Cooper, my sable English cocker spaniel puppy (C) Natalia Ashton, Perfect cocker spaniel

Q&A | What is the difference between working and show cocker spaniel?

I’m often asked about the difference between show and working type cocker pups, so here’s how I explain it to the first time puppy parents.

The show type cockers have a richer coat, more feathering (long layers of fur) on their legs and body. Their faces are more Teddy bear like and both pups and grown ups are chunkier somewhat.

The working type is slender, with much less feathering, shorter and higher set ears. Their face reminds me of a fox – it’s slimmer than the show type and the muzzle is more “pointy”.

Energy-wise, workers tend to be more energetic, but it will depend on your pups personality. I have known very mellow workers and pretty unstoppable show dogs.

Photo source: Cooper, photo by me

Fred, chocolate and tan English cocker spaniel puppy, 2.5 months old (C) Natalia Ashton, Perfect cocker spaniel

Q&A | What are the colours of English cocker spaniels?

Cockers are like confetti… or a bag of M&Ms: very colourful! The first cockers were solid black and blue roan, but in time the breed became one of the most colourful out there.

Cockers come in solid gold, red (very deep shade of gold, very similar to chestnut), black and chocolate (also known as less-poetic sounding liver); blue, orange, lemon and chocolate roan; black & white, black & tan, chocolate & tan, chocolate & white, orange & white; chocolate white & tan, black white & tan, liver white & tan.

The parti-coloured coats can also be ticked – have spots of colour on white areas (in roans the spots are more “blurred”) Solid cockers should have no white spots, though a white mark on the chest is acceptable.

Sable cocker spaniels, as gorgeous as the can be, are no accepted by the Kennel Club as one of the “official colours”. Bear this in mind if you want to show your pup in the future.

Photo source: Fred photographed by me