English Cocker Spaniel

June 4, 2020 // 6 minute read

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English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized gun dogs famous for flushing and retrieving woodcock birds. The English Cocker Spaniel has a compact body covered with a luscious, silky, medium-length coat. They are beautiful dogs, and they make excellent companions.

This dog breed is known to be highly active and full of energy. They are also affectionate with people, especially to their families. They need someone who would be able to cope up with their boundless energy. Because if you leave these dogs alone, they can be destructive.

English Cocker Spaniel Statistics

Dog Breed GroupSporting
Breed SizeMedium
Height16-17 inches (male); 15-16 inches (female)
Weight28-34 pounds (male); 26-32 pounds (female)
Lifespan12-14 years

English Cocker Spaniel Ratings

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


English Cocker Spaniels descended from the Spaniel family, who have been around for centuries. They belong to the group of land Spaniels, and their expertise is hunting woodcock birds (where their name came from).

For centuries, the Spaniel dog breed has only been considered one, although they come of different sizes. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that breeders decided to separate the dog breeds.

In 1885, England’s Spaniel Club was formed, and its first goal is to establish a standard for all Spaniel dog breeds. All Spaniels that weigh less than 25 pounds were classified under the Cocker Spaniel type.

However, in 1935, the Cockers were further divided into two different types – the American and English Cocker Spaniels.

In 1936, the English Cocker Spaniel Club was formed. And by 1946, the American Kennel Club registered these two Cocker Spaniels as different dog breeds: English Cocker Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel.

English Cocker Spaniels are one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK. And though they lack in popularity in the US, this somehow helped the breed maintain its roots.


The American Kennel Club describes the English Cocker Spaniel as energetic, merry, and responsive. They have sporting instincts, which makes them active dogs who require a lot of exercise.

They are very affectionate and loyal, and they take pleasure from being close to their family. They are happier if you allow them to join in your family activities. They also make excellent playmates for your kids.

English Cocker Spaniels love human companionship, and they can have a very destructive behavior if left alone for long periods. Separation anxiety can become a problem too.

With strangers, they are very friendly. There are even instances where he would lick a stranger’s hand, even in their first meeting. They are nice with other dogs and animals as well.

But, even if they’re friendly, they still make good watchdogs. They have tendencies to bark when someone approaches, but then, expect them to run to that person and act friendly afterward.

Early socialization and training are essential even with these friendly dogs. This is to help control his bad temperaments and make him more well-rounded.

Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: English Cocker Spaniels needs a high-quality diet that is balanced with all the essential nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. When preparing his food, make sure to take into consideration his activity level. This will help you count their needed calorie intake. Usually, an active English Cocker Spaniel would require about 894 kilocalories of food. And as they grow older and less active, they might need less than this. By controlling their calorie intake, you also get to watch their weight. Animal protein is the best for your English Cocker Spaniel. You can get this from fish, beef, chicken, or lamb – as long as he’s not allergic to it. It’s also best to avoid grainy foods as this can trigger allergies and may be hard to digest. You can add some fruits and vegetables in his diet for some source of fiber and vitamins.
  • Grooming: English Cocker Spaniels have long profuse coats that don’t shed a lot. However, daily brushing is highly recommended to prevent any mats or tangles from forming. The coats would also need some trimming every month, so it doesn’t get too long, especially in areas that may come as uncomfortable. Bathing should be done regularly as well, and you can do this together with the trimming sessions. Be sure to check and clean the ears and trim those nails if they’re too long. You can take your English Cocker Spaniel to an expert groomer if you want to save yourself from the hassle and have all of these done for you.
  • Exercise: English Cocker Spaniels are classified as a sporting dog, which means they are very active. They require daily exercise that would help stimulate his physical body and his mind. You can take him for long walks and hikes, or you can play ball in your backyard. Any activity that you can do together, your English Cocker Spaniel would love them.
  • Health: English Cocker Spaniels are also prone to some health issues despite being generally healthy. Among the most common health conditions to watch out for are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and progressive retinal atrophy. You might also find some teeth problems, allergies, cataracts, and deafness. Some of these diseases have available screening tests for you to detect them at an early stage. Make sure to keep a close watch at your dog, and if you detect anything strange, take him for a check-up.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of English Cocker Spaniels is 12-14 years.

Famous English Cocker Spaniels

  • Checkers: The English Cocker Spaniel of the Nixon family
  • Einstein: The adopted English Cocker Spaniel of George Clooney
  • Sophie and Solomon: Oprah Winfrey’s English Cocker Spaniels whom she also brings to her show
  • Butch: The well-known English Cocker Spaniel of animal illustrator, Albert Staehle; Butch grazed a cover of Saturday Evening Post magazine.
  • Lady: The English Cocker Spaniel from the Disney film Lady and the Tramp

English Cocker Spaniel Breed

Fun Facts about English Cocker Spaniels

  • They were named “Cocker” because of their skill of hunting woodcock birds.
  • English Cocker Spaniels are the smallest dog in the AKC sporting group.
  • They are the first cancer-detecting dog breed.
  • They inspired the brand Sperry.
  • They are the most scientifically studied dog breed.
  • They come in various colors: black, liver, red, golden, and tri-color.
  • One Cocker Spaniel is the model of Coppertone Bottle.

Check Out Other Sporting Dog Breeds:
American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, 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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