Lets look at the history of the parent dogs to determine what characteristics are going to pass onto the Spanador. The first Cocker Spaniel in America arrived on the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. They were brought as both companion and working dogs for the new settlers. They were great to retrieve water fowl for the hunter, and became their trusted companion. As settlers poured into America these dogs helped them to explore and exploit the wild lands they found there. Developed from the English Cocker Spaniel in the 19th Century, the American Cocker Spaniel was at first just diffent in size only as it was a smaller dog. As the years passed and the breeding was perfected, the American Cocker was so different in so many ways that in 1945 it could no longer be judged as one breed and the American Kennel Club recognised the American Cocker Spaniel as its own breed in 1873.The hard working American Cocker Spaniel was an ideal hunting dog, able to work in difficult terrain, and in all types of weather. They excelled at flushing out and retrieving game with a gentle mouth that didn't damage the game. Their skills are renown for agility, tracking, retrieving, watchdog and competitive obedience. The Labrador Retriever or Lab as they are affectionately known, originated in the Island of Newfoundland, off the coast of Canada. They were used to help fishermen retrieve fish that had escaped hooks and towing lines, often swimming in the freezing waters to assist. Originally called the St. John's dog after the capital city, they became valuable companions and working dogs for their owners. English sportsmen soon began importing them to England around 1830 and it was the third Earl of Malmesbury who first referred to these dogs as Labradors. In the 1880's they were almost extinct, but the Malmesbury family was credited with the saving of the breed. Sadly the breed disappeared in Newfoundland because of government restrictions and tax laws that only allowed one dog, and female dogs were highly taxed, so female pups were culled from litters. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1917 and the Lab's popularity really took off, then after the war and in 1991 the Labrador Retriever became the most popular dog registered with the AKC. To this day they have held that position. Today the Labrador works in drug and explosive detection, search and rescue, therapy, assistance for the handicapped and as retrievers for the hunter.This well loved and loyal animal is still as popular as ever, and makes a perfect companion.