Are Cocker Spaniels Good for First Time Owners?

July 31, 2022

Taking a dog into your life is a big decision.

And one of the most exciting parts of that is choosing a dog breed. During this stage you will want to take your time to research all of your options and if you have found this article you are considering a Cocker Spaniel.

Maybe you say Lady and the Tramp, or keep seeing beautiful Cocker Spaniel on the street while you walk and want one for yourself. No matter what made you consider this breed you are in the right place.

I may be a little biased as a Cocker Spaniel owner, but I think you would be making an excellent choice to have this breed as your first dog.

I know this as my first dog was a Cocker Spaniel and it was one of the best decisions I made.

Of course, I don't expect you to just take my work for it. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about what makes a Cocker Spaniel such as brilliant dog for first time owners.

Let's get started!

Are Cocker Spaniels a Good First Dog?

Yes, Cocker Spaniels are brilliant first dogs.

I'd say you would struggle to find a dog breed who are as well suited to people who have not owned a dog in the past. Cocker Spaniels are affectionate, playful dogs who make a welcome addition to any family.

What Makes Cocker Spaniels Good for Novice Dog Owners?

There are no shortage of reasons that a Cocker Spaniel is a great option for first time dog owners. I'll run through the main factors that make this breed my top pick.


Let's start with the friendly temperament that Cocker Spaniels have.

They have a very loving, affectionate nature and are always looking to please their owner. Cocker Spaniels are pack animals are need a lot of love and affection wherever you go your dog will follow.

And expect a lot of cuddles!

Family Friendly

This won't come as much of a surprise but with such as kind personality Cocker Spaniels make very great family dogs.

If you have children you will will be pleased to learn that Cocker Spaniels are very kid friendly. That playful outlook makes a Cocker a great friend of a child.

You will want to monitor their interactions just in case, while one of the kindest animals you will ever meet they are still dogs. Best to remember that. But this applies to any dog, not just Cocker Spaniels.

Easy to Train

If the amount of effort it will take to train a Cocker Spaniel puppy is something that is factoring into your decision then I have some good news, Cockers are very easy to train.

There are two main factors that contribute to this. The first is that they are eager to please their owners, and the second is they are intelligent dogs.

Cocker Spaniels are really smart dogs, in fact a study of dog intelligence placed the English Cocker Spaniel 20th and American Cocker Spaniel 23rd. Pretty impressive stuff considering it was out of all dog breeds.

Given these factors its not a surprise that they are so easy to train!

Exercise Needs

Cocker Spaniels need around an hour a day of exercise. This is far less for puppies who should have around five minutes of exercise a day per month old they are.

There are many ways you can give your Cocker Spaniel a work out. From a casual walk in the park to throwing a ball across a field, or even just playing at home.

Along with physical exercise a Cocker Spaniel will need mental stimulation too. This could be puzzles, games or even having your dog play hide and seek with their toys. They love it. It plays into their history as hunting dogs.

This is far less than some of the larger or more active breeds needs which can be twice as much as a Cocker Spaniel needs.

Good with Other Pets

If you already have another pet such as a cat you may be wondering how well a Cocker Spaniel will integrate in your current family. The good news is that Cocker Spaniels can get along with cats.

It make take a little while for your cat and Cocker Spaniel puppy to become friends but with a little patience it will happen, or in some cases they may just ignore each other. But that is still an acceptable outcome.

Cocker Spaniels also get along well with other dogs. If this is your first dog you may be considering getting a second one down the road a little. It is good to plan ahead and know that your first dog will accept other dogs added to your family.

Cocker Spaniel puppies who are well socialised at a young age will do better than those who are not when it comes to getting along with others.

Is there Anything Else I Should Consider before Getting a Cocker Spaniel?

There are a few other aspects of Cocker Spaniel ownership you need to consider before looking for a puppy in need of a forever home.

Daily Care

A Cocker Spaniel will need daily care beyond the exercise and cuddles.

Just like humans dogs need to have their teeth brushed on a daily basis. This will help reduce the probability of dental problems occurring in the future.

You will also need to brush your Cocker Spaniels coat. This will prevent any matted hair or tangles. Depending on the Cocker Spaniel hair style you choose this can be a daily task to maintain their coats.

Brushing will also reduce shedding. Shedding is where dead hair falls out of your dogs coat and ends up all over your house and clothes. This breed is classed as moderate shedders.

Health Problems

Cocker Spaniels are known for being affected by several health problems. The main ones you need to know about relate to their eyes or and ears.

With their ears there are a wide range of conditions that a Cocker Spaniel is more commonly affected by cataracts, and glaucoma for a few examples.

With their ears a Cocker Spaniel is very likely to experience ear infections at one time or another. This is due to their long floppy design. It creates a perfect environment for moisture and heat to help bacteria to thrive.

It is worth mentioning that I've been a Cocker Spaniel owner for seven years and never had any of these problems, so while ear infections and other health conditions are more predominantly seen in this breed, there is a very good chance your dog will remain healthy for many years with no problems.

Dog Insurance

This is just part of being a responsible pet owner. The only thing I would say is that if you have not yet got pet insurance look at one which offers lifetime cover.

While this will cost a bit more the big benefit is that if your Cocker Spaniel does have a health problem in the future this problem will be covered if there are any issues in the future. As silly as it sounds many pet insurance policies won't cover issues after they have had treatment for something relating to it.

For example, if your Cocker Spaniel has stomach problems then future stomach problems won't be covered.

Pet Plan has a great policy with lifetime cover if you are in the UK.


If you have made it this far then you are very likely ready to be a pup parent to a Cocker Spaniel puppy. You have chosen a great dog breed.

An exciting time for sure!

Now it is time to look for litters with puppies available in your area. Check out puppy websites or give any local breeders a call. You are sure to find one. And there is, of course, still the option to find a rescue dog too.

A Cocker Spaniel puppy is a brilliant addition to any family. With their affection nature and high trainability they are ideal for first time dog owners.

Best of luck in your search! I'm sure a Cocker will be as much of a great addition to your life as mine as been to my own.

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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