Cocker Spaniel Dogs
Very Intelligent And Eager To Please!

Cocker Spaniel dogs were developed in America and are directly derived from the English Cocker Spaniel which was introduced to the United States around 1880.

Having the same name has caused some confusion between the English and American varieties, even though the breeding goals were along different lines. Ultimately they were separated to clear this up.

American cocker spanielCourtesy: Elf

Cockers are the smallest of the sporting group of dogs, and were originally bred to hunt small game, particularly Woodcock which was influential in naming the breed. Though they still can be trained to flush and retrieve, they are rarely involved in hunting events today.

This popular breed is now mainly enjoyed as a family companion and is often seen as a participant in dog shows.

The Cocker has a dome-shaped head that is framed with long well feathered ears. The eyes are large and the expression is sweet and endearing. His quite muscular body is covered with a luxurious abundant coat that is long and silky. The tail is customarily docked.

Former President Nixon and popular TV host Oprah Winfrey are among the celebrity owners of Cocker Spaniel dogs.

Many who have visited Walt Disney World may have noticed that the Cocker Spaniel is a featured dog character in many of the rides. This breed also gained much fame in the cartoon, Lady and The Tramp.

For almost twenty years - up to the 1950's - the AKC received more registrations for this breed that any other.  Even though his popularity declined a bit for a while, today he maintains a pretty high rank.

Living With Cocker Spaniel Dogs

Cocker Spaniel dogs are cheerful, intelligent, loving, and very sensitive. They can be rather mischievous, yet at the same time they are eager to please.

However, Cockers are a little independent and do like to test owners for dominance. This makes it really important to obedience train them from the get go, with firm, but never harsh methods.

This will establish you as the alpha presence in the pecking order. Early socialization with other dogs and people in a variety of venues, is also important and very worthwhile.

The Cocker Spaniel enjoyed a long spate in popularity as we previously mentioned, but fame has a price and some rather loose breeding followed during which this breed got a bad rap as being a bit aggressive.

Nowadays that seems to have been taken care of by proper attention to selective breeding. The advice to prospective owners is to seek out a professional and ethical breeder who takes pains to breed for the best temperament.

Today's Cocker Spaniels are charming free spirits and make enjoyable family pets. They love people and are affectionate and playful.

cocker spaniel young Courtesy: Inarieklof

Physical Stats of the Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

This lovely breed is easily recognizable by it handsome flowing coat with ears to match, though the coat shouldn't be kept too long if he participates in field work.

Height: 14-15 inches
Weight: 24-28 lbs
Color variations: Solid black including black with tan points, or any solid color or a combination of two or more colors with tan points, or parti-colored.

Coat and Grooming

Grooming is not for the feint of heart if the stunning long coated appearance is wanted.

The silky and abundant coat needs considerable grooming to maintain it in the best condition. Coat care should start from an early age to accustom the Cocker to a process that will be needed for a life time.

You can pretty easily take care of the basics, but if the classic dog show appearance is the goal, use the services of a professional groomer every couple of months.  Brushing at home should be done daily if possible to avoid mats using a high quality brush.

Long ears don't get as much air circulation and are perfect hideaways for parasites, so don't forget to inspect them often, cleaning as necessary and keeping the hair trimmed. Have your vet  show you how to safely clean the ears or go to this page.

It goes without saying that the Cocker's teeth need to be brushed regularly - at least three times a week - and nails trimmed when needed.

Some pet parents opt for a shorter hair cut that's easier to maintain if not planning to enter their dog into conformance dog shows.

Young Cocker SpanielCourtesy: Wildehilde

Health Notes

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - a serious eye disease
  • Other eye problems including cataracts and glaucoma
  • Hip or elbow Dysplasia
  • Patella Luxation (dislocated kneecap)
  • Entropian
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections

Testing is available for most of these conditions and breeders should be able to provide evidence that a puppy's parents were tested before breeding and show the results of course.

As long as a Cocker is receiving good care and is happy with his family life, don't fret about what might be, just enjoy him.

How Active Are Cocker Spaniels?

Cocker Spaniel dogs need regular exercise, plus owners need to keep an eye on their dog's waistline.

These little dogs are known to have hearty appetites and a tendency to easily gain weight without sufficient exercise.  Plus, like most breeds, lack of activity in the form of walks, playtime or agility sports, can lead to unwanted behaviors.

Ideal Living Conditions

While the Cocker Spaniel can can adapt to an apartment if daily walks are taken, they are much better off in a home with an outside area for romping, training and dog business.

Otherwise, this breed like to be inside most of the time with his pack.

Suitable Companion For Children?

Children, who are older (young adults) and considerate with pets, will enjoy the lively and cheerful nature of this breed.  This is a delicate and sensitive breed that would not be ideal for small active toddlers that tend to stumble about.

However, because children and dogs can be unpredictable it's always wise to play it safe and have adult supervision whenever they are interacting.

Senior or Less Active Families?

Cocker Spaniel dogs make sweet and loving companions for seniors or the less active families.

They are quite adaptable and being inside most of the time is not a problem as long as someone is available to provide regular walks for them and take them to the dog park for social interaction occasionally.

Share Your Knowledge and Pictures

Do you have a Cocker Spaniel?

If you do, we know you must be proud to own this charming and affectionate dog breed. Plus you have the "insider" knowledge of what spaniels are like as family pets!

We would love for you to share your dog's pictures and his/her story as well as your knowledge about the breed in general.

You can upload photos and tell your dog's story here. For inspiration, read some of the stories already submitted by other dog lovers.

Book Recommendation

A book for new and current owners of Cocker Spaniel dogs. Comprehensive coverage, packed with information everything Cocker Spaniel including nutrition, allergies, training, grooming and keeping your pet healthy, breed traits and how to enjoy your dog through training and activities.

American Cocker Spaniel Image:
License: Original source: American Cocker Spaniel Taken by Elf October 2004 in Turlock, California
Other Spaniel imagess: pixabay

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