English Cocker Spaniel

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
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fast facts

About English Cocker Spaniel

26-34 lb
12-15 years
AKC Sporting
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards
Cheerful, energetic, loving, devoted
Comparable Breeds
Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
14-17 inches
English Cocker Spaniel Basics

No, this isn’t a Cocker Spaniel with a posh accent – the English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of its own. Popular for many reasons, the English Cocker Spaniel makes a great house pet. A compact dog, this breed is hardy and sturdy, and you’ll soon find that it’s happiest when it is by your side. If fact, if it had its way, the English Cocker Spaniel would be with you 24/7 – it would never leave your side for a moment. The English Cocker Spaniel loves doing things with its owner, so get used to having a furry shadow. As well, this breed likes to hunt and has a great hunting instinct. This dog may not be the fastest runners, it is sure footed and can make it through almost any terrain.

Want to learn more about the English Cocker Spaniel? Read on to see if this breed is the right fit for your family.

A compact dog, this breed is hardy and sturdy, and you’ll soon find that it’s happiest when it is by your side.


Originating in England in the late 1500s, the English Cocker Spaniel was broken into seven different breeds: the Sussex, Clumber, English Springer, Welsh Springer, Irish Water Spaniel, Field and the Cocker. Developed together, the only difference between the Cocker and Springer Spaniels is its size. In 1892, the Kennel Club of England the two as individual breeds, and the Canadian and American Kennel Clubs followed suit in the 1940s.

The English Cocker Spaniel got its name from the woodcock, a bird it was were bred and trained to hunt. This breed boasts excellent hunting and retrieving abilities, and also does well as a companion dog, watchdog, hunting dog and show dog.


One of several varieties of the spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel resembles its American cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel. It’s important to note that it’s actually closer to the Field Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel.

The English Cocker Spaniel was recognized by the AKC in 1946.

Food / Diet

A well-balanced diet is essential to a healthy and happy English Cocker Spaniel. Choose a premium brand and feel free to rotate different flavors of the same brand.

The English Cocker Spaniel loves doing things with its owner, so get used to having a furry shadow.


English Cocker Spaniels are intelligent dogs and can be trained for a variety of activities. This breed is often trained to compete in dog competitions in agility and obedience. For an early age, you should start basic obedience. As well, the English Cocker Spaniel is sometimes difficult to housebreak.

As well as being smart, this breed’s temperament makes them obedient and loyal. The female English Cocker Spaniel is known to be a bit stubborn, but once you make it clear who is the boss, your dog will obey your commands willingly. If you are taking your English Cocker Spaniel with you on the hunt, training is relatively simple, as this dog instinctively knows how this relationship is supposed to work.


Male English Cocker Spaniels weigh 28 to 34 pounds, while females weigh 26 to 32 pounds.

Temperament / Behavior

Depending on the family and environment, the temperament of the English Cocker Spaniel may vary, but as a whole, this is generally an affectionate dog. Loyal to its family, this dog tends to be reserved with strangers. A homebody at heart and protective of it family, the English Cocker Spaniel likes to please its family, but this may require persuasion. For the most part, you’ll find this breed to be happy with a lot of affection to give. Bad habits to watch out for include digging or barking excessively.

The English Cocker Spaniel likes being around children, and will bond to children if the dog has grown up around them. Teach your children to treat the dog with respect or your dog may snap at them (although this is rare, it may happen if your child gets too rough with the dog).

Common Health Problems

Generally, the English Cocker Spaniel is a healthy dog with few health problems. However, this breed is prone to developing ear infections. Check your English Cocker Spaniel’s ears regularly to avoid an infection getting worse and clean them frequently to help prevent an ear infection or catch it in the early stages. This breed is susceptible to skin allergies, which may require special food and gentle hair shampoo. As ear infections or skin allergies can be food related, make sure you feed your dog high-quality food.

Life Expectancy

English Cocker Spaniels have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

There is no such thing as too much exercise for the English Cocker Spaniel. This breed needs daily exercise, so take it for a walk or run, or even train it for dog competitions. The English Cocker Spaniels excels at hunting, retrieving and agility competitions.

Depending on the family and environment, the temperament of the English Cocker Spaniel may vary, but as a whole, this is generally an affectionate dog.


The American Kennel Club says this about the breed: “An active sporting dog, the English Cocker Spaniel’s compact, solid body practically vibrates with energy and enthusiasm, particularly when at work in the field. Although known for its soft, melting spaniel expression, the breed is a tough worker, capable of covering ground effortlessly and penetrating the densest of cover.”


Short around the head and medium length on the rest of it body, the English Cocker Spaniel’s coat is flat and silky on the body with longer feathering on the legs and torso.

English Cocker Spaniel come in many different colors, but the most common color is blue roan. This color of coat is similar to black spots on a white background, mixed with black hairs. Other colors for the English Cocker Spaniel are black, red or golden.


One of the best things you can do for your English Cocker Spaniel is to spend as much time as possible with it. As well, be sure to give your puppy lots of exercise every day. Remember that exercise tires your puppy out, which means less behavior problems. You’ll find that an English Cocker Spaniel puppy in motion causes fewer problems.

Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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