Cocker Spaniel

Breed History

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are hunting dogs from the United Kingdom that are known to come from Spain. Spaniel in their name comes from their native land. They were bred initially as working dogs and later they became very popular pets and show dogs.

Woodcocks birds were their specialization is what gave them the second part of their name. Cocker comes from Woodcocks and this name would stick with them for hundreds of years.

Once the bird was shot, they would retrieve the bird from the water while in was drowned or drowning and bring it back without doing further damage because of their gentle bite.

Different types of this breed began to spread in popularity totaling around 18 Spaniels altogether. Many dogs carry the Spaniel at the end of their name and are different breeds under the same roof.

Documentation from the 1300’s shows pictures and historical records are written about them. One of the older dogs to become a worldwide presence.

Fourth dog the AKC did registration for in the year 1878 and that was the first year they register dogs.

American and English Spaniels are the only Cocker Spaniels and they have a few difference in appearance and breed standards.

Before the mid-20th century the breeds were the same, but the separation and different recognition would happen 70 years after they were shown recognition together.


This dog is known worldwide, and all the major Kennel Clubs show recognition to different types of Spaniels. Cocker Spaniel has been around for many centuries and it shows that they’ve been a pure breed with a breed standard for hundreds of years as well.

Although popularity is less than it was in the past they still rank in the top 30 in America.

Here are the Kennel Clubs that shows recognition


Male Height: 14 ½ – 15 ½

Female Height: 13 ½ – 14 ½

Male Weight: 25-30 pounds

Female Weight: 20-25 pounds

The females are slightly smaller than the males, but it isn’t noticeable as other breeds where the males are much larger than the females.

Litter Size

Average litter size of a Cocker Spaniel is 5. Smaller dogs have the smallest litters while medium dogs tend to have a medium size litter. Same is true for large breeds they can have 10 plus puppies several times during their lifetime while having a litter.

Cocker Spaniel Colors

  • Jet Black
  • White can only be found on the chest
  • Parti color
  • Two solid colors
  • Black and White
  • Red and White
  • Brown and White

Different Types

The differences between the American and English Spaniel is size. English Spaniels are larger in terms of weight and height. They have a longer head and more colors. Prey drive is stronger and something that the breeders were looking to calm down with the American.

American Spaniels are younger of the two and smaller is size. Less prey drive and more of a companion than the original.

Cocker Spaniel Price

You can expect to pay $800-$2,000 for a high-quality puppy. Papers will ensure you are getting a good puppy with the exact characteristics of the breed with a guarantee from the Kennel Clubs.

Puppies without papers will cost much less around a few hundred dollars. Bloodline may have a few different breeds and it would be impossible to find out other than an eye test. 


Grooming a Cocker Spaniel will come with a few challenges due to the coat being medium length. You’ll need to be attentive to these different areas of the grooming process.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brush the coat multiple times per week to keep the coat in excellent condition. Using different brushes will produce different results. Keep a tight schedule and make sure you are servicing this area weekly.

Comb for the same reason why you will brush. Goals of both activities is to reduce tangles or mats. Failure to perform brushing and combing for this breed can result in a painful future grooming process.

Bathe as you see fit. Some owners like to have their dog on a schedule while others will do it if the dog stinks or is visibly dirty. Those decisions are up to each individual owner when it comes to bathing.

Ears need to have a good cleaning at least once a week to get all the dirt and debris out of the ears. Dogs living in dirt climates like deserts are in the biggest risk of getting frequent ear infections.

Trimming nails can happen in a natural or human assistance way. In the wild dogs’ nails get trim from walking a lot every day. If you don’t walk you dog, then get a pair of dog clippers and cut them down.

Although this dog isn’t terrible to groom you may want to get with a professional groomer if you don’t think you can groom properly at home. There are mobile groomers that can come to your house as well. Check with your local business directories.

Life Span

12-15 years is the life span for a Cocker Spaniel. That is a long time to own a dog and any future or current owners should be aware of this life span.

Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia – Improper fitting of the hip socket and leg bone. The dog will experience a lack of desire to exercise and other normal activities. Vets will have to take an x-ray to determine what is the condition, if any, and the severity of it.

Elbow Dysplasia – Growth of the elbow joint that will cause stiffness and discomfort. Dogs will also not want to exercise or engage in physical activity. These dogs’ condition will be seen by a vet doing an exam. They will let you know the severity of this condition as well.

Eye Issues – These dogs suffer from multiple different eye issues sometimes at the same time. Although some are more serious than others you should get an evaluation on cherry eye, cataracts, and glaucoma. Although blindness can be an issue when the dog is older make sure you get a checkup earlier in their life as well.

Luxation Patella – Kneecaps are a problem with small to medium dogs and the Cocker Spaniel has issues in this area. Surgery is a requirement if the condition is too bad in addition to a long recovery process. Get this looked at when the dog is young and keep updating the health of the knees on an annual basis.

Breed Group

Smallest dog in Sporting Group but one of the biggest personalities. Sporting Group is a group of retrieving and hunting dogs. Pointers, Setters, Spaniels and Retrievers make up the dog group.

Whether in the woods or in the water these dogs are known to grab items for their owners and bring it back without causing further harm. Strong intelligence and instincts this is a group of dogs that are some of the best workers in the world.

Here are a few dogs that are in the group

Exercise Needs

Cocker Spaniels have a moderate energy level. Don’t mistake that for you don’t need to exercise much. Moderate is a warning that they can look high energy quicker than most dogs.

Get use to taking these dogs out in the morning and at night for multiple sessions per day. Behavior problems come from lack of exercise almost exclusively.

Dogs without the outlet will use it on different activities that are unproductive. Digging, nipping the owners, excessive barking, and other undesirable.

Overall, people should connect the behavior or misbehaving of their dog on their exercise fulfillment. When a dog is getting their proper outlet, they are calm and listening all the time.

For example, when a dog doesn’t listen and has an excessive amount of energy you should get increase the workload. When they are not using this type of communication physically you should maintain the workload.

Here is what we recommend as a guideline to this breed.

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

These requirements should serve as a baseline to get the dog under control and you can adjust as the behavior adjusts. Although it is difficult to get out all the time owners must make a real effort to exercise enough every week.

Failure to give them any exercise will result in a dog that will not act natural to how they would in the wild. Dogs exercise for hours everyday and when they live with us, they need a similar outlet.

Additional Resources for detailed dog training.


Dog training consists of different components, but the basics should be at the forefront. Here are the areas you need to address in any dog training program.

  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercise program is the most time consuming and most important part of dog training. When a dog is in their natural habitat you will notice they have better body language. Ears back, tail down, and mouth open traveling with the pack. You can get the dog to get into this mode everyday and they will stay in a better mindset because they are doing what they were made to do. Walking and running should be a part of a dog’s daily lifestyle.

Commands are a smaller part of the lifestyle and can be done using different methods. Most people rookies to pro trainer uses treats and praise, but we take a different approach. Sit before you come out the cage, go on a walk, release from leash at the dog park, and anything else you can think of and the reward is earned through listening to the owner.

Socializing a dog should only be done after the first part is being done consistently. Understanding that dogs need to be given the outlet and then socialization after will help you out tremendously. People make this mistake at the dog parks often and when they dog have doggy dates.

Corrections should be done in a way that the dog understands as well. Yelling no with some complaints is no way to correct the dog. Whether correcting with verbal, leash, or with your hand you should follow these basic principles. Disagree and the dog sits or lays every time without fail.

Are Cocker Spaniels a Good Pet?

A fantastic family dog that will be excellent for kids, other pets, and defending the home. Intelligent enough to catch on to anything the owners want the dog to do.

By making sure you provide an outlet and providing decent training while correcting the right way this dog will be an excellent addition to the family.