How many Puppies do Cocker Spaniels Have?

May 12, 2022

Cocker Spaniels have litters anywhere between three and 12 puppies with the average litter size being between 5-7. What influences this how many puppies do cocker spaniels have?

In this article, you will learn all about what determines the size of a litter and what you can do to ensure your Cocker Spaniel has a happy and healthy.

What determines the size of a Cocker Spaniel litter?

There is no exact science to this. While the average sits around five to seven puppies, you can do many things to influence it.

As most Cocker Spaniels have 10 teats that suggest it is possible for your dog to support 10 puppies. Let's explore the factors that can influence it and improve the chances of it all going well.

Nutrition and Diet

We've all heard the phrase 'you are what you eat'. This doesn't only apply to us but also to our dogs, especially when pregnant or trying to conceive.

Make sure the mother has a solid diet that is high-quality and packed with nutrients throughout the pregnancy. If you are unsure about what you should be feeding your dog speak with a vet for some expert advice on it.

Along with a diet try to maintain a healthy weight. Not too skinny or overweight as this could add complications to the labour increasing risk to the mom and her pups.

Is it the First Litter?

Your dog's first litter will be smaller than the average. Generally, you can expect between four and six pups.

Future litters will be larger all the way up to the age of seven. After this, they will go back to being smaller again.

It's recommended by most breeding clubs that you don't breed a healthy cocker spaniel bitch past eight years old. This is a bit higher for male Cocker Spaniels at 10-12 years old.

You should allow at least 18-24 months between litters to allow your dog to fully recover and reduce the likelihood of health issues.

If you did want to breed your dog a few times you could safely get three to four litters from a female dog in their lifetime.

Once the pregnancy is past three weeks your vet can estimate the size of the litter with ultrasound or palpation.

Size of the Parent's

The size of the parents is another factor which can influence how many puppies cocker spaniels have. Particularly the mom as it would be very unlikely that a smaller cocker would have 12 puppies in a litter.

As a rule of thumb, you can expect smaller litters from smaller dogs and larger litters from bigger ones.

The Health of the Parents

Health is always going to be an important factor when it comes to breeding dogs. Before conceiving you will want to have both parents to be checked out by a vet.

The healthier your dog is the higher the odds they produce a good litter without passing along genetic problems or leading to fewer puppies in the litter.

Method of Breeding

How your Cocker Spaniel becomes pregnant is another way that can impact the litter size.

Dogs impregnated through artificial insemination are more likely to produce smaller litters than those who did it naturally.

The most likely explanation for this is that during the process more sperm dies during the collection and insemination.

Can a Cocker Spaniel Give Birth to Only One Puppy?

It is highly unlikely that your female Cocker Spaniel will give birth to only one puppy. This is known as single puppy syndrome and is incredibly rare across all dog breeds.

Dogs are polytocous. This means that they give birth to multiple offspring at the same time.

As previously discussed the first litter will be a bit smaller and the generally three would be the lowest number of pups you'll see in a litter.

How Does Litter Size Vary Type of Cocker Spaniel?

While an American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel might have separate names and be considered slightly different the number of puppies each has is the same on average.

How Long is a Cocker Spaniel Pregnant?

A Cocker Spaniels pregnancy lasts 63 days (9 weeks) from conception. This aligns with the average range for all female dogs.

This can vary though so 58-68 days will cover premature arrivals or prolonged pregnancies.

It is worth noting that the exact date of conception and be challenging to pinpoint as the mating date is not always the conception date. The process of fertilising eggs can occur over a period of 48-hours.

What Age Can a Female Cocker Spaniel Breed?

Before having puppies a Cocker Spaniel should be fully mature. This means she has had at least one season and has stopped growing/developing. Generally, this will occur at around 18-24 months old.

If you were to breed your dog any sooner than this you would increase the health risk it poses to the mother and the puppies.

Do Cocker spaniels have their puppies at night?

It's quite likely that your dog will have their puppies during the night. This is common amongst all dog breeds. This is not always the case though.

As you approach the time your dog is due to give birth the vet will be able to give you a rough window to prepare.

How Do I Prepare for Cocker Spaniel Puppies?

It's an exciting time as your dog becomes ready to have puppies. But what should you do to prepare?

Firstly in the days leading up to the due date don't leave your dog alone. While it is most probable that it will happen during the night that is not a certainty.

The last thing you want is your dog starting to give birth while out in the garden herself.

The first step is to find a warm, quiet place where she can have her puppies in peace. Prepare this ahead of time. Be sure to have plenty of towels, newspaper down on the floor, an overhead lamp to keep the new pups and mother warm, and don't forget to bring comfortable bedding.

Also, make don't forget to keep clean water available along with some high-quality food available that is packed with nutrients. Smaller meals can be better or you can just leave a decent amount of food there allowing her to take it as and when she needs it.

When she is due to give birth you'll notice that she becomes increasingly restless and will look to build a nest. Just take her to the place you have set up for her and let nature do the rest.

