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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Cocker Spaniel Puppies

The English Cocker Spaniel is a sporting dog that excels at hunting. It’s perfectly suited to help hunters capture wild birds in dense shrubbery.

Breed Overview


15–16 inches


29–31 pounds


12–14 years


Black, red, liver

Suitable for:

Hunting, companions, families


Affectionate, loyal, friendly

These dogs carry the birds in their mouth to their master without damaging them, making them an invaluable tool even in modern hunts. They are intelligent and active with plenty of desire to please. Keep reading while we take a deep dive into this English breed to learn more about it to see if it’s right for your home.

English Cocker Spaniel Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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English Cocker Spaniel Puppies

English Cocker Spaniel
Image By: Katrina_S, Pixabay

The American Cocker Spaniel is more popular in the US than the English, it can therefore be more difficult to find a suitable breeder. You will usually need to pay more if you want breeding rights, so you can create more dogs for profit. However, if you don’t purchase breeding rights, you will usually need to get the dog spayed or neutered as part of the contract. You will also need to get the dog vaccinated and purchase flea and tick medication.

There are also several other expenses you should consider, including food, treats, and toys. These expenses will make up the bulk of your total pet cost, so it’s important to consider them carefully before bringing a dog home.

Temperament & Intelligence of the English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are an alert breed that makes for a great pet. This Spaniel forms a strong bond with its owner and family members and does not like being left alone. It’s loyal, and many owners describe it as happy and fun-loving. It’s never hard to get these dogs to play a game, and they are always ready to hunt. It does not like harsh treatment or loud noises, which can cause your dog to start barking or misbehaving. Early socialization with people and animals can help your pet be a little more relaxed and more likely to feel at home in its surroundings.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The English Cocker Spaniel makes a great family pet, and it will enjoy hanging out with the family. It likes to be part of the action, and that is much easier with a large family because it can always find someone willing to play, making the pup less stressed. It’s an alert breed that is attentive to its surroundings, so it makes a great watchdog, but it will still sit and watch television with you sometimes as well.

Image by: Labrador Photo Video, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Yes, the English Cocker Spaniel is extremely outgoing and makes friends with other animals quickly. Early socialization can help get your dog used to having other animals around, but it usually will make friends with other animals even without extensive early socialization. You might find an English Cocker Spaniel chasing birds and other small animals around your yard, but it will usually leave your cats alone.


Things to Know When Owning an English Cocker Spaniel:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your English Cocker Spaniel requires a high-quality diet with meat listed as the first ingredient. Tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb are all perfect examples of a high-quality meat. Meat by-product is lower grade meat that many companies use to boost the protein level in their food. However, this food is dried and ground, allowing it to be several years old. We also recommend searching for brands that contain probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids while avoiding artificial colors, chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT, which can cause health problems for your dog. We also recommend avoiding corn, wheat, and soy ingredients because they mostly add only empty calories to your pet’s diet that can lead to weight gain.

black and white english cocker spaniel running
Image by: rebeccaashworth, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

We recommend setting aside 30–45 minutes each day for playing with your dog to make sure it gets the activity it needs. Games like fetch are perfect because it activates your pets hunting instincts. Activating these instincts can increase your pet’s happiness level, which will result in a more obedient dog with less bad behavior. Of course, the biggest benefit to making sure your dog gets enough activity is to remain at a healthy weight.

Training 🎾

Your English Cocker Spaniel has an insatiable need to please you, so it will work double-time trying to learn your command, and training is usually quite easy. Plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of pats on the head and treats will help keep your dog focused on your training sessions. Consistency and short intervals are also essential to a successful training environment. Once your dog gets into a routine, it will be there waiting to spend time with you every day.

Grooming ✂️

Your English Cocker Spaniel has a medium-long and bushy coat that will require frequent brushing to keep tangles from forming and to keep it shiny and healthy. We recommend using a brush and comb on your pet once or twice a week, bumping it up to two or three times a week during the shedding season for spring and fall. The English Cocker Spaniel also has floppy ears that you will need to keep clean and try to avoid ear infections. If your dog spends a lot of time indoors and you feel the nails clicking on your floor, you will need to trim them as well.

English Cocker Spaniel Under Blanket
Image by: Alkhain, Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

The English Cocker Spaniel is a relatively healthy breed, but it does have a proclivity for certain illnesses, especially eye problems.

Minor Conditions
  • Dry Eye
Serious Conditions
  • Entropion

Dry Eye

The proper name for dry eye in dogs is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This condition causes the inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissue due to chronic dryness in the eye. It usually happens when the dog’s tear ducts aren’t working correctly. Dogs experiencing dry eyes will squint frequently and may try to hold the eye shut. You may also notice a discharge and see the formation of scarring on the cornea, resulting in vision loss. Treatment usually requires medication and frequent eye washings, but your dog may also require surgery.


Entropion is a condition that affects your dog’s eyelid and causes it to roll inward, which causes the hair and skin to rub on the cornea. It’s a painful condition that can also damage the eye, interfering with vision. Signs include watering eyes, holding the eye shut, squinting, and a watery discharge. If you notice these symptoms, you will need to take your dog to the vet. In many cases, your doctor can use surgery to correct entropion before the lens is damaged.

divider-pawMale vs Female

The male English Cocker Spaniel will be slightly larger in weight and height, but the difference is so minimal it would be hard to notice to the untrained eye. In most cases, the male will be less than 2 inches taller and be only 2 to 3 pounds heavier. Otherwise, there is no noticeable difference between the male and female English Cocker Spaniel.

3 Little-Known Facts About the English Cocker Spaniel

1. They Will Need More Frequent Bathing

English Cocker Spaniels enjoy playing in the dirt and require more frequent baths than other breeds. Don’t forget to clean their ears!

2. They Have an Adventurous Spirit

English Cocker Spaniels love to explore and can run off if not leashed. So, keep a close eye on your Spaniel when you go to the park or hit the hiking trails.

3. They Are Recognized By the AKC.

The American Kennel Club recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a unique breed in 1946. However, they recognized the American Cocker Spaniel back in 1878.

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Final Thoughts

The English Cocker Spaniel makes a fantastic pet that will improve any home. It’s intelligent, eager to learn, alert, playful, and full of energy. It forms strong bonds with family members and enjoys being around children. The only thing you need to worry about is too much roughhousing that will upset your dog, and it will not like it if you spend a lot of time away from home, and it will likely become mischievous if you do.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have convinced you to purchase one of these dogs, please share this guide to the English Cocker Spaniel on your social media.

Featured Image Credit: Alkhaine, Pixabay

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