Cocker Spaniel

June 2, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Cocker Spaniel, or the Cocker, in short, is known as a beautiful companion dog breed. Their face is round with a broad, square muzzle. They also have these sweet, big, and dark eyes that just make them more adorable. But, their most significant feature is their long, silky coat that comes in a variety of colors and covers their ears, chest, legs, and even underside. It’s no wonder that this dog breed is one of the most popular in America.

Other than their beautiful appearance, the Cocker Spaniel is a sweet and merry dog. And despite being the smallest dog in the sporting group, they are great athletes with high energy. They are easy to train and will make excellent playmates to children.

If you plan to get yourself a Cocker Spaniel, be prepared for a whole lot of grooming. Their coat is undeniably the prettiest, but it will require extra grooming sessions to maintain.

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

Cocker Spaniel Statistics

Dog Breed GroupSporting
Breed SizeMedium
Height14.5-15.5 inches (male); 13.5-14.5 inches (female)
Weight25-30 pounds (male); 20-25 pounds (female)
Lifespan10-14 years

Cocker Spaniel Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Cocker Spaniel History

Cocker Spaniels came from a long line of Spaniels, one of the oldest dog breeds who’s been around since the 14th century. And since they are from the Spaniel group, they are believed to have originated from Spain.

It was believed that for centuries, spaniels have only been classified whether their land or water spaniels. It was only in the 19th century when they started specializing breeds based on their purposes. The Cocker Spaniels, in particular, were named “cocker” because they specialized in flushing woodcocks, a game bird.

By the 1800s, these Cocker Spaniels were brought to America, and hunting enthusiasts immediately got impressed with their hunting skills. However, some American breeders also saw their potential in dog shows and decided to breed smaller versions.

For years, Cocker Spaniels were considered one breed despite the differences in size. That was until English breeders formed a Club in 1936 named English Cocker Spaniel Club of America to refer to the larger breeds. They also petitioned no to breed English Cocker Spaniels to become the American type (or the smaller).

By 1940, The Canadian and English Kennel Clubs finally registered two separate breeds, the American and English Cocker Spaniels. The American version was the one that retained the name Cocker Spaniels. By 1946, The American Kennel Club followed through.

Around this time, the Cocker Spaniel breed grew into popularity. Thanks to the Cocker named Brucie, who won the Best American Bred in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. This also encouraged a lot of breeders to continue breeding Cocker Spaniels. And now, other than being skilled hunters, Cocker Spaniels make excellent family pets too.

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Temperament

The American Kennel Club describes the Cocker Spaniel as a gentle, smart, and happy dog breed. They are known for their easy-going, lively, and affectionate personality.

With their hunter background, Cocker Spaniels would require regular exercise. However, this doesn’t need to be heavy or should only take a few minutes.

They are excellent family pets, and they are very good with children. Plus, they make excellent playmates. They are also very friendly with people and other animals, so they are not good watchdogs.

About the training, Cocker Spaniels can be stubborn, and they don’t respond well to aggressiveness or harshness. It’s best to retain patience during training and approach them with a kind and cheerful smile always. Treats will also be a great way to persuade them to listen.

Early socialization would also be needed to get the appropriate attitude of a Cocker Spaniel. Allow him to meet strangers and other animals as a puppy, so you won’t have bigger problems when he grows older. At the same time, it will prevent any aggressiveness from showing.

Cocker Spaniel Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Just like any other dog, Cocker Spaniels require a well-balanced diet to keep him healthy. This diet should contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Don’t also forget to include only high-quality ingredients to avoid allergies that might ruin that beautiful coat. For protein, you can get this from high-quality animal meat such as salmon, turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb. Also, don’t forget to trim off excess fats. For the fats, you can derive this from the meat, fish oils, and olive oil. Just be careful not to put too much as this can be dangerous. Fruits and vegetables, rice, and oatmeal are good sources of carbohydrates. Then add some vitamin supplements as well if your vet advises so.
  • Grooming: Cocker Spaniels don’t shed much. However, they require regular grooming. This isn’t just any grooming, as this should be done thoroughly to maintain that beautiful, luscious, and shiny coat. Not doing this regularly and carefully will result in mats and tangles on your Cocker Spaniel’s fur. There is also some possibility of trimming sessions if the hair grows too long. Bathing should be done thoroughly also, and make sure to rinse and re-rinse them up very well to avoid possible skin irritation. Dry carefully and thoroughly too. Ears should be cleaned, and nails should be trimmed as well. If you’re not confident in doing this, you can have an expert groomer take care of everything. Just schedule a session so your Cocker Spaniel can have his bath and trim if needed. For the combing, you can do this at home by using specialized combs. Also, be careful of combing the hair from his ears.
  • Exercise: As a sporting breed, the Cocker Spaniel does require regular exercise. This is to avoid gaining too much weight and also to prevent other health diseases they’re prone to. You can go out for some daily 45-60 minutes walk. If you have a fenced yard, you can also have your Cocker Spaniel run around there, or do some running or tracking activities with him. You can even play fetch with him. Even if indoors, you can create ways to have him entertained and burn off some energy. Just remember, Cocker Spaniels enjoys spending time with people, so develop activities that you can do together.
  • Health: The average lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel is 12 years. They are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to some serious health diseases. Some of these are progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, patellar luxation, and glaucoma. They can also be occasionally affected by elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, and epilepsy. They can also suffer from some minor health issues such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, allergies, liver disease, skin irritation, and heart diseases. There are some screening tests for some of these diseases, so you might want to have your Cocker Spaniel checked on those. Also, regular check-ups would be a great way to detect some problems early.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Cocker Spaniels is 10-14 years.

Cocker Spaniel Facts

Famous Cocker Spaniels

  • Checkers: President Nixon’s Daughters’ Cocker Spaniel
  • Einstein: George Clooney’s adopted Cocker Spaniel
  • Sophie and Solomon: Oprah Winfrey’s Cocker Spaniels
  • Arthur: Elton John’s Cocker Spaniel; this dog even served as best man at his wedding
  • Butch: Albert Staehle’s, a famous illustrator, Cocker Spaniel; model for 25 Saturday evening post covers
  • Lady: The star of the Disney film “Lady and the Tramp”
  • Prince: Paul Sperry’s Cocker Spaniel who became his inspiration to some of his shoe fashions
  • Lupo: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s adopted Cocker Spaniel

Fun Facts About Cocker Spaniels

  • Cocker Spaniels came from Spain.
  • They were originally bred as hunting dogs.
  • They are popular with famous people such as Presidents and celebrities.
  • They became overly popular in the 1950s.
  • They were brought to the US in 1620 on the Mayflower.
  • Cocker Spaniels come in a variety of colors: black, liver, red, golden, and tri-color.
  • American Cocker Spaniels are believed to be smarter than English Cocker Spaniels.
  • Their average lifespan is 12 years.
  • They are the most scientifically studied dog in the world.
  • They are the smallest member of the American Kennel Club Sporting Group.

Check Out Other Sporting Dog Breeds:
American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter, Irish Water Spaniel, Kooikerhondje, Labrador Retriever, Lagotti Romagnoli, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Spinoni Italiani, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Wirehaired Vizslas

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