Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information Characteristics & Care 2022

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information Characteristics & Care 2022

The Cocker Spaniel is a very popular companion dog. Its diffusion makes many people interested in adopting a canine companion opt for this breed. But you have to know its characteristics before thinking about coexistence.

Types of Cocker Spaniels: the English and the American

First, we usually refer to English when we talk about Cocker Spaniels. But you must know that American Cocker Spaniels are also there to avoid confusion. Both races have common origins.

The difference is that one was developed in the United Kingdom, as its name indicates, and the other, the American, continued to grow in the United States. There are some differences between the two breeds, both physically and psychologically.

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My first dog was a Cocker Spaniel?

It is not highly recommended that the Cocker Spaniel be your first dog. It is indeed an excellent company; it has a medium size that makes it easy for it to accompany us everywhere. It has the necessary capacity to learn and can be very affectionate. But the Cocker Spaniel, like any other dog, will not be born a perfect dog.

You must dedicate time to cover their basic needs and provide socialization and education. And it’s not always easy because they tend to be stubborn. That is why they are more recommended for people who have lived with dogs and know their psychology and training skills.

If they are not taught consistently, patiently, and perseveringly, the result can be an unbalanced dog that does not hesitate to resort to even aggressiveness to fulfill its will. Unfortunately, there are not a few Cockers that end up in kennels with this excuse.

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Can the Cocker Spaniel stay alone for a long time?

If you’re never home, it’s not a good idea to adopt a Cocker Spaniel or any other dog. But especially in a race like this. Cockers are affectionate and become attached to their family. Leaving them alone for too long without the attention they need can lead to behavior problems such as destructiveness, separation anxiety, or aggression.

In addition, although they have spread in homes as companion dogs, they have hunting origins and energy. Therefore, they need to exercise daily for walks, games and runs. If we are not at home to provide them with the physical activity they require, behavioral problems resulting from stress will also appear.

These inconveniences derived from the lack of attention increase in the case of puppies since the typical behaviors of this stage, such as elimination in the home or destruction of objects, aggravate the situation. Yes, we could adopt an elderly Cocker since his personality is formed and they do not require as much activity.

Can you choose the Cocker Spaniel for children?

A well-socialized and educated Cocker Spaniel will also be an affectionate dog with children. But, for this, we must have enough experience to cover its basic needs, ensuring that the dog is balanced.

In addition, we must also consider the age of the children and their education regarding the treatment that has to be given to animals. When both are educated, the relationship can be very good. In any case, it is necessary always to maintain vigilance in the interactions between the two.

cocker spaniel care

In addition to the time that must be devoted to physical activity and education, care of the coat must also be taken into account. His coat is spectacular but requires regular grooming. You must brush it almost daily to prevent it from getting tangled and remove dead hair and any debris that may have stuck to it.

There is the option of shaving it, although the typical cut maintains the length of the hair on the legs, chest, sides, and ears. These are so long that they can get stained while drinking or eating, so they must be checked and cleaned frequently.

Is a Cocker Spaniel ideal to live in an apartment?

Cockers are dogs that have adapted to life in the city, so they have no problem living in an apartment as long as their exercise needs are met. Otherwise, we might not only have behavior problems.

And it is that these dogs tend to be overweight. The extra kilos are not only an aesthetic problem and have health consequences such as intolerance to exercise, heat, and anesthesia, as well as the propensity for the appearance of some pathologies or the aggravation of others.

Cocker spaniel relationship with other pets

A well-socialized and educated Cocker Spaniel can live without problems with other animals. But he must be used to avoid conflicts. Otherwise, there could be fights with their peers or attacks on other animals.

Keep in mind that they are usually dominant. The risk of conflict is reduced if you adopt a puppy or an adult known to accept the presence of other animals well.

How much does it cost to have a Cocker Spaniel at home?

The expenses that a Cocker originates are similar to those of any other medium-sized dog. But remember that he may need a professional hairdressing service relatively frequently.

