English Cocker Spaniel Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breed with long ears and a happy disposition. The “Cocker” in their name comes from their days of hunting woodcock, a wading bird species in England. English Cockers have been used for hunting many other types of birds as well. They make great companion dogs for people who can give them the exercise they need. Even apartment dwellers will love this affectionate and adaptable pup.

The English Cocker Spaniel is a devoted companion, capable of hard work and living a happy family life. All Spaniels were originally bred from the same lines, but the English Cocker Spaniel stands out today for its well-proportioned appearance and friendly disposition. The English Cocker Spaniel makes a great family pet with plenty of energy but a calm demeanor.

Adult English Cocker Spaniels stand 14 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 26 and 34 pounds. The English Cockers’ expected lifespan is 12 to 14 years, and the females give birth to six to eight puppies per litter. English Cocker Spaniels are known by several names, including English Cocker, Merry Cocker, Cocker.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of English Cocker Spaniels?

Cockers are known for their loving demeanors. The English Cocker Spaniel possesses traits common to all Spaniels. They are affectionate, cheerful, and devoted to their people while being funny and curious. He will make you laugh, and he can be a good choice for families with children. More of the English Cocker breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Features

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed information


Males 15 to 17 inches

Females 14 to 16 inches


Males 28 to 34 pounds

Females 26 to 32 pounds

Relation with family


Relation with children


Relation with other dogs

Good, if socialized

Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Smooth and Wavy

Coat length


Coat grooming frequency

Brushing several times per week

Relation with strangers

Friendly wary

Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



12 – 14 years 

How Does the English Cocker Spaniel Interact with Family?

English Cocker Spaniels are very affectionate, and although they were bred for hunting, they are excellent family companions. In addition to making a great hunting companion out in the field, this breed has many personality traits that make it a great family dog. They are very friendly and affectionate, and Cockers are also easy to please. English Cocker Spaniels love the interaction with their family members.

Do Cocker Spaniels Attach to One Person?

No, English Cocker Spaniels don’t favor one individual. They form strong bonds with all their human family members and crave the love and attention of all.

How Does the English Cocker Spaniel Interact with Other Dogs?

English Cockers are open to friendships with other dogs. However, they are a bit shy when it comes to the owners of other dogs. Socialization and frequent trips to a dog park where your Cocker is exposed to many dogs and their owners may help to reduce that shyness. Exposure to different social settings with walks in the park, visits with other people, and interactions with other dogs, may help break down their natural shyness around strangers. Socialization from a young age can help English Cockers feel more comfortable in the presence of strange dogs.

How are English Cocker Spaniels with Older People?

Yes, most seniors will find that an English Cocker Spaniel fits perfectly into their golden years’ lifestyle even though a few potential problems could arise.

Older people who can give their Cocker a daily brushing and a 30-minute walk will do just fine with an affectionate Merry Cocker companion. Even those who are not strong enough to brush the dog or take it for a walk might be able to hire a walker and a groomer to take care of those aspects of their furry friend’s maintenance.

How are English Cocker Spaniels with Children?

Although English Cockers are known for their loving natures, they are not quite at ease in the company of small children. Sensitivity and the tendency to be anxious make them nervous when exposed to children too young to know how to treat dogs and respect them. Their only way to show their feelings when children pull their tail or ears or dish out unsolicited hugs is to growl or snap at the child.

However, early socialization of the Cocker and the child could prevent unpleasant incidents when the English Cocker feels the need to protect itself. Therefore, very young children should not be left in the company of any dog without adult supervision.

How are English Cocker Spaniels with Neighbors or Guests?

English Cocker Spaniels are friendly dogs who love just about everybody. They might be a bit withdrawn when they encounter strangers. Still, if the neighbors or other guests are frequent visitors, the Cockers will likely accept them as members of their pack.

What are the Physical Traits of the English Cocker Spaniel?

The English Cocker Spaniel is medium-sized with a sturdy and typically Spaniel appearance. This Cocker is first and foremost a hunting dog with proven flushing and retrieving abilities. They are characterized by boundless endurance and enthusiasm, moderate agility, and speed. These Merry Cockers are intelligent, and they show a great desire to please, making the English Cocker easy to train. He is a strong swimmer that takes to water easily. Cockers love splashing about in the water; whether it’s swimming in a pool, tackling a wilderness lake, or playing in rain puddles, this is a breed that doesn’t need coaxing to get wet. They are valuable for field and water retrieving, from there the name Merry Cocker.

