Spaniels can make great family pets – clever dogs who love to please and love long walks.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a new dog then you’re not alone – Kennel Club figures show that the number of people looking for puppies surged in the last couple of years.
But with 221 different breeds of pedigree dog to choose from, there’s plenty of thinking to do before you select your family’s latest four-legged addition – whether you want a large dog, family-friendly dog, or crossbreed.
There’s even academic guidance to seek out, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranking breeds by instincts, obedience, and the ability to adapt.
Spaniels are a type of dog that are hugely popular in the UK, perfect for people who have active lifestyles (they need plenty of exercise).
The UK Kennel Club recognises a dozen breeds of these canine characters – issuing Kennel Club Pedigree Certificates to pups that make the grade.
Here are all 12 – and how they got their names.
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1. King Charles Spaniel
Sharing much of its history - and its name - with its slightly larger Cavalier cousin, the King Charles Spaniel's association with royalty dates back to Queen Mary I. It also has a rounder head and a shorter nose than the far more popualr Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
First recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1945, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is named after King Charles II who loved his spaniels so much he was rarely seen without them. During the English Civil War his father's supporters were named Cavaliers and Charles took 'Cavalier' as a title after he was crowned. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is the 'original' Cocker Spaniel, with its American cousin created in the 20th century from differing breeding specifications in the US. The English breed has a wider and flatter head, eyes set wider apart, lower-hanging ears and thicker fur. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. American Cocker Spaniel
One of two types of Cocker Spaniel recognised by the UK Kennel Club, the American Cocker Spaniel got its name from their use to hunt woodcock. Interestingly the name 'spaniel' itself comes from the breed's origins in Spain. Photo: Canva/Getty Images