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Cocker Spaniel (English) breed Information

An A-to-Z Guide to Raise the English Cocker Spaniel (2020)


Are you planning to adopt or buy an English Cocker Spaniel for your family? If yes, then it's high time you should start thorough research for this breed. Before bringing your dog at home, you should be prepared to train him, feed him, and make him comfortable in every possible way. You should also be prepared for the rainy days - any physical or mental health issue that comes along in the future. Here is an A-to-Z guide for everyone who wants to know more about English Cocker Spaniel.


Sturdy, intelligent, and enthusiastic - that's what an English Cocker Spaniel looks like. It is one of the gun dogs breeds with exceptional popularity. English Cocker Spaniels are energetic and active sporting dogs having a remarkably compact physique. In the UK, English Cockers are commonly known by the name 'Cocker'. However, Americans call it an English Cocker. Don't confuse it with American Cocker Spaniel, who is his cousin and an entirely different breed. English Cocker Spaniel generally produce around 3-12 pups. Like many other breeds, English Cocker Spaniel also loves being around humans, living with them and pleasing them. They make amazingly faithful pets, and you will always find them active and friendly.


What are the Characteristics of English Cocker Spaniel?


English Cocker Spaniel is known for being a medium-sized dog who has long ears. Overall it has a happy and lively breed who loves to be a part of a responsible, loving, and caring family. They were named 'Cocker' because they were bred to hunt a bird known as a Woodcock in the UK. Their hunting was not limited to Woodcocks, though, as they had hunted several birds.

As a companion dog, English Cocker Spaniel is one of the best breeds. Further details regarding the characteristics and analysis of this breed are as follows:

  • Adaptability



Every breed reacts in a different way when introduced to a new family and home. Some dogs are good at accepting changes, while others are quite a challenge and need the support of their owners. As for English cocker Spaniel, they are incredible in terms of adaptability. That is why their score for adaptability is 4 out of 5 stars.

Here is how

1. They are one of those breeds who love living in apartments. Unlike many other dogs who feel uncomfortable being in the apartment since they need a larger space to run, jump, and play freely, English Cocker Spaniels live peacefully in apartments. They are comfy as long as their owners love them. For apartment living, they score 5 out of 5 stars.


2. For people without prior experience of raising a dog, some breeds become a huge challenge. At the same time, some breeds are very easy to handle for everyone. English cocker Spaniels are one of the easy-going breeds who don't give much hard time to the owners. English Cockers are cooperative with their owners and listen to them. Therefore, for novice owners, English Cocker Spaniels are perfect, securing 4 out of 5 stars.


3. One of the important characteristics of English Cocker Spaniels is that they are very sensitive. Other dogs may not react to chaotic or aggressive behavior, but English Cocker Spaniels can feel every kind of change in their master's behavior. As a general rule, dogs should not be trained with being harsh, especially those with high sensitivity levels. Hence, English Cocker Spaniels scores 5 out of 5 stars for sensitivity.


4. A high level of sensitivity also impacts other personality traits of every dog. English Cocker Spaniels don't like being left out by their owner. They don't feel comfortable being all alone for a long time. They can develop anxiety and feel tense for their owners. Anxiety can sometimes lead to behavioral change, which can be challenging for any owner. So once you get a dog like English Cocker Spaniel with a high sensitivity level, don't leave them on their own because their tolerance of being alone has secured only 1 out of 5 stars.

5. English Cockers can live easily in the cold weather. They can tolerate cold weather without any difficulty, which is why their tolerance of cold weather got 4 out of 5 stars.


6. Although English Cocker Spaniels like playing outside, they don't like hot weather much. They will be comfier under the shade or inside the house. So, make sure not to leave him for a long time in summers. Their tolerance for hot weather got 3 out of 5 stars.

  • All-Around Friendliness


English Cocker Spaniels are known to be very friendly and people-loving breeds. They never miss a chance to show their families affection and love. Not only the owner but also the children, neighbors, and other animals. They are kind, loving, and gentle with everyone. That is why their score for all-around friendliness is 5 out of 5.

