Updated 04-09-2023

English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-size dog breed with large ears and a joyful personality. English Cockers have been used to hunt many other species of birds as well, but the "Cocker" in their name stems from the time when they were used to hunt woodcock in England.

For those who can provide them with the necessary exercise, they make wonderful companion animals. This loving and adaptable dog will win the hearts of even apartment dwellers. See below for a list of English Cocker Spaniel characteristics and information!


  • Housebreaking English Cocker Spaniels can be challenging. Training using crates is advised.
  • Some English Cocker Spaniels are notoriously vocal barkers.
  • Cocker Spaniels, or English Cockers, are friendly and affectionate pets. But, as hunting dogs, they may become overly excited by the sight of a bird or small animal and begin to chase it. Always use a leash when taking your English Cocker anywhere other than a secure gated area. Get him used to responding to your calls..
  • Cockers are known for their kind demeanor. They may become scared or shut down completely if they are trained in a harsh manner. To get the finest results, your training must be both mild and consistent.
  • Not exercising your English Cocker enough might lead to obesity and behavioral issues.
  • Because of their very long ears, English Cocker Spaniels often develop ear infections.
  • If you want a healthy dog, you should never buy one from a pet store, puppy mill, or backyard breeder. Find a breeder who puts her dogs through extensive tests to ensure they are free of heritable diseases and are of a good temperament before bringing them in to produce puppies.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighborhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


1 foot, 3 inches to 1 foot, 5 inches tall at the shoulder


26 to 34 pounds

Life Span:

12 to 14 years


Historically, the term "spaniel" referred to any dog that was able to track down and flush game birds. They were mainly differentiated by size or the way they worked. There were both land spaniels and water spaniels, to provide just two examples. Cockers are dogs bred specifically for hunting woodcock, while Springers are larger spaniels bred to "sprang" prey out of cover. Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels are two distinct breeds that evolved from a common ancestor but were previously born to the same mother.

American and British Cockers diverged visually to the point where they were recognised as distinct breeds by experts. In 1935, the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was established by dog lovers who wanted to preserve the breed's distinctive appearance and versatile nature. In 1946, it was officially recognised as a separate breed by the American Kennel Club. Although the American Cocker is more widely known, the English Cocker is still relatively unknown save amongst dedicated dog owners. The English Cocker is currently the AKC's 66th most popular dog breed.

Personality & Temperament

In addition to being a hard worker and a loyal companion, the English Cocker is also a playful, sociable, and kind animal. Cockers are also known for their intelligence, agility, and fidelity. While most are great with kids, some dogs, especially those of the showing variety, have been known to experience "Rage Syndrome," where they become aggressive for no apparent reason.

This only affects a tiny fraction of dogs, and it may be related to their coat color. No two episodes are ever the same. Cockers can develop separation anxiety since they are so devoted to their owners and gregarious creatures by nature. Due to their friendly demeanor and small stature, they are not effective as guard dogs.


You should do some research on the English Cocker Spaniel breed before bringing one into your home. When preparing to care for your new dog, you should take into account the common health issues, temperament, nutritional needs, and other variables.


The average lifespan of the English Cocker Spaniel is roughly 11 to 12 years. If you're looking for a breeder, make sure the dogs have been thoroughly screened for diseases and come from happy, healthy families. One must distinguish between the health issues of the American Cocker Spaniel and those of the English Cocker Spaniel.

Despite its history as a working dog, the Cocker Spaniel is prone to a number of medical issues. A breeder must pass a battery of tests in order to get Kennel Club Assured Breeder status.

Familial Nephropathy (FN)

In Familial Nephropathy (FN), a malfunction in the kidney's filtration structure causes blood to leak out of the body. Since proteins leak out with the urine, the kidneys are inevitably damaged further.

Some dogs may experience a quicker course of the disease than others, but regardless of age, it is always fatal. A DNA test is available to ensure parents do not carry the disease.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prod-pra)

The term "progressive retinal atrophy" (prod-pra) is used to describe a group of inherited retinal degeneration disorders. Degenerative or developmental processes are possible. Different from the degenerative forms, which typically appear in older dogs and progress more slowly, the developmental forms typically appear in younger dogs and progress swiftly.

GPRa is the leading cause of blindness in Cocker Spaniels; it manifests initially as trouble seeing at night and ultimately results in total blindness. Dogs with the disease can be identified using a DNA test.

Hip Dysplasia (HD)

Hip dysplasia (HD) refers to a group of conditions characterized by faulty hip development that typically manifest themselves in older dogs. Radiographs of canines older than a year are evaluated by specialists based on predetermined criteria.

The highest score is 106 and a low score correlates with the presence of fewer symptoms of dysplasia. Although HD is passed down through families, environmental factors may also play a role in the disease's progression.


An additional test for detecting a genetic susceptibility to glaucoma. It's recommended to do this every three years.

Acral Mutilation Syndrome (AMS)

In dogs, a condition known as acral mutilation syndrome (AMS) causes them to intentionally injure and cut off parts of their own paws, feet, legs, and tail. Affected children typically display symptoms between the ages of 3 and 12 months. There is a DNA analysis that can be performed.

Haemolytic Anaemia

A disorder caused by an inappropriate immune response in which red blood cells are destroyed. As with other forms of anaemia, this can lead to symptoms like fatigue and weakness, rapid breathing, and a shortage of oxygen reaching the body's tissues, which in turn can manifest as indicators like confusion. Jaundice is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, is fatal for dogs. Although the root cause is now unknown, genetics are not suspected to be at fault.

