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Working English Cocker Spaniel

One of the most famous dogs in the world couldn’t be happier than if he were running along on the beach. The Royal Puppy could demand the finest caviar, the cushiest beds, and the most gilded toys, but Lupo Cambridge, the dog owned by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, looks quite at home in the gardens of Kensington Palace.

Lupo, who is about four years old, is a Working English Cocker Spaniel. To learn a little more about him and his breed, we chatted with Ryanne, the owner of Cambridge Spaniels. Cambridge Spaniels (CS) is one of America’s few breeders of the Working English Cocker Spaniel, and on top of that she and her family are big Anglophiles. Read on to learn more about Lupo, Ryanne, and the Working English Cocker Spaniel:

WWKD: How did William and Kate spark your interest in the working cocker spaniels?

CS: I have been a fan of the royals for as long as I can remember. My interest in the royals started when I found a book in my school library in second grade on Diana, Princess of Wales thinking she was a princess of whales. My early fascination with the royals has naturally grown into a love of William and Kate and all things royal and English.

Honestly, I always thought I would have a Golden Retriever when I had a dog of my own. My best friend’s family bred them growing up and I always loved them as family dogs. When it came time to find a dog for my own family I realized that, having grown up as a child with terriers in my own house, I wasn’t comfortable with a large dog. Since we have two young boys, my husband and I were equally leery of having small dogs around our rough and tumble children so we decided to look for a medium size dog. Around that time I saw a picture of Kate and Lupo on one of the royal blogs I follow and, even though I had seen Lupo before when I wasn’t looking for a dog, this time I knew instantly that was the type of dog I wanted. Since we have young children I did further research regarding temperament and fit as a family dog and everything I read led me to further conclude that the working English Cocker Spaniel was the perfect fit for our family.

Once we had decided on a working English Cocker Spaniel, actually finding one became quite a challenge. Although they are a very common breed in England, they are not as common in America. Here we have the American Cocker Spaniel, which other than size and ears do not look much like their English counterpart. Once I finally figured out that Lupo was an English Cocker Spaniel it took even further investigating to discover that the working line was different than the show bred line (which I have since learned that even longtime owners of show English Cocker Spaniels aren’t aware of the two lines). To make the search for a working English Cocker Spaniel even more difficult, in the United States the line is more commonly referred to as field bred English Cocker Spaniels. Despite being amazing family dogs, field bred/working English Cocker Spaniels can really only be found in areas of the United States where hunting is popular, such as the south and the northern Midwest. Being a California girl, locating a field bred/working English Cocker Spaniel became a challenge.

WWKD: What is the difference between a working cocker spaniel and a standard cocker spaniel?

CS: The differences between the two types of cocker spaniels are more in regard to their physical appearance than their temperament as they are both wonderful family dogs who are happy and want nothing more than to be with their humans.

Physically, the standard English Cocker Spaniel has been bred for show. They have longer ears, longer coats, longer muzzles, and are a bit smaller than working English Cocker Spaniels. Working English Cocker Spaniels are bred for hunting. They have shorter coats that are more water resistant, shorter ears, webbed toes for swimming, and they are generally larger and more muscular than their standard counterparts.

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