Here is how


1. English Cocker Spaniels have an enormous amount of affection for his family. They are people-pleasers, and they love spending time with their family. If you raise an English cocker Spaniel, you will realize that the bond between you two is very special. They never betray their family. Due to huge affection for their family, they scored 5 out of 5 marks.


2. Unlike some dogs which can be triggered by children's presence because of their herding instincts, English Cocker Spaniels adore kids. They both enjoy each other's company and get along pretty well. As a parent, English Cocker Spaniel is the best gift you can give to your kids. This breed always takes care of children, so they are trustworthy. However, you should not leave your kids with the dog alone for the safe side. Besides, their kids-friendly score, which is 5 out of 5 stars, proves how loving and caring English Cocker Spaniels can be with children.

3. Humans are not the only lucky creatures to be loved by English Cocker Spaniels. They will befriend your other dogs too. They don't want to hurt or be dominant. Instead, all your other dogs will feel safe and loved around them. Their dog-friendliness has secured 5 out of 5 stars.

4. English Cocker Spaniels love interacting, playing, and loving anyone who they feel secure around. Even strangers don't scare them. They interact with everyone in the same kind and gentle way. Their friendliness with strangers has also scored 5 out of 5 stars.

  • Grooming Needs



Some breeds need a lot of grooming to remain well-maintained and up to date. In contrast, others can be groomed very easily. For English Cocker Spaniels, their grooming needs scored 3 out of 5 stars.

Here are some reasons behind it:


1. Even though English Cocker shed seasonally, the amount of shed hair can be a lot. You must give him regular brushing and take care of them, even more, when they shed their hair. Otherwise, you'll end up having dog hair all over your house. For the amount of shedding, English Cocker Spaniels get 3 out of 5 stars.


2. English Cocker Spaniels are great for families who don't want their house to be messed up with the dog's drool. They have the lowest drooling potential, and that will maintain hygiene in the house. For drooling potential, they scored 1 out of 5 stars. They are a pretty clean breed.


3. English Cocker Spaniels are very easy to groom. Grooming is a necessity for them as they have long, beautiful hair that is capable of touching the floor if grown enough. Grooming is also essential because it has a direct impact on Cocker's health. They need to be groomed every three days. Hence, their grooming needs score is 3 out of 5 stars.

4. Generally, English Cocker Spaniels are a healthy breed that is not prone to genetic diseases. Though this doesn't mean they don't get such diseases, they are just at a lower risk. If you, as an owner, make sure they get their exercise and dietary needs fulfilled, your dog will be free from any disease. Concerning their general health, they get 4 out of 5 stars.


5. Be careful while rewarding an English Cocker Spaniel with excessive treats. They are one of the breeds with the highest weight gain potential. Therefore, it is highly recommended to set a strict daily exercise schedule for them to remain healthy. Otherwise, they are at higher risk of obesity.


6. English Cocker spaniel comes under the category of medium-sized breeds, which are not huge. For size, they have scored 2 out of 5 stars.

  • Trainability



English Cocker Spaniels are easy to train. They have multiple personality traits, such as intelligence, smartness, and loyalty, which makes it easier to train them. They listen to their master and are ready to do whatever he commands them to do. For trainability, their overall score is 4 out of 5 stars due to the following factors:


1. English Cockers make training fun. They are not challenging to train, which is why they even get along pretty well with novice owners. They are understanding and cooperative. For ease in training, they've managed to score 4 out of 5 stars.


2. While taking care of their physical needs, such as a tough exercise and a healthy diet, don't forget their mental health as English Cocker Spaniels also need mental stimulation and exercise. They are extremely intelligent dogs who understand their owner very well. For intelligence, they get 5 out of 5 stars.


3. Sometimes English Cocker Spaniels become to show a mouthy behavior, which means they start chewing and biting things. It may be because of anxiety. Anxious dogs tend to bite stuff and even people. Although their bites won't hurt as they don't mean any harm to their families, they can be trained to avoid such behavior. Their mouthiness potential has scored 3 out of 5 stars.


