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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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English Cocker Spaniel


English Cocker Spaniel Facts

  • Group
  • Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 15" - 17"
  • Weight
  • 26-34 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 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
    • Adapted to city living
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors
    • Tendency to bite

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

cocker spaniel (outside U.S.)


The English cocker spaniel originated in England.

Date Of Origin

The English cocker spaniel was recognized as a separate breed in 1963.


The English cocker spaniel was developed to hunt woodcock. It is descended from other field spaniels and is one of the oldest land spaniels. Until 1892, the English cocker spaniel and the springer spaniel were differentiated only by size: it was considered the same breed as the American cocker spaniel until 1963 when they were designated separate breeds.

Famous people such as Richard Nixon, Oprah Winfrey, and Charlize Theron have all owned English cocker spaniels.


This is a small to medium size, powerful dog. There is a strong, softly contoured head with oval, brown eyes and long, low ears of fine leather. The tail is docked. The medium length, silky coat is straight or wavy. The hair on the head is short, but the ears, tail and legs are well feathered. The coat may be solid colored, black, liver, or shades of red (ruby), with or without tan markings, or parti colored with white appearing in combination with black, liver or shades of red.


The English cocker spaniel is generally friendly, lively, and enthusiastic. It is a hard worker and makes a good hunter. It is devoted to its family and very social.
Beware that some English cocker spaniels may suffer from rage syndrome. It is described as when a dog attacks suddenly and savagely, without any warning and during the attack the dog often has a glazed look and appears to be unaware of its surroundings. Studies have found it is more common in solid colored Cockers than in parti colors and also more common in darker colored Cockers than lighter colored Cockers, being most common in solid orange and black colored spaniels. Male orange spaniels are not recommended as a family pet and should never be left alone with children. Rage syndrome is most often associated with the Show Cocker Spaniel breed, although cases have been found in other breeds and cases are relatively rare even within the Cocker Spaniel breed. Rage syndrome cannot be accurately predicted and can only be diagnosed by EEG or genetic testing and these tests are not conclusive.


In the past, it was a marvelous finder of game. Its mane comes from that of the woodcock. It was also prized for its tenacity and tirelessness, the skill in which it maneuvered over difficult terrain, and its perfect retrieval with a delicate grip. Potentially, the cocker is still a hunting dog today, but in reality, it has passed into the ranks of companion dog.

Health Concerns

Allergies, deafness, familial nephropathy, heart disease, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, PRA, seizures, temperament problems.

Additional Information

Be sure to get your English cocker spaniel from a reputable breeder to reduce the amount of genetic illnesses and defects the dog may have. Never leave your English cocker spaniel alone with small children.
This dog needs frequent, professional grooming to avoid mating, skin conditions and overall smelliness.

Show Sources & Contributors +



Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

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

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

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

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

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

Author: Liz Palika

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