Cocker Spaniel – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Cocker Spaniel is a breed of friendly nature and soft temperament. Could this breed be your next dog? Read on and discover.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
1 foot, 2 inches to 1 foot, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
24 to 28 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dog breeds today.

They are sweet-natured, perky, and lively. Plus, thanks to their size they are a perfect match for many homes.

As an ultimate family dog, the Cocker Spaniel is highly trainable.

So sweet and playful dog doesn’t come without shedding here and there. They shed a significant amount. You can expect heavy shedding in the spring and fall seasons.

They won’t be shy to inform you whenever someone unfamiliar comes to your door. Whenever someone approaches your territory, your Cocker Spaniel will inform you.

With that in mind expect some barking. As expected, breaking this habit will demand some time and a huge amount of patience.

Cockers are big enough to be sporty dogs and compact enough to be portable, which makes them perfect for both outdoor playtime and indoor games.

Their lavishing coat requires regular grooming and proper brushing.

Make sure that you have the right grooming tools on hand to make brushing time rewarding and fun.

Cocker Spaniels will be happy to spend time with you, every day, all day long, so separation anxiety is one of the possible issues in the long run.

They will do fine in a multi-pet household.

With proper training, they can get along with cats perfectly as well. However, sharing a home with a pet bird may not be the best option due to their hunting instincts.

Quick Facts

Real name: Cocker Spaniel
Origin: England
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 24 to 28 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 2 inches to 1 foot, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 3 – 12 puppies
Color: Black, liver, red, and golden in solids, black and tan, rarely liver and tan, tricolors, or solid colors
Coat: Longer, flat, and silky coat

Cocker Spaniel History

Cocker Spaniels were bred to work as hunting dogs.

They are usually reported as a breed that is from England, but dog fanciers claim that this breed has strong roots that may be located in Spain.

One thing is known for sure – this breed was carefully bred to assist people with bird hunting.

From there, their roles evolved and they were even seen helping people to work with nets.

For centuries these dogs were classified as land spaniels and water spaniels.

During the 19th century, the breed standard was created and these vivid dogs were often seen and go shows.

Over time these dogs started getting more and more popular, especially in England where they were named the Cocker (they were specialized on woodcock).

These dogs are actually ancestors of a breed that we today know as Cocker Spaniel.

As for the States, the Cocker Spaniel was grouped into two varieties: American and English.

What is the difference between the American and English Spaniel?;/

The English variety is taller than the American variety and has a less profuse coat.

Both English and Canadian kennel clubs register these varieties as two separate breeds as of 1940, while the AKC followed as of 1946.

The US variety is named the Cocker Spaniel, while the British variety is named English Cocker Spaniel.

Fun fact: In the 1950s the Cocker Spaniel was the most popular breed of the decade, thanks to Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.”

If you are on the lookout for a perfect name for your dog, make sure that you check out our list of best Disney names for dogs.

Cocker Spaniel Physical Appearance

Cocker Spaniel is a dog of sturdy body, refined head, and balanced body. This is a breed of elegant but muscular body, built for great endurance.

Don’t let their size trick you, because is a dog packed with endurance. They are free and marry, although this breed is the smallest member of the Sporting Group, as for the AKC.

Cocker Spaniel is a breed of 24 to 28 pounds and 3 inches at the shoulder. Their head is well proportioned, while the expression is intelligent and soft.

Eyeballs are round, while the ears are long and of fine leather. Skull is rounded while the muzzle is broad and deep.

The neck is long and muscular, while the chest is deep. Their ears are long and closely set to the face. The coat is fine and smooth, while the legs are well feathered. On touch, the coat is silky and flat.

Spaniel’s coat can also be a bit wavy, but never curly. As for the colors they come in many colors, including black, liver, red, and golden in solids, black and tan, rarely liver and tan, tricolors, or solid colors.

Cocker Spaniel comes with a typical sporting dog gait and a movement of great balance. Overall, their gait is smooth, effortless, and coordinated.

Cocker Spaniel Personality

Cocker Spaniels are best known for being gentle and sweet dogs.

