English Cocker Spaniel colours
One of the oldest types of land spaniel known, the Cocker descended from the original spaniels of Spain as one of a family destined to become highly diversified in size, type, coloring, and hunting ability.
Prior to the 17th century, all spaniels existed in a group together; however, the group was eventually divided based on hunting ability and size. English Cockers fell into the small land spaniel group, and in 1892 the Kennel Club (England) finally recognized Springers and Cockers as separate breeds.
Prior to that date, and even occassionally after, Springers and Cockers appeared in the same litters, with the only breed difference existing in size.
The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was formed in 1935 to promote the interest of the English Cocker. A number of American fanciers had noticed the different strains of Cocker fast emerging and sought to preserve the variety extant in the English Cocker and establish it as a separate breed.
The immediate aim of the club was to discourage the interbreeding of English and American varieties of Cocker (the American recognizable by their smaller, rounder heads and shorter muzzle, among other features), and finally, after much work by fanciers, the AKC recognized the two breeds as separate in 1946.