Do Cocker Spaniels Make Good Running Partners? + Our 5 Top Tips

June 19, 2022

Are you looking for an activity to do with your Cocker Spaniel?

Running could be the answer.

It's a great way to keep you and your dog in shape and help strengthen your bond.

Going for a run with your Cocker is also a nice way to bring a little variety to their exercise regime.

Even though they are one of the smallest of the sporting breed they should not be underestimated, they love to run!

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about running with your dog and offer five top tips for doing it.

Does a Cocker Spaniel Make a Good Running Partner?

Cocker Spaniels make brilliant running companions.

Given time, patience, and proper training they will happily join you on your runs.

A Cocker Spaniel will have no trouble keeping up with you either. In fact, the average human runs around eight miles per hour while a Cocker runs 18.31 miles per hour on average.

If anything, you will have a hard time keeping up with your dog!

Another reason Cocker's are great partners for running is that they are high-energy dogs. At times it can feel like they have boundless amounts of it and come across as a bit hyper. Running can be a great way to calm them down a bit.

Cocker Spaniels are also well known for being highly trainable. They are really intelligent dogs and have no trouble picking up new skills. Getting your dog up to speed with running will be even easier if they are already well trained.

How Far Can a Cocker Spaniel Run?

A Cocker Spaniel is not suited to long-distance running.

Generally, you will want to keep it to around two to three miles if you are replacing a daily walk with a run. You don't want to overdo it.

If you are looking to tackle longer runs with your dog it is definitely possible. You will just need to gradually build up over time to around six to eight miles. Just like a person training to run longer distances this process takes time.

Longer runs like this should be kept to two to three times a week at maximum to let your Cocker recuperate. It takes a lot of effort.

Before trying any running at all make sure you and your dog are in good shape.

If your dog is overweight you will want to deal with that before considering running. Begin with regular walking and go from there. Take your time, there is no rush.

It is more important to be a responsible dog owner.

Also, consider any injuries or health conditions your dog has before taking your Cocker running.

Signs your Cocker Spaniel Needs a Break

A Cocker Spaniel loves to please their owner and will go out of its way to please. This could also mean pushing themselves too far when running.

At times they don't know when they have had enough and keep going driven by adrenaline and joy.

This is where dog owners are responsible for looking after their Cocker. Just take a glance down at your dog periodically to see how they are getting along. Sometimes they will even give you a look back with real happiness on their face.

You should also take regular water breaks to allow your Cocker to have a quick drink. Keeping your dog hydrated on a run is very important. If your dog is struggling you should stop running. Never force a dog to continue.

To this end, it is important that you recognise the signs that your dog needs a break when out for a run.

Here are the main signs that your dog is doing too much:

  • Pace slowing
  • Excessive panting
  • Poor coordination
  • Lack of focus
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting

If you see any of these signs from your dog you should stop immediately and give your Cocker a break and a drink of water.

Can I Run with a Cocker Spaniel Puppy?

No, you should not go running with Cocker Spaniel puppies.

It may be tempting to take your new puppy out for a run, especially if you are an avid runner yourself. However, this will do more harm than good.

Their joints and bones have not yet fully formed. You need to wait for their growth plates to close and bones and joints to finish developing.

All of this growth should take between 18 and 24 months in total. A Cocker Spaniel is not ready for more intense physical activity until then. If you do push your dog too hard before this you risk health complications down the road such as weaker bones or deformities.

Can I Run with a Senior Cocker Spaniel?

It is also not recommended to go running with senior dogs. For Cocker Spaniels this is any dog above nine years old.

Exercise for older dogs is all about the prevention of injury. This means you need to choose lower-impact activities such as a chilled walk in the park.

If you are still interested in running with your older dog you should speak to your vet to seek advice.

The last thing you want to do is exceed your dog's limits. Especially if they are older. It could lead to injuries your dog will never get over.

Make Sure you are Kitted Out for the Run

If you are interested in taking your Cocker Spaniel out for a run there are a few pieces of equipment you will need to get beforehand.

Having everything you need will ensure the run is stress-free for you and your companion.

You will need:

  • A running belt
  • A hands-free lead
  • Harness
  • Water bowl
  • Dog boots

5 Important Considerations when Running with your Cocker Spaniel

Here are our five top tips for heading out for a run with your Cocker Spaniel. These tips should help ensure you keep your dog safe and both enjoy running together.

Don't go Running 2 Hour Before Or After Food

Feeding your Cocker Spaniel immediately before a run could be fatal. This can lead to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus caused by twisting of your dog's stomach.

To avoid this you should not exercise your Cocker for two hours before or after a meal.

Your dog's stomach could also bloat which can make them uncomfortable. Not ideal for anyone, dog or human, for a run.

Know your Running Route in Advance

Before going on your run know the route you plan to take. You will want to know about any potential issues which could arise.

This could be a trail which is frequented by mountain bikes which can pose dangers at speed or a very busy area where there will be free running off-lead dogs potentially distracting your dog from running.

Consider the Terrain

Just like people running there are terrains which are better or worse for your Cocker spaniels paws and joints.

Hard surfaces such as pavements or roads are tougher on your dog's paws and can lead to repetitive strain injuries in their joints.

Instead, you should consider softer surfaces to run on. Grass in the park, sand, and forest trails are all great options for running.

If you do want to run in an area with the harder ground or are just interested in protecting your dog's paws you could consider dog boots.

Dog boots are designed to protect your pup's paws from damage. These boots also have the added benefits of keeping those paws cleaner if you are running on muddy trails.

They will take a bit of getting used to though.

Check the Weather Before you Head Out

Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out for a run.

While it can be really tempting to take your Cocker out for a run on a sunny day it can easily be too hot for your dog.

On a really hot day, the pavement can even become too hot for your dog's paws. To test this you can hold your hand on it for five seconds. If it is too hot for you to do this then it is too hot for your dog.

If the temperature is 20°C (70°F) your dog is at risk of heat stroke. And this isn't even taking into account high-intensity exercise like going for a run.

The same goes for any adverse weather such as a bad storm. Better to just give it a miss and go another day.

Start Slowly and Build Up Distance

If you are just starting out you should build up slowly. You may already run quite a bit yourself but this level of activity isn't one your Cocker is used to.

Begin with 10-15 minutes of jogging. This can even be a part of their walk. Build from here and before you know it you will be going for full runs together.


So, are Spaniels good running partners? Yes, without a doubt.

You will need to invest some time into training and have the patience to go at their pace as they develop. Introduce running gradually to your dog and remember to have all of the right equipment such as a running harness, lead, and collapsible water bowl.

A Cocker Spaniel needs exercise every day for at least an hour. This is a great way of mixing up their physical activity and benefiting both you and your dog.

While daily walks will still remain a staple of any Cocker Spaniels exercise running can be a brilliant want to bring you closer to your dog.

Also, don't forget to take the poop bags with you! When running with my Cocker Spaniel I've seen her immediately grind to a halt on a run to do her business. Best to be prepared.

And finally best of luck running with your Cocker Spaniel. It really is a very rewarding experience for you both.

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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