The true origin of Spaniels in general may never be known, despite the fact that they have featured in art and appeared in literature for hundreds of years. It is believed though that they have their origins in 14th century Spain, Spaniel meaning Spanish Dog or Dog of Spain.

At one time all Spaniels were categorized as either land or water Spaniels. Later, they were further sub-categorized by size, with the larger Spaniels being used to spring game (later to become known as Springer Spaniels) and the smaller dogs to flush out woodcock, hence the name Cocker Spaniel.

But in 1892 the Cocker Spaniel was officially recognized for the first time by being given breed status by The Kennel Club of Great Britain.