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We've created several weathervane and sign designs featuring Cocker and Springer spaniels, and we're quite often asked to swap one for the other. In many ways they are very similar and the differences are subtle particularly in silhouette form, but to those who know both breeds well they can be quite different characters, and we know how important it is to reflect this in our design work. My own experience leans slightly more on the Springer side; mum and Dad had two Springers until not that long ago, both the happiest dogs on the planet with boundless energy and enthusiasm, but actually really different in personality despite being brothers. Ziggy, who was the runt of the litter, was bigger, very confident and laid back and had a sense of empathy you don't often see in a dog! Ozzy was smaller and more athletic, a lot more anxious and with a tendency to be more than a little obsessive, was definitely the more determined of the pair. Neither were working dogs, but my memory is of them at their happiest, charging through ferns, long grass and undergrowth, noses to the ground and tails in the air. We created a bespoke sign for a pub called the Scroggy Dog, and I used a photo of Ozzy to work from as he always was a huge fan of getting himself in a muddy state.
David's family have a working cocker Spaniel called Tess. She's ten now and such a gentle natured girl, lovely with little kids which is fortunate given she spends a reasonable amount of time with them! Gentle though she is, there is also a really manic high drive side to her and she tends to get quite vocal when excited or frustrated. I remember taking her on a walk years ago and an old man commenting that she was the busiest dog he'd ever seen, and I think that definitely sums her up.
Springers and Cockers originally came from the same litters, until 1902 when the two were recognised by the UK kennel club as being seperate breeds. Cockers are a little smaller, the name coming from the bird 'Woodcock' which is what they were bred to hunt. Springers are larger, and though they roughly do the same job of flushing out and retrieving game, their larger size and greater power means they are able to carry larger birds easily. The more compact Cocker may find it a little easier to get through dense undergrowth but really it's more a matter of personal preference rather than a list of pros and cons for each breed.
We did a lot of training with our Border Collie Bryn when we lived in Manchester, actually with a trainer, Jane Ardern, who specialises in Cocker spaniels - she breeds, works and trains Gun Dogs at Waggawuffins near Bury. There was a lot of focus on, whichever breed you have, tapping into their instinct and natural drive through play as a way to bond with and train them, whether they are working dogs or just family pets. So with the Spaniels there was a lot of scent work and sniffing games, and working closely with their handler in retrieves and holds. However many generations there are in a line that have not been working dogs, their instinct to do what they were bred for is hard wired.
I love creating weathervane designs based on Springer and Cocker Spaniels because their personalities are so fun and I love to try and bring that through in my drawing. We can create bespoke weathervane designs based on your dog if you have a photo or even just a good description - a great unique gift for a dog lover.