Photo by Dino Latoga

Cocker Spaniel - Breed Profile:

Origin: United States
Colors: Black and other solid colours, black-and-tan, parti-colour
Size: Medium
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Extensive
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Low
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The Cocker Spaniel, also called the American Cocker Spaniel sometimes, is a medium size dog with long pendent ears, a rounded head and profuse silky coat. The body is compact and sturdy. The front legs are well-boned and straight. The head is well-proportioned to the rest of the body, with clearly defined eyebrows and a well-pronounced stop. The jaws are square. The upper lip hangs down and completely covers the lower jaw. The teeth should meet in a scissor bite. The nose is black on black dogs but may be brown on others. The eyes are round, with slightly almond-shaped eye rims. The hips are wide and muscular. The topline slopes slightly towards the hindquarters. The tail is customarily docked to 2/5 its original length. The gait is well-balanced and full of good movement, which is typical for sporting dogs.
The weight of female Cockers averages 25 pounds, in males it is 27 pounds. The height is 13,5 to 15,5 inches.


Cocker Spaniels are cheerful, gentle, and trusting. Playful and lively, they make wonderful companions for children. They usually respect authority and do not try to challenge it. May be slightly timid, so proper socialization is necessary to avoid it. Devoted and need human company. Amusing and charming, Cockers are often called "happy tail-waggers". These dogs literally love everyone and need firm, loving leadership and regular exercise to stay happy and balanced. They're easy to train and generally get along well with other animals. Some individuals like to bark.
Photo by Carol Foil

There are two types of Cocker Spaniels: field and show lines. Field lines are bred for working. They have better hunting instincts and shorter coats, which is more practical for their main purpose. Both types make good pets when the owners meet their needs as a canine animal.

Coat and grooming

Cocker Spaniels come in solid black or other solid colours, black-and-tan, and parti-coloured patterns (white with black, white with buff or red, white with black and tan points). The medium length coat is silky, flat or slightly wavy. Its texture allows easy care. The ears, belly and legs are well-feathered. Some owners prefer to leave the coat long. In this case, daily brushing and frequent bathing are necessary. Others prefer to clip the coat to a shorter length to be more practical. Whatever way you choose, the dog will need regular trimming. When brushing, be careful not to pull out the silky hair.


Prone to cataracts, slipped stifle, PRA, hip dysplasia, hemophilia, heart disease, stomach and ear problems. The eyes and the ears need regular cleaning. The lifespan is 10 to 12 years.

Other interesting facts

The Cocker Spaniel was originally developed from English Cocker Spaniels brought to the United States. The American variety is smaller than the English Cocker and has a different conformation. The name "Cocker" comes from the woodcock, a game bird these spaniels flushed particularly well. Today, the Cocker Spaniel is primarily a companion and glamorous show dog.