A cocker spaniel is a medium-sized breed of domesticated dog, originally bred to hunt wild fowl. As of 2015, they are considered the smallest breed of sporting dog.
Cocker spaniels have long wavy fur, compact bodies and drooping ears. Although they are the smallest of the sporting dogs, they are not a toy breed and usually weigh in the range of 24 to 28 pounds.
The breed dates to the late 1800s, and their original use was as hunting dogs trained to flush woodcocks, a kind of fowl. It is from this bird they gained the name cocker spaniel.
As of 2015, they are primarily a companion dog, although some still use them to hunt. Cocker spaniels can be readily trained to sniff out prey, flush birds and retrieve.