Health, advice, and information online community for dog and cat lovers.

Cocker Spaniel

The first evidence of the existence of the spaniel dog breeds comes from a description by the 15th century author of “Book of the Hunt,” Gaston Phoebus. Four and a half centuries later, various English Spaniels were divided into distinct breeds: Clumber, Sussex, Welsh Springer, English Springer, Field, Irish Water, and Cocker. All of these Spaniels were selectively bred from a spaniel type dog imported into England hundreds of years ago (the exact era is impossible to pinpoint). The Cocker and Springer Spaniels developed in similar fashion, with only size differentiating them until the late 1800s, when the Kennel Club of England recognized them as separate and distinct breeds. More than five decades later in the 1940’s, the American and Kennel Club recognized the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel and separate and distinct breeds. The name Cocker comes from the woodcock, a bird this particular spaniel was originally bred to hunt. Excellent retrievers with delicate carrying ability, Cocker Spaniels are also proficient at hunting many other types of birds. The English Cocker of today is used less for hunting and instead viewed more often as a companion pet due to a loving personality. Make no mistake, however, this a skilled breed, proficient in tracking, hunting, retrieving, agility, competitive obedience, and even make good watch dogs.

The English Cocker Spaniel is a highly alert, compactly built, medium-sized dog with long ears. They are solidly built, but not bulky or overmuscled. The upper plane of the skull runs in parallel to the upper plane of the muzzle, with the muzzle typically measuring about the same length of the skull. The dark oval eyes should have and endearing, intelligent expression. The hair is medium length to long, with the legs and underside of the body kept well feathered. The nose is black or brown depending on the coat color, and possesses a sturdy jaw with a scissor bite.

Standing upright, there is a slight slope down from the withers to root of the tail, creating a close to level topline. The chest is tends to be deep and prominent, but not wide so as to impinge on graceful movement. The tail is generally docked.

The first evidence of the existence of the spaniel dog breeds comes from a description by the 15th century author of “Book of the Hunt,” Gaston Phoebus. Four and a half centuries later, various English Spaniels were divided into distinct breeds: Clumber, Sussex, Welsh Springer, English Springer, Field, Irish Water, and Cocker. All of these Spaniels were selectively bred from a spaniel type dog imported into England hundreds of years ago (the exact era is impossible to pinpoint). The Cocker and Springer Spaniels developed in similar fashion, with only size differentiating them until the late 1800s, when the Kennel Club of England recognized them as separate and distinct breeds. More than five decades later in the 1940’s, the American and Kennel Club recognized the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel and separate and distinct breeds. The name Cocker comes from the woodcock, a bird this particular spaniel was originally bred to hunt. Excellent retrievers with delicate carrying ability, Cocker Spaniels are also proficient at The English Cocker Spaniel coat comes in solid black, liver or red, or color combinations of white with black, liver or red markings. English Cockers exist as either show type or field type dogs, with field types tending to have shorter coats.

The English Cocker Spaniel coat comes in solid black, liver or red, or color combinations of white with black, liver or red markings. English Cockers exist as either show type or field type dogs, with field types tending to have shorter coats.

The temperament of the English Cocker Spaniel varies greatly depending on breeding, but generally they are a playful, gentle, and outgoing breed of canine. The are tolerant with children, but teasing should be discouraged, as they do have their limit in what they will accept (teasing should be discouraged anyway, as it is not acceptable for any breed of dog). English Cockers are moderate barkers and most will not hesitate announcing the approach of person or animals, especially those they are unfamiliar with. Show lines tend to have temperaments best suited for family pets, as field line may be considered too active. English Cocker Spaniels tend to get along well with cats, but pocket pets and birds may be too much for a Cocker to resist treating as a toy.

Cocker Spaniels are good for apartment living, but should be walked and exercised regularly, as they need play an activity to thrive, especially when they are young. A house with medium sized yard is ideal.

The Cocker Spaniel coat can be very dense, and as such, should be brushed daily to prevent mats. The ears need to be cleaned regularly to prevent wax build up and infections – the large floppy ears contribute to this. Bathing should be performed as needed, typically monthly will suffice, but every 2 weeks is okay and sometimes necessary.

Cocker Spaniels are prone to medially luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy, skin allergies, ear infections, and epilepsy. For this reason it is important to ask for documentation of pre-breeding screening of the bitch and sire for these diseases, prior to purchase of a puppy.

Life expectancy is 12-14 years.

Height: Dogs 15-18 inches. Bitches 13-16 inches.

Weight: Dogs 25-35 pounds (13-16kg). Bitches 22-32 pounds.

 

Roger L. Welton, DVM

Founder and Chief Editor, Web-DVM.net

President, Maybeck Animal Hospital

 

Article updated 10/5/2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *