English Cocker Spaniel: Breed Information

July 30, 2022

With their floppy ears, English cocker spaniels are a great dog breed with a long history.

English Cocker received status as a separate breed from American Cocker Spaniel in 1946 and has gained much popularity.

This article will give an overview of the history of the English Cocker Spaniel and cover the basics of the breed's personality, health and grooming needs.

Overview of English Cocker Spaniels

English Cocker Spaniel is an active dog with a silky coat bred for hunting birds.

As breed standard English cocker spaniels have a height of 15 to 17 inches.

This is also one of the differences with American Cocker Spaniels. The English Cocker spaniels are taller than the American version, having more height than length.

English Cocker Spaniel has a medium-length coat that requires a lot of grooming and can come in various colours.

Another key characteristic is the head. The English Cocker Spaniels have long and narrow skulls.

English Cocker Spaniel is an active sporting dog with a beautiful personality.

They are bred as working dogs as well as show cockers.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Information:

Weight: 28 to 34 pounds (males weigh more than females)

Height: 15-17 inches

Life Span: 12-14 years

Breed Group: Sporting dogs

Bred For: Bird flushing, retrieving

Coat: Medium length

Grooming Needs: High

Colours: Black, red, black and tan, liver and tan, roan (with various examples like blue roan, liver roan and orange roan), liver.

Good with: Children, families, elders, other dogs and pets

Energy Level: Active

History of English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are part of the Spaniel family. Some experts believe that the Spaniels were developed from Spanish dogs, hence the name "Spaniel".

Initially, the English Spaniels were divided between land and water spaniels.

The land spaniels were then subdivided by size. The small dog type that specialised in hunting Woodcock were known as Cocking Spaniels.

In America, English and American Cocker Spaniel were shown together and first considered as the same breed. The English Cocker Spaniel was American Kennel Club recognised as a separate breed in 1946.

Today's differentiation of breeds started in the 19th century.

There was a rise in dog shows and, more importantly, set on the classification of dogs, so the 19th century was when English Cocker Spaniel was named an official dog breed. That is also when Springer Spaniel became a separate breed.

The breed was created to assist in hunting. In England, these dogs are often referred to as gun dogs.

The personality of the English Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels make great family pets.

While many English Cocker Spaniel puppies do not do any hunting, it can be said that the merry Cocker has kept its hunting dog instincts and can still be a keen companion in dog sports.

While not always possible to hunt for birds, Cocker Spaniel is still eager to search and hunt. Even if it may be just for toys or treats.

English Cockers are great companion dogs who can be pleased when living with one owner or with family and other dogs. They are loyal, playful and happy while also sensitive.

As they are good companion dogs, English Cocker Spaniels do not like to be alone for too long.

Some Cocker dogs can get anxious when left alone for long periods of time.

If you have an English Cocker Spaniel, you need to ensure you have time to spend with the pet, as they are very keen to spend time with their owner.

Cocker Spaniels are also curious dogs and can try to become friends with everyone. However, this also means they are not suitable as guard dogs.

They are great at retrieve game, so they are happy to play fetch.

Cocker Spaniel is a very intelligent dog and can get bored quickly when their mind is not stimulated.

Because of their sensitive nature, they do not like harsh treatment, so puppy's parents need to consider this when training a Cocker Spaniel.

Living Needs

An English Cocker Spaniel dog breed is very adaptable in terms of living space.

Your Cocker would love to live in a big house with a huge garden, but can also be satisfied and happy to live in an apartment.

They can be happy to also share their space with other pets. It would be beneficial if they were introduced from an early age.


Generally, English Cocker Spaniels are healthy dogs with a life span of 12 to 14 years.

However, they can be prone to some health issues like progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia and ear infections.

As a dog ages, more health problems can occur, so regular visits with the adult dog to the veterinarian are recommended.

Reputable dog breeders test the dogs to ensure many of the common issues can be kept to a minimum.

It is also essential to keep your Cocker on a good diet and avoid overfeeding, as overweight dogs can also be prone to additional health issues.


The cockers love to be active. You should be giving your Cocker an hour a day of exercise, such as a long walk.

As English Cockers can also be good at dog sports and easy to train, they can even be your companion in a run.

Grooming An English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels have an elegant coat that requires a lot of care. While cockers themselves are not high maintenance, their grooming needs can be more than some other breeds.

The pet owner needs to brush the coat weekly to ensure it stays best and free from tangles.

The more care that is taken on the coat, the less shedding there will be.

On top of that, regular visits to the groomer every few months are required.

It is best to use high-quality shampoo when bathing an English Cocker Spaniel dog to ensure their delicate coat is given the best care, as their skin can also be sensitive to some soaps.

There are breed standards when choosing a the cut for your Cocker, but that also depends if you are planning to show your dog or not. Your have many options to choose from when it comes to Cocker Spaniel grooming styles.

If your Cocker takes part of dog sports, it may be required to groom more often.

It is also essential to check and clean the ears weekly as the cockers can be prone to ear infections when dirt and moisture get stuck.

Teeth cleaning is also required on a regular basis to avoid odour and disease.

Where To Buy An English Cocker?

English Cocker Spaniel puppy can be a desired pet for many people.

It is best to find a reputable breeder to ensure you get a healthy and happy puppy.

However, it is recommended not to purchase one from a pet store as there can be many dogs there with genetic health problems.

The best option is to either contact rescue groups or national breed club like the English Cocker Spaniel Club.

To find a purebred dogs, it is best to find a registered English Cocker Spaniel breeder.

Some pet stores might sell dogs as Cockers Spaniels, but you might get another breed like Springer Spaniels instead.

It is best not to get two dogs from the same litter. It is better if the dogs have a bit of an age difference.

Both British breeders, as well as American breeders who the Kennel Club recognises, should show tests to show your cocker spaniel is responsibly bred and free from common genetic issues.

The cost of the puppies does vary depending on the breeder, sex as well as whether they are show or working cockers.

Fun Facts About English Cocker Spaniel

  • English Cocker Spaniel is a popular dog breed with many well-known people having this breed as their loving pet. For example, Prince William owned an English Cocker called Lupo.
  • English Cocker Spaniel is the most successful breed in well known Crufts Dog Show, having won "Best in Show" the most times of all dog breeds.
  • English Cocker Spaniels are easy to train and make good therapy dogs.

Should You Get An English Cocker Spaniel?

If you are deciding whether an English Cocker Spaniel is the right breed for you, below are the pros and cons of the dog breed:


  • Loyal and affectionate
  • Great for families or lonely people
  • Eager to please their owner
  • Easy to train


  • High grooming needs
  • Does not like being alone
  • Prone to some health issues


English Cocker Spaniel is a great dog breed to have. They are devoted, affectionate companions who are also very active and great hunting dogs. They are also adaptable to live in a house or a flat and are great family dogs.

English Cocker Spaniels have a long history and were first bred to hunt game.

They generally have good health but can be prone to some issues, so getting one from a reputable breeder is essential.

English Cocker Spaniels are known for their silky long coats with floppy ears. While beautiful, they also require specific grooming.

Overall, they are great pets to have, and any dog owner would be lucky to have such a caring and playful dog.

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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