4. They tend to get triggered whenever they see small pets. They can show an aggressive attitude to small animals like cats, squirrels, etc. That is why English cockers should be leashed around small, vulnerable pets or should not be kept in the same room. Their prey drive has got a full score of 5 out of 5 marks.


5. English Cockers are known as the dogs who bark a lot. Particularly when they feel being left alone. They feel unhappy and anxious, and to express their thoughts, they start chewing thongs and barking more often. You need to spend more time with them; otherwise, you should not proceed to get it. Their barking potential got 4 out of 5 stars


6. As they are one of the friendly and outgoing breeds, they have a higher potential of wanderlust. Sometimes they don't even remember their families and just wander outside the house. Even small things like noise or any small animal can trigger English Cocker Spaniel to follow them. The overall score of wanderlust is 4 out of 5.

  • Physical Needs



English Cocker spaniels have longer and more narrow head than other breeds. They have long ears that are always set low. The breed was physically designed for hunting purposes. Further physical characteristics include broad jaws, flat skull, big oval-shaped eyes, and broad nostrils. They are a highly energetic and active breed who cannot just spend their entire day lying around in the house. That is why taking care of their physical and exercise needs is essential for their healthy upbringing. Their score for physical needs is 4 out of 5 stars.

Some factors affecting such ratings are as follows:


1. Their energy level is the highest. They can play, walk, jump, and run without feeling exhausted. That is also a reason why they are a good pet for families having kids. For energy level, English Cocker scored 5 out of 5 stars.


2. Some dogs have a higher level of intensity than the others. Their intensity can be represented by their lifestyle and simple actions like playing, eating, or even drinking. The intensity level of English Cocker Spaniels is moderate, making their score 3 out of 5 stars.


3. Since it was bred to hunt, English Cockers are very active. They also have higher exercise needs than many other breeds. Owners need to set a routine for their daily workout sessions. Their score for exercise needs is 4 out of 5 stars.


4. They are a perfect companion for children because they are playful and enjoy playing different games with them. You can try games like fetch the ball, hide and seek, or Frisbee, etc. to engage with them. Their playfulness has scored 5 out of 5 stars.


Important Stats of an English Cocker Spaniel



Dog Breed Group/Purpose

Sporting Group

Average Height

38-43 cm (male)
36-41 cm (female)

Average Weight

13-16 kg (male) 

12-15 kg (female)

Life Expectancy

12-15 years

Breed Popularity



Affectionate, Friendly, Playful, Faithful, Trainable 

Club Recognition

UKC Classification: Gun dog

AKC Classification: Sporting Dog

Exercise Requirements 

30 minutes per day 

Energy Level


Coat Length


Coat Characteristic

Flat and Silky Coat


More about English Cocker Spaniel - Personality and Temperament


The overall personality of English Cocker Spaniels is friendly, loving, and loyal to the family. They are experts in creating a lovable bond among the family and becoming the apple of their eyes. Further details about the personality traits are given below. 

1.   Affectionate



They are one of the most devoted and affectionate breeds. They don't like to be on their own. Instead, they love being a part of the family activities. They are bred to be loyal and faithful to their master, which is why you will always find them staying close to your family. For such dogs, care, love, and attention are necessary. If you provide them all this, they will be your true companion and protector for life.


2.    Friendly



Being friendly is not a cup of tea for many breeds. But for English Cocker Spaniels, it's the part of their identity. They have a friendly nature due to which they successfully win everyone's hearts. Their desire to please people is the reason why we all love this breed. They are fun-loving, kind, and gentle family dogs. They create a stronger bond with those whom they're raised with. 

3.   Playful



If you are looking for a breed that would spend more time with you and your family, especially children, then English Cocker Spaniel is your best bet. One of the many characteristics that people love about them is their playfulness. They are always ready to play games, no matter what type it is. It is important to provide them with sufficient mental and physical stimulation to keep them physically and mentally healthy. They enjoy being a part of family games like hiking, tracking, and agility.


4.   Faithful


Due to their love for the owner and his family, English Cocker Spaniels remain faithful and loyal to them their entire life. Once you introduce them to your family, they will treat it as their pack. Faithfulness among the members of the pack is crucial for survival. That is why they are trained to protect and look after their pack i.e., your family.

