english cocker spaniel dog

All About the Adorable Hunter: the English Cocker Spaniel

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Charming, royal, and beautiful – these are the words you would use to define an English Cocker Spaniel. The graceful round head and square muzzle get these dogs’ love and admiration from everywhere. Because of featuring in many movies, these dogs caught attention in the pet world and won hearts with their cute looks. 

However, looks are not the only things an English Cocker Spaniel possesses. Let’s dive into the world of the most affectionate and active dog in the canine world and find out if you’re suitable to be a parent to this adorable furball. 


Believed to be originated in England, the English Cocker Spaniel has been in the talks since the 1800s. Sir James Farrow of the Obo Kennel takes the credit for breeding the first English Cocker Spaniel. 

Then, in the 1870s, the breed caught the attention of the United States and they brought it to their country. From that time on, dog enthusiasts wanted to create a smaller English Cocker Spaniel version with the agility of the original one. 

Sir James Watson and Clinton Wilmerding found a way out of the dilemma and created the American Spaniel Club to keep on improving the breed. Due to their beauty and playfulness, this breed became a favorite with Americans and found its way into the whole United States.  In 1984, they got the title of the most popular dog by the Americal Kennel Club.

Other Names

English Cocker Spaniel Other Names

The origin of the name of the Cocker Spaniel or its connection to some other breed couldn’t be found. Though it is believed that Cocker came to their name due to their ability to hunt woodcocks. The word Spaniel comes from its primary roots in Spain. 

Though, the Cocker Spaniels we know today were bred in England and hence called English Cocker Spaniel. The breeders of the United States gave the name American Cocker Spaniel to the States’ bred dog. Though, the US natives call it just Cockers. 

English Cocker Spaniels live for over 16 years and sometimes, even for 20 years! Can you believe how much fun you can have together in all these years?

Difference Between an American and an English Cocker Spaniel

Till 1936, the American and the English Cocker Spaniels were considered the same breed. However, there are a few differences. The English Cocker Spaniel is slightly larger and taller while the American one is rather long. 

The American one possesses a longer coat while that of the English Cocker Spaniel is of a medium length. English Cocker Spaniel still has a strong prey drive while American ones are rather amiable and companionship-driven. 

Concludingly, English Cocker Spaniels are more energetic than American Cocker Spaniels. 


English Cocker Spaniel Size

The average size of the male Cocker Spaniel ranges from 38-43 cm and has a weight of up to 16 kilograms. On the other hand, the she-dogs of the breed can grow up to 36-41 cm and weigh around 15 kilograms. 

You can’t always tell the difference between them just by size as it is almost the same. Even though their size is not intimidating, they are effective hunters and very agile. 

They do not only work as companions and show dogs, but they also showcase their bird fleshing and hunting skills excellently. The prey drive in their nature makes them remarkable hunters. 


English Cocker Spaniel Colors

Cocker Spaniels possess a variety of colors in their coats. There are six colors that find their places in the records.

  • Golden
  • Red
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Black and tan
  • Liver and tan

A combination and shades of two or more colors are also found in the cocker spaniels. 


Their coats are very silky and smooth with very little shedding tendencies. The coat of a Cocker Spaniel requires regular brushing and proper diet and nutrition to maintain its smoothness. 


English Cocker Spaniel Personality

The English Cocker Spaniels are usually very playful, friendly, affectionate, and quiet creatures. Though, they also set up their names in the field of intelligence, obedience, agility, and trainability.

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They win many awards at dog shows. However, people usually forget to look beyond their charm. They have many more pleasant qualities than their cute visage. They are also competitors in tracking and hunting competitions and often excel in them.

Also, an English Cocker Spaniel wants to be the leader of the pack and would make sure to dominate. So, don’t underestimate an English Cocker Spaniel just because it is small and cute. 

Compatibility with other pets

Compatibility with other pets

The loving and affectionate natures of these pooches extend to the human as well as the animal kind. With the other pets in the household, they are familylike. Though, proper socialization from a young age is a must.

However, due to their inherent prey drive, small animals are often in trouble around them. They would often run after mice, squirrels, and even cats sometimes. Looking at the silver side of this cloud, Cocker Spaniels are very effective for pest control as they would drive the rodents away.

Are they a problem for your cat? Make them become friends when they are young. That solves the problem.


Even though they are playful and obedient, they tend to get stubborn and angry at times. When they behave like that, it gets tough to make them listen to just anything. 

Due to this, experts recommend their obedience and agility training at a very young age. With proper training, they become very obedient and it suppresses the stubbornness of their nature. 

