All Cocker Spaniel Colours & Patterns (+ Pictures)

July 14, 2022

Cocker Spaniels come in a wide range of patterns and colours. There are almost two dozen variations to choose from.

Even if you have been a Cocker Spaniel owner for many years it is quite likely you have not seen all of the options available for their coats. It really is quite incredible how broad the range of options available is.

This wide range of options for patterns adds a bit of individuality to what is otherwise a very distinguished breed with its long ears, loving nature, and beautiful coat. Particularly if you get one of the parti-coloured Cocker Spaniels or one of the less common coats.

In this article, we will show you every option available for Cocker Spaniels colours along with helpful information about the traits you can expect to see in dogs with different markings. All to help you make a decision on what type of Cocker Spaniel you will want to get.

Let's get started!

How is a Cocker Spaniels Coat Colour Determined?

Even though there are a wide array of potential colours for Cocker Spaniels the colours Cocker Spaniel puppies have when they are born are determined by the parents.

The genes of the mother and father and combined to decide the coat colour and if the dog will have a solid colour or parti colour. This is again further broken down by groups with open marked, roan, or ticked.

There are two things that genes do to determine the colour of a dog's coat. VCA Animal Hospital describes these as controlling pigments produced and where the pigments are produced.

This allows Cocker Spaniels to have a wide range of colourings influenced by their parent's coats.

You can make a reasonable guess about the colour of a litter by the dogs you are breeding. For more information, check out this resource by Vet Gen on canine coat colours.

Solid Coloured Cocker Spaniels

Solid-coloured Cocker Spaniels are just what they sound like, one colour all over. There are five types of solid Cocker coats. Some of these are very common such as the black or golden Cocker Spaniel whereas there are rarer coats, such as the red or chocolate Cocker Spaniel.

Black Cocker Spaniel

Black Cocker Spaniel

Golden Cocker Spaniel

Read the full article on golden Cocker Spaniels

Chocolate Cocker Spaniel (or Liver)

Read our in-depth guide on chocolate Cocker Spaniels.

Red Cocker Spaniel and her puppy

Red Cocker Spaniel

Parti Colour Cocker Spaniels

This type of Cocker Spaniel has two or more colours in its coat. Parti colour Cocker Spaniels have unique coats with each dog having their own colours, shapes and sizes on their coats. Black and white Cocker Spaniels are the most common parti coloured Cocker.

Black and white Cocker Spaniel sitting on grass

Black and White Cocker Spaniel

Chocolate and White Cocker Spaniel (or liver)

Orange and White Cocker Spaniel

Red and White Cocker Spaniel

Lemon and White Cocker Spaniel

Roan Cocker Spaniels

The roan family of Cocker Spaniels have primary and secondary colours mixed together.

Roan Cockers come in a range of colour combinations of those you see through this article. Many of these are uncommon, such as the lemon or orange roan. However, the blue roan Cocker Spaniel is one of the most common coat colours you will find.

Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel

Read the full article on blue roan Cocker Spaniels.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Chocolate Roan Cocker Spaniel

Lemon Roan Cocker Spaniel

Orange Roan Cocker Spaniel

Tan Cocker Spaniels

A tan Cocker Spaniel is a light brown coat colour. It is usually seen in combination with another colour such as chocolate, or even with three different coloured hairs on some tri-colour dogs.

Just like with the roan Cockers previously mentioned, the marking will be very unique to each dog, and the distribution of colours will be spread over their paws, body, head, and face.

Tan Cockers are not so commonly seen as some of the more popular colourings on this list.

Liver and tan Cocker Spaniel

Chocolate and Tan Cocker Spaniel

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Blue Roan and Tan Cocker Spaniel

Black, White, Tan Cocker Spaniel

Read the full article on black, white and tan Cocker Spaniels

Chocolate, White, Tan Cocker Spaniel

Sable Cocker Spaniels

Sable Cocker Spaniels are quite a rare sight. This is not a colour which is recognised by breeding clubs as one of the 'breed standard' coat colours.

The beautiful coat colour of this Cocker Spaniel led to many focusing on breeding Sables as they fetched a higher price. This led to bad breeding practices and litters that were prone to health problems.

Still, Sable Cockers are very pretty dogs. Just make sure you do a full health check if you are taking one home.

Sable Cocker Spaniel

Learn everything you need to know about sable Cocker spaniels in our in-depth guide

Sable and White Cocker Spaniel

Which Cocker Spaniel Coats are Most Common?

While there are almost two dozen options for Cocker Spaniel coat colours, there is a handful of these you are more likely to see when walking down the street.

These include black, blue roan, black and white, and golden. You will see many types of coats, but these four would be what is most common in Cocker Spaniels.

Which Cocker Spaniel Coats are Rare?

The rarest coat colours are the more obscure combinations such as lemon roan, red and white, sable, or even the chocolate Cocker. These and a few of the others are all a bit more challenging to find.

Which Cocker Spaniel Coat Colours are Breed Standard?

One reason why some of the Cocker Spaniels listed above are more tricky to find is that they are not considered part of the breed standard.

Set out by the American Kennel Club, the breed standard sets out the traits and characteristics which make an ideal Cocker Spaniels.

This criteria also includes acceptable coat colours.

Here is a table of breed colours as detailed by AKC.

NameStandard Colour?
Black & TanYes
Black & WhiteYes
Black, White & TanYes
Blue RoanNo
Blue Roan & TanNo
Brown & WhiteYes
Brown, White & TanYes
Red & WhiteYes
Sable & WhiteNo
Brown & TanYes
Buff & WhiteYes
Red RoanNo
Brown RoanYes
Brown Roan & TanYes

Along with accepted colours there are also criteria around markings. Here are what is accepted as breed standard with markings.

NameBreed Standard?
White Markings No
Merle MarkingsYes

Cocker Spaniel Coat Colours and Aggression

There have also been connections between the colour of your Cocker Spaniels coat and aggression or dominant behaviour.

One study using the Campbell test found that black and golden Cocker Spaniels were more likely to be aggressive. This behaviour is quite often hereditary so make sure you ask about the parents medical and behavioural history when getting a new puppy. These colours are also more likely to develop Cocker Rage.

The odds further increase if the dog is this colour and male.

All of that said, many Cocker Spaniels with these colourings are incredibly kind and loving companions, just like you would expect from this breed.

Parti coloured Cocker Spaniels were actually found to be the least aggressive by contrast.

Cocker Spaniels Coat Colours and Health

There is no direct link between the colour of a dog's coat and specific health conditions.

However, with the higher prices that certain coats colours achieve some breeders focus on having litters with these more uncommon colours. This can lead to poor breeding practices which in turn results in litters with health conditions.


And there you have it. Almost two dozen different styles of Cocker Spaniel coats colours.

While some of these options will be more easily found and match breed standards for Cocker Spaniels colours many are not. If you are particularly taken with a specific Cocker Spaniel coat colour you might need to have some patience to find a puppy.

If you are just getting a Cocker to be a great family companion then there is no reason to worry about if it matches the breed standards as long as it is healthy and happy.

No matter which you choose a Cocker Spaniel does make a great family dog.

Which colour is your favourite?

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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