The English Cocker Spaniel’s physical traits are summarized in the table below. 


Trait information


Medium-sized registered as Gundogs


Males 28 to 34 pounds

Females 26 to 32 pounds 


Males 15 to 17 inches

Females 14 to 16 inches

Skull/ Head

Well developed, cleanly chiseled


Dark brown or brown, or in the case of liver, liver roan, and liver and white coat, eyes are dark hazel to harmonize with the coat.


Thin leather ears hang close to the cheeks and are flat and well coated with long, straight silky hair.


Square muzzle, with distinct stop


Sufficiently wide for acute scenting power


Sufficient length to allow the dog to easily carry game


Requires plenty of exercise


12 to 14 years


Flat, silky in texture, never wiry or wavy, not too profuse, and never curly. Well-feathered forelegs, body, and hindlegs above hocks.

Coat color

Black, red, golden, liver (chocolate), black and tan, liver and tan. No white allowed except a small amount on chest


Set on slightly lower than the line of the back. Must be merry in action and carried level, never cocked up. Previously cocked on show dogs.


Front legs –  well boned, straight, sufficiently short

Hindlegs – well boned, good bend of stifle

** Docking tails is illegal in most of Europe.

How to Feed an English Cocker Spaniel?

Your dog’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your English Cocker Spaniel’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. English Cocker Spaniels fall in the medium-sized breed class, and most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Cocker grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your English Cocker from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, athletic breed type, needing food that contains animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Your English Cocker Spaniel’s portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. For example, if you hunt with your English Cocker Spaniel, who weighs about 35 pounds, doing moderate fieldwork, you might need to feed your Cocker somewhere around 1673 calories per day. 

Feed your English Cocker Spaniel a food formulated for active and medium to large working dog breeds, recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages. Feeding English Cocker Spaniels several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

 An example of premium food for English Cockers and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for adult English Cocker Spaniels is Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food.

Made with hearty chicken plus Probiotics, Prebiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes, this food is made to care for your dog’s gut to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and immunity. Plus, it contains essential glucosamine to promote the formation and maintenance of strong bones and joints since English Cocker Spaniels are predisposed to hip dysplasia.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the five Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food recipes in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: With responsibly sourced real meat meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, as the first ingredient, these recipes are packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles in small breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.
  • Probiotics: Guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics are included to support your dog’s digestive health.

When English Cocker Spaniels are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should an English Cocker Spaniel Puppy Eat? 

Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young English Cocker Spaniel puppy, age 4-12 months and weighing 20 pounds, needs an estimated 733 calories per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.

It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Cocker puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • English Cocker Spaniel puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • English Cocker Spaniels should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are English Cocker Spaniels with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that an English Cocker Spaniel Should Take?

English Cocker Spaniel breeders should have the following health tests done:

DNA Tests covering the 7 main categories

  • Musculoskeletal and Dental

  • Haemolymphatic

  • Skin and Immune

  • Urogenital

  • Metabolic and Endocrine

  • Ophthalmological

  • Neurological

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels are widely recognized as a healthy and hardy breed. However, this breed is predisposed to several hereditary diseases and health problems. Even healthy Cockers should have regular veterinarian checkups, and owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Spaniel Rage Syndrome or Sudden Onset Aggression – This very rare condition can occur in any dog breed but has been most frequently documented in English Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels. It is defined as a sudden act of extreme aggression towards someone nearby. A few minutes after the incident, the dog will behave as though nothing has happened and appear not to remember. There is not an abundance of research into the condition, but it is thought to be an epileptic-type disorder or a genetic disorder caused by low serotonin in the brain.
  • Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is a serious and life-threatening condition that affects dogs. In essence, this means that your pet’s immune system, which typically fights off invaders and infections, is now fighting your pet’s own red blood cells.
  • Hypothyroidism is the insufficient production of thyroid hormone, causing hair loss, dry skin and coat, and susceptibility to other skin diseases in some breeds.
  • Retinal atrophy, also called PRA, is an inherited progressive disease of the retina that leads to blindness in affected dogs.
  • Deafness in dogs can either be a temporary, partial, or total loss of hearing, due to a wax build-up in the ear canals, or permanent hearing loss due to a host of causes such as severe, untreated ear infections, congenital defects, old age, and injuries
  • Degenerative Myelopathy(DM) is the symptom of a genetic disease that prevents the manufacture of a particular enzyme needed for spinal cord health. DM is 100% fatal.
  • Juvenile Cataracts can be a problem for some relatively young (less than six years old) dogs. It is thought to be hereditary.
  • Juvenile Renal Dysplasia (JRD) affects young dogs of several breeds. Affected dogs show an increased amount of urination (unconcentrated urine), increased intake of water, vomiting, lethargy, and weight loss, eventually leading to kidney failure between the ages of 6 weeks and 4 years.
  • Patellar luxation occurs when the dog’s patella (kneecap), which usually sits on the groove of the femur (thighbone), shifts out of alignment. When luxation of the patella occurs, your dog may experience intermittent hind limb “skipping,” lameness, or a locking up of the limb at an odd angle.

