How Long do Cocker Spaniels Live?

May 7, 2022

Getting a new Cocker Spaniel is an exciting time. And watching your new puppy grow into being a loved family dog is a great experience. But at some point you are going to start wondering, how long do cocker spaniels live?

Overall, Cocker Spaniels have an average life expectancy between 10 and 14 years. This does vary depending on if you have an American or English Cocker Spaniel.

English Cocker Spaniels have a longer life expectancy on average of between 12 and 14 years. While American Cocker Spaniels live on average between 10 and 14 years.

Despite which of these you have your Cocker life expectancy is actually influenced by a wide range of factors. And the good news is that many of these can be influenced to maximise how long Cocker Spaniel lives a happy and healthy life outliving those stats.

In fact, the longest living Cocker Spaniel recorded to date made it to 22 years old! It was named Uno and lived in Sherman Oaks in California. While there are no official records of this just imagine if your Spaniel manages to make it to Uno's grand age.

Ways to Improve Your Cocker Spaniel’s Lifespan

So, now we know the scale that a Cocker Spaniel can live what actions can we take to ensure that our dog is on the higher end of that range, or even beats the average.

What Can Increase a Cocker Spaniel's Lifespan?

There are five categories where you can improve the quality of your dogs life in which can keep your dog healthy. Generally, this comes down to lifestyle, diet, health conditions, genetics, or even in some cases just luck.

However, there are factors which you can influence. These include:

  • Healthcare
  • Physical activity
  • Mental stimulation
  • Good diet
  • Dental hygiene


This one might be quite obvious, but ensuring your Cocker Spaniel visits the vet regularly and proper health care can add years to their life expectancy.

Vets have seen it all and will often spot early signs of disease or conditions which can be effectively managed when found early. A proactive approach to this can ensure that you have many more options when it comes to treatment and a far more positive outlook long term.

Once your Cocker Spaniel becomes a senior (11 years old) it's recommended that you up that annual check-up to being every six months. It is hard to think about but our canine counterparts do age much faster than we do.

Of course, if you find anything that raises a red flag such as lumps, rash, your dog is more lethargic than usual, or any other strange behaviour book an appointment with your vet straight away. Better safe than sorry.

Physical Activity

Keeping your Cocker Spaniel active is an excellent way to keep their bodies and minds healthy. Just like keeping in good shape is good for us its good for our dog too. Its fair to say a daily walk and time in the park throwing a ball can go a long way.

Being active will help your Cocker maintain a healthy weight and ensure their cardiovascular system stays in good shape taking pressure off of their heart. There have actually been studies that show that overweight dogs live up to 2.5 years less.

There was also a survey of Beijing veterinary practices that shockingly found that 69.4% of Cocker Spaniel were overweight! Quite a scary statistic.

A lack of activity can also lead to a host of health problems which includes joint problems, diabetes, cancer, breathing issues, heart problems, and urinary disorders.

All of these can reduce a Cocker Spaniels quality of life and its length. It's an easy fix since these loving dogs love being active. But don't overdo it as you don't want your dog to get injured.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your dog mentally engaged is another way you can help your dog live longer. If bored your dog can become depressed, anxious, stressed, misbehave, or even become ill.

While this can apply to any dog breed Cocker Spaniels are somewhat more susceptible to this as they are more sensitive than most.

There are plenty of ways to keep your dog mentally engaged while you are away and channel their energy into something positive.

Is your dog a little older? No problem at all. Unlike the common phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" would have you believe it's never too late. Spaniels are smart!

So, now we know keeping your dog mentally active can positively impact their health how do we do that? Look for interactive toys that require your dog to scratch, sniff, chew, or even explore. Cocker Spaniels were originally used as hunting dogs so even just getting them to sit and hide the toy is a great way to keep your Cocker engaged.

Good Diet

We've already heard "you are what you eat" the same applies to dogs. We want to keep our little friends as healthy as possible and one part of it is ensuring your Cocker Spaniel has a healthy diet in line with their weight, age, and activity level.

Now, this can have its own challenges. Anyone who has had a Cocker Spaniel will tell you, that they love their food. Doesn't matter what you have, if you've already given it to them or they've even just had their own dinner. You better believe you'll be seeing those big eyes looking up at you for more. There are a few things to consider here though.

Firstly your dog is getting everything they need nutritionally from their dry dog food. If given in moderation a little bit of chicken or something else is no problem at all. But be aware that there are many foods that dogs, in general, cannot eat. These are in fact poisonous for them. So you'll always want to be well aware of what is and is not possible for your dog to eat.

If you are finding it difficult to track then stick to set times for feeding and reduce the number of treats. This will help monitor food intake.