Chronic Pancreatitis

When the pancreas' own digesting enzymes turn on the organ, a chronic illness known as chronic pancreatitis develops. When there is a pattern of repeated incidents that leads to persistent and permanent alterations, we call it chronic. Abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms; a low-fat diet and pain medication are the mainstays of treatment. Although the actual etiology is unknown, it is assumed to be an autoimmune disorder in Cocker Spaniels.

Mammary Tumours

Cancer that begins in the tissues surrounding the breasts, often known as the mammary glands. The specific cause is unknown, while studies are being conducted to look for genetic markers associated with an elevated risk in dogs who have not been neutered.

Adult Onset Neuropathy

A ailment that typically strikes older canines between the ages of 7 and 9. Initially affecting the canine's hindquarters, the disease progresses to its front paws, leaving the animal wobbly and uncoordinated. Issues with swallowing can develop as well. A dog can be tested for genetic susceptibility to the disease. It's possible that the United States has a higher incidence of this problem.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Patella Evaluation
  2. Hip Evaluation
  3. PRA Optigen DNA Test


Due to their high activity levels and ravenous appetites, owners should provide their pets with at least three cups of dry commercial dog food (or the equivalent in wet or homemade food) every day. To reduce the likelihood of gas and bloating, their diet should be served twice or thrice daily. Remember that not all store-bought kibble is equivalent for your dog. 

A high-performance dog breed like an English Cocker Spaniel shouldn't feed its dog any food that has artificial substances or colours. Dogs of this breed require a high-quality meal with a main ingredient of real meat. Also, you need to make sure you're getting enough of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need by eating things like blueberries, apples, oranges, bananas, and sweet potatoes.


The purebred dog's beautiful coat shines only if it's well-maintained. The English Cocker Spaniel's coat needs to be combed out regularly to prevent tangles and mats. They rarely require a trim unless they develop mats that are impossible to detangle.

This dog breed has been noted by many to have a distinct odor that may be efficiently controlled by monthly bathing. They lead busy enough lives that their natural activity level allows them to maintain their nails clipped on their own. They can't properly clean their ears, though, so owners should do it for them once a week using a damp cloth.


These canines have a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for adventure and hard labor. They will get bored if they stay indoors all day. Daily, they should go for a lengthy walk around the neighborhood. On a weekly basis, they'll be begging to visit the dog park. When they are indoors, they also require mental stimulation. This can be done with the help of games like hide-and-seek, toys, or training drills. Hunting and agility training are also fun ways to keep your English Cocker Spaniel active.


Obeisance training should begin at the age of two months for every English Cocker Spaniel. They mature rapidly, and if not properly guided, they can become destructive and naughty. Puppies should begin training as soon as they are brought home. Thankfully, these purebred canines learn quickly and retain their knowledge. Owners of Cocker Spaniels would do well to give their dogs some time on an agility course in addition to traditional obedience training. Using common household items like PVC pipe, this can be accomplished at home.

Children And Other Pets

When raised around children, English Cockers become affectionate, playful, and docile members of the family. An adult English Cocker who has never lived with humans before might do best in a family with teenagers or adults who know how to treat dogs properly.

Dogs and young children should never be left alone together without adult supervision to avoid any potential for biting or ear or tail pulling. Don't let your kid bother a dog while it's sleeping or try to take his food away from him. Keep your dog away from kids at all costs.

In addition to getting along well with other dogs, English Cockers can also coexist peacefully with cats if introduced early on in life.


You should puppy-proof your home before bringing a new puppy into it. Get rid of anything that could hurt the puppy or that you don't want chewed up or slobbered on. There are a few things you should do to get ready for your new puppy's arrival. Prior to bringing your new dog home, it's important to stock up on essentials like food, treats, a crate, a bed, a collar and a leash.

The first thing you should do after bringing your new puppy home is make an appointment with your vet. Make sure your dog has up-to-date vaccinations and has been checked for any health problems by a vet regularly. Remember that a puppy's stomach is much smaller than an adult dog's. Because of this, you should provide your puppy with several smaller meals per day.

Dogs similar to English Cocker Spaniels

Three dog breeds that are similar to English Cocker Spaniels include American Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Field Spaniels.

American Cocker Spaniels:

Although the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel are sometimes mistaken for one another, they are in fact two separate dog breeds. While both varieties have shared origins, breeders in North America focused on distinct features than those in Europe, generating two different breeds. British breeders favored the parti-colored and roan varieties of the Spaniel, whereas their American counterparts sought to make solid-colored Cocker Spaniels. American Cocker Spaniels are longer than they are tall, but English Cocker Spaniels have a squarer shape since they are taller than they are long. Both types are wonderful companion animals due to their sociability and warmth.

English Springer Spaniels:

It's worth noting that English Springer Spaniels, another breed of sporting dog, are also common. Both dogs have characteristics of being smart, sociable, and simple to teach. The size of the dogs is a major distinction between the two breeds. Compared to other types of dogs, English Springer Spaniels tend to be larger in size. They stand between 18 and 21 inches tall and have a weight of around 50 pounds. On the other hand, an English Cocker Spaniel will typically weigh in at around 30 pounds and stand anywhere from 14 to 17 inches at the shoulder.

Field Spaniels:

Field Spaniels are another gun dog. These two dog types share the same qualities of being intelligent, trainable, loving, and playful. Field Spaniels are a little easier to groom than English Cocker Spaniels and are less likely to bark.