English Cocker Spaniel | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a compact, muscular dog of medium size. Its coatings are smooth and silky with lots of fringes on the front legs. The English spaniel is available in different colors and combinations: solid black, red, orange and brown; combinations of black with white, liver with white, red and white, blue roan, orange roan and colorless black roan; and tricolor.

Sometime in the distant past, the ancestors of modern English Cocker Spaniels became famous as ideal game bird hunters.

Now representatives of the breed live in the houses of their owners as family members. They are loyal friends, companions, partners in games and sports.

Cheerfulness, tenderness, playfulness, lively mind and a desire to please their owners are the qualities thanks to which the English Cocker Spaniel won love in many countries. Like the Irish Setter and Weimaraner, an ideal hunting dog, this man’s friend is great at home with noisy kids.

In this article of Pets Feed, we will explain all the information you need about the English Spaniel, its origin, the care it needs or the most common diseases in this dog breed.


English Cocker Spaniel photos

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Physical characteristics

The appearance of these dogs reflects their hunting past. The growth of English Cockers rarely exceeds 41 cm, weight, as a rule, no more than 15 kg.


Distinctive features

According to the established standard, the English Cocker Spaniel should look like this:

  • The skull of this breed is short, and the head itself, resembling a small square, looks proportionate and neat.
  • The jaws are massive, the eyes are dark brown or brown, not protruding.
  • One of the characteristics of English spaniels is their long, drooping ears covered in soft coat.
  • Purebred representatives of the breed have a strong body, the limbs are straight and strong, which is ideal for hunting birds.
  • The rear knee joint can be extended to a wide angle, which provides strong thrust and rapid acceleration while running.
  • The tail of pets is traditionally shortened (stopped), but in some representatives of the breed it remains intact.
  • Most often, English Cockers have a solid reddish color, but there are also individuals with chocolate, liver, black, red and even spotted black and white or white and gold coats.

Character and behavior

These active and friendly dogs need human companionship to feel good and want to please their owners more than anything else. They are ideal dogs for homes with children and get along well with other animals. The English cocker spaniel is a very happy breed, which wags its tail and is constantly attentive to everyone. This dog is easy to train because it is eager to learn and to please.

It is important to emphasize that the character of each dog is unique and although some general characteristics observed in the breed can be mentioned, each individual has his own temperament. The character of the English cocker spaniel is generally soft and tender with its close relations. On the contrary, it is generally quite far from strangers. He is a dog attached to his humans because he enjoys spending time with them. He is very loyal and attentive.

It is also a breed with a cheerful, active and strong personality, particularly playful and nervous, which will integrate perfectly into an active family, which will be able to offer you the love you require. It is generally surprising for his silent attitude to his energetic lifestyle, but the truth is that the character of this dog falls in love with everyone who knows him.


The most common behavioral problems of the cocker spaniel are destructiveness, persecution of small animals or aggression. Generally, these problems appear when the dog is not properly socialized, when he is not mentally or physically stimulated or when there is a social conflict between him and his loved ones.


As with almost all breeds, especially those with pedigree, the English spaniel is susceptible to several hereditary diseases. Deafness, for example, is a major problem in this breed of dog (colorless dogs). Among the most common diseases of the English cocker spaniel are:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Family nephropathy
  • Cardiomyopathy

It is important to make regular visits to the veterinarian, every 6 or 12 months, to quickly detect any of these health problems. It will also be very necessary to correctly follow the dog’s vaccination schedule, as well as periodic, internal and external dewormers.

Life expectancy

On average, the English Cocker Spaniel can live 14-15 years. Among the representatives of the breed, there are centenarians who have lived to 16-18 years.


Caring for an English Cocker Spaniel takes a lot of time. Therefore, you need to connect to systematic work.

Regular routines:

  • Nail trimming every 10-14 days
  • Brush teeth every 1-2 days
  • Ear care – as per condition or doctor’s recommendation
  • Combing once every 1-2 days
  • Grooming, depending on the type of exercise and tasks of the dog

Grooming this breed is therefore something for which you must invest time and money in the family budget if you choose this breed.


These dogs adapt effortlessly to the family situation, but remember that they are hunting dogs and as such need exercise (at least an hour a day, preferably more). The Cocker Spaniel likes to swim, so you need to be aware of its safety when it’s near water. Let him play off the leash for a while to burn off some energy.

History of the breed

The English Cocker Spaniel was once a breed distinct from the Field Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel, after the formation of the Kennel Club. Initially, it was known as “cocking spaniel” derived from “flushing woodcock”. The name derives from the old French, “spaigneul”, which literally means “Spanish dog” since the original breed came from Spain, the country in which it was used as a hunter and point dog. The Cocker Spaniel arrived in England from the hands of Spanish owners and you can see the enormous popularity they have acquired in numerous references in English literature, such as in the works of Sheakespeare or Chaucer.

This breed has been very marked by hunting. Although in the past they were used for different types of prey according to their size, no distinction was made by breeds. Thus, in the same litter of the spaniel, large dogs (more used to hunting mammals) and small dogs (more used to hunting birds) could be born. Therefore, the dogs we know today as the English Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, English Springer and Sussex Spaniel were one group.

It was not until the end of the 19th century that these breeds were separated and the English Cocker Spaniel was officially recognized for the first time as a hunting dog.

This little dog has become very popular in Britain, its homeland and the rest of Europe. It was then exported to the United States of America where it also gained popularity, but American breeders decided to modify the breed to obtain a somewhat different appearance.

Logically, British breeders opposed the changes made by the Americans and decided to ban crossbreeding between the original breed and the American variety. Thus, the two varieties were separated into two different breeds, the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel.

The American cocker spaniel has become extremely popular in his country, surpassing the English cocker spaniel. However, the American version of the breed is little known in the rest of the world, while the English version of the cocker spaniel is very popular and appreciated. At the moment, we can discover small differences between the breed intended for “work” and that of “beauty”, as with the German Shepherd dog.


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