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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Cocker Spaniel


Cocker Spaniel Facts

  • Group
  • Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 13.5" - 15.5"
  • Weight
  • 24-30 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors
    • Tendency to bite

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

American Cocker Spaniel, cocker, cocking spaniel


The American Cocker Spaniel was created in the U.S.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the 1800's.


The cocker spaniel is the smallest of the hunting dogs and was developed from early imports of the English cocker spaniel and bred as a woodcock hunter and companion.
According to written historical records, the first Spaniel was brought to North America aboard the "Mayflower" which sailed from Plymouth, England and landed in NewEngland in 1620. This dog was most likely very useful in hunting small game. The Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a breed in England in 1892, separating it from Springer Spaniels; until that time, Cockers and Springers would be born into the same litter, and were only separated out into the distinct types when fully grown. Another dog used in the development of the early Cockers was the English Setter, resulting in the roan coats still seen in the breed. Brought to North America in the late 1800s, the development of Cockers in England and Cockers in North America began to diverge into two different breeds, although breeding between the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel was permitted until 1946, when the stud book was closed.

The first Cocker Spaniel registered in the United States' American Kennel Club was "Captain", in 1878, and the American Spaniel Club was formed in 1881, although both the English and American varieties were very similar at that time. The Westminster Dog Show was won in 1921 by a parti-color Cocker (black and white), Ch. Midkiff Seductive.


This small, compact dog is square in shape with long, drop ears, dark brown eyes, and a nose that is black or brown. The tail is docked. The silky, medium length coat has a dense undercoat and there is feathering on the ears, chest, belly, and legs. The coat may be black, ASCOB (any solid color other than black), or parti-colored.


The cocker spaniel is a lively, friendly dog with a strong work drive, intelligence, and a capacity for training.


Although it still possesses the gifts of a hunting dog, the cockers daily role is that of a companion dog. Despite all of its health concerns, it remains very popular, especially in America.

Health Concerns

Cataracts, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, PRA, temperament problems, von Willebrand's disease, ear infections, eye infections, hemolytic anemia (AIHA), luxating patellas.

Additional Information

These dogs require regular, daily brushing if the coat is not shaved. The epidermis on any dog is delicate, however it seems the cocker spaniel has more trouble than most, leading to a "fishy" smell if not bathed regularly. These dogs also have a tenancy to become overweight easily. Be sure to keep your cocker spaniel on a healthy diet and exercise them frequently.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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