English Cocker Spaniel

Country of origin: Great Britain
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Occupation: Hunter, performance
Size: 13.5 to 15.5 in tall; 24
to 30 lbs
Longevity: 13 to 15 years
Exercise: Moderate
Training: Moderate
Grooming: Difficult
Colors: Variety of colours

Dog owners love their spaniels and their spaniels love them. These have always been affectionate dogs from the time they emerged from Spain almost a thousand years ago. In the 1300s, Chaucer, writing about the Wife of Bath, said of her, “for as a spaniel she would on him leap”. “Spaniel” was once a generic word, referring to dogs that flushed birds from thicket or marsh and then retrieved them for their masters. By 1800, small spaniels used for hunting woodcock in southwest England and Wales were called “cocker spaniels”: the origin of the modern English Cocker Spaniel. The doe-eyed Cocker Spaniel has long been a family favourite throughout the world. Its domed head, floppy ears, and big eyes epitomize companionship. Some Cockers do still have working roles, but the majority are household companions, selected for their looks and luxurious coats, which come in over 30 colour combinations. While dogs bred to show-ring standards retain their potential to work in the field, the so-called Working Cocker Spaniel is often bred from completely different lines of dogs. These individuals have shorter bodies, less pendulous ears, and a more frenetic desire to work that is reminiscent of the English Springer Spaniel. These lines of Cockers are the most successful of all breeds as hearing dogs for deaf people.

Breed name synonyms: Woodcock Spaniel and Cocker


As a Spaniel descendant, the Cocker Spaniel is one of the oldest dog breeds. It is believed that Cocker Spaniels originated in Spain, with hunting and retrieving as their original purpose. Later on, during Caesar’s invasion, they arrived in England. Cocker Spaniels are important part of English history and even played role in England’s separation from the Catholic Church, when Pope Clement VIII, was bit on his toe by Lord Wiltshire’s Cocker. Cockers are often mentioned by famous English poets and writers such as Chauser and Shakespeare.
Today Cocker Spaniels are one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom. The Cocker Spaniel is famous for featuring the leading role in the popular Disney’s animated classic ,,Lady and the tramp’’.


Cocker Spaniels are active sports dogs. Their vibrating energy and enthusiasm are best seen when on the field. At work, they are tough, endurable workers, capable of covering large areas and penetrating dense grounds. At home, they enjoy family activities and spending time with their people.
Cocker Spaniels are happy, loving and gentle dogs, but as long as everything is on their terms. If forced into something they do not like, Cockers will not hesitate to show disagreement. Generally they get along well with other dogs, animals and kids. When it comes to strangers they are alarm barkers, but usually are not aggressive.


The Cocker Spaniel is a medium sized dog with solid, compact body and soft, dreamy and melting facial expression. The hallmark of the breed are the flappy, long ears, hanging past the shoulders and the low set tail, which is thick at the base and tampering at the end.
The coat is soft, silky and straight or wavy with feathering on the ears, chest, belly and legs. The coat can be solid or parti-colored with shades of black, liver, red, orange and blue. Freckles on the face, head and legs are common and allowed.

Females weight 26-32Ib (12-14.5kg) and their height at withers is 15-16’’ (38-40.5cm), while males weight 28-34Ib (13-15.5kg) and their height at withers is 16-17’’ (40.5-43cm).


The only way to train a Cocker Spaniel is by implementing a reward based system involving food. Cockers are very sensitive and have good memory and therefore they do not respond well to harsh training regimens. Socialization plays an important role in their development. If not properly socialized, from an early age, Cockers can become either too shy or too aggressive.

Cocker Spaniels crave human companionship and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for a longer period. If not exercised enough they often turn to destructive behavior shown by excessive barking, howling and objects chewing.


Because of their specific ear anatomy (the ears are both droopy and folded), Cocker Spaniels are highly prone to ear infections.

Cocker Spaniels are affected by many diseases including cardiovascular conditions (patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonic stenosis, endocardiosis, dilated cardiomyopathy), dermatological conditions (atopy, anal sac disease, skin tumours), endocrine conditions (hypothyroidism), musculoskeletal conditions (chondrodysplasia, elbow luxation, incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle, inguinal and scrotal herniation), gastrointestinal diseases (cricopharyngeal achalasia, chronic hepatitis), haematological & immunological conditions (immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia, factor X deficiency), neoplastic conditions (sweat gland tumour, trichoepithelioma, cutaneous papillomas, sebaceous gland tumours, canine cutaneous histiocytoma, anal sac adenocarcinoma, melanoma), neurological conditions (congenital deafness, acquired vestibular disease secondary to otitis interna, true epilepsy), ocular conditions (entropion, ectropion, glaucoma, lens luxation, cataract), urinary conditions (familial renal disease, urolithiasis) and reproductive conditions (penile hypoplasia).

The average lifespan of the Cocker Spaniel is estimated to be 12-15 years.



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