Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

Dog Group: Sporting Group

Class: Sporting


Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

The sturdy and attractive Cocker Spaniel is a breed with a luxuriously thick, soft coat and a sturdy, quite strong body. The coat color can come in black, black and tan, or brown and tan, and the coat on the body is medium in length with a protective undercoat.

The dark, intelligent, round eyes lend the Cocker Spaniel a sweet yet alert expression, and the ears are distinctively long and as luxurious as the coat. The muzzle is quite short, and the face fairly small.


The Cocker Spaniel is a charming, friendly and gentle breed, and its desirable temperament has made it one of the most popular US breeds for many years. Fairly energetic, this dog is suited to family life and will get on well with children and other pets when properly socialized. They are very alert dogs and therefore make good watchdogs to warn you of any possible dangers. However, they are not aggressive and will not be able to do much in terms of protecting you, however loyal and loving they are. The Cocker Spaniel is intelligent, attentive, keen to learn and obedient.

Height and Weight

The average Cocker Spaniel will reach 14-15 inches in height, and the weight of the average Cocker Spaniel will reach around 24-28 pounds.

Common Health and Behavioral Problems

There are a few problems that may pose a risk to the Cocker Spaniel. Hip dysplasia can result in reduced mobility and swelling. Epilepsy and inherited eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma, can also pose a risk.

Ideal Living Conditions

With regular healthy exercise, a Cocker Spaniel can adapt to all sorts of living environment, and will be happy in either a house or an apartment. A garden is not a necessity for the Cocker Spaniel, although it will enjoy playing and exercising in the fresh air. Regular walks and play will help to keep him healthy.

Exercise Requirements

The Cocker Spaniel is a fairly active and energetic dog, so regular exercise will be an enjoyable part of his routine. The Cocker Spaniel can also put on weight rather quickly, and therefore owners should take the time to provide healthy exercise and play to keep weight gain at bay.

Diet and Nutrition

You should feed your Cocker Spaniel carefully monitored portions of food. He can be fed twice daily, and a quality dry food gives the benefit of oral health as well as nutrition. Although the Cocker Spaniel is active, he can also gain weight quickly so don’t be tempted to overfeed or dish out lots of snack between meals. As with all breeds, access to fresh, clean water it vital. 

Life Expectancy

A healthy, well-looked-after Cocker Spaniel can expect to live for approximately eleven to fifteen years. Obviously, a healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups and booster and a good diet will help to maximize the individual Cocker Spaniel’s lifespan.

Grooming Requirements

The luxurious coat of the Cocker Spaniel means that grooming must be a well-planned and fair time-consuming affair. This breed needs to be brushed daily, and the coat needs to be shampooed on a regular basis. You may want to clip the coat to make it easier to maintain, and in order to keep the coat healthy you will need to get it trimmed every three months or so. Grooming is a good time to check the eyes for any signs of cataracts or other problems.


The American Cocker Spaniel originates from the United States, although its roots go back to Spain. Breeding between Spanish Spaniels and setters resulted in the appearance that we recognize today. Cocker Spaniels came about in England first of all, and were then introduced in America, where selective breeding produced a variation of the Cocker Spaniel, which we know as the American Cocker Spaniel. These dogs have been used for hunting, tracking and retrieving as well as for flushing waterfowl (the word ‘Cocker’ originated from one of the waterfowl that the spaniels used to flush, known as woodcocks). The breed was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1878.

Secrets to Dog Training Testimonials

"Dear Daniel. We got Henry through the Cocker Spaniel club of Great Britain through their rescue centre, that looks after our part of the country. He was a 2 and a half year old Golden Cocker Spaniel male that had been neutered by his previous owners, who were looking to have him rehoused as he allegedly had snapped at one of their young children. He is a smashing dog, but came with minor faults such as jumping up at everybody, pulling on the lead, barking at friends and strangers particularly if they happen to be wearing black clothing.

Having very little training in dog handling and understanding dog behaviour we purchased your book, with the sole aim of trying to understand why Henry behaved in the way that he did. Taking one issue at a time and with the tremendous help from the book, we have converted Henry from the loveable dog with his little faults to an extremely well behaved and social dog that everybody loves. As you can see from the photograph he just like to be in peoples company and will get involved in all sorts including the gardening. We have now loaned your book to friends who need a little help, so keep up the good work."

-- Neil and Marion Upritchard and Henry (U.K)

More Resources

Want to find out about more dog breeds? Search here or go to our Dog Breed index.

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Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of Secrets to Dog Training: STOP Dog Behavior Problems!, one of the leading dog training guides on the market today selling over 25,743 copies (and counting). He currently heads the Kingdom of Pets dog training team.