When it comes to dog food you'll want to ensure it's a high-quality one. Not all dog food is equal. Take a look at the ingredients for organic, high-quality and a good mix of lean protein, complex carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Getting all of this right will ensure your Cocker Spaniel has everything they need to be healthy and mitigate the odds of getting any nutrition-related health problems.

If you do have a working Cocker Spaniel their high energy output might mean that their dietary requirement might be slightly different. You should seek veterinary advice to get a good understanding of any adjustments which are needed.

Dental Hygiene

We need to brush a cocker spaniel's teeth regularly. Twice a day is the recommended frequency Building this into a normal part of their daily routine will reduce protesting and help them see it as part of their daily life. The minimum brushing of dog teeth can be done is three days a week if you want to avoid plaque and tartar buildup. Just like with people this will help keep gums and teeth healthy which in turn leads to a longer and happier life.

Dogtime mentioned that a vet who specialists in canine dental care suggested it could add up to four years to your furry friends life expectancy.

What Can Decrease a Cocker Spaniel's Lifespan?

Okay, we've established what you can do to increase the lifespan of an English Cocker Spaniel or American one, but what can reduce it?


Accidents happen. Sometimes these are completely unavoidable.

However, there are steps we can take to reduce the chances of one occurring. Firstly always pay attention when out on a walk with your dog. Even if its your regular route there could be a irresponsible driver, a unfriendly dog off its lead, or even food that is poisonous for a dog on the ground.

Keep your Cocker Spaniel on their lead and try to avoid just looking at your phone and you'll be golden.

At home you can reduce the risks by ensuring chemicals or potentially toxic items are safely stored away. That Cocker Spaniel curiosity will rear its head at this point leading to a surprise visit to the vet that nobody wants.

Same goes for food. Just watch for things you know they can't have. You'll be surprised how fast they can move the second food hits the floor. Blink and you might miss it!


There are many canine diseases with can unexpectedly occur. As noted before regular vet check-ups can help identify problems before they get serious.

Is There a Way to Reduce the Chance your Puppy is Has Genetic Disorders?

Yes. Many breeders even get dogs screened for inherited genetic disorders. When getting a new puppy find a reputable breeder. Improper breeding (puppy farms) can lead to many illnesses and generally speaking won't have experienced the level of care you'll find with a home breeder.

In my own experience a home breeder is best. Lucy is six and the breeder still gets in touch on her birthday for an update to see how she is doing.

Health Issues That can Reduce the Lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel

Of course Cocker Spaniels who are impacted by health problems can have a shorter lifespan if its not treated or managed.

  • Eyes:
    • Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Cherry eye
  • Ears:
    • Narrow canals
    • Infections
  • Mouth:
    • Halitosis
    • Lip fold dermatitis
  • Cardiovascular:
    • Murmurs
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy
    • Mitral valve disease
  • Nervous:
    • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal:
    • Live issues
    • Irritable bowel disease
    • Food sensitivities
  • Musculoskeletal:
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Arthritis
  • Urogenital:
    • Bladder and kidney stones
  • Endocrine:
    • Thyroid issues, especially hypothyroidism

Mixed Cocker Spaniel Lifespans vs Purebred

On average, mixed breed Cocker Spaniels actually live longer than their pure bred counterparts. This is thanks to their genetic diversity. When a breed to an existing line actually leaves out the unwanted genes by as a product of nature.

Pure bred dogs on the other hand actually pass down the genetic health conditions which can impact your dog in later life.

Does Neutering or Spaying Impact a Cocker Spaniels Lifespan

Spaying or neutering your Cocker Spaniel can lead to a longer, happier, and healthier life.

This is because Cocker Spaniels will have less behavioural issues and be at a lower risk of degenerative diseases and infections.

If you manage to spay a female Cocker Spaniel before their first cycle they will be protected from mammary cancer while males also benefit from a lower chance of getting testicular cancer. Providing you have no intentions of breeding your dog this is a easy decision to make.

There is a specific time you'll need to have this procedure done not to have negative impacts so its best to speak with your vet to discuss your options before making any decisions.

A vet practice in Denver even suggested that a dog that was spayed or neutered would like up to 18 months longer.


So, how long does a Cocker Spaniel live? Well, it depends on a wide range of factors from the more obvious parts like diet, exercise, and regular vet visits or lesser known factors such as genetic conditions or the wide spectrum of health conditions Cocker Spaniel's are predisposed to.

All is not doom and gloom though. As outlined above a Cocker Spaniel lifespan is not set in stone. There are many steps you can take to ensure your dog lives a long and happy life. Even longer than the average range of 10-14 years.

Hopefully the advice laid out in this article can help ensure that your dog is healthy through all stages of its life. Hey - they might even beat that oldest cocker spaniel record!

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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