Pregnant Cocker Spaniel: Everything you Need to Know

June 19, 2022

If you are reading this article one of two things have likely happened. Either your are interested in breeding your Cocker Spaniel and are looking to learn what the you should do.

Or you might be here because you believe the male dog next door may have got your Cocker pregnant and your not sure what to do next.

No matter which of these camps you fall in, or if you are just curious about Cocker Spaniel pregnancy signs you are in the right place.

Let's get started!

How Long Does a Cocker Spaniel Pregnancy Last?

A Cocker Spaniel pregnancy lasts for 9 weeks (63 days) from conception. It's possible for the puppies to be born either side of this though, roughly plus or minus a week.

Don't worry too much if its a bit early or late. This is the normal gestation period. If you have not seen any puppies by day 68 you should call your vet to ensure there are no complications.

The exact date of conception can be difficult to pinpoint as the stud's sperm can live inside the female for several days. Eggs also remain fertile for up to two days.

If you are looking to determine how your long your Cocker Spaniel has been pregnant or have started to notice symptoms your best bet is to book an appointment with your vet. They have a few methods of determining if your dog is pregnant as well as estimating how long. But more on this later.

Cocker Spaniel Pregnancy Signs

Being able to recognise the signs of your dog being pregnant is very important for anyone who owns a female Cocker Spaniel.

Pregnancy symptoms generally begin in the second trimester. Around three weeks in.

There are quite a few you can see and not every pregnancy will present itself in the same form. And some of the symptoms can contrast each other quite a lot. But I suppose this is a testament to how individual dogs are to each other.

Here are the main symptoms you should watch out for.

Morning Sickness

A pregnant dog can experience nausea and vomiting. This symptom doesn't happen in every pregnancy.

If you dog is having trouble with nausea you may want to consider feeding her smaller meals throughout the day and more frequently.

Changes in Appetite

At early stages you may notice your dog's appetite changes. This could be being less attracted to food. This one of more commonly seen in dogs with nausea.

Your Cocker spaniel may also be more hungry. I know this is covering a few bases but basically if you notice any chances in how your dog is with food start looking out for other symptoms.


Your Cocker Spaniels behaviour can also change if pregnant. They can be come more affectionate and clingy. Some Cockers also look for more privacy to rest.

Like with their appetite if you notice changes in your dog you should keep an eye for others signs. A Cocker Spaniel being more clingy might just be their affectionate nature, they do love a cuddle.

Less Energy

Pregnant Cocker Spaniels will also begin to have less energy. This can be quite noticeable as this breed is known for its excitable and at times quite hyper nature.

This shift in energy levels is related to hormonal changes. It's important not to push your dog too hard.


The main early physical sign of a dog pregnancy is in their nipples. They will become darker and more swollen and hang a little lower.

If you are seeing some of the behaviours outlined above you should check their nipples.

When do Pregnancy Signs Show?

Signs that your dog is pregnant will likely not occur until the second trimester, around three weeks in.

If you suspect your dog is pregnant or have planned a to impregnate your Cocker you should keep an eye out for the signs outlined above.

You vet will be the one who ultimately determines if your dog is going to be having puppies.

They have a few options which include doing an ultrasound, or by a dog pregnancy test which measures hormone levels.

When Can an Ultrasound Detect a Cocker Spaniel's Pregnancy?

An ultrasound can't be done until your female Cocker Spaniel has been pregnant for 30 days.

Ultrasounds are used to detect the puppies heartbeats.

Can Cocker Spaniels get Pregnant in her First Season?

Yes, a dog could get pregnant during their first season. However, this is not recommended.

A dog has their first season when they are about six to eight months old.

At this age your puppy is still developing. She needs time for their growth plates to close, muscles to grow, and bones to become strong.

If you did choose to breed your Cocker Spaniel during her first season it would likely result in long term health problems.

To play it safe you should wait until the second or ideally third season before breeding a female Cocker Spaniel.

Also, when she is in season keep her far away from all male dogs. Even ones she is related to. If you don't you could end up with a surprise pregnancy.

What if my Cocker Spaniel got Pregnant by Mistake?

Unplanned pregnancies can happen. While in heat female Cocker Spaniels can be quite cunning in their pursuit of a mate while fertile. Interestingly, they can be a little aggressive towards males during the first stage before being ready to mate.

The best way to avoid unwanted an pregnancy is prevention and caution. Keep in mind that a female dog in heat will be actively seeking a mate. Male dog's will also be interested. You will want to make sure that you are vigilant during this time.

If you do end up with new puppies on the way that you didn't plan your vet can give your dog an injection which acts like a morning after pill.

There is no guarantee that this will work, but it is worth a try if you didn't intend for your dog to have a litter.

What are the Stages of a Cocker Spaniel Pregnancy?

From entering the heat cycle there are four stages your Cocker will go through. Here is what happens and what to look for in each step.

Stage one: Proestrus

This is the first step in a dogs heat cycle it lasts for the first week roughly. Your dog is not yet fertile at this point but there are some very clear symptoms which will begin to appear making you aware of what is happening with your Cocker as you will need to start taking preventative measures to avoid any unplanned pups.

