AKC Dog Breeds: English Cocker Spaniel

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Sporting  Group
Height:14-17 inches   Weight: 26-34 pounds  Color: Solid Black, Liver Or Red Or Parti-color

In the UK, where this dog originated, they are typically referred to as the "Merry Cocker" because of their happy dispositions. Today, they are quite popular as pets because of their nature, and they are used as show dogs, too. An active sporting dog, the English Cocker Spaniel’s compact, solid body practically vibrates with energy and enthusiasm, particularly when at work in the field. Although known for its soft, melting spaniel expression, the breed is a tough worker, capable of covering ground effortlessly and penetrating the densest of cover. One of the oldest types of land spaniel known, the Cocker descended from the original spaniels of Spain. They were used to hunt in dense cover, flushing and retrieving game. In 1935, The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was formed in the United States to promote the interest of the English Cocker and differentiate it from the American-type Cocker that was emerging. The English Cocker was recognized as separate from the American Cocker Spaniel by the AKC in 1946.

General Appearance
The English Cocker Spaniel is an alert, compactly built, medium-sized dog with long ears, reaching at least to the nose when pulled forward. Solid, but not bulky. Strong and well-balanced, but not coarse. The upper plane of the skull is almost parallel to the upper plane of the muzzle, and the muzzle is about the same length as the skull. The dark oval eyes should have a melting yet intelligent expression. The hair is medium length. The legs and underside of the body are well feathered. The nose is black or brown depending on the coat color (black is preferred by breeders). It has a sturdy jaw with a scissors bite. The topline is almost level, with only a slight slope down from the withers to root of the tail. The chest is very deep and well developed, but not wide enough to interfere with efficient movement. The tail is generally docked. The feet are round and cat-like with tight, arched toes. The coat comes in solid black, liver or red or parti-color combinations of white with black, liver or red markings or ticking. Tan markings may appear on black liver or parti-color dogs. There are two types of English Cocker: field and show. The field types have shorter coats. Many colors are admissible, but on solid color dogs white is acceptable only on the chest.


The English Cocker Spaniel is an eager, playful, and cheerful dog with plenty of affection to give and a responsive and gentle nature. This is a sociable breed, and loves to be around his loved ones. Sweet and enthusiastic, the English Cocker Spaniel makes for a great family pet, but it is worth noting that some can be overly dependant on their owners to the point where they become clingy, so it is important to teach your English Cocker Spaniel to be independent. These sensitive dogs can sometimes be overly timid and submissive, so early socialization and training is important. Housebreaking can sometime be a problem and some English Cocker Spaniels can be chronic barkers. When it comes to children these dogs are generally very good, and they are also very friendly with strangers in most instances. The English Cocker Spaniel will get along well with other pets too, making this breed ideal for families with other pets. Some English Cocker Spaniels can have a willful nature and this can result in possessiveness when it comes to things like his toys.


The grooming requirements for the English Cocker Spaniel can be high, and this dog is a medium, year round shedder, and is therefore not the best choice for those that suffer from allergies. It is important to brush his silky coat every couple of days to ensure that it does not matt, and to keep it in good condition. The coat may need to be clipped every two months. You should also check the ear canals to ensure that they are clean and dry for hygiene reasons and to reduce the chances of infection.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the English Cocker Spaniel is around 12-15 years. This is quite a sturdy and healthy breed in general. Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections, and should be routinely checked for this problem. Once infections are detected, simple drops from the veterinarian should do the trick but left untreated, they can cause deafness.

Activity Level
Most Cocker Spaniels can handle as much exercise as you can provide. Particularly when outdoors, they are tireless. This is a great breed to consider for agility or other competitive dog activities, as they love the excitement and the exercise. They are excellent at tracking and retrieving activities as well as agility, and of course they make great hunters. Before you purchase this breed, you must be committed to providing them some sort of daily exercise, whether it's a walk in the park or a romp in the yard.


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