In addition, unfortunately, it is prone to health problems such as skin conditions, eye conditions, heart conditions, kidney conditions, ear infections, and obesity. It means having an extra veterinary expense in prevention and, if applicable, in treatment.

Although they remain hunters at heart, today, Cocker Spaniels are among the most popular companion breeds in the world. Their stunning beauty, trainability, and natural willingness to please make them excellent family dogs. But did you know that there is no single type of cocker spaniel?

Please read below to learn a little more about the different cocker spanielshow they differ, and which is best for you.


  • How many types of cocker spaniels are there?
    • What is the difference between the English and the American Cocker Spaniel?
    • Do the two types of cocker spaniels have the same temperament?
  • Working Cocker Spaniels and Show Cocker Spaniels
    • What is the difference between a working cocker and a show cocker?
  • Which type of cocker spaniel is best for you?
  • Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
    • What types of spaniels are there?
    • Are there mixed cocker spaniel types?
    • What type of cocker spaniel is best for an apartment?
    • What type of cocker spaniel is hypoallergenic?

How many types of cocker spaniels are there?

When it comes to cocker spaniels, many people are unaware that there are two similar yet very different types. They are the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. Although both dogs share the same roots in their origins, today, they are considered two separate breeds.

According to historians, the ancestors of the cocker spaniel originated in Spain like many other breeds of the spaniel type. From there, they were transferred throughout Europe by the Romans. It is how the first of the two current types, the English cocker spaniel, rose in England. It was bred specifically for hunting woodcock birds.

Once introduced to America, breeders focused their efforts on obtaining a more relaxed, family-oriented dog. They started breeding the traditional cocker spaniel as a show and companion dog. It gave rise to the new American line

The two cocker spaniels were considered variations of the same breed until the 1940s. By this time, it was quite clear that American and British breeders had gone their separate ways, and therefore two different types of cocker spaniels should be recognized.

Today, both breeds are admired and preferred due to their unique appearance, good temperament, and talent in the field.

In their country of origin, both are known simply by the name of “Cocker Spaniel.”

What is the difference between the English and the American Cocker Spaniel?

Because English Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels have been bred over time for different purposes, many of the most striking differences are physical.


First, the English Cocker Spaniel is larger than its American counterpart. It usually reaches a height of 38 to 43 cm and a weight of 11.80 to 15 kg. The American Cocker Spaniel measures 30 to 33 cm and weighs approximately 10 to 12.7 kg.

body structure

The American-type Cocker Spaniel is slightly longer than tall, while the English-type is a taller-than-long dog, giving the impression of a squarer body shape.

head shape

Another of the great differences between both types of cocker spaniels is the shape of the head. The English Cocker has a larger and flatter head, with slightly oval eyes located more towards the sides of the muzzle. Likewise, the snout of this breed is longer, reaching the same length as the skull.

For its part, the American Cocker has a smaller head and a noticeably rounded shape. Its eyes towards the front of the face are large and almond-shaped, while the snout is shorter.

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information Characteristics & Care 2022


Although the two varieties of cocker spaniels have the same coat texture, breeders of the American line have selectively sought a fuller coat. Comparing both dogs, we see that the American Cocker Spaniel has a long, feathery coat, especially on the legs and sides of the body.

The English Cocker Spaniel always looks less hairy.


The coat of both breeds can display a wide range of colors. However, the American Cocker Spaniel has more specific requirements than its close cousin.

An English Cocker Spaniel can be any of the following colors (Solids, Bicolors, Tricolors, Roans)2 :

  • Black
  • Net
  • golden
  • liver (chocolate)
  • black and tan
  • liver and fire
  • black and white
  • orange and white
  • liver and white
  • lemon and white
  • black, white, and tan
  • liver, white, and fire
  • blue roan
  • roan orange
  • roan lemon
  • roan liver
  • roan blue and tan
  • roan liver and fire

The American Cocker Spaniel is usually colored :

  • Black
  • black and tan
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Net
  • Brown
  • brown and tan
  • black and white
  • red and white
  • brown and white

Notice. Despite the clear physical differences, these two types of cocker spaniels share certain characteristics. Both are medium-sized dogs, solid, well proportioned, and balanced in their front and rear build.

