English Cocker Spaniel

"The Bigger Cocker"

Photo of English Cocker Spaniel


Like all spaniels, the English Cocker's roots are in Spain, where these dogs were bred to be hunters and retrievers. Eventually, through emigration and trade, the spaniels found their way to England, where they eventually became more specialized. Certain spaniels were used specifically to flush woodcock from thickets, which is why these dogs eventually were named Cocker Spaniels. In the 1870s, Cocker Spaniels were brought from England to Canada and the United States. Before long, the Cocker Spaniels who had crossed the Atlantic began to look somewhat different than those back in England: smaller in size with shorter muzzles and longer coats. By 1935, devotees of the traditional English Cocker Spaniel had become sufficiently alarmed to form their own breed club, and to petition the American Kennel Club to recognize the English and American Cocker Spaniel as two separate breeds. In 1946, the AKC agreed to view the English Cocker Spaniel as a distinct breed. The American Cocker Spaniel became, simply, the Cocker Spaniel. In 2006, the English Cocker Spaniel ranked 74th out of 154 breeds registered to the AKC - less popular than his smaller cousin, but no less wonderful a dog.


English Cockers are friendly, active and love to be with their people. The breed is known to be particularly good with children, especially school-aged youngsters who have been taught how to behave around dogs. As amiable as these dogs are, however, they also have a reputation for being a little bit stubborn, and do best with an owner who's willing to set proper limits.


The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog, ranging from 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 26 and 34 pounds. The breed's many acceptable coat colors include solid black, red or liver with or without tan markings; white with black blue, liver or red markings and/or ticking (small spotty-looking markings). The dog has long drop ears and a docked tail.


The English Cocker responds well to gentle, positive training, but also needs to know his limitations. Puppy kindergarten and obedience training are essential to bringing out the best in this breed's temperament. Owners who want to train their dogs beyond the basics may enjoy hunting, competitive obedience, agility and/or therapy work.

Grooming & Care

Many English Cocker Spaniel owners choose to have a grooming professional deal with the clipping and trimming that keeps these lovely dogs looking their best. That said, owners still need to clean the ears regularly to prevent infections and brush the coat at least once a week to control shedding. Weekly nail trims and clipping of the hair around the paw pads will keep the feet looking neat. Their penchant for physical activity means that they'll be happiest by getting plenty of exercise, at minimum, several brisk walks each day.

Health Concerns

Like any purebred dog, the English Cocker Spaniel has his share of inherited health issues. Among the chief health concerns are hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, kidney disease, cataracts and deafness. Dogs intended for breeding should receive OFA clearance for sound hips and CERF clearances for healthy eyes first, so ask your breeder for the results of these tests.

Famous English Cocker Spaniel

Elton John and David Furnish named their English Cocker, Arthr, best man so he could attend their civil partnership ceremony.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 56
Exercise 61
Challenges Will chase small animals, lots of grooming, more active than the smaller Cocker Spaniel.
Height 15 to 17 inches
Weight 26 to 34 pounds
Life 10 to 15 years
Home Alone 82
With Kids 114
With Strangers 22
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

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