Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel originates from...

Prominent during the Tudor reign of Henry VIII, the English Cocker Spaniel gained great popularity as a versatile hunting gun-dog suited to both wet and dry terrain and progressively, as a docile and affectionate companion dog. Whilst proving a favourite in the royal courts of the 16th and 17th centuries, literative references to 'spanyells' date back as early as the 14th century, reflecting the early prominence of the breed. Utilised in hunting, the Cocker Spaniel derived its name from its ability to hunt woodcock specifically. Until 1990, the breed was considered the most popular as registered by the American Kennel Club, however it now ranks 25th.

The English Cocker Spaniel is characterised by...

Divided into 7 breed variations since 1873, including English Springer, Irish Water and Clumber, the Spaniel was originally differentiated by little more than its size. The Cocker variation is amongst the most popular and is characterised by an arched head, low-set ears, ovular eyes and a soft, wavy coat in colour deviations of solid black, red or liver with markings of tan, chocolate and white. Highly trainable in line with its heritage, the Cocker Spaniel maintains a strong hunting instinct, however when taught to respect and abide by its owner, makes a loyal, gentle and trusting pet for the family or a dedicated sole owner.

The average English Cocker Spaniel...

Moderately-sized and with an easy and gentle temperament, the Cocker Spaniel was the original family companion, proceeding the Labrador and Golden Retriever as the dog most compatible with children, other pets and the domestic setting. Whilst there are discrepancies across gender, the average healthy Cocker Spaniel will weigh 12-16 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown appropriate care.


Susceptible to various health complaints that are partly genetic, the English Cocker Spaniel has been known to suffer from optical disorders including glaucoma and cataracts, as well as issues relating to hips and elbows. More serious conditions specific to the breed are cardiac weakness, epilepsy and liver disease, whilst deafness is common in the breed due to the ears hanging low against the ground. Additionally, the Spaniel is prone to easy weight gain, so feeding human foods is not encouraged as even the smallest amount of fat can be detrimental to the general health of the dog.

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Our Cocker Spaniel owners' thoughts

Added on 02/07/2016
Joined 06/06/2012
From Hampshire, United Kingdom

jake is a working cocker spaniel, but does not work himself. At 8 years old he is still as mad as a hatter, very active. He suffers from the typical spaniel illness of see food and eat it! He has never had any illness luckily

Added on 25/10/2016
Joined 06/07/2015
From Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

We have a 6 year old show cocker called Benji who is a rescue. He's soft as anything. Loves children but is bird mad!! Like all Cockers he's very focused on food!!

Added on 19/11/2016
Joined 06/02/2015
From Caerdydd, United Kingdom

We have the most adorable cocker spaniel who is absolutely one of the family! Cockers make the perfect pet dog - not too big and not too small! He is so lovable, and cuddly and is great with children! He is well behaved - apart from when the postman comes! He's not a big eater and won't generally take treats from other people. We love him to bits and couldn't imagine life without him. He comes everywhere with us - including camping holidays.

Added on 14/12/2016
Joined 17/09/2016
From West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

My little cocker Daisy is 6 yrs she is a rescued dog I adopted from the RSPCA in Rochdale as i am an aca at the centre she came in on a sun and i took her home the following tue after her vetcheck she had been abused so was very nervous when we took her home at 18 months she is much better with people now and I wouldn't be with out her

Added on 26/01/2017
Joined 10/09/2016
From Blaenau Gwent, United Kingdom

Megan is a chocolate working cocker spaniel who is 6 yeaes ol, but does not work herself...why work for a living she says when if you look cute enough, you get everything for nothing!! :)
She has the most amazing temperament and personality. We have never had to train her, she is just naturally submissive and so keen to please. The most loyal and loving dog, and truly is my best friend and the heart of our family.

Added on 14/03/2017
Joined 14/03/2017
From Fife, United Kingdom

I've got 2 working cocker spaniels and wouldn't be without them. They a fun, loyal, friendly and very clever. Beautiful dogs.