Cockers are very sensitive to violent and noisy environments. If they are treated roughly and aggressively, they suppress their positive qualities and unleash their negative potential full-on. They would resort to snapping, barking, chewing, digging, and even biting. 

Training a English Cocker Spaniel

Training a Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are considered to be one of the most trainable dogs. They easily listen to commands and are really fast learners. Due to their high energy levels, they require regular exercise of at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

They love long walks with their parents. You can train them with games of agility and fetch. Their high stamina requires you to employ them in energy-releasing workouts.

A leash is a good idea if you’re taking them out as they love to jump on just anyone.  

Family life

If you are planning on adopting an English Cocker Spaniel, be prepared to be surprised with their amazing familiarity skills. They would always try to make you smile and their silliness will definitely get you rolling on the floor with laughter. That is why they are perfect therapy dogs.

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, an English Cocker Spaniel is a companion that can help you heal. They are eager to be of service and would always look up to you to give them a purpose. 

You can employ them to fetch for you by teaching them fetching at a young age. This helps them feel useful and engages their playful nature. A cocker can be your perfect companion with compatibility and trust to go around.

Around children

Yes, we know the cockers are inherently lovable and affectionate but they have a sensitive side. Rough play is not their thing. If you are planning on leaving your child with a cocker someday, socialize with your dog at a young age.

Also, teach your children never to tug at the dog’s tail, ear, or any other body part. Don’t push them around and do not bully them. A cocker is a fighter and never surrenders to bullying without giving a fight. 

Gentleness and patience are the keys to an English Cocker Spaniel’s heart. You can keep a watch on your child and the pooch in the initial days before trusting both of them to be with each other alone. 

Being a Parent to a Cocker

Being a Parent to a Cocker

Well, have you seen that fur? They have grooming needs and very frequent ones at that. The long hair on their fur mandates a monthly visit to a groomer. Not only does their long hair create inconvenience, but it might also catch fleas and dirt in their coat and harm their health as well.

They are prone to tangling their coats and getting infected with skin diseases. Besides that, a cocker spaniel is prone to eye diseases. Retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and cataract are common in this breed. Also, they are prone to other health issues like hypothyroidism, allergies, and seborrhea.

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If you want to keep your dog healthy and away from these issues, a regular vet visit is a good way to ensure that. You can get effective suggestions from them to keep your pooch in a good health. 


An English Cocker Spaniel pup costs around $800-$1600 if you adopt it from a professional breeder. However, these dogs might even cost you around $2500 depending on your source of adoption. 

If you are planning on a Cocker Spaniel adoption, put aside at least $500-$700 as their yearly expenses. All of their needs including food, vaccination, vet consultations, and other needs including grooming can be supplied within this amount.

Do you think it’s costly? They would pay it all back with the amount of joy and affection they bring to your life. Also, if you pay enough attention to their training, they can excel in competition and make you a proud parent by bringing all the medals home. 

The sweet and charming cocker is a talented and intelligent pooch that makes life fun and fursuit-full.  

Cons of Having an English Cocker Spaniel

Cons of Having a Cocker Spaniel
  1. Energy

The energy levels of a cocker spaniel are so high that if you neglect their exercise for one day, they would let you know that. Jumping on a bed, jumping on your favorite vase and if nothing else is there, jumping on you is their favorite hobby.

  1. Intolerance

If your child is naughty but you’ve got used to it, beware of a cocker spaniel. He won’t be so accommodating. Certain types of behavior are a big no for them. You can’t resort to rough play with them.

  1. Food Aggression

They won’t let you eat alone. If they see you eating, nothing can stop them from jumping on your plate and stealing the food away. If you think you are big enough to swat them away, they would make little children’s plates their prey. The food greed just doesn’t go away. 

  1. The Excessive Grooming

You can go on 2 days without brushing your hair but your cocker can not. If you neglect it, their coats start shedding fur, their hair gets in tangles and their coats lose their silky quality. 

  1. Ear Infections

The large floppy fallen ears make them prone to ear infections more than other dog breeds. The lack of airflow makes their ear a suitable ground for infection to fester. 

  1. Their Rage Syndrome

Cockers are very particular about their sleeping and anyone trying to surprise them in that state is bound to be a victim of their snapping. That gets a bit problematic if their behavior is not suppressed early enough.

The English Cocker Spaniel made its way into the hearts of many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, John Kennedy, Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge respectively due to its playful nature.

The research is going on which gives a whiff of an English Cocker Spaniel being able to sniff cancer out of samples. The awe and amazement that this pup leaves one in are undefinable. If you are planning on adopting a dog, an English Cocker Spaniel would be a good choice. 

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