They are easy-going and highly affectionate dogs who love their family members, if you want a great family dog this is the breed to consider having. However, if you want a great watchdog this breed isn’t for you.

This breed is more of a lap dog than a protector. Still, they will do their best to notify you when a stranger approaches.

Thanks to their calm nature and non-aggressive attitude toward other animals and people, these dogs are among the most popular dog breeds alive.

Due to these traits and their appealing look, this breed was overbred at one point, which is why you should do your best to find responsible dog breeders who actually care about dogs and will show you medical documentation on the puppy.

When a breed is overbed it’s not uncommon for dogs to appear with many health issues. This breed thrives on affection, so if you are into pampering your dog, the Cocker Spaniel will much appreciate it.

Do Cocker Spaniels Bark A Lot?

Cocker Spaniels are considered to be vocal dogs. They will bark.

Do you use delivery services often? If so, be prepared to hear your Cocker Spaniel whenever a delivery people step in.

This behavior is something that can be addressed during the training phase, but don’t have your hopes up, because they see barking as a self-reward.

Cocker Spaniel Training

Just like many other dog breeds, Cocker Spaniels need structured training and early socialization. This way you can know for sure that you will end up having a well-behaved canine citizen.

In fact, training and socialization are two moments that separate any dog from a well-behaved one.

To get out the maximum of training you should plan ahead. This means that you should think about training sessions before your Cocker Spaniel arrives.

That being said, arm yourself with extra patience, training toys, treats, and other dog-related items that will make your Cocker Spaniel feel at home.

Are you adopting? In that case, check this adopting list, and kudos to you for saving a life, lovely human!

Cocker Spaniels are in general dogs that are easy to train. To get out the maximum of training sessions make them fun, short, consistent, and reward-based.

No dog should ever experience any harsh methods. Dogs love experienced but gentle owners to lead them – be that person.

Always reward good behavior. If you feel like training your Cocker Spaniel is too much work, think about hiring assistance.

The two most common options are:

  • Hiring a professional dog trainer
  • Enrolling your pup in puppy classes

Both options should help you speed up the training process and provide professional inputs on further handling.

Cocker Spaniel Grooming

Cocker Spaniels are average shedders.

Their coat is silky and will demand regular weekly brushing sessions. To make the brushing sessions easy and stress-free, make sure that you have the right grooming tools and a slicker and bristle brush.

The right tool will help you make brushing fast and enjoyable.

Did you know that dogs actually bond with you when you brush them? They are huge lovers of body language and when you brush your dog he sees it as your way of telling him just how much you care for him.

This is why it’s important to have regular brushing sessions, next to keeping his coat neat, clean, and tangle-free.

While you are brushing do not forget to check the skin for fleas and any sign of skin infection.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe only when needed
  • Check gums weekly
  • Check eyes daily for any sign of eye discharge
  • Clean ears when needed

Cocker Spaniel Health

How healthy Cocker Spaniels are?

If you want to know for sure that your puppy is healthy make sure that you deal with responsible dog breeders only.

They will present you with medical documentation on the breed and provide you with inputs on proper nutrition, grooming, and overall care.

Naturally, Cockers are dogs of good longevity and strong health. Recommended health tests for this breed should include hip evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation.

To help your Cocker Spaniel reach his senior years without any major health issues, make sure that you provide the following:

  • High-quality food
  • Regular exercise
  • Proper nutrition
  • Keep away human foods that can harm your dog
  • Provide supplement when needed
  • Provide regular veterinarian check-ups

Is Cocker Spaniel For You?

Cocker Spaniels are friendly and loyal dogs who are great with other animals and people.

They tend to be a bit stubborn, but responsive when it comes to training and playtime. This is a breed of high maintenance and isn’t for you if you see more pain in a grooming session than fun.

This breed also isn’t for you if you are not a fan of shedding, excessive barking, and a possible tendency toward separation anxiety.

On the other hand, this breed is for you if you want an athletic dog who is polite to everyone and loves spending time with other pets.

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