One of the most famous dogs in the world couldn’t be happier than if he were running along on the beach. The Royal Puppy could demand the finest caviar, the cushiest beds, and the most gilded toys, but Lupo Cambridge, the dog owned by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, looks quite at home in the gardens of Kensington Palace.
Lupo, who is about four years old, is a Working English Cocker Spaniel. To learn a little more about him and his breed, we chatted with Ryanne, the owner of Cambridge Spaniels. Cambridge Spaniels (CS) is one of America’s few breeders of the Working English Cocker Spaniel, and on top of that she and her family are big Anglophiles. Read on to learn more about Lupo, Ryanne, and the Working English Cocker Spaniel:
WWKD: How did William and Kate spark your interest in the working cocker spaniels?
CS: I have been a fan of the royals for as long as I can remember. My interest in the royals started when I found a book in my school library in second grade on Diana, Princess of Wales thinking she was a princess of whales. My early fascination with the royals has naturally grown into a love of William and Kate and all things royal and English.
Honestly, I always thought I would have a Golden Retriever when I had a dog of my own. My best friend’s family bred them growing up and I always loved them as family dogs. When it came time to find a dog for my own family I realized that, having grown up as a child with terriers in my own house, I wasn’t comfortable with a large dog. Since we have two young boys, my husband and I were equally leery of having small dogs around our rough and tumble children so we decided to look for a medium size dog. Around that time I saw a picture of Kate and Lupo on one of the royal blogs I follow and, even though I had seen Lupo before when I wasn’t looking for a dog, this time I knew instantly that was the type of dog I wanted. Since we have young children I did further research regarding temperament and fit as a family dog and everything I read led me to further conclude that the working English Cocker Spaniel was the perfect fit for our family.
Once we had decided on a working English Cocker Spaniel, actually finding one became quite a challenge. Although they are a very common breed in England, they are not as common in America. Here we have the American Cocker Spaniel, which other than size and ears do not look much like their English counterpart. Once I finally figured out that Lupo was an English Cocker Spaniel it took even further investigating to discover that the working line was different than the show bred line (which I have since learned that even longtime owners of show English Cocker Spaniels aren’t aware of the two lines). To make the search for a working English Cocker Spaniel even more difficult, in the United States the line is more commonly referred to as field bred English Cocker Spaniels. Despite being amazing family dogs, field bred/working English Cocker Spaniels can really only be found in areas of the United States where hunting is popular, such as the south and the northern Midwest. Being a California girl, locating a field bred/working English Cocker Spaniel became a challenge.
WWKD: What is the difference between a working cocker spaniel and a standard cocker spaniel?
CS: The differences between the two types of cocker spaniels are more in regard to their physical appearance than their temperament as they are both wonderful family dogs who are happy and want nothing more than to be with their humans.
Physically, the standard English Cocker Spaniel has been bred for show. They have longer ears, longer coats, longer muzzles, and are a bit smaller than working English Cocker Spaniels. Working English Cocker Spaniels are bred for hunting. They have shorter coats that are more water resistant, shorter ears, webbed toes for swimming, and they are generally larger and more muscular than their standard counterparts.
WWKD: Why do you think William and Kate chose a working cocker spaniel for their first family dog?
CS: We know that Kate’s mother, Carol Middleton, has had working Cocker Spaniels and there are even rumors that Lupo is an offspring of Carol’s dog, but that has never been confirmed. The only confirmed information we know is that Kate’s brother James gave Lupo to William and Kate as a gift. Although Lupo was a gift, I can imagine that William and Kate had been keen to have a working cocker of their own after spending time with Ella at the Middleton home. Being a very physically active/outdoorsy couple, working cocker spaniels like Lupo are ideal as they are high energy and would be able to keep up on outdoor adventures. Despite the fact that William and Kate didn’t have children when they got Lupo, we can assume a family was in the plans and the working cocker spaniel’s reputation as a wonderful family dog helped make it the perfect choice for William and Kate.
WWKD: Are these dogs happier at Kensington Palace (in the city) or Anmer Hall (in the country)?
CS: The working cocker spaniel is happy as long as they are with their humans. They do not like being on their own very much and when they are with you they will stay at your heels at all times. Just like most dogs, they do need time to walk, play, and run, which Lupo can do in the garden or in Hyde Park when at Kensington Palace. However, I’m sure the rolling fields of Amner Hall are a little piece of heaven for him as well.
WWKD: If someone is interested in bringing a working cocker spaniel into their family, what advice would you give them?
CS: First and foremost, working cocker spaniels are family dogs who are loyal, happy, and extremely gentle with young children. The reason we decided to breed working cocker spaniels was to share this amazing family dog with more people here in the United States who live outside of areas where hunting is popular. Our working cocker spaniels are everything we were looking for in a family dog and we want other families to experience these wonderful dogs.
That being said, every breed has characteristics that should be considered before bringing a dog into your home, including working cocker spaniels. First, they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. If you are able to be with your dog a few hours a day that would be ideal because working cocker spaniels who are left on their own for long periods of time tend to get into mischief. A little bit of training and a space move around when you are away, such as a dog run, should suffice in keeping your dog happy.
There have been many articles written about the surge in working cocker spaniel breeding in England since Lupo became part of William and Kate’s family and, unfortunately, not everyone who liked the look of Lupo or the idea of having the same dog as William and Kate did their research to discover that working cockers have higher energy which they need an outlet for. I can say from my own experience that working cockers are not as high energy as some breeds, but they are not lap or purse dogs- they need space to run or to be walked. Our dogs are happy to lay around my feet during the day while I work from home but we make a point to either walk them or fetch with them every day to make sure their breed instinct needs are met.
Working cocker spaniels want nothing more in the world than to please so they are very easily trained. They respond well to affection and praise as opposed to harshness. Like most dogs, they are most happy with routines, structure, and of course- love and affection. These dogs will truly steal your heart.
As of August 7, Cambridge Spaniels still had three Lupos in need of Royal Palaces. To learn more about the breed or to bring a Working English Cocker Spaniel into your family, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org