Added on 21/03/2017
Joined 21/03/2017
From United Kingdom

I have a working strain cocker spaniel and she is a truly beautiful dog. She is easy going, submissive and immensely cuddly. The saying 'you don't own a cocker you wear one' certainly applies to her. We are training her to be a gun dog and already her natural ability is showing. These dogs need a lot of mental stimulation, be it gundog training or agility, to prevent them getting bored. They can be quite a needy breed. Anyone considering a working strain cocker needs to ask the breeder how the pup is bred and what they will be like to live with on a daily basis as some of the trials bred ones are too highly strung for novice/pet homes. Buy a pup from health tested parents to save yourself a whole lot of heartache from the genetic diseases in this breed.

Added on 22/03/2017
Joined 20/09/2013
From Devon, United Kingdom

Barclay is showxworking cocker easiest most loving dog I've ever owned I really can't fault him I feel blessed having him around..

Added on 22/03/2017
Joined 20/09/2016
From North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Amber is a 10 year old lemon roan. the most loving dog ever. She loves everyone especially the post man. never showed any aggression ever. She has her pet passport & enjoys her trips to france & the great outdoors in general. she is getting a bit of arthritis now, but she is doing ok with her meds

Added on 17/05/2017
Joined 17/05/2017
From Suffolk, United Kingdom

We have a beautiful golden cocker full of fun loves belly tickles sitting on your knee for cuddles has his mad moments like all cockers tearing around but is super intelligent learns very quickly excellent house dog very devoted to myself cannot go to the loo without a chaperone lol but love him to bits

Added on 24/07/2017
Joined 22/05/2016
From Suffolk, United Kingdom

My puppy is 11 weeks old and is a spaniel cross lab , she has settled in well , Rosie is a family pet , she adores children loves them throwing balls and toys , she will soon be allowed to go for walks , she goes around the garden like a mad thing . Toilet trained within the week and only one accident indoors , she knows sit and gives us her paw , she will be going to puppy training courses in a couple of weeks time .

Added on 24/07/2017
Joined 22/05/2016
From Suffolk, United Kingdom

My puppy is 11 weeks old and is a spaniel cross lab , she has settled in well , Rosie is a family pet , she adores children loves them throwing balls and toys , she will soon be allowed to go for walks , she goes around the garden like a mad thing . Toilet trained within the week and only one accident indoors , she knows sit and gives us her paw , she will be going to puppy training courses in a couple of weeks time .

Added on 05/08/2017
Joined 03/08/2011
From Derbyshire, United Kingdom

Alfie is a working lemon roan cocker spaniel but we don't work him. He is rescue and we've had him since he was 4, he is now 9 yrs 7mth. His original owner idolised him and he was obviously the boss and very spoilt. She was sadly terminal ill so we imagine he wasn't socialised that much. He is very noisy and is constantly motivated by food. He will craftily try and pinch the eggs out of the hen box when I am feeding the hens but he is brilliant with the fowls and would not attempt to harm them. However he can get agitated if you try to take food off him once he has got it. Dolly the cat loves him and sleeps huddled up to him at night and when we are relaxing in the evening watching the tele she sits on his head and washes his face. Because he is such a character he has so much of a presence... Luke the Soluki also idolises him and quite often pinches food for Alfie . Just recently Alf has had some discomfort with his annal glands.. I don't know why because I haven't changed his diet...he isn't excessively overweight . He has also just had a course of injections for arthritis as he has signs in his front right leg and suffers with stiffness at the base of his spine . He is still bonkers and races round especially if he thinks he's in for a treat. He likes going off in the car to do different walks and explore Derbyshire. He is a great character and a very special dog to us all.

