The English Cocker Spaniel dog breed is an adorable pooch with a charming character and alluring good looks. Learn more about living with this sporting breed!

This pup is well-balanced in build, mobility, and temperament. Underneath its outward beauty lurks the heart of a devoted, eager-to-please hunter's assistant who is well-known across the world for its capacity to flush and retrieve gamebirds.

Happy and affectionate, the engaging English Cocker Spaniel is a sturdy breed with expressive eyes, long ears that extend to the tip of his nose when pulled forward, and a docked tail.

As a sporting dog, it has a lot of energy and endurance. It is also curious and enjoys exploring new things.

The English Cocker Spaniel breed still has keen hunting instincts. There aren't many things in life that this dog enjoys more than going in pursuit of birds.

The joy it experiences from being near family members, however, closely rivals that pleasure.

This fluffball enjoys participating in all family activities. It is cheerful, loyal, playful, and sensitive, making it the ideal friend for a compassionate child or an adventurous adult.

Bred in England originally to hunt woodcock, it is an excellent retriever with a delicate mouth that hunts well in difficult terrain.

It excels in performance competitions, including agility, obedience, and any type of nose work, while maintaining a characteristically jovial disposition and constantly wagging tail.

In 1946, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed. It ranked 43rd on AKC’s list of the most popular dog breeds of 2021.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Standard 

Height and Weight

Breed members are medium in size but larger than the American Cocker Spaniel.

They typically measure 15 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 26 and 34 pounds.


The medium-length coat is silky to the touch and comes in a variety of striking colors and patterns.

It is long enough to cover the dog's underside when out in the field but never too long to be an obstruction.


The breed's appeal lies in its head, notably in its gentle, loving expression. Its expressive, doe-like eyes and floppy ears make it quite hard to resist.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed

Family Life of English Cocker Spaniel 

There’s a reason why these pups bear the nickname “merry cockers.” English Cocker Spaniels are described as cheerful, playful dogs with delightful personalities.

While they are alert and will bark at noises, they are far too friendly to be guard dogs and will probably wind up licking the hands of any strangers they come across while wagging their tails.

Because English Cocker Spaniel dogs are very people-oriented, they thrive on being around their families and can act out if constantly left alone with no company or activities.

They get along with everyone and make good companions for all ages. These breeds are playful but gentle family pets who do well with kids, especially if they're brought up with them.

Adult English Cockers who have never been around children might do well in a household with older kids who are familiar with how to treat dogs.

English Cocker Spaniel breeds can be great pals, but no matter how friendly, you should never leave them all by themselves with a child.

And like every dog, they need early socialization or exposure to a variety of sights, noises, and experiences when they are young.

Socialization helps ensure that your English Cocker puppy grows up to be a well-rounded pooch.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog

English Cocker Spaniel Dog History

Historians believe that the origins of spaniels as a breed can be traced to Spain, where they’ve been present since at least the 1300s.

However, the breeds that make up the sporting group of spaniels that we know today were developed by the British.

It wasn't until the 1800s that the spaniels were separated into “springing” and “cocking” or “field” spaniels, with weight, height, and hunting manner being the distinguishing characteristics.

The Cocker Spaniel was created to hunt in areas of deep cover, flushing and recovering prey, especially woodcock, though larger game birds and even hare were frequent prey.

Therefore, it had to be strong and capable of navigating the dense bushes and hedgerows.

They are neither too little nor too big to retrieve the heavy game—just the right size to get into and beneath the thicket.

In the early phases of the breed's development, the dogs were substantially smaller in stature.

It had stabilized by the late 1800s and early 1900s, showing the recognizable features of a long leg and proportionately balanced body.

The Spaniel Club's decision to remove the weight restriction for Cocker Spaniels in 1901 marked the beginning of a new period, during which time there was constant advancement.

Breeders started to develop and exhibit robust, short-backed cockers with high spring of rib and depth of girth scores as type uniformity started to become apparent.

After the UK's Cocker Spaniel Club was established in 1902, the breed standard was soon established.

To advance the interests of the English Cocker Spaniel and set it apart from the American type Cocker that was developing, the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was established in the United States in 1935.

In 1946, the AKC declared the English Cocker Spaniel to be a distinct breed from the American Cocker Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Health

Although typically a healthy breed, the English Cocker Spaniel dog breeds can experience various health issues, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, familial nephropathy, and progressive retinal atrophy.

The English Cocker Spaniel can be affected by hip dysplasia, which 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.

Another health problem you should be aware of is the cloud-like substance that sets into the eyes and keeps light from entering, called cataracts.

They occur when proteins begin to break down and form clumps causing haziness in the lens.

Cataracts cause the lens to lose its transparency and eventually interfere with your dog’s vision.

Your furry friend may also experience von Willebrand's disease, which is caused by a deficiency in the protein needed to help platelets form clots in sealing broken blood vessels.

Prolonged bleeding can raise suspicion of the disease.

Due to a condition known as hypothyroidism, the hormone-making glands slow down, affecting your pet’s metabolic rate.

This may lead to infertility, obesity, and lack of energy.

While shielding every dog from inherited issues is impossible, the danger can be reduced with the right treatment.

The majority of English Cocker Spaniels live healthy lives, often until the ages of 12 to 14.

RELATED: Natural Treatment For Cataracts In Dogs

English Spaniel

How to Care for English Cocker Spaniels


An all-day hunter, the English Cocker Spaniel dog was developed to find, flush, and retrieve upland game birds. Taking a stroll around the block cannot burn off this much energy.

