Chloe gives me a big smile as we head up the trail.

As 2016 begins, I’m reminded of how much time Chloe and me have spent together this past year and how quickly it's gone by. Whether it’s our daily morning walk, working together in the backyard, playing fetch with a ball, or sitting quietly in the big La-Z-Boy recliner, the Cocker Spaniel breed is one that truly enjoys spending time with their human companions. It doesn’t necessarily come from training, but rather it’s based upon their long instinctive history of being at our side as a hunting partner.

In the book, Barron’s Dog Bible on Cocker Spaniels, author Joan Hustace Walker sums it up rather nicely,

“To many people the Cocker Spaniel is the ultimate lap dog. Compact in size and sporting a luxurious coat, this precious dog with the dark gentle eyes and sweet disposition makes for a wonderful companion. Underneath that charming exterior, however, centuries of hunting instincts and drives continue to course through this spaniel’s blood, giving the Cocker a delightful depth of character not found in many pets.”

Centuries of hunting instincts is
evident in this pose of Chloe.
Although Chloe’s unique linage of being an American Cocker Spaniel, is only a little over a hundred years, her origins as a member of the “spaniel” family goes much further back in time, to the Middle English word that described the breed as “spaynel” or “spaniell”, and to the Old French “espaignol” meaning “Spaniard” or “Spanish Dog”, where Spain is given credit as being the home of the spaniel. One historian has even placed the spaniel as far back as the Roman era, noting that the likeness of a spaniel can be found on their monuments, but the first recorded mention of a spaniel occurs in 7 A.D. from the Irish, that noted “water spaniels” were given to the king as a tribute.

As a person who enjoys reading and thinking about history, I’m always reminded of Chloe’s long ancestral beginnings whenever we’re together. According to Barron’s, the Cocker Spaniel,

…has a merry, playful temperament, the Cocker’s manner of hunting has been --and still is-- described as “merry.” The Cocker thoroughly enjoys being with her master and displays her joy with a full body wiggle that begins with her docked tail and works up through her entire body.” 

…and in short, that perfectly describes my Chloe!

The perfect companion.

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