Sable Cocker Spaniels: A Complete Guide

July 16, 2022

A sable Cocker Spaniel is an uncommon sight.

More so since they have been removed from the breed standards from the major breeding clubs in the UK and USA. There were really good reasons for this which we will get into a bit later on.

This variation is quite attractive with its blend of colours. A factor which helped drive its popularity over the years. Many still love this coat and love their sable patterned Cocker.

Ready to learn more about this rare and slightly controversial Cocker Spaniel variation? Let's get started!

What is a Sable Cocker Spaniel?

If a Cocker Spaniel is called sable this is referring to the colour of its coat.

It combines quite a few different colours. This includes red, yellow, and black hairs which when combined create a very unique coat that will likely turn heads and have strangers complimenting you when on a walk.

How Can I Identify a Sable Cocker Spaniel?

You can easily tell if a Cocker Spaniel is a sable by the colour of its coat.

As described above a sable will have a combination of colours including red, black, and yellow hair. The amount of each will vary from dog to dog but usually, there is quite a bit of black hair on the Cocker.

Is Sable a Breed Standard Colour for Cocker Spaniels?

Sable Cocker Spaniels are not part of the breed standard for AKC, the Kennel Club or the Cocker Spaniel Club. This decision is also extended for other sable variations such as the sable and tan or sable and white Cocker Spaniels.

The decision to remove the sable from the breed standard was not just taken on a whim or for a dislike of the colouring.

There were two main reasons for this. Let's look at both.

Strength of the Sable Gene

The sable gene was actually very dominant when bred. So much so that when bred it would be the colour of the puppies in the litter.

Over a few generations of Cocker Spaniels, this would lead to numbers of other coat colours starting to lessen. Nobody wants to see solid colour Cocker Spaniels or any of the wide variety of coats fade away.

Improper Breeding

Another main factor that led to sables being removed from the breed standard is the higher prices they could achieve when sold due to how uncommon they are and the visual appeal of their coats.

These higher prices encouraged breeders with lower standards to try to pump out sable puppies as quickly as possible for a payday. Likely skimming over many of the safety checks responsible breeders take.

Also, genuine Cocker breeders don't charge extra for a rare colour or more for female dogs than male dogs.

Of course, there will be lovely breeders and sable puppies from great homes. Due diligence is going to be very important though.

Also, be sure to understand the risks involved if you intend to breed your dog.

Are Sable Cocker Spaniels Common?

These days a Cocker Spaniel with the sable pattern is a rare sight. Perhaps even the most uncommon variation of the breed. This is quite understandable given all of the information I've shared above.

You still can get a sable pup if you like the colours. It may take a bit of effort though.

Do Sable Cocker Spaniels Have Health Issues?

It is possible for dogs with the sable gene to have more health conditions. This is not something particularly related to the gene itself but how people have bred this dog over the years.

Poor breeding practices can lead to hereditary health conditions which are completely avoidable being passed down through the parents.

All this means for you if you are considering a sable pup is that you should make sure you see the parent's medical history. Sable dogs have every chance of being happy and healthy as any other Cocker Spaniel.

Any legit breeder will have no problem with this. If this is not possible or a problem that is a major red flag and you should walk away.

All of that said, Cocker Spaniels in general are known for being afflicted by a good share of health conditions. Particularly eye problems and ear infections.

How Can I Get a Sable Cocker Spaniel?

Getting a sable Cocker Spaniel will be more challenging than finding a puppy with another coat colour.

If you are set on having a puppy with a sable pattern in your home your best bet will be to call local breeders and ask about current and upcoming litters. And if they have any upcoming litters which may produce sable pups.

Another method you will want to try is searching online for puppies currently available. This can be quicker and does open up your options to home breeders as well as professional breeders.

Are Sable Cocker Spaniels Expensive?

Puppies with the sable pattern can be a bit more expensive than more common colours such as golden, black and white, or blue roan Cocker Spaniels. This is because they are classed as rare colours.

If you are in the market for one you can expect to pay a bit more than other American or English Cocker Spaniels.

I've found a few examples below to give you an idea of how much it could cost in the United Kingdom or America.

UK Sable Prices

  • £1500 - Blue Roan Sable Cocker Spaniel puppy
  • £1950 - Dark Sable Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Prices from:

USA Sable Prices

  • $3500 - Female Sable Cocker Spaniel puppy
  • $2500 - Male Sable Cocker Spaniel puppy

Prices from:

Do you Get Sable Mixed with Other Colours?

Yes. Given how overpowering the sable gene is you will find if bred it will be present in the litter.

A few combinations you could find include blue roan and sable, sable and tan, and sable and merle. All of these mixed-colour Cockers still face the same scrutiny that other dogs who just have the sable pattern receive.


And that is the story of Cocker Spaniels who have a sable pattern.

It's a bit unfortunate the sable gene was so powerful as to dominate other Cocker Spaniel colours as it would have been nice to see more of this beautiful coat. It was in fairness a sensible decision from the leading associations to ensure variety in the breed.

You can still get a Cocker with the sable pattern if you are interested in adding one to your family.

Just check out our recommendation on where to start your hunt above and be sure to take your time and to ensure the puppy is healthy and not predisposed to avoidable problems.

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.