Meet the Breed: The English Cocker Spaniel



  • Height: 14"- 17”
  • Weight: 26-34 pounds
  • Historical function: Flushing out woodcocks out of the brush.
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The English Cocker Spaniel is a lively, friendly dog with long ears, a longer and more narrow face than its American cousin. The English Cocker is also generally larger. The coat is long and feathers around the legs and chest. The coat is shorter around the face. The English Cocker Spaniel resembles the English Springer Spaniel as well, though the Cocker is smaller and has longer ears. The chest is deep and the legs are straight. The coat comes in a wide variety of colors, though if of the solid-color variety, only a small patch of white is permissible on the chest. There are two varieties of English Cockers: the field, and the show. 

History of the Breed:

The English Cocker Spaniel was developed to flush out birds, specifically woodcocks out of the brush towards the guns. This was one of many kinds of Spaniels documented for at least 500 years. Eventually, different varieties emerged and formed clubs to differentiate the breeds. The English Cocker Spaniel became its own breed in about 1885, being described as "cocker" if they were under 25 pounds.


The English Cocker Spaniel is very easy to get along with. They are patient, steadfast, hardworking dogs. They are great with children and eager to please. They are intelligent, gentle, and playful.

  • Best suited for: Almost any family.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers to be with their people. Does not do well chained up outside.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The long coat does require regular brushing and combing. An average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk. They prefer at least a moderate-sized yard.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to ear infections. Check ears regularly, particularly in the summer.

Breed Club Links: English Cocker Spaniel Club of America Perfect Pairings: Pet Naturals Ear Wash for Dogs

Have any stories about an English Cocker Spaniel? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Julie Gibson.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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