Spaniel Journal Home Page

Both Sides of the Pond
by Tony Roettger

Photos of the British 2003 AV Championship Provided by the Author

Upon visiting England for the AV Championship (Any Variety of spaniel but Cocker) and the Cocker Championship this past January, the British way and the American way is much more clear.  I have been watching the Championships on VHS tape for years but it was somewhat different than seeing it in person.

To the British, our dogs are "not proper". To us, their dogs are "working too close" or "can't mark".  I may be sticking my neck out on this, but I feel relatively comfortable doing so for the simple reason that I did get to train with the Brits for a few days prior to the Championship, as well as, talk to them on a regular basis.  This does not make me special by any stretch since there are many of us Americans that import dogs and have friends in the UK.  But no one has ever written the differences down in a fashion that may help both sides to understand the other.

Upon observing the dogs in action, the way I see it is that the "English" English Springer's or Cockers are viewed by myself as being on an "invisible cord".  A cord that allows the handler to "put" the dog into any cover asked of the dog.  A cord that has the dog quartering - not so much to work the wind, but to "take cover" and not miss a single "piece of ground".  They want their dogs to cover and thrash every piece of ground, every clump, every bush; you can't miss anything. Your dogs are expected to be a bit more disciplined than maybe we would expect in America.  Any noise or whimper on the line or while questing for game would be a major fault and the dog immediately excused from the trial.  Their idea of what we call trapping or picked up game from the nest is what they call "pegging". This is another major fault.  You will be excused for that very quickly.  Your dog is to flush that game, not catch it.  If that means pushing it with the dogs nose, then that is what is to happen. They can pick it up and throw it with their mouth. The spaniel must do whatever it takes to get that game to run or fly.  Your dog is expected to walk at heel while waiting its turn to run.  There are no radios to tell you that dog #15 is to come to the line or that you are on deck.  You just be there or don't run.  The Professional trainers are limited to how many dogs they can run in a trial because of how the entries are selected. It is a random draw. There is a limit to how many dogs can run in a trial... sixteen.  As well, there is a minimum of twelve.  You send your entries in, there is a random draw, and you may get picked you may not.  If you’re not picked, you may get to go on a waiting list - so show up anyway and if someone is a no show, then you fill his or her spot.    

Page 1

| Spaniel Journal | Next Page |

| Bookstore | The Bookshelf | Special Feature | Our Sponsors | Spaniel Resources | Letters | Archives | Spaniel Journal |
| John DeMott | Gerald Babin | Tony Roettger | Clark Reid | Daniel Novitch DVM | Martin Deeley | Loretta Baughan |

Copyright © Spaniel Journal & L Baughan Webdesign, 2002, 2003 all rights reserved worldwide