5.   Trainable


Throughout their childhood and even in adulthood, dogs go through various training. Training is necessary for them to live in the house. While some dogs show behavior reluctantly during their training, English Cocker Spaniels won't give you a hard time. They do pretty well during training, and that's another reason why they make amazing family dogs. 


History of English Cocker Spaniels


The main origin of English Cocker Spaniel is unknown, although the name 'Spaynel' was found in the literature of the 14th century. Presumably, their origin lies somewhere in Spain. They were also described as the hound of spaniels by Edward 2nd Duke of York.


During 1600 spaniels became experts in land and water breeds. The water spaniel is now extinct. Its main job was to retrieve the fowls that were shot by their master's arrow. Land spaniels were classified as setting spaniels and springing spaniels.


The 17th century's era changed the role and jobs of spaniels as the hunters began using the flintlock gun for shooting. The transformation of these dogs from untrained beaters to polished, smooth gun dogs were seen as described by Goodall and Gasow.


In 1801, Sydenham Edwards mentioned that the "land Spaniel" is classified into further types i.e., the cocker/cocking spaniels and the hawking, springing/springer. Since they were bred to hunt the birds and mainly woodcock, the term 'cock' derived from that. Furthermore, they have also been mentioned by other authors such as Shakespeare and Chaucer.


Any club did not recognize English cocker Spaniels until 1892. The same springer breed was producing three different breeds i.e., Sussex, cockers, and springer. It creates confusion because pups were described as cockers, but as they started growing more, they were identified as springers.


The ancestor of today's cocker Spaniels was known as Obbo, who was produced by Field Spaniel Dam and Sussex Spaniel Sire. The offspring of Obbo include both American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel.


What is the size of English Cocker Spaniels?



English Cocker Spaniels are stronger and taller than American Cocker Spaniels. Their ideal weight is somewhere around --- and ideal height is ---.

They are a friendly and cheerful breed who love their family unconditionally. They need exercise and grooming so anyone who can take care of their needs would raise a healthy Cocker.


What Care Should You Give to an English Cocker Spaniel?



Like every dog, English Cocker Spaniels also have grooming needs such as brushing, bathing, etc. One should make sure he is capable of fulfilling all those needs before getting an English Cocker Spaniel.

Their grooming needs are described below:

  • Brushing


The silky and shiny coat of English Cocker Spaniels should be brushed regularly, as it can get tangled very easily. It can become an obstacle whenever they want to walk freely, which is why brushing their coat more often is essential.

  • Bathing


Turn bath time into a fun time by having a positive attitude

so that your dog can enjoy bathing. Bathing can keep them away from many diseases, so it should be a part of their regular grooming routine.

Typically, you should bathe dogs once in every three months. However, due to the silky coat of English Cocker Spaniel, you can wash them more frequently.

  • Hair Clipping


Long hair is easy to be dragged on the floor and get dirty. English Cocker Spaniels need to feel comfortable while walking, but with long hair, it is challenging for them. That is why trimming is essential. The hair around their feet, footpads, ears should be trimmed frequently to ensure the hygiene of your dog.

  • Nail Trimming


Numerous dog owners don't trim their nails because they're not sure about the right method. But they don't understand the importance of nail trimming. Just like hair trimming, nail trimming also prevents them from getting dirty and catching diseases. If you don't know how to trim properly, you can simply take them to their vet and ask them to do it. You can also learn nail trimming as it is a simple task.

  • Ear Care


Their long silky ears can get infected, and you should check the ears more often. Gently wipe them after every bathing or swimming session.

  • Dental Care


English Cocker Spaniels are known for having sensitive teeth. Just like every other body part, their teeth also play a role in their long-term wellbeing. Therefore, their teeth should be brushed daily to prevent germs and mouth diseases.

How Much Food Should English Cocker Spaniel Eat?