Added on 20/08/2017
Joined 20/08/2017
From Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom

We have a Golden Cocker Spaniel who is nine years old. He is a very laid back chap and I could not recommend the breed more highly as a family dog. I have had many dogs in the past and consider myself to have been very lucky. I have to say Corey has an excellent temperament, is social with other dogs, would like to be with cats but they don't have the same opinion. He has never been a problem as far as toilet training goes. He is food orientated and we have to watch his intake especially because he was Neutered at a young age. He is quite a bit bigger than your average Cocker and ideally weighs no more than 18kg. Fortunately Cocker Spaniels will walk forever so if you want a dog to take out as your faithful companion this is the one for you. Corey has Dry Eye condition which we have kept at bay with medication. He has sometimes got a 'smelly mouth' which is caused by the folds of skin inside his mouth trapping saliva which can get infected. In severe cases these 'channels' are often stitched up. These is a common Cocker problem and the benefits of sharing our lives with our happy, funny, friendly, adorable Corey far outweighs any little details.

Added on 23/10/2018
Joined 05/10/2018
From Northumberland, United Kingdom

Dexter is actually a Sprocker, his Mother is a Springer and of course his Dad is a Cocker, his size certainly broke the mold.
He is crazy nuts, a typical young boy at this point, does as he is told....most of the time, but when back is turned........naughty boys will be boys haha, they so much fun, your never bored and by god he loves the water :/

Added on 02/03/2019
Joined 18/01/2018
From East Sussex, United Kingdom

Bonkers with lots of personality 😛 most lovable loyal
Dog to own. We love ours dearly. Very intelligent, one us very noisy ( female) the male is much more mellow, but with bags of energy. I wouldn't hesitate in owning cocker spaniels in the future. Mine are Trixie nearly 5 and bandit nearly 1 and are very much loved.

Added on 13/05/2019
Joined 18/12/2018
From United Kingdom

Rango is a working cocker spaniel, bred by my mother..absolute nutter him to bits..

Added on 27/09/2019
Joined 21/04/2017
From Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

My very first dog of my own...My boy is 5 years old..I would never have any other...He is an absolute joy...He is my shadow...a cheeky fun loving bouncy boy..loves to grab tissue or any kind of paper..shreds it up and leaves it all over the floor...terrible table manners..takes a little bit of food out of his bowl...likes to show us what he is eating...just cannot stay still..the tail never stops wagging.....I can never tell him off...what with those eyes....favourite game is his ball ❤

Added on 31/12/2019
Joined 31/12/2019
From Leicestershire, United Kingdom

I own an adorable cocker called Amber, who is a rescue. She adores my husband and me, but unfortunately no one else. She doesn't like children at all and has to go in a crate, when the grandchildren visit. It's a real shame but can't be helped. She is an avid squirrel hunter and loves nothing else. I still adore her though she is mischievous and funny, although very food fussy and has to be fed a special diet has she has tummy troubles. On the whole she is lovely and I wish we could have got her has a pup because maybe she would have liked the children more. Unfortunately rescue dogs can be unpredictable and you don't always know their history. I would recommend getting a pup if you have children. Otherwise a beautiful dog to own.

Added on 08/05/2020
Joined 21/04/2020
From Norfolk, United Kingdom

Cocker spaniels are the perfect dog. They are so happy, all the time. They love their walks, especially running free in the woods, or the beach. They are great companions, cheer me up when I'm down. They just want to be with you. They are faithful, loyal. My best friends. Love them❤️

Added on 23/03/2021
Joined 03/02/2016
From Somerset, United Kingdom

I have an 18 month old working cocker and have just brought home a new 9 week old.

Working cockers are very high energy and quite needy so are not really suitable if you work full-time. They need lots of exercise and stimulous but if you can provide this you will be rewarded with a loyal and loving friend, who is packed with character and has an indomitable joy of living.

Added on 28/01/2022
Joined 04/06/2018
From Somerset, United Kingdom

We have three show type cockers, they are sweet tempered, affectionate dogs, but also quite stubborn. They can be crafty too. Bird mad, love to run, love to lounge, love to be where you are. You will never be able to visit the bathroom on your own ever again!