English Cocker Spaniel

Temperament: Energetic, Merry, Responsive

  1. Height: 16-17 inches (male), 15-16 inches (female)
  2. Weight: 28-34 pounds (male), 26-32 pounds (female)
  3. Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  4. Group: Sporting Group 
 English Cocker Spaniel lovers often use the word “merry” to describe their breed. Upbeat in the field and mellow at home, this compact, silky-coated bird dog is widely admired for his delightful personality and irresistible good looks. 


The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, merry sporting dog, standing well up at the withers and compactly built. He is alive with energy; his gait is powerful and friction less, capable both of covering ground effortlessly and penetrating dense cover to flush and retrieve game. His enthusiasm in the field and the incessant action of his tail while at work indicate how much he enjoys the hunting for which he was bred. His head is especially characteristic. He is, above all, a dog of balance, both standing and moving, without exaggeration in any part, the whole worth more than the sum of its parts.

About the English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a compactly built sporting dog standing between 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder. The softly contoured head, with its dark, melting eyes that convey an alert and dignified expression, is framed by lush, close-lying ears. The medium-length coat, seen in a variety of striking colors and patterns, is silky to the touch. “Balance” is a key word in understanding the breed: The EC is balanced in temperament, construction, and movement.

Beneath the EC’s physical beauty beats the heart of a tireless, eager-to-please hunter’s helper, famous the world over for his ability to flush and retrieve game birds. For those who prefer more domestic pursuits, there is no more charming and agreeable household companion.

NUTRITION The English Cocker should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Some English Cockers are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING Most English Cockers have a fairly profuse coat that requires regular care, including a thorough brushing and combing at least once a week to keep the dog looking his best and to prevent the formation of mats and tangles. In addition the dog is usually trimmed every month or so in certain areas—around the feet, on the face, under the neck, on the underside of the ears, and under the tail. The owner can learn to use scissors, thinning shears or a stripping tool, and clippers to do an overall trim and help keep up the English Cocker’s neat appearance. The ears should be checked weekly for debris and excess wax, and the nails should be trimmed at least monthly.

EXERCISE An upbeat, active sporting dog, the English Cocker Spaniel requires daily exercise for his physical and mental well-being. He will do well with activities such as long walks or hikes with his owner or playing ball in the backyard. As his hunting instincts remain strong, he should be on a leash for walks, and a fenced yard is recommended. Merry and affectionate, the English Cocker Spaniel is an excellent family companion and easy to train. Whether he is working in the field or at home lounging on the sofa, his tail rarely stops wagging.

TRAINING With a merry, devoted disposition, the English Cocker was developed to follow instructions in the field, and the breed is still very eager to please. He is easy to train and enjoys working with his person so long as only positive methods are used. The EC will react poorly to a harsh or negative training approach; he must love and respect his person, never fear them. Early socialisation is recommended to ensure a well-adjusted companion who is adaptable to a variety of situations.


Although the English Cocker is overall a healthy breed, some genetic health conditions are known to occur occasionally. These include progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, familial nephropathy, and adult onset nephropathy. A responsible breeders will have their breeding stock tested for conditions that can affect the breed. The English Cocker’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Patella Evaluation
  3. PRA Optigen DNA Test

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