What is the Exercise Need of an English Cocker Spaniel?

You will want to make sure that your English Cocker Spaniel gets plenty of exercise each day. This breed enjoys playing, walking, or hiking with its family members. Since these dogs were bred to be hunting dogs, their exercise requirements are higher than some other breeds. Additionally, since this breed is prone to obesity, ensuring your dog stays active can also help prevent this problem.

What are the nutritional needs of English Cocker Spaniels?

The nutritional needs of an English Cocker Spaniel include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Cocker are listed below.

  • Protein: English Cocker Spaniels need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Cocker’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the English Cocker Spaniel’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior English Cocker Spaniels need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the English Cocker Spaniel sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in English Cocker Spaniel puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Cockers by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the English Cocker Spaniel.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in English Cocker Spaniels are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an English Cocker Spaniel’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Cockers.

What is the Shedding Level of English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels shed an average to high amount of hair, with the higher shedding occurring when the seasons change. Their coats are soft and silky but prone to mats and tangles and require a high level of grooming as they tend to shed heavily.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels are relatively low maintenance, and their rich brown coats need a good brushing two or three per week. A monthly bath is okay if the English Cocker is very dirty, but too frequent bathing could remove the necessary oil from the Cocker’s coat. If your English Cocker has been splashing around in saltwater or ponds with algae, spraying him down with freshwater as soon as possible after the hunt will leave your Cocker’s coat clean. Dogs with long ears need weekly ear inspections to remove infection-causing dirt. 

The soft-coated English Cocker Spaniel sheds a lot, and even more when the coat blows in preparation for winter and again for summer. Its shaggier hair needs clipping by the owner or a professional groomer, and more frequent brushing is required. Their coats are dense and tightly formed, and twice-weekly deep combing is essential to prevent trapped allergens that could cause fungal or other infections on the skin.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risk of matting.
  • Your English Cocker Spaniel smells nice through grooming, thus raising the hygiene conditions.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat that makes your dog attractive.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your English Cocker Spaniel.

To lower the grooming frequencies, you should keep your dog’s surroundings clean and the coat short. Your dog should be calm during grooming, and if your Cocker shows anxiety, short walks before the grooming will calm your dog, thus ensuring they remain still during the grooming process. You can also give your English Cocker Spaniel its favorite treat to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be enjoyable and a stress-free process for your English Cocker Spaniel.

What is the Drooling Level of English Cocker Spaniels?

The drooling level of English Cocker Spaniels is low, and they are not slobbery dogs at all. However, drooling is a natural process, and if your canine companion drools more than usual, it might indicate a health problem to report to your vet. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below:

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer.
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with their mouths open, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Cocker spots a female Cocker in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the English Cocker Spaniel?

English Cocker Spaniels are known for their characteristic medium-length coat. Their silky coat can either be wavy or flat and typically has feathering on the ears, legs, chest, and belly.

What is the Coat Lenght of the English Cocker Spaniel?  

The English Cocker’s medium-length coat can be flat to slightly wavy with a light fringe of hair, called feathering, on the ears, chest, legs, and belly. The length depends on the owner’s choice to trim the Cocker’s coat or leave it to grow longer. Many hunters have their English Cocker Spaniels’ coats trimmed to speed up drying. When these Merry Cockers hunt in water, their coats take very long to dry, causing risks of fungal infections against the English Cocker’s skin. The trimmed coats dry quicker.

What are the English Cocker Spaniel Colors?

The English Cocker Spaniel’s coat color can be any of those listed below.

Solid colors: Black, red, golden, liver (chocolate), black and tan, liver and tan

Show dogs may only have a small amount of white on the chest. 

Parti-Colors: English Cocker Spaniels can also have color combinations called Parti-colors. Dogs with coats more than 50% white can have particolored coats. For Cockers, the possible Parti-colors are listed below.

