Photo by © Charlotte Reeves

English Cocker Spaniel - Breed Profile:

Origin: England
Solid black, liver, red, parti-colour combinations
Size: Medium
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
Dominance: Low
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium size dog with a compact solid body and long ears. The chest is deep with well-sprung ribs. 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 eyes are oval. When pulled forward, the ears should reach at least to the nose. The teeth should meet in a scissor or level bite. The nose is black or brown depending on the coat colour. The tail is customarily docked. The gait is effortless and free.
English Cocker Spaniels weigh 25 to 34 pounds. Their height is 15 to 17 inches. Females tend to be smaller.


English Cocker Spaniels are intelligent lively dogs with an affectionate, gentle, and playful temperament. Merry and loveable, they are excellent companions for children. However, it's important to remember that they don't tolerate teasing well. Generally outgoing, some individuals may be reserved with strangers. Proper socialization and obedience training are important, especially with females as they tend to be more dominant.
There are two lines of the English Cocker: Field and Show (Bench). Field dogs are bred for hunting and field trial work. Bench dogs are bred for conformation shows. Both types are energetic and need daily exercise, but the Field variety has a higher energy level and needs even more physical and mental work. The temperament of both Show and Field dogs can vary widely depending on how the dog is treated and how much exercise is provided. So that your Cocker is well-balanced and stable, make sure you become its pack leader. Don't forget about the necessity of discipline so that the dog doesn't develop behaviour problems.

Coat and grooming

English Cocker Spaniels have silky hair; it is longer on the body and shorter on the head. The Field variety has an overall shorter coat. The hair can be either straight or a bit wavy. The legs and underside of the body are well feathered. Some individuals have an excess amount of cottony hair which is prone to matting, while others have a more silky and flat-laying coat less prone to matting. Regular grooming is necessary. These dogs are average shedders.
English Cocker Spaniels come in solid black, liver or red. Parti-color combinations include white with black, liver or red markings or ticking. Tan markings may appear on black, liver or parti-colour dogs.


English Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections. Hanging close to the ground, the ears should often be checked for ticks and bur, especially in summer. Cockers are also prone to obesity, so do not overfeed.
The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

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 out and retrieving game.