An adult English Cocker Spaniel should eat two meals in a day. Their feeding time should be fixed, so they know when they can expect the next meal. Ideally, an adult cocker should be given 1 ½ - 2 ½ cups of high-quality dog food every day. Two meals can be made out of this amount which you can give your dog twice a day.

For pups weighing 2 kg or less, the requirement is somewhere around ½ cups daily.


What are the Best Dog Food Brands for English Cocker Spaniels?











How Should You Train an English Cocker Spaniel?



A well-trained dog behaves well inside the house as well as in public places. A good owner teaches his pet about the rights and wrongs and do's and don'ts. Our behavior with pets should be the same as our behavior with children. If you are not capable of spending enough time training your English Cocker Spaniel, you should reconsider getting it. If not trained properly, they might be very difficult to handle, which, at times, results in abandoning the dog leading them to shelters.

Here are multiple training guides to raise a well-behaved, obedient English Cocker Spaniel:

Obedience Training

Train your dog as soon as you bring him to your house. Obedience training teaches the dog who they should listen to and what their owner expects from them. It also teaches them manners, which eventually makes them well-behaved. Obedience training is a long-term training that requires the obedience commands to be practiced long after your pet learns it. 

Every time your dog obeys your command, it will make the command easier to remember. Regular practice of commands makes your dog familiar with it, and ultimately, he will learn to obey you without commanding at all. Just don't be harsh with them. It will only make things worse. The training period should be full of adventures and surprises for your dog.

Alpha training

In alpha training, the owner himself acts as an alpha dog (the leader of their pack) and teaches the dog how to follow his lead.

You can easily establish boundaries, teach your dog rules, and tell him what is acceptable and not. Alpha training will also strengthen the relationship between you and your dog. Your dog will learn how to respect the owner's decisions.

Potty Training

If your dog is not potty-trained, you must train him. Initially, potty training seems a difficult task with a lot of moments, which will test your patience and make you frustrated. Sometimes people get a dog and find out he is not well-trained. That's when they train them again. Such training is more laborious than training a pup.

Remember, patience and consistency are the keys. With love, care, and rewards, your dog can accomplish potty-training too.

Potty-training is about teaching your dog where he should do his business. It also illustrates the dog how to hold the bladders until they reach their particular spot. Without potty-training, your dog will end up creating a mess all over the house, which is not easy to clean every other day. Therefore, potty training should be done during their puppyhood.

Crate Training

Crate training teaches the dog out of his crate and how he can rest, sleep, and feel secure inside it. Crate training helps dogs overcome separation anxiety, which usually occurs when they have been left alone for a long time.

With crate training, your dog will feel more protected if you are not around. It will also be useful in potty-training because your Cocker will know he cannot mess up his safe haven. Although the ideal time for crate training is puppyhood, that's not the only time—adult dogs who were not familiar with crates before can also be trained to stay in their crates.

You should not rush in crate training. Let your dog take his time. During the training, you must encourage him with rewards such as treats, praises, pat on their back, etc. 

Dealing with Separation Anxiety

English Cocker Spaniels generally like being around their family because they have been bred this way – to be with their pack and to protect it. Once you bring them to your house, they will start treating your family as their pack. That is why they eat, sleep, and play with the family.

If you leave them and don't return for a long time, they will start developing distress and separation anxiety. Another cause of separation anxiety is boredom. When your dog doesn't find anyone or anything to play with, he gets bored. He might start behaving aggressively and do things like digging, chewing the chair's leg, etc.

Separation anxiety can be cured by training. You can train your dog and tell him how to behave while your family is away. Soon, your dog will be able to learn and comply with the training. Then he would easily stay inside your house while you are gone. 

What Are Some Common Health Issues in English Cocker Spaniel?



Like every dog breed, English Cocker Spaniels are also prone to some diseases. The most common health issues that they go through are described below:

  • Eye Diseases

As much as we love the big eyes of English Cocker Spaniel, they can catch diseases too. The most common eye disease is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Dogs aging from 3 to 7 years are at higher risk of suffering from this disease, which can lead them to blindness. The good thing is that PRA can be diagnosed with a DNA test. So you can find out easily whether your dog has it or not.