  • Bicolor: Black and white, orange and white, liver and white, lemon and white. All with or without ticking.
  • Tricolor: Black, white and tan; liver, white and tan
  • Roans: Blue roan; orange roan; lemon roan; liver roan; blue roan and tan; liver roan and tan. 

(Roan colors are solid base colors like black, red, or brown muted and lightened by a mixture of white hairs.)

What are the Social Traits of the English Cocker Spaniel Breed?

English Cocker Spaniels may be hunting dogs, but they’re adorable, which probably has affected their popularity. English Cockers are friendly, sociable, and intelligent, and they make good family pets. They are good with children and other dogs, and their temperament is considered to be highly stable. As with most Spaniels, English Cockers are eager to please. They love attention. You would be hard-pressed to anger or annoy an English Cocker. Other social traits of English Cocker Spaniels are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: English Cocker Spaniels love the interaction with the elderly. However, they are highly energetic and may exhaust the seniors if playtime is long. In addition, Cockers enjoy playing rough and can easily hurt the elderly hence constant supervision is vital.
  • Children-friendly: These dogs often make a great family dog. They have a very friendly and gentle personality, making them excellent dogs to have around children. Suppose you have younger children who are more unpredictable. In that case, it may be best to wait until they are old enough to understand how to interact with a dog appropriately. As with all dog breeds, being in the same room and supervising your children when they are with the dog is a good idea. This will prevent any accidental injuries to either your child or the dog.
  • Family-friendly: The English Cocker Spaniel is a friendly, social dog that does best in an active family environment with lots of outdoor action. It has lots of energy to spare, so be sure to give this dog plenty of exercise. English Cocker Spaniels are extremely adaptable to different environments as long as you expose your dog to plenty of social interaction and give it ample opportunity to burn off excess energy. English Cocker Spaniels also love attention, so be sure you lavish your dog with lots of love.
  • Cat-friendly: English Cocker Spaniels get along great with other animals, including cats. Of course, each dog and cat has its own preferences and temperament. Still, you can feel reasonably confident your Cocker and other pets will get on just fine, especially if they were all raised together or socialized at a young age.
  • Dog-friendly: When socialized with other dogs and cats from an early age, English Cockers are perfectly amiable with other furry family members. The same holds true for strange dogs; English Cockers will be well mannered as long as they have plenty of experience with dogs they don’t know.

How Do English Cocker Spaniels Interact with Strangers?

They are alert and friendly enough to bark every time a stranger makes their way to your door. However, once a newcomer is inside the house, English Cockers are far too welcoming to have any strong territorial traits. 

Is the English Cocker Spaniel Playful?

Yes, English Cockers are playful, and if there are no human playmates, they will be quite pleased playing with other dogs in the family. When an English Cocker is happy, though, he loves to romp and play and will amuse his family by tearing through the house or running in circles around the yard for the sheer joy of it. Cockers usually get along well with other pets.

Are English Cocker Spaniels Protective?

No, English Cockers are not typically very protective. Their friendly disposition creates the opposite, and instead of trying to scare away potential intruders, their barks will likely be welcoming instead of warning them. 

What is the Adaptability Level of English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels are highly adaptable. Even if they are relocated from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if the move does not separate them from their human families. People whose employment includes frequent relocation can be sure their canine companions will not suffer emotional trauma. They will be happy as long as English Cocker Spaniels have their beloved human family with them and their new accommodation offers reasonable playspace in the backyard. 

What are the Personality Traits of English Cocker Spaniel?

 The English Cocker is described as merry and affectionate with an equable disposition. He’s playful, trainable, and friendly toward people (although sometimes reserved with strangers) and other dogs. English Cockers will bark to let you know someone’s approaching, so they’re good watchdogs, but as typical spaniels, they are not able to distinguish between friendlies and intruders. They’ll happily show the burglar where the silver is if their owners ignore their alerts.

Like every dog, English Cocker Spaniels need early socialization with exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your English Cocker puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

The English Cocker Spaniel has an energetic personality and lots of love to share. Outdoor activities are in their blood, and they are at their happiest hunting with their owners. However, if they no longer hunt but live as companion dogs instead, frequent outdoor activities like hiking or taking long walks will keep them happy. 

English Cocker Spaniels is an excellent choice for active families with children, a loyal companion with an affectionate temperament. They typically do well with other dogs and pets like cats, especially when socialized from a young age. These highly trainable dogs are eager to learn, making excellent hunting partners and good pets for those who can provide the proper care.