Proestrus Symptoms:

  • Behavioural changes: Less interest in other dogs, especially males. There can even be aggression towards male dogs. She also will be more clingy with you.
  • Bleeding: This can vary some dogs bleed heavily while others just a little.
  • Swelling vulva: Another sign your dog is in heat. When in heat their vulva can go three to four times the size.
  • Tail tucked between her legs.
  • She also may lose interest in food.
  • Nipples may become swollen.

Stage Two: Estrus

The next step in a Cocker Spaniels season is fertile and ready to mate. Of course, this step will only kick in if your dog was successfully impregnated. The Estrus stage occurs on the second week of your dogs heat cycle.

Try to keep in mind that during this stage your Cocker will be actively interested in mating. Try not to leave her unattended. It won't be unwanted attention from male dogs, she will be interested.

This mean you will want to keep males away from her. This means all other dogs, even those related to her.

Also, when it comes to potential mates most dogs can be very persistent when a bitch is in season.

Estrus Symptoms:

  • Behaviour: That aggression for males is now gone and she has more interest in them. Even a little flirtatious. Could be more aggressive to females now.
  • Bleeding: Your dog will still bleed. But it will be light pink or clear liquid at this point. If it is any other colour speak with your vet.
  • That tucked tail will now be pushed to one side further inviting potential partners.

Stage Three: Diestrus

Just like the previous two steps this stay lasts for around a week again.

How this stage goes will depend on if your Cocker is pregnant or not.

If your Cocker didn't become pregnant it they will just skip this step and their body will begin the process of returning to normal.

And if your Cocker is pregnant she will remain in this stage for the duration of the pregnancy.

Diestrus Symptoms:

  • Behavioural changes fade and your dog goes back to normal
  • No more discharge
  • Vulva goes back to normal

Stage Four: Anestrus

The last stage of a Cocker Spaniels heat cycle is Anestrus. This is just everything going back to normal and you and your dog stays in this status until they going into heat again.

How Often Can Cocker Spaniels get Pregnant?

During a dogs life it is possible for one dog to have three to four litters.

For the safety of the mother and puppies it is recommended that you leave at least one year between litters.

False Pregnancies

A false pregnancy is when your dog displays mothering behaviours while not actually being pregnant.

Your dog will start gathering clothes, blankets, or other items from around your house and begin trying to build a nest. They might also begin to mother soft toys or other items.

This typically lasts for around three weeks immediately after a female Cocker Spaniel has had her season.

If your dog is still showing these signs after this point you will want to have her checked by a vet to ensure there are no other underlying conditions.

Nutritional Requirements for a Pregnant Dog

For the first two trimesters a Cocker Spaniel expecting puppies have the same nutritional requirements as they had before.

Once they reach the third trimester on the sixth week your dogs needs begin to change. Week six is when the puppies development speeds up. This growth will put additional strain on the mother.

The Cocker Spaniel puppies will begin to draw more nutrients from their mother while taking up more space inside her leaving less room for food.

Also, the more puppies she is expecting the more strain there will be.

This is where you will need to adjust your dogs diet to accommodate these needs.

You will want to opt for a easily digestible food with plenty of fibre. We have also covered what should be in a Cocker Spaniel's diet previously. So if you want to learn more about what to look for in a food for a Cocker Spaniel that article will be work reading.

The Kennel Club has an excellent resource on how a dogs energy requirements change during pregnancy.

Here is how a Cocker Spaniel's food should look during pregnancy:

  • Week 1-5: Normal
  • Week 6: Normal + 10%
  • Week 7: Week 6 + 10%
  • Week 8: Week 7 + 10%
  • Week 9: Week 8 + 10%

As discussed above you will want to split meals up into smaller portions as your dog enters the first trimester. You can continue feeding twice per until you start week six.

You will not need to consider supplementing your dog's diet with any minerals or vitamins if you are feeding your Cocker a high-quality food.

If there is anything specific you need to feed your dog your vet will let you know.

Does a human pregnancy test work on Cocker Spaniels?

No, pregnancy tests intended for humans will not work on dogs. These tests are look for different hormones.

There are tests which can tell if a dog is pregnant but these are carried out by your vet. Currently they are not available over the counter.

If you do suspect your Cocker Spaniel is pregnant or have been noticing some of the symptoms seen above you should book an appointment with your vet to find out.

How Many Puppies are in a Cocker Spaniel Litter?

Cocker Spaniels have litters between three and 12 puppies in a single litter. The average is 5-7 puppies in a litter. It it is your dogs first litter there will be fewer puppies than in later litters.

There are many factors which can impact the number of puppies your dog has.


After reading this article you will be well versed in Cocker Spaniel pregnancy signs to look out for if you suspect you could have a few pups on the way.

Cocker spaniels do need to eat a bit for for the last few weeks of their pregnancy to keep up with what the puppies are taking from them. Keep to the guide above and you will be okay.

Remember to speak to your vet if you suspect your Cocker could be pregnant. Some of the signs are easy to miss and could be easily overlooked.

And finally, good luck with the new Cocker Spaniel puppies, exciting times!

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! 
Spaniel Advisor aims to be the top online resource for sharing information about all Spaniel breeds. 
Copyright 2022 - All Rights Reserved.