Lack of exercise can lead to obesity and destructive behavior in your pet. It needs regular exercise for its physical and emotional well-being because it is an upbeat, active sporting dog.

This breed has a lot of stamina, so it will appreciate vigorous activities like agility or flyball, as well as long, brisk walks or treks.

A game of fetch, a trip to the dog park, or some time in the backyard will keep this pup happy.

Running also comes naturally to the English Cocker Spaniel breed. So, it will be content to accompany you on a jog once it is over a year old.

With a few decent exercise sessions every day, it can meet its needs. Easy access to a yard is unquestionably beneficial.

This dog needs a fenced yard and should be on a leash when out for walks because its hunting instincts are still strong.


The English Cocker Spaniel dog breed was developed with a cheerful, dedicated demeanor to obey orders in the field. Even now, it is still very eager to please.

As long as only constructive techniques are applied, training can be easy and fun. If you use a harsh or discouraging training method, your dog will not take it well.

Despite their intelligence, English Cocker Spaniel dogs can be difficult to train at times, especially if they don't perceive a clear reason for doing what you want them to.

It's a good idea to educate your dog to come when called and to obey directions regardless of the breed, but hunting dogs require it the most.

Because dogs are naturally affectionate toward their owners, it's crucial to train them gently and consistently to avoid crushing their spirits.

Utilize methods of positive reinforcement like play, praise, and food rewards.

Additionally, training keeps the mind active in the English Cocker Spaniel breeds.

They pick things up quickly, so if you make training constant and exciting, you'll be more than pleased with their abilities.

English Cockers have a playful side, much like any dog. They are chowhounds as well.

Particularly when they are still curious puppies, keep food, garbage, and other items out of their reach.

When you're not around to monitor, a crate is a terrific method to keep your doggo from getting into trouble.


Most English Cockers have very thick coats that need routine maintenance, including thorough brushing and combing at least once per week to keep the dog looking his best and avoid mats and tangles.

Additionally, the breed's hair is typically clipped every month or so in specific areas, including the feet, face, neck, underside of the ears, and tail.

To give the English Cocker a general haircut and maintain its neat appearance, the owner can learn how to use clippers, thinning shears, or a stripping tool.

Trim the nails regularly to keep them short and neat.

Check the ears for signs of infection. You may want to wipe them out to spot potential problems.

Brush the teeth daily to improve general health and breath.

Diet and Nutrition

English Cocker Spaniel dog breeds should thrive on premium dog food, whether it is produced commercially or made at home, under the guidance and consent of your veterinarian.

Watch their calorie consumption since they are prone to becoming overweight.

Treats are useful during training, but giving them in excess could result in obesity.

To choose a balanced diet, speak with your veterinarian to determine meal portions and suitable dog food based on your dog's age, weight, and activity level.

Fresh, clean water should always be accessible.

English Dog

Ideal Owner of English Cocker Spaniel Dogs

Given enough daily activity to keep it in condition, the English Cocker Spaniel is versatile and can even live well in an apartment.

It can thrive in colder climates with its medium-length fur, but warmer climates are more suitable for it due to its lighter hair structure.

Therefore, it can live happily in any place as long as you keep an eye out for hypothermia on particularly cold days and heat exhaustion when it’s hot.

This playful and friendly dog is a great family pet and is simple to teach. Its tail hardly ever stops wagging, whether it's working in the field or just relaxing at home on the sofa.

This pup enjoys playing fetch with tennis balls or sticks and is a natural explorer and retriever.

Despite their intellect and enthusiasm, English Cocker Spaniels can easily become bored.

If your dog is an athlete like that, you need to get them outside so they can burn off their excess energy. You'll get a frustrated dog if you refrain from doing so.

English Cockers form close relationships with the people they live with and dislike being left by themselves.

Any longer than a few hours alone could cause separation anxiety in your dog, which could lead to stress-related barking and mouthing.

Brown Dog

FAQs about English Cocker Spaniel Breeds

Do English Cocker Spaniels bark a lot?

Since English Cocker Spaniels are vocal dogs, they are particularly prone to developing a habit of barking at delivery workers.

The fact that this conduct is self-rewarding makes it potentially tough to stop.

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

The American Cocker Spaniel is native to North America, weighs 30 pounds, and is 13 inches long.

It is distinguished from the English type by having smaller ears, a shorter nose, and a more dome-shaped head.

Although these variations are quite minor, they allow us to distinguish between the two breeds.

Do English Cocker Spaniels bite?

English Cocker Spaniels have a reputation for being aggressive dogs who, when under stress, are occasionally prone to biting or nipping.

Train your dog to be a well-adjusted companion who can adapt to a range of settings to prevent future issues.

cocker puppy

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breeds: Summary

English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized dog breeds with long ears and a cheerful demeanor.

The “Cocker” in their name derives from their days of hunting woodcock in England, although they’ve also been bred to hunt many other species of birds.

These dogs are incredibly versatile pets. They are equally at ease in a sizable backyard and living in an apartment.

English Cockers are intelligent and active enough to play effectively with kids and younger adults, but you can also train them to be calm, dependable companions for the elderly.

So, are they the dogs that you desire?

People purchase English 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 English Cocker Spaniel breeds in need of fostering.

Still, gather more information before getting a puppy 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 dogs are clear of health conditions.

The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America is the national or “parent” club that protects and promotes the breed.

Members in every state will be your point of contact if you are considering adding English Cocker Spaniel dog breeds to your home.

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