Are English Cocker Spaniels Intelligent Dogs?

Yes, English Cocker Spaniels are highly intelligent. Merry Cockers can learn many tricks and commands. The limit is your creativity. They understand and memorize new commands in 5 to 15 repetitions. This breed obeys the first command 85% of the time or better.

Can English Cocker Spaniels be Aggressive?

English Cocker Spaniels are not typically aggressive, and they are tirelessly active and affectionate. Some English Cockers also tend towards aggression around other dogs, but only if they were not socialized early. Be consistent and firm with your English Cocker and use positive reinforcements.

Can English Cocker Spaniels be Dangerous?

The English Cocker Spaniel is not a dangerous dog, and they are often deemed over-friendly because they trust everybody.

Do English Cocker Spaniels Ever Attack?

No English Cocker Spaniels are not likely to attack. However, it depends on the way the dog was raised. Many non-aggressive breeds become excessively aggressive if they live in environments where they have to defend themselves from abusers or if they must attack to stay alive. Therefore, it is never wise to approach strange dogs before talking to the owner. Do not misjudge a dangerous situation by thinking it would be mostly a show of teeth and lots of barking, because it might not be.

Can English Cocker Spaniels Kill Humans?

No, English Cocker Spaniels are not likely to kill a human. 

Do English Cocker Spaniels cope with being left alone?

English Cocker Spaniels are reasonably independent, enabling them to keep themselves busy with toys for several hours. However, two to three hours should be the limit. Dog owners who have to spend hours away from their English Cocker frequently might want to consider a doggy daycare or a doggy sitter.

Can I leave my English Cocker Spaniel at home?

English Cocker Spaniels form strong bonds with their human families. They become dependent on their relationships with their family members, and to be left alone could lead to separation anxiety. However, if it is possible for at least one person to be home, your Merry Cocker will calmly wait for the return of the rest of the family members.

Can English Cocker Spaniels be left alone for 8 hours?

Eight hours is a long time for any dog to be alone, and not even the most independent dog would thrive if such isolation happens every day. Therefore, leaving them alone for extended periods could be traumatizing. Leaving an English Cocker alone for too long can lead to destructive behaviors, such as barking, digging, and more. You can train your English Cocker from the time they’re a puppy to be happy alone, but even with this training, they’ll be happiest when they’re with you.

How to Train an English Cocker Spaniel?

English Cocker Spaniels are intelligent and are therefore considered easy to train. However, the owner would have to afford the time and effort to establish the pack status so the English Cocker will know its place in the household. Any dog owner must be firm enough to take the lead and teach the Cocker how to behave. Only proper training and socialization can ensure the English Cocker reaches its full potential. Training the English Cocker to hunt might need the assistance of a professional trainer.

For the most part, English Cocker Spaniels are eager to please, making training them much easier. This breed can be somewhat sensitive, so use positive dog training methods such as praise and rewards to ensure the best results. Stick to these methods, and you should have no trouble training your English Cocker Spaniel.

Can English Cocker Spaniels be Used for Hunting?

The English cocker’s stock as a working gun dog has soared in the past 25 years. For duck hunters, the upside is the breed’s natural retrieving ability. A North Dakota trainer of duck hunters said English Cocker Spaniels that arrived in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s were very strong retrievers that laid the foundation for the breed in America.

Those English Cocker Spaniels passed these qualities to their descendants. Outstanding skills of the English Cockers include their skills as markers, their speed, and their love for the water. Their speed in getting to a fall and retrieving it is unmatched by any other duck hunter gundogs.  

How Frequently does an English Cocker Spaniel Bark?

English Cocker Spaniels are vocal dogs and bark whenever they see unfamiliar people or pets. Their barking levels are, however, moderate. For many dogs, the triggers for barking include loneliness, threats, excitement, being territorial, attention-seeking, and even frustrations. There are different bark types based on the situation.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • English Cocker Spaniels hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Cocker is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, English Cockers may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Cocker feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The English Cocker Spaniel uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your English Cocker Spaniel is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercise. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

You can train your Cocker to stop barking by using positive and negative motivators.

  • Whenever they start barking, command them to be quiet and if they obey, reward them with their favorite treat or toy. If they disobey your command, you can withdraw some benefits like not giving them their best toy.
  • Engage your dog in their favorite activity or exercise. Tired Cockers might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your English Cocker Spaniel busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of an English Cocker Spaniel?