They also have the snout, jaws, and neck length needed to carry birds as large as a duck or pheasant across rough terrain.

Do the two types of cocker spaniels have the same temperament?

While both cocker spaniel breeds are affectionateintelligent, and gentle, their breeders’ purpose has also led to certain differences in personality.

The English-type Cocker Spaniel is often described as an affectionate, loyal, intelligent, and easy-to-train dog, whose breeding as a hunter has led it to be more energetic and have a higher prey drive. It is known that insufficient exercise can lead to behavioral problems, that interaction with small pets can trigger aggression and that he is suspicious of strangers.

Instead, the American-type Cocker Spaniel has been bred primarily as a companion dog. It makes him a sensitive, loving, outgoing, intelligent, friendlytrustworthy, and very family-focused Cocker. He can and wants to develop strong bonds of affection with his people. He even behaves nicely towards strangers.

The English and the American are adoptable pets, friendly with other dogs, and gentle with children.

Working Cocker Spaniels and Show Cocker Spaniels

Regardless of the type (English or American), there are two other classifications to consider about Cocker Spaniels: Working Cocker Spaniels and Show Cocker Spaniels. It means that in both breeds, more suitable specimens are obtained for hunting work, and others are physically closer to the breed standard.

What is the difference between a working cocker and a show cocker?

As its name indicates, the working Cocker has traits focused on enhancing hunting skills. It is a more alert, active and willing dog. He needs to use his brain and have a job to do. It normally has shorter and less abundant fur to facilitate its maintenance and care.

With working cocker spaniels, physical appearance often takes a backseat.

In the case of the show cocker spaniel, appearance is the most important thing. These specimens are bred to achieve the specific physical characteristics indicated by the breed standard. Its fur is much more abundant, long, and feathery; hence maintaining it is more cumbersome. A show cocker will be more relaxed and calm.

Which type of cocker spaniel is best for you?

Both Cocker Spaniels make excellent companions and family pets. But given the differences between one breed and another, one of them may be better suited to your preferences and lifestyle.

English Cocker Spaniel or American Cocker Spaniel?

The English Cocker may be more suitable for you if:

  • You want an active and energetic dog.
  • You can provide him with enough exercise every day.
  • You like outdoor activities like long walks, climbing, camping, or hunting.
  • You do not have small pets at home that can trigger their prey drive.
  • You have a fenced yard where you can play freely.

Bringing an American Cocker Spaniel home may be the most appropriate decision if:

  • You want a sweet and relaxed dog focused on accompanying his family.
  • You do not have as much time to exercise it (it does not mean that it does not need the daily exercise)
  • You have other pets at home, including small creatures.
  • You are willing to put in the effort/time it takes to maintain a shaggy dog’s long, feathery coat.
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Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What types of spaniels are there?

In the wonderful group of spaniels, names like cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, and Cavalier King Charles spaniels stand out. However, this family includes many other breeds.

Below we list 13 types of spaniels, all with long histories as hunting and companion dogs.

  1. English cocker spaniel
  2. American cocker spaniel
  3. cavalier king Charles spaniel
  4. English springer spaniel
  5. Spaniel or American water dog
  6. Brittany or Brittany Spaniel
  7. papillon
  8. Cocker spaniel
  9. Irish water spaniel
  10. welsh springer spaniel
  11. Boykin Spaniel
  12. English toy spaniel
  13. Sussex spaniel

Notice. The numbers in the image correspond to each breed in the list above.

Are there mixed cocker spaniel types?

