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English Cocker Spaniel Dogs
Affectionate, Loyal And Lively!

English Cocker Spaniel dogs are classified as sporting dog breeds by the American Kennel Club. They were originally used for hunting small game, especially woodcock - from which their name was derived. At various times, it was referred to as a Cocker or Cocking Spaniel.

english cocker spaniel lying in the grass with a ball

This breed has very acute scenting abilities and is one of the oldest of land spaniels, but it differs from the American Cocker Spaniel. Differences include being slightly larger, having a different head shape, and a shorter coat.

The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was founded in 1936 with the intent of formalizing the breed lines and standard, as well as to benefit fanciers.

Ultimately, in 1946, it was recognized by the AKC as a separate breed from the American Cocker.

The ECS is a sturdy, well-balanced dog, compact in appearance and with very long ears. The eyes are bright and express both softness and intelligence. The tail is usually docked except in field bred dogs.

Personality and Traits:

English Cocker Spaniel dogs
The English Cocker Spaniel has a gentle personality and his disposition is often described as being fun-loving and rather mischevious.

They are also both loyal and affectionate and make excellent family companions. However, Cockers are people lovers and do not do well if left alone too long.

Being eager to please, the English Cockers are very amenable to training if owners are very consistent and use a non-harsh approach.

This breed is very active, full of spirit and likes to be included in whatever the family is doing.

Health of English Cocker Spaniel Dogs

English Cocker Spaniels owners can expect to enjoy their pet for a lifespan of up to 15 years with good care.

If you are considering this particular spaniel as a family companion, there are some health issues that may affect them during their lifetime.

The main concerns revolve around eye problems to which they seem to be particulary vulnerable. These include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)- a serious condition that can cause blindness, cherry eye, and cataracts to name a few.

Other issues to note are hip dysplasia, patella luxation (dislocated kneecap), ear infections and hearing loss.

It's important to find a responsible breeder who can provide information on test clearances of a puppy's parents for hip and patella evaluations, PRA eyes, and hearing.

Appearance, Coat And Grooming

Height: 15-17 inches
Weight: 26-32 lbs
Color variations: Liver, Black, Shades of Red, Black with White, and Parti

The medium length coat is silky and lies flat. It requires regular brushing to keep free of mats and tangles, especially after walks in woodland type areas.

The long ears of the Cocker need to be cleaned and checked often for foreign matter or signs of infection. Shedding of the coat is average.

Activity Level:

The English Cocker Spaniel dog breed has a heritage of long days working in the field and retrieving. As such, he is a dog that enjoys a lot of exercise and play.

In addition to regular and necessary walks, games are a very welcome pastime for expending his energy.

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Space Needs

This breed does best in a home with a medium sized yard. Cockers tend to roam, so the yard should be securely fenced.


The English Cocker Spaniel has a good reputation with children that are considerate and do not tease pets.

While having a pet in the family can be a great experience for children, it bears noting that even the best pets can be unpredictable. For this reason, we always advise that an adult be present whenever children and pets are interacting.


English Cocker Spaniel dogs are very loyal and loving.

They make excellent companions for the elderly providing exercise needs can be met.

Resource for breeder or rescue information: English Cocker Spaniel Club of America

Images courtesy of:
M Grynykha from Unsplash
I Krijgsman from Pixabay

Recommended Books

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english cocker spaniel breed guide book
English Cocker Spaniel Dogs - Comprehensive Owner's Guide

Invaluable guide - covers breed history and standard, attributes and characteristics of the breed, puppy selection, feeding, training, preventative health care and behavior of the breed.

Also includes advice about puppy-proofing the home, preparing for the puppy's arrival, housetraining and potential puppy problems. Extensive color photos.

holistic and natural health dog care book

Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs and Cats

Dr. Pitcairn's book is one of the most trusted references for natural pet health care.

Anyone who is interested in the holistic approach to natural healing as well as chemical-free nutrition for their pets will find this book invaluable.

Also, conveniently, available to read on Kindle.


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