Cocker Specific Discussion > General Cocker Spaniel Discussion

Anyone with experience of both show and working cockers?


Hi all,

sorry if something like this has been asked before.  ;)

I wondered if anyone owns or has owned both show and working type cockers? After only ever having show types, we are now thinking of a working type. I have done lots of research  :lol2: and read somewhere that whilst all dogs obviously have their own character and temperament, the working types are possibly less affectionate. I don't know if this is a myth or not.

I would really appreciate any first hand experiences. I am aware that working types are probably likely to be more active, busy etc, but I wondered about this comment I read re being less affectionate. I also wondered if owners of working type dogs find that they settle at home when they have had physical and mental stimulation or whether they are still busy at home?

Thanks everyone.  :D

Silke x

Hello yes  :D

I've got a 13 year old worker and had a show that was 3 years younger, sadly passed away now and currently have a rescue show along with a Springer pup.

Honestly i think the personality just depends on the dog itself. ill give you my thoughts on based on the dogs ive had from pups and imagining what i think my rescue could've been like. 

If i had to generalise both are very affectionate on the same level really.   

Working, Show or Springer they all need lots of exercise / entertainment

The 2 main differences for me

1 Prey drive - Worker its huge and Springer is 50x more. Both my shows dont show any sign of it at all.
2 Coat - Massively different between them Working Cocker really thick and grows like mad, Show very fine and the featherings grow really fast

We have had both types of the Cockers. Started with the show type back in 1967 ish and then discovered the working type in 1985, this is where we started to make the change over.

I think the love,  affection and loyalty  from both types probably equal. And that it depends on how we bring them up and treat them as to what we get from them in return.

I will say though that my first 2 show types had good general temperaments, but the third one we had was quiet different, in the wrong hands she could have been a nasty type of dog, (different lines to the first two). All 3 dogs were solid golden.

The working type are absolutely bomb proof with regards to their temperaments, they have just as much love and cuddles to give as the show type.

We worked the show type in the beating line, they would retrieve game from land and water. Their drive was a lot more steady than the working type but they still enjoyed their days in the line.

Our Working type are part of our family and all live in our small house with us.
They do get good daily exercise and are nice and settled  we do not use cages to settle them, we have no need to.

We do not confuse their sexuality by automatically spaying them. All of our dogs are left entire.

Don't consider a Cocker spaniel if you are going to cage it while you are at work and then again overnight for security reasons. This is so unfair and asking for over excited dogs that are difficult to manage.

I guess we are all different!

Hedley Millington started with a show type cocker, later getting a wcs and is one of the most famous cocker men of all time!

My show type passed away earlier this year.  She worked 8 of her 9 years in the beating line, she wouldn’t retrieve , loved a cuddle but could be quite anxious.

We now have four wcs.  Of the four - we have a trialling standard dog, a beating dog, a sweeper and Sally……

All the dogs vary in terms of energy level, their level of affection and when / how they want the affection.  The show type was a difficult young dog, very demanding and hard work.  The wcs have (mostly) been much easier although one has the prey drive - and explosive muscle power - of an Exocet missile!

All ours have crates.  They choose to go to them in the day and especially at night.  My two will ask as it goes dark and trying to prise Coral from her dog box (double size, built in, crate) is like trying to prise a clam open…..she’s the one likened to a missile.

The four have been out working today.  All now asleep.  If you train your dog to settle it will.  Settle command is just as important as manners, basic obedience, recall and with wcs you need a STOP or set of brakes! 

Before making the decision I would suggest contacting a local gundog trainer or Gundog Club and ask to see wcs in action.  Well trained dogs are awesome to watch, those not well trained are a liability!

For me the main difference is the amount of time put into to training my dogs.


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