Another major eye disease is Cataracts. It can occur to dogs aging from 1.5 to 8 years. It also causes blindness in the long term.

More eye diseases include a persistent pupillary membrane, cherry eye, eyelid abnormalities, eyelash abnormalities, dry eye, retinal dysplasia, and glaucoma

  • Hip Dysplasia

In this disease, the hip joint starts getting deforming. Hip dysplasia can occur due to many reasons, such as environment, diet, and genetics. Though it is a painful condition for a dog, the pain can be reduced. If your English Cocker goes through this disease, he can still live a healthy life. You need to be very vigilant with their exercises; make sure they don't overdo the workout. If the case is severe, he might need hip replacement surgery.

  • Ear Diseases

As English Cocker Spaniels have long ears, they need extra grooming and care. They are at higher risk of ear infection, which is very common among this breed. The reason behind ear infection is that the ear canals of English Cocker Spaniels are narrow and carry hair inside. It can be prevented by regular grooming

  • Congenital Sensorineural Deafness.

Many Cocker pups are born with this disease. It causes the sense of hearing to gradually reduce and eventually result in deafness when the pups reach the age of 4 weeks. Responsible breeders test their English Cockers for this condition before they breed them.

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy

In dilated cardiomyopathy, your English Cocker's heart muscles overly distend. It impacts the English Cockers who are solid-colored. Some symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include weakness, weightless, abdominal distention, fainting, a rapid heartbeat, and coughing. With the help of echocardiography and x-rays, its diagnosis is possible. 

Do English Cocker Spaniels Behave Good with Children?


English Cocker Spaniels have a reputation of being gentle, kind, and friendly around children. Their bond is more robust if they grow up together. However, if you get an adult English Cocker Spaniel, he might be more comfortable around older kids instead of toddlers. This is because Older children have a better sense of interacting with dogs while toddlers don't.


As a parent, you should teach your kids about the right ways to approach and touch English Cockers. When they play around with the dog, you must supervise them and never leave them without any elder to avoid any harm. Your children should know that he is not supposed to touch the Cocker when he is asleep or is having their meal.


As long as children respect their boundaries, English Cockers will be happy and comfortable around them. Not only children, but they also like to hang out with other pets like dogs and cats.

Best Australian Bases Breeder Organizations for English Cocker Spaniels


Located in Brisbane, Australia, Shelpin is a home-based breeder that is run by an English cocker lover, Shellie Gapin. She has had Cocker Spaniels for years, after which she decided to become an official breeder. She loves pups with love, attention, and care, who turn out friendly and social. 


Elswood is a proud breeder of the English cocker spaniel, which is located in Adelaide. It started in 1981, and to this day, their dogs have been participating in dog shows. They have been able to produce over 60 winners in multiple dog shows. They have both pups and adults available. 



Kwolatee Kennels became a member of Dogs NSW in 2005. It is also a certified stylist of English cocker Spaniels. The breeds it produces are of high-quality and healthy. Pups are under supervision for almost the entire day. The adults are tested for PRA (eye disease) and FN (kidney disease) to ensure healthy offspring. This organization treats all the pups as their pets and raises them with love.

Best Australian Based Rescue Groups for English Cocker Spaniels 

Cocker Spaniel Rescue Australia (CSRA) was initially just a Facebook page which served the purpose of helping dogs in need. Within a short span, it became a rescue group after taking its first dog. Now, they operate under English Cocker spaniel Spaniel Australia Incorporated. They allow cockers to stay with them as long as they want. They feed them, shelter them, and take care of their health.

It is a local rescue group where passionate dog lovers work voluntarily. They focus on grooming, feeding, and rehoming the Cocker Spaniels who have been abandoned or lost. The rescue group makes sure that the Cocker Spaniels are mentally and physically in good health when their new owner picks them up. 


English Cocker spaniels are the perfect family dogs that you could bring your family. They are loyal, obedient, faithful, and fun-loving. If you have children, they'll surely enjoy the company of English Cocker spaniel. You should only proceed if you think you can take care of all their needs, such as food, exercise, grooming, health, and hygiene. 


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