show Cocker. To give you an idea of how a good WCS works, let me describe one aspect of their job in detail: First, they have to walk a long distance before they get to flush the birds. They are not supposed to run around and sniff where they want but must be able to obey direction commands at ALL times. When birds fly up, they have to sit down and wait for further instructions. Even if they see a bird falling down they might be ordered to bring another one first and leave that other bird.
The way WCS work explains the way they are.
WCS have a lot of stamina for what they do. They HAVE to be worked if you want them to lead happy lives. Dummy training, agility, mantrailing – it doesn’t really matter which activity you choose, as long as you keep your dog active a lot and not just once a week. If worked properly, they are great dogs in every respect. WCS have a very good body awareness and are highly intelligent, but most important they have the will to please and a huge capacity for concentration combined with steadiness and loads of energy. When kept properly they are also better pets than most working breeds because they are very friendly and also easy to keep in groups. All the gamekeepers we visited keep their stud dogs and bitches together without any problems.
What I see in most Show Cockers is either dogs with the energy level of a companion dog or dogs with more drive but lacking the concentration capacity and the will to please of the WCS. If they catch a scent they can be off and gone. I know quite some Show Cockers that are wonderful pets but not cut out for doing agility, for instance – they are a completely different breed from the WCS.
Here a blog written by our puppy buyer Olga who is a real WCS fan.