By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

English Cocker Spaniel


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Medium in size, the English Cocker Spaniel, is an efficient, active and energetic guard dog, bearing a close resemblance to the English Springer Spaniel, and Field Spaniel as well as their closest cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel to some extent. Compactly built with a merry disposition, some of their prominent physical features include a strong, softly contoured head, oval-shaped eyes, leathery ears, set low and close to its head, and a horizontal tail that is mostly docked.

English Cocker Spaniel Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesCocker Spaniel, Cocker
CoatMedium to long which are flat or could be curly or a little wavy
ColorBlack; black, white tan; black and tan; black and white; blue roan; blue roan and tan; golden; lemon roan; liver; liver and tan; liver and white; liver roan; liver roan and tan; liver white and tan; orange and white; orange roan; red; red and white; sable; sable and white; sable and tan; Markings: white, ticked, tan
Breed typePurebred
GroupSporting, Spaniel
Average lifespan 11 to 14 years
Size (How big do they get)Medium
Height Male: 16 to 17 inches; Female: 15 to 16 inches
Weight Male: 28 to 34 pounds; Female: 26 to 32 pounds
Litter size6 to 8 puppies
Behavioral traitsRobust, merry, affectionate, loyal, playful
Good with childrenYes
Climate CompatibilityAdapts to all climatic conditions
Barking tendencyModerate
Shedding (Do they shed)Moderately
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationFCI, CKC, ANKC, AKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)

Video of English Cocker Spaniel Puppies

History and Origin

Spaniels are a category of sporting dogs alongside retrievers, pointers, and setters, considered to be the oldest among the lot. The spaniels of England developed hundreds of years ago from dogs of Spanish origin. In fact, in the beginning, the spaniels only had two broad distinctions, i.e., the land spaniels and the water spaniels of which the latter was further divided as per its size. The larger ones were categorized as the field and springing spaniel while the smaller dogs adept at flushing and retrieving woodcock were called cocker spaniel. The British breeders had started separating spaniels into distinct breeds in the latter half of the 19th century, and the cocker spaniel group included breeds like the Welsh Springer Spaniel, Devonshire Cocker, and Sussex Spaniel. The Spaniel Club of England formed in the year 1885 with their main role being assigning breed standards to each of the spaniel groups. American breeders, on the other hand, were interested in developing the Cocker as a companion dog and their version was a smaller dog having a shorter head and a more rounded skull in comparison to the English variant. By 1935 it was quite evident that both of them were distinct breeds and the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America had been formed in the year 1936 by those who favored the hunting breed. AKC acknowledged them as two separate entities… Cocker (American Spaniel) and English Cocker Spaniel.

Temperament and Personality

They are fun loving, loyal and affectionate dogs, often being nicknamed “merry cocker” because of their happy and cheerful disposition coupled with the constant wagging of their tail in delight. Their equation with strangers varies as some may be reserved towards them, intimating their owner on sensing something unusual while a few could also get friendly with an unknown person instantly. They also share a comfortable rapport with kids of the family and get along well with other dogs as well as cats especially if brought up with them. Keep them away from birds as it could trigger their chasing instinct.



Because of its high energy level it needs to be exercised on a regular basis for physical and mental fitness. A long walk, hiking trail, jogging, cycling and playing in a fenced yard would all help it in channelizing its energy in a better way. They would do well in apartments too provided you meet their daily energy requirements.


Since it has an abundant coat, it needs to be brushed at least two times in a week to lessen chances of the formation of mats and tangles, and the frequency should increase if he is at his job in the field. If you are taking your English Cocker Spaniel to a show, then you would need to strip its coat with your hand or a knife. You may even get in touch with a professional groomer for this job.

Trimming its nails, brushing its teeth and cleaning its eyes and ears are the other grooming needs you have to keep in mind.

Health Problems

Some of the common health conditions the English Cockers may suffer from include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, ear infections, immune mediated hemolytic anemia, hypothyroidism,  heart murmurs,  benign tumors, skin problems, deafness (6% of the breed affected) and juvenile onset renal failure.

They are known to suffer from a Rage Syndrome that is more common in the Show Cocker Spaniels where one canine attacks the other in a savage manner al of a sudden and during this time its face has a glazed appearance and it becomes quite unaware of everything around it. Though not a common occurrence solid and dark colored dogs are more prone to it than the parti or light colored ones.

A survey conducted by a UK Kennel Club in 2004 showed that Cockers mostly died of cancer, cardiac problems and old age.


Though training this cheerful dog would not be a mammoth task give it the basics since the time it is a puppy so that your Cocker becomes a well-groomed dog as he grows up.

  • Though it is already a sociable dog, you would still need to give it socialization training on identifying the right from the wrong. Get it exposed to a host of situations and experiences so that it might gradually learn to differentiate a threat from a pleasant experience and not greet every stranger at its doorstep in a friendly way.
  • Obedience training and teaching it commands would help it keep control of its chasing instinct and prevent it from running each time its nose catches a smell.


High-quality dry dog food in combination with a well-nourished homemade diet is all that your English Cocker Spaniel needs to remain healthy.

American Cocker vs. English Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel American Cocker Spaniel
Large and tallComparatively shorter
Straight, wavy coatFull and lustrous coat
Dome shaped headFlat head
Function better as a sporting dogFunction better as a companion dog
Have an increased energy levelHas comparatively lesser energy level

Interesting Facts

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge own Lupo which is an English Cocker Spaniel.

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