It’s no wonder that being such beautiful and popular dogs, cockers are crossed with other common breeds to obtain the so-called cocker spaniel mixes. This group includes:

  1. Cockapoo (cocker spaniel cross with poodle )
  2. Cockalier (Cocker Spaniel cross with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel)
  3. Splendor (Cocker Spaniel cross with Labrador Retriever )
  4. Golden cocker retriever (cocker spaniel cross with golden retriever )
  5. Cockerania (Cocker Spaniel cross with Pomeranian )
  6. Cockerhua or Chi-Spaniel (Cocker Spaniel cross with Chihuahua )
  7. Pit Spaniel (Cocker Spaniel Pit Bull Cross)
  8. Cock-A-Tzu (cocker spaniel cross with Shih Tzu)
  9. Docker (cocker spaniel cross with dachshund )
  10. Cock-A-Chon (Cocker Spaniel cross with Bichon Frize )

Notice. The numbers in the image correspond to each breed in the list above.

What type of cocker spaniel is best for an apartment?

As long as they get enough exercise daily, both English and American Cocker Spaniels can adjust well to apartment living. However, it is noted that both breeds do best in homes with minimal yardage. It is especially true for the English Cocker Spaniel.

What type of cocker spaniel is hypoallergenic?

Neither type of cocker spaniel is considered hypoallergenic. It may not be the best option for allergy sufferers looking for a pet with little to no shedding.


Cocker Spaniels are highly intelligent, active, and social dogs. They love to enjoy the company of their loved ones, so it is an ideal dog for family life. Here we tell you the best feed for English Cocker Spaniel and all the care that this friendly furry needs.    

Main characteristics of the Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-breed dog with a strong, compact, and athletic body. It usually reaches between 35 and 45 cm in height at the withers, and its average weight is between 12 and 15 kg.   

With an elongated snout and wide nose, the Cocker is characterized by its long, hanging, low-set ears. Its coat is smooth, long, and silky  and can be presented in the following colors: 

  • Solid colors:  black, gold, red and liver, black and tan. Sometimes they have a small white mark on the chest area. 
  • Bicolor:  black and tan, black and white, liver and tan, liver and white, reddish and white, white and tan. They can all have mottling. 
  • Tricolors:  black, white, and tan or liver, white and tan. 


Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent, cheerful, and affectionate furry. They love actively participating in family plans and do not take loneliness well. They need frequent contact with loved ones and can’t stand spending long periods alone.   

Generally,  they tend to be quite nervous and sensitive,  so they adapt better to quiet environments. If they are treated roughly, they can suffer from stress and anxiety. As they tend to be shy around strangers, it is recommended that they be socialized with other dogs and people from an early age. 

English Cocker Spaniel Care

If you are considering adopting a furry of this breed, you should know the primary care of the English Cocker Spaniel.  


Due to their long, silky coat, Cockers are high maintenance. They should be brushed daily to remove dead hair and prevent tangles. Once a month, it is recommended to bathe them with a special shampoo for dogs and clean their ears very carefully; it is important during the bath that no water enters their ears. In addition, whenever necessary, you have to cut your nails.  


The English Cocker Spaniel needs a lot of exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. Try to walk it several times a day and let it run freely through safe areas so that it discharges all its energy. This high-strung quadruped will also really enjoy puzzle games and training sessions.   


Although they are generally in good health, Cocker Spaniels tend to develop eye problems such as Glaucoma, cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Another common disease in dogs of this breed is hip dysplasia, a degenerative joint pathology.    

What is the best food for an English Cocker Spaniel?

As it is a medium breed dog, the energy needs of the Cocker are proportionally greater than the needs of large dogs. The food for the English Cocker Spanieel should be food for medium dogs that adapts to their metabolism and guarantees a balanced supply of nutrients.  

When determining what your English Cocker Spanieel eats, you should consider other factors such as age, health, and physical activity. For this reason, the best feed for an English Cockeer Spaniel is a personalized feed that is adjusted to the specific characteristics of each specimen.   

This nice and active furry dog ​​is usually very greedy, so if we want to ensure their wellbeing,  we must control their weight and limit the treats we give them. If you think your Cockeer Spaniel suffers from obesity, see your vet and try changing his diet for a light feed. By helping him regain his ideal weight, you will improve his quality of life.   

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