Field Events for English Cockers


Bethann Wiley

There are three main events for English Cockers to demonstrate their abilities in the field.  They would be the Working Dog program, the AKC Hunt Test program and AKC Field Trials.  Each of these events has its own purpose but all offer great opportunities for English Cockers and their owners.

The Working Dog program: This program was developed in 1977 for the purpose of testing the field abilities of English Cockers.  The AKC Hunt Test program for spaniels had not been developed yet and field trials were basically non-existent.  This program is a great opportunity for dogs to demonstrate the basic abilities of finding, flushing and retrieving a bird on land as well as performing a water retrieve.  This is an ECSCA title that goes after the dogs registered name and can be earned at the basic level as a WD and if the performance is of a higher caliber, a Working Dog Excellent (WDX) title is awarded.  For details on the requirements for this title go to the link below:

American Kennel Club Spaniel Hunt Tests: This program for spaniels was developed in 1985 and provided a non-competitive set of standards for owners and dogs to achieve.  There are three levels, Junior, Senior, and Master in which the dogs enter and earn qualifying scores towards AKC hunting titles.  The Junior level is similar to a Working Dog certificate while the Master level is a finished dog, steady to wing and shot and capable of doing blind retrieves on water.  This title also goes after the dogs registered name, JH for Junior Hunter, SH for Senior Hunter and MH for Master Hunter. This is a great program for the hunter or English Cocker enthusiast to challenge themselves and their dogs to achieve a higher level of training and enjoy what the dogs were bred to do.  The rules and regulations for Spaniel Hunt Tests can be found at:

American Kennel Club Cocker Field Trials:  Field Trials for cockers have been going on since 1925 under AKC rules. “The purpose of field trials for the English Cocker spaniel is to provide a competitive environment for the continuing enhancement of the hunting capabilities of the breed.  The trial should demonstrate the performance of a properly trained spaniel in the field, and should determine the dog with the finest qualities among the group entered in each stake.  The judging will affect the values of the dogs put up and affect the breeding schedules of the future.”  This is the description taken from The Guide to the Conduct and Judging of Cocker Spaniel Field Trials, otherwise known as the “cocker green book” which is available for $5 from the ECSCA corresponding secretary.  The title of Field Champion, FC, or National Field Champion, NFC precedes the dog’s registered name.  Rules and Regulations for AKC Spaniel Field Trials can be found at: