The Cocker Spaniel is a beautiful dog remarkable for every kind of fur parent. Learn more about living with this sporting breed in this blog!

Loving and easy-going, the Cocker Spaniel dog has the size ideal for many homes. In fact, it is the smallest member of the sporting group.

This dog is smart and thus easy to train. Aside from being affectionate, it is happiest pleasing his human family.

The Cocker Spaniel breed, also called the American Cocker Spaniel, is known for his merry temperament and flowing coat that people can't resist petting.

Its name comes from a type of bird called the woodcock, which it is especially skilled at hunting.

Originally bred as a hunting dog, the sweet-natured pooch became popular because of Lady in 1955. Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp was an animated musical romance film featuring a pampered Cocker Spaniel who met a stray mutt with a golden heart.

Today, the Cocker Spaniel dog breed makes a great companion for pet owners young and old. With proper training, it gets along well with other pets, including cats, but not with birds due to his hunting instincts.

In 1878, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed. He ranked 29th on AKC’s list of the most popular dog breeds of 2021.

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Standard

Height and Weight

Cocker Spaniels are average in size — big enough to play with kids but small enough for apartment living.

Males grow up to 15 inches weighing 25 – 30 pounds. Meanwhile, females stand 14 inches tall and weigh between 20 – 25 pounds.


They are moderately coated sporting dogs.

The fur is long, silky, and either flat or wavy in many colors such as black, light cream, red, brown, and white. The standard markings are roan and merle.


Cocker Spaniel dogs have a well-balanced body that is solid and sturdy. Apart from the long, lush ears, the eyes are big and dark with a charming expression that has melted many hearts.

Cocker Spaniel Dog

American Cocker Spaniel vs English Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel share the same roots but are different breeds. Both are members of the Sporting Group and are often confused with one another.

The American Cocker Spaniel is longer than tall, whereas the English Cocker Spaniel has more height than length.

It has a shorter muzzle than his English cousins. The eyes are almond-shaped while the ECS’ eyes are slightly oval.

On AKC’s list of the most popular dog breeds of 2021, the British type ranked 43rd.

Spaniel Dog

Cocker Spaniel Dog Family Life

While they do have a hunting instinct, the reason why Cocker Spaniel breeds are so popular is that they make a good family dog. They are content being a companion at home.

People-oriented by nature, the Cocker Spaniel dog breeds are up for any activities as they love pleasing their human family.

They are devoted that they will follow their owners from room to room. When left alone, they become anxious which will result in barking, chewing, and other undesirable behaviors.

While reserved initially, the Cocker Spaniel dog is open to strangers and makes fast friends with almost everyone he meets.

They are also good with other dogs. When given proper training and introductions, they get along with other family pets like cats and any small animals.

But because he remains a capable hunter at heart, he may end up chasing birds when you're out on a walk. Keep him on a leash whenever you aren't in a fenced area or going outdoors.

He has a happy personality good for the elderly. His gentle character makes him an excellent therapy dog.

The Cocker Spaniel breed is a great option for families because he is good with children. This lively pooch is playful to run around but can also be calm enough to snuggle up on the couch or your lap.

He has a soft identity. As long as the kids are kind and respectable to animals, they will get along with your young ones.

Like all breeds, no matter the size, always teach children how to approach and treat dogs.

The Cocker Spaniel dog breed can be a great buddy but no matter how friendly, you should never leave them all by themselves with a child.

Spaniel Breed

Cocker Spaniel Breed History

Spaniel dogs can be traced back to 1620 when the Mayflower landed in America. The English ship had two dogs, a Mastiff and a Spaniel.

However, it is impossible to trace their ancestry since the information was not available before the early 19th century.

In those days that the Spaniel breeds were divided into two varieties: land and water. From that period developed different varieties of Spaniel dog breeds.

The top weight limit of 28 pounds was what divided Cocker Spaniel from the field spaniel. Cocker registrations can be traced to 1879 — smaller than English Springer Spaniels but larger than English Toy Spaniels.

The Cocker Spaniel dog is separated into two types, American and English. In 1946, the American Kennel Club recognized the Cocker Spaniel breed (U.S. type) and the English Cocker Spaniel (British type) as two distinct breeds.

Spaniel Dog Breed

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Health

The Cocker Spaniel dog breed is generally healthy but there is no guarantee that he will not inherit ailments.

His popularity often results in irresponsible breeding by unscrupulous people with no regard for health. They don't perform health tests to ensure the dogs don't pass on genetic diseases.


This condition refers to a cloud-like substance that sets into the eyes and keeps light from entering. Cataracts cause the lens to lose its transparency and eventually interfere with your dog’s vision.

It occurs when proteins begin to break down and form clumps causing the haziness in the lens. Medication can be administered at home with supplementary vitamins and antioxidants.


This is caused by a thyroid hormone deficiency. Hypothyroidism may lead to infertility, obesity, and lack of energy. Although not curable, it is manageable with oral medication and a proper diet throughout his life.

Hip Dysplasia

It is the malformation of the hip joints as the dog ages. It can cause pain and lameness and, over time, into arthritis.