Once this has started trying to make sure you let the vet know and know how to get help if you need it. Most of the time this process will go smoothly and your dog will be a natural mother. The main complication that can occur is the length of labour.

When the first puppy is born just be there to support it. Remain calm and as quiet as possible throughout to avoid stressing your dog without need. She will also eat the placenta.

Is it possible for a dog to have puppies on different days?

Most dog litters are born on the same delivery. There have been instances in the past where the process spilt over more than one day. This is very uncommon though.

Once it starts puppies generally arrive at intervals of 30 minutes to two hours apart. If more than two hours have passed it's quite likely done.

All in it can take between 3 -12 hours from the beginning of contractions. If it did take more than 24 hours that is where the chances of complications become very high. Again, very unlikely to happen though.

If there is a delay or you get past the two hours and your dog appears stressed, call the vet.

How Do I Know if my Cocker Spaniel Still has Puppies Inside Her?

You might be unsure during the process how many puppies your dog has left in her. Firstly by getting an ultrasound done or having the vet check via palpation you will know how many puppies to expect. Just count them off as they are born.

If you don't get to the right amount and more than two hours have passed you might want to get advice from the vet.

A few signals to look for from your dog are:

  • Panting
  • Changing positions
  • Pacing around
  • Crying

These are all signals that they could be more puppies on the way.

How Big is a Cocker Spaniel Puppy?

Cocker Spaniel puppies are very small when born and can weigh as little as 14 ounces, that is just under an ounce!

They will grow quickly before your eyes though and their weight will triple over the first month on average.

Will my Cocker Let me Touch Her Puppies?

Firstly, there will be no reason for you to touch newborn puppies unless there are problems.

That said, your dog will be glad to see you. We are our dog's pack so if you happen to be their favourite human they might let you touch them. Do your best not to make a habit of it though.

When you handle newborn puppies the main risk is the pup getting cold. Don't be worried if the mom picks up and moves the pup away from you if she doesn't want you touching it. She will also lick the new pups clean and stimulate breathing so don't worry about cleaning them.

You shouldn't be moving puppies around until they are at least three weeks old. At this age you should see the new puppies beginning to walk around and open their eyes.

When Should I move Cocker Spaniel Puppies out of the Whelping Box?

Once the puppies are around two weeks old they'll become increasingly alert and far more active. The mother will start getting a bit more comfortable in being apart from the puppies. Another week and they will be trying to climb out of the whelping box.

At one month old they will really come to life running around and getting into trouble. Just make sure their environment is safe.

When Should a Cocker Spaniel Puppy Leave for a New Home?

A new Cocker Spaniel puppy can head to its forever home once they reach eight weeks old. At this age, they will be becoming more independent and quite a bit stronger.

In order to be a responsible breeder, there are a few things you will need to take care of before you can send them on their way.

This includes:

  • Wean the puppy on to solid food.
  • Worming
  • Register the dog
  • Have the puppy checked over by a vet
  • Prepare any owners packs or contracts you wish to have
  • Microchip (if you are in the UK)
  • Health issues when breeding Cocker Spaniels

How Do you Travel with Newborn Puppies?

The short answer is if you can avoid it you really should. Any travelling with a newborn Cocker only increases the risk of complications.

Remember, it's very important newborn puppies remain warm as it's the top risk they face early on. Try to plan ahead before they are born to avoid unnecessary travelling.

If travelling is unavoidable you will want to find a high-quality travel crate that is well padded out to keep the pups warm and safe. It's best to keep the mother separate but close.

You will also need to stop every 90-minutes to give them a chance to feed and nurse the puppies. While this can increase the time it takes to drive anywhere it's a requirement.

It also doesn't hurt to turn the heating on in the car up and take real care when driving.

How Can I Tell if my Cocker Spaniel is Pregnant?

With all this talk about what to do with a pregnant Cocker Spaniel and what to do let's quickly cover how you would identify a pregnant dog. Of course, if you are intentionally trying to get your dog pregnant you'll be on the lookout for these signs.

On the other side if your female dog starts showing some of these signs then you might want to get her checked by a vet.

The top signs are:

  • Enlarged or discoloured nipples
  • Increased affection
  • Unusual/nesting behaviours
  • Clear discharge
  • Morning sickness
  • Increased appetite
  • Easily exhausted, less physically active
  • Sleep more

Typically these symptoms won't start until your female cocker spaniel is around 40 days pregnant. You will also notice the belly begins to expand at this point.


So, how many puppies do cocker spaniels have? It depends, but on average, you can expect between five and seven puppies from a litter.

There are many things you can do to influence both how many puppies and the odds of it all going seamlessly. This includes maintaining a great diet, health, if it's the first litter, the size of the parents, and how the dog became pregnant.

There are rarely any big complications and most go without a problem. Cocker Spaniels are natural mothers and their motherly instincts will kick in straight away.

As always be sure to consult your vet making any decisions. They will be best placed to advise on how best to move forward.

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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