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Updated Dec 2012

 
 
 
About Roan Cockers

History of Roan Cockers:

Roan cockers have always been a part of the cocker spaniel breed. 
At one time, English cockers and American cockers were the same breed. 
Breeders started breeding smaller and more plush and creating the American cocker
In the 1800's, small spaniels were developed to hunt woodcock. The sizes of puppies from these early litters varied widely. 
The first stud book of the Kennel Club (United Kingdom) divided the dogs by weight alone.
If a spaniel weighed under 25 lbs, it was called a Cocker Spaniel. If a spaniel weighed over 25 lbs, it was 
called a Field Spaniel. 
Problems existed with the weight designations, so it was decided that type should be considered more important than weight. 

The American Spaniel Club, which was formed in 1881, created Breed Standards for each Spaniel type.
The Kennel Club (UK) had separated the different types of spaniels in the Stud Book by 1893.

In America, after World War I, the English Cocker type was not as in demand nor favored as
the American cocker type which was forming. 
The American type was smaller and more elegant. 
The two Cocker Spaniels were shown together, competing against one another, 
until 1936, when the English Cocker received status as a variety. 
Pedigree research began in order to separate the English Cocker from the American Cocker.
The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America pledged not to interbreed the two types. 
The American Kennel Club granted a separate breed designation for the English Cocker Spaniel in 1946. 

. In 1946, Mrs. Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge managed to get the 2 breeds who by now were distinctly different, 
separated and the American cocker was called the Cocker spaniel and the
English was called the English cocker. 
Because these 2 dogs came from the same mold, so to say, all of the colors, 
patterns and markings were shared, such as black, brown, buff, parti, (mahogany) sable,and roan, along with tan points.

Because many English cocker breeders bred roans, most of the American cocker breeders elected to stay away mostly from
breeding roans since they reminded them of the English cocker.
However, the Philsworth Kennels continued breeding roan cockers 
and your "true" roan cockers from today can be traced back to this kennel 
which can be traced back to the English lines.

Roan in American cockers has never been a very popular color until the past few years. 
There are some dedicated kennels who have been regularly breeding roan cockers for quite a number of years.

Their roans can be traced to Campbell Kennels who bred from the Fourwinds Kennels,
whose roans came directly from the Philsworth lines.

Those of us who breed roans, can be traced into these earlier kennels.

Some of the Philsworth roan Champions were:
CH PHILSWORTH'S BLUE BRINE (b.1945)
CH PHILSWORTH'S BLUE SKYLARK
CH PHILSWORTH'S BLUEBIRD (b.1940)
CH PHILSWORTH'S DEEP BLUE
 
 

CH PHILSWORTH'S VICTORY BLUE, CD (b.1944)


Description of Roan Cockers:

Roans are considered parti cockers and are shown in the parti classes.

  Roaning is a mingling of colored hair mixed into the white hair of a parti. 
Much like W= white hair and B=black hair. 
The roan pattern would look much like WWBWWWBWWB. 

Although some roans may also be ticked,  this isn't desirable when breeding for roan.

Some people get ticking confused with roaning. 
They are not the same and erroneously register their cockers as roans when they are not.
Ticking is like little spots..freckles per se, and the gene for ticking is on a separate allele than roan.

A roan is generally bred if possible to a very open marked parti, 
The more white the better. 
If the roan is bred to a closed marked parti, 
the dog often can over roan and will eventually look much like a mismarked solid color cocker. 
The only roaning that can be seen in a heavily marked roan is generally 
on the chest or possible one or 2 spots on the back on belly.

Roan is a simple dominate gene. 
Which mean either you have it or you don't. 
It is not recessive and cannot be carried over generations and produced. 
If a dog is roan, then either one or both of it's parents are roan
You can trace the roan down in a pedigree all the way back before the split from the English cockers to American cockers..
In a roan litter, generally, you can tell the roans from birth as you may see some smudging of color around the nose or feet.
The pads on the bottom of the feet often have a color halo before it fills in.
Some say you cannot tell at birth until about 2 weeks before the roaning becomes apparant.
But from my own experience and experience of some others, this isn't true. The roan is apparant
even though possibly in very small quantities, from birth.

Roan colors in American Cockers are:
Blue Roan-Which is basicly a black and white parti where the individual black hairs imtermingles
with white which often gives a bluish appearance.
Brown Roan, Chocolate Roan or Liver Roan-Brown and white parti with brown hairs intermingled in the white
Orange Roan..sometimes called Red Roan & Strawberry Roan-Which is a red and white parti with red hairs intermingled in the white
All 3 can also have tan points, although you generally won't really see the tan points in a red roan
There are NO health issues associated with the roan gene.

NOTE! Roans & Merles are NOT the same thing!

Until very recently, merle cockers could not register their merle cockers as merles. Unfortunately,before this, 
AKC encouraged the merle owners to register them as roans. 
Because roan is not a well known pattern, people have been getting confused thinking merle is roan.
It is NOT!!
They are 2 completely different patterns. 
Merle carries a lethal gene IF BRED to another merle.
Roan does not. 
This is very upsetting to the dedicated roan breeders and is also upsetting to those who breed merles.
For more information on the Merle Cocker Issue, 
please check out our website: Merle Cockers: Fact or Fiction

If you are searching for an actual roan cocker, please do your homework;
Ask the breeder about whether the cocker is roan or merle. 
Some breeders do not know the difference and often think their merle cocker is a roan.
You will still find several websites and business websites that advertise puppies who still list merle cockers as roans.
More education is out there now so most breeders do know the difference 
but there are still those who don't and looking at pedigrees can get confusing for many.
Although roan is becoming popular now,
Roans are still generally fairly rare AND are NOT being bred by very many breeders.
Quality roans are being bred by even less.

 Roan breeders are very protective of their roans and have spent a lot of time and energy attempting 
to preserve the roan in todays American Cocker.
 
I plan to add more information and photos for education purposes but for the time being, if you are a member of Facebook,
sign up to join our Roan Cockers discussion group on there. 
There are many roan fanciers who can answer questions and plenty of  photos.

This group is especially important for those who judge roans in the conformation ring, as there have been 
some real mistakes being made, as well as uncalled for paranoia, thinking a roan may be a merle instead. 
At some Judge seminars, educators have been telling the judges to move 
the roans to the back of the line so they won't "put up" a merle by accident. 
This paranoia is ridiculous and needs to stop!

Correct information about roans should be freely available to all who judge roan cockers.
To sign up for the Roan Fanciers Discussion Group
Go here:
Roan Cockers


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