This may be hereditary but becomes worse due to environmental factors such as rapid growth from a change of diet or incurred injuries.

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

This is an immune system disease in which the body itself destroys its red blood cells. The dog will tire more easily and may faint due to insufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.


How to Care for Cocker Spaniels


Cocker Spaniels' compact bodies are capable of considerable speed with great endurance. Although a sporting breed, they don't need a lot of exercise to burn off energy.

They are high in spirits but only need average stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Roaming and sniffing around the neighborhood will do.

A brisk walk is a good option as they very much love spending time with their humans. Since they are fond of playtime, you can surely entertain them with a good game of fetch.

Exercising not only helps manage weight but also keeps Cocker Spaniel dogs from getting grouchy. They are also avid swimmers.

Once their daily exercise needs are met, they're ready to snooze.

Training Cocker Spaniels

Early exposure to the outside world and training is vital for Cocker Spaniel breeds to have appropriate canine manners.

Alert and active, these pups are highly trainable. They want to do good to please their people.

However, the Cocker Spaniel dog breeds are sensitive pets. They don't respond well to harsh treatment.

Lots of positive training methods will do the trick.

You will have to handle them kindly to be productive and get the best results. They are easily motivated by food rewards and with play and praise.

The American Cocker Spaniel is primarily a companion but is easily trained for the conformation show ring, obedience and agility competitions, hunt tests, flyball, or tracking.

He is a versatile breed and is competent at paying attention and following commands.


The Cocker’s beautiful looks require constant attention.

Regular grooming is necessary to prevent the hair from matting. Invest in a high-quality comb as the coat requires plenty of brushing.

Comb thoroughly to carefully remove the loose hair.

To keep him looking his best, either you learn grooming procedures yourself or avail services from a professional groomer.

This spaniel dog requires regular baths with a premium shampoo. Thorough rinsing is essential to remove residue that can cause skin irritation.

Trim the nails consistently. The last thing you want is your dog hurting themselves or others because of their long nails.

This spaniel breed's long ears are both a part of his beauty and a potential health problem. Clean and dry the ears every week to avoid infections.

RELATED: Grooming Different Types of Dog Coats

Diet and Nutrition

Choose high-quality food and maintain proper weight. Being overweight is not limited to us humans — our furry friends are prone to packing on pounds, too!

This spaniel dog breed has a hearty appetite and tends to put on weight easily. They aren't one to turn down a snack.

You might even give in to their big, pleading eyes at feeding time. If given the chance, they will overeat.

You'll need to limit treats and measure out their daily food servings. Make sure to divide meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Ask your vet about your dog's diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep him healthy.

Cocker Dog

Ideal Owner of Cocker Spaniel Dogs

This fur baby wishes to be involved in all kinds of family activities. If you want to encounter a deep connection with a canine, this is the right companion for you.

There wouldn't be a problem if you are a first-time fur parent. It has a pleasing persona and high adaptability that it can do well in apartment living.

But of course, they would appreciate it if you have a backyard where they can run in.

They bond very closely with their owner and they can be very sensitive when left alone. Cocker Spaniels can be destructive when they get anxious.

Another downside to owning this breed is that it is not easy to groom.

Cockers' beautiful coats are expensive to keep and require a lot of work. It's either you pay for the assistance of a professional groomer or spend time brushing the coat every day.

Cocker Breed

FAQs about Cocker Spaniel Breeds

Is an American Cocker Spaniel a good family dog?

This breed of spaniel is well-known as a gentle yet lively pet. He is affectionate to the family and considered good with children.

Their love and loyalty to their owners always make them prone to separation anxiety.

What is the difference between the American Cocker Spaniel and an English Cocker Spaniel?

The English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel share the same heritage but vary quite a bit in appearance. Both have thick wavy fur, long ears, and adoring expressive faces but the English Cocker Spaniel is larger and taller.

How much is an American Cocker Spaniel?

As of last year, the cost of a Cocker Spaniel puppy will range from $800 to $2000. Rather than buying from a breeder, you may opt to adopt Cocker puppies from shelters and rescues.

Cocker Puppies

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breeds Summary

If you want a dog that has a family-friendly nature, Cocker Spaniels could be the right canine companion for you! These types of spaniel are eager playmates for kids and are easy to train as companions and athletes.

They are eager to please and want nothing more than to make their owners happy. These fur babies are apartment-friendly making them adaptable additions to the family.

So, are they the dogs that you desire?

People purchase Cocker Spaniel dogs without the ability to commit to the lifetime of these animals. If you want to bring a dog home, consider adopting one.

There are many Cocker Spaniel breeds in need of fostering.

Still, gather more information before getting a puppy of your own to see compatibility with your lifestyle.

You may visit various breeders and see the dogs yourself. Find a reputable breeder who will show health clearances to prove that the Cocker Spaniel is clear of health conditions.

The American Spaniel Club has been around since 1881 to protect and promote the breed. There are members in every state that will be your point of contact if you are considering adding Cocker Spaniel dog breeds to your home.

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