English Cocker Spaniel

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26-32 lbs
Cocker, Merry Cocker, Woodcock Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are most often described as merry, and it is generally an apt description. Bred for flushing game out of the bushes for hunting, the English Cocker Spaniel is an enthusiastic and active dog with a high level of commitment to their owners. Their coats are soft and silky but prone to mats and tangles and require a high level of grooming as they tend to shed heavily. English Cocker Spaniels are the direct ancestor to the American Cocker Spaniel, but the American Cocker Spaniel has been bred to be slightly smaller with a more domed skull and a lower prey drive. The English Cocker Spaniel does require more exercise than their American counterparts, but they also tend to be hardier and somewhat less prone to anxiety and nervousness.

flushing game birds
Date of Origin
land spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel Health

Average Size
Height: 16-17 inches Weight: 28-34 lbs
Height: 15-16 inches Weight: 26-32 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Deafness
  • Hypothyroidism
Minor Concerns
  • Otitis Externa
  • Eye Problems
  • Separation Anxiety
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hearing
  • Blood Test
  • Thyroid Tests
  • Ear Examination

English Cocker Spaniel Breed History

Spaniels, in general, are classified as a type of gun dog, but they have existed since long before the gun, initially bred to flush game out of the deep brush for the hunter and in some cases, to retrieve birds from the water. Initially, they were divided into just two groups; water Spaniels and land Spaniels. It wasn’t until the 17th century that any distinction was made between types of land Spaniels. During this time Spaniels began to be classified as either Springer or Cocker Spaniel, based entirely on the size of the dog. The larger Spaniels, those that were over  were used to “spring” game animals for the hunt and were therefore called Springers, where the smaller dogs were particularly adept at flushing out birds like the woodcock for their owners, earning them the name of Cocker Spaniel. At this point in the history of the Spaniel, Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels were frequently born into the same litter. In 1902 The Cocker Spaniel Club was founded in England. When the Cocker Spaniels began developing in America they changed considerably, their backs lengthened, their heads became more domed, and their prey drive was greatly reduced. The change was so great that in 1935 a group was formed for those who preferred the traditional look of the English Cocker Spaniel and were intent on discouraging interbreeding between the original English Cocker Spaniel and the newer Americanized version of the Cocker Spaniel. In 1946 the Cocker spaniels that had developed in America were recognized as a separate breed, the American Cocker Spaniel.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Appearance

The English Cocker Spaniel is a small to medium-sized dog with long ears that lie close to the head, a long, broad snout, and a soft, soulful gaze. They are a muscular yet graceful breed, bred to be compact and powerful for flushing and retrieving game. One of the most notable features of this breed is their medium length silky coat with distinctive feathering on the belly, legs, ears, and tail. This attractive coat comes in a number of colors and is classified into four general categories for patterning. Solid coats are typically all one color, but they may occasionally include small white markings, and those classified as open marked have large sections of white between patches of solid color. Roan is defined as having a base color that is muted or lightened by the presence of a mixture of white hairs whereas a ticking pattern is the presence of spots of color in an area that would otherwise be white. These patterns are present in black, liver, tan, blue, sable, red, orange, golden, and lemon colors, and occasionally even combinations of those colors. Dogs with multiple colors, but with little to no white showing, such as a black and tan cocker spaniel, are considered to have a solid pattern. They have firm rounded paws that have been described as cat-like with thick pads, and a long, straight tail which is frequently docked at a young age either to meet breed standards or to prevent injury when the dog ran through the heavy brush.

Eye Color Possibilities
Nose Color Possibilities
Coat Color Possibilities
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Maintenance

The English Cocker Spaniel is an active and energetic animal that requires a great deal of maintenance, much of it in the form of exercise. The English Cocker Spaniel is a people-oriented dog that is full of energy, and require larger than average amounts of both attention and exercise to be at their happiest and healthiest. Their beautiful, silky coats are prone to tangling, and the feathering on the ears and legs tend to collect leaves, sticks, and dirt that need to be picked or brushed out. They can also shed rather heavily and have a light but distinct doggy odor. Brushing to remove tangles and prevent excessive shedding should be completed several times a week and bathing should occur every four to six weeks to prevent the odor from becoming too strong. It is also important to regularly check and clean this dog’s ears to prevent bacterial or fungal ear infections from developing.

Brushes for English Cocker Spaniel
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

English Cocker Spaniel Temperament

This is an attentive and cheerful breed, often referred to as merry. They were bred to run all over the countryside, following their noses and chasing animals out of hiding, and they love their job. It's best to keep your English Cocker firmly attached to a leash when taking them for a walk or a run as they can revert to their natural behavior rather quickly if they scent something interesting, even if you weren’t planning on hunting. They are typically good with children and other types of animals provided that they are well socialized, as well as being fairly friendly with other people or dogs, although they can show some reservation with strangers. These little dogs can make a good watchdog, in that they will let you know that someone is approaching, but they do not have much in the way of a guarding instinct, so once they have informed you of their concern, they will generally leave the rest up to you. They thrive best in a home with a yard in which to burn off their considerable energy, and they tend to bark fairly frequently, making them a less appropriate choice for apartment living. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
9 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

English Cocker Spaniel Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.8 cups
Daily Cost
$1.2 - $1.4
Monthly Cost
$34 - $45

English Cocker Spaniel Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 14 lbs
Height: 12 inches Weight: 13 lbs
12 Months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 27 lbs
Height: 15 inches Weight: 25 lbs
18 Months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 31 lbs
Height: 15 inches Weight: 29 lbs

Top English Cocker Spaniel Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable English Cocker Spaniel breeders of 2017.
H & H Red Canon Canines
Canon City, Colorado
Salmon Creek Sport Dogs
Vancouver, Washington
Armstrong English Pointers
Montrose, Georgia
Parsonage English Cockers
Morrill, Nebraska
Rahdy Dobermans & Swathrun English Cockers
Barrington, Illinois
Ray Dohse's Eshod Farm
Wrightsville, Georgia
KLS Cockers
Mountain Brook, Alabama
Kentucky Cockers
Louisville, Kentucky
Mud River Cockers
Allensville, Kentucky
Chloe's Cocker Spaniels
Byram, Mississippi

English Cocker Spaniel Owner Experiences