Dan's Journal

Spaniel trials?

English Cockers and English Springer Spaniels

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the idea of competing the English Cocker against the English Springer in field trial events.  I know there are hundreds of reasons why clubs shouldn’t have the ability to offer trials with both breeds(especially after being refused a special use permit in ND, with one of the reasons being the smell of gun powder in the air would be a concern to the neighbors that live over a quarter of a mile away….yes that’s true, it happened).

My feeling, as it pertains to the dogs, is that we are using both breeds to hunt the same birds, in the same types of cover, and the field trials don’t differ much from one-place English Cockers and English Springers ready for trainingto the next.  The only real difference in trials, as far as I can tell, is that the cockers are usually required to run a couple of series in more varying types of cover when it comes to the Nationals.  This being said, it might offer more venues locally for cockers, and it might give Springers, who are more than capable in the woods, something more diverse to showcase their talents.  I don’t have particular areas where I hunt my cockers, that I shy away from with the Springers.  Both breeds adapt equally in different scenarios, s0 why not put them both to the test, together.

The only real issue that I can see, is one that would arise when it came time to run the National events.  Do we still have two Looks like a future serial killer!!separate Nationals, or lump them together for one Grand Finale?  If so wouldn’t it be a benefit to both breeds, since the qualifying would now be a little tougher with the added entries.  I would like to get a little feedback from both Springer enthusiasts, Cocker enthusiasts, and from those who compete or hunt with both.

I am for it, not only from a personal standpoint of less burden to travel to attend breed specific trials, but I believe that it would be a great way to improve the quality of both breeds.  Springers and Cockers in the grass fields and woods, just like one can see every fall during the various hunting seasons.

Please feel free to leave your feedback.  This post is only here for discussion, there is no right or wrong answer(unless your against the idea).  And please no comments on my second grade picture.  I am very sensitive, and will be the first to say the Mr. T phase was short lived, but the ugly phase kinda stuck with me.

6 Responses to “Spaniel trials?”

  1. Hi Dan,

    I love this topic! Having discussed this many times with both cocker and springer people I think there would be support for mixed breed trials. Why not? Springers can hunt in the woods as well as cockers. One of our favorite trials is put on by the Missouri Headwaters club in Montana. It is run in the woods! It is fun, challenging and mentally stimulating for the dogs. How boring must it be to run in bland grass fields all the time?

    The arguments or concerns against are mainly from the Cocker owners. They are concerned that by having to compete against Springers they will lose their cockerness. It is up to the judges to be educated and judge the two breeds on the merits not choosing a cocker because it runs like a springer and vice versa.

    We are heading to our first Canadian trials next month. Looking forward to see how it ‘works’ up there where the two breeds run together.

    Happy Training and Trialing,

  2. Well they run them together in Canada and a Cocker won one year….In the last National English Springer Spaniel Shooting Dog Championship they let both Cockers and Springers run with no problems … In New Zealand I judged them running together and both breeds were equal in ability in rabbit trials… I see no problem with it all.. Getting it done would be the problem …. lol…

  3. Jamie Fitterer says:

    Well…..I can’t say much about this topic being a Retreiver guy, but I will say that I think I would lean towards having them run together. Now my experience with trials is very green. I do think both breeds are wonderful hunters and should run against each other. I think it would also help not having such a clicky seperation with the two groups. I like hunting over Springers, Cockers, and Retreivers as long as they are good dogs and work hard. To me, it is about the experience of the hunt, whether trial or real, if the dog can hunt, hunt them all together and see who performs the best.

    Now on to the real subject here!!!!!!! That Mr. T shirt is way too funny. I thought you were geeeky growing up in Biz but I truly had no idea of just how much! Love teh Buck teeth. Hope to see you soon and keep me informed if you are comign through Bozeman anytime soon.

  4. Don Banducci says:

    Springer trial participation was down considerably this past spring-at least in California. Adding cockers to the mix could beef up attendance while making trials more financially viable-a common concern among clubs putting them on. I’m for anything that expands people’s positive perception of the spaniel breeds-and helps to improve the breed. I think springers and cockers running together would do this.

  5. Russ Pool says:

    Dan, since our talk a couple of weeks ago about this fall’s trials I have given a lot of thought to Cocker trials and Springer trials. I think it is an interesting topic. I don’t really know enough about the different styles of hunting but it might make sense for a combined trial. Something that might make even more sense is to combine weekends. Have Springers run Friday and Saturday and have Cockers run Sunday and Monday over the same courses or for a variety, courses that are within a short driving distance. With this being done, as you mentioned, many more pros who work both types of dogs would be more likely to travel to both venues. This would help the clubs and the entries. That way, maybe I could see Strider run in his home trial! Just kiddin’….Russ

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