The need for mental stimulation of an English Cocker Spaniel is essential as it lowers the risks of destructive behaviors resulting from boredom. English Cockers are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. English Cockers’ playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Cocker, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. English Cocker Spaniels who are eight years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of English Cocker Spaniel?

English Cocker Spaniels are agile and athletic dogs with a lively pace. Merry Cockers have a medium build, and their physique is well-balanced and sturdy. Their necks are slightly arched, and they have near muzzles with jaws perfectly sized to allow the easy carrying of wildfowl when hunting. Breed standards no longer require the tails of English Cockers to be docked.  Their beautiful coat and intelligent brown eyes are their defining features. English Cockers charm all with their vibrant personalities and their friendly, alert expressions. Their large, pendant ears are covered in wavy fur that is often a slightly lighter shade than the fur on the rest of the body.

Some of the breed standards of English Cocker Spaniels are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Information 


Black, red, golden, liver (chocolate), black and tan, liver and tan. No white allowed except a small amount on chest. Several Parti-color combinations are allowed. 


English Cocker Spaniels classified as medium-sized gundogs 

Eye Color 

Dark brown or brown

In the case of liver, liver roan, and liver and white coat, the eyes are dark hazel to harmonize with the coat.

Average Weight 

Males 28 to 34 pounds

Females 26 to 32 pounds  

Average Height

Males 15 to 17 inches

Females 14 to 16 inches

Average lifespan 

English Cocker Spaniel Dogs have a lifespan of 14 -17 years. 

What is the General Information about English Cocker Spaniels?

Although Spaniels were a diverse bunch, Cockers and Springers were lumped into one category – land spaniels. Therefore litters produced puppies of varying sizes and qualities. The physical features of each puppy had to determine which pups to train for springing and woodcock hunting. Near the end of the 19th century, breeders began designating types of Spaniel. 

Due to confusion in the ring and a lack of standard practices, the Spaniel Club was formed in 1885. This club created the breed standards for the Cocker Spaniel, among other types. While they were initially considered the same, the AKC formally recognized two separate breeds of cockers – the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel – in 1946.

Where to Buy or Adopt an English Cocker Spaniel?

If you are looking to bring an English Cocker Spaniel, you should not be in a rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a breeder’s waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this amazing hunter-stroke-companion dog.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or who promote the dogs as being “good with kids.” English Cocker Spaniel puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Cocker a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying an English Cocker Spaniel, and you’ll be well rewarded with one of the best family dogs out there.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy English Cocker Spaniel puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. Although this breed is reasonably rare, the English Cocker Spaniel is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Cocker owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Kennel Club
  • The English Cocker Spaniel Society
  • English Cocker Spaniel Club of America 
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • International Canine Association
  • Stonewalker Kennels, Hickman, TN and Stillwater, MN
  • Ryglen Gundogs, Brownston, IL
  • Bellamy English Cocker Spaniels, Gardnerville, NV

If you manage to track down English Cocker Spaniel breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. English Cocker Spaniel puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes.

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

Although you might find an English Cocker Spaniel puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of English Cocker Spaniels may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the English Cocker Spaniel is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for English Cocker Spaniels?

There are millions of homeless dogs across the country; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting an English Cocker Spaniel can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopting parent. 

If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the English Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc. website. an English Cocker Spaniel rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even an English Cocker Spaniel mix.

If you are looking for a purebred (or almost purebred) English Cocker Spaniel, try a dedicated English Cocker Spaniel rescue instead because they will, hands down, have the most varied selection.

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any English Cocker Spaniels or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs

  • English Cocker Spaniel Club Of Canada [National]
  • English Cocker Spaniel | CKC
  • Germany Cocker Spaniel Rescue ― ADOPTIONS
  • English Cocker Spaniel Rescue USA.
  • UK Cocker Spaniel Rescue ― ADOPTIONS
  • Belgian English Cocker Club
  • Spaniel Club de España: Actualidad Spaniels
  • Camp Cocker, Los Angeles, CA
  • Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Flushing, NY
  • Cocker Spaniel Adoption Centre, Westminster, MD

NOTE: Many of these Kennel Clubs assist potential English Cocker Spaniel parents in finding reputable breeders and rescue centers.

What is the History of the English Cocker Spaniel?

There have been spaniels recorded since at least the 1300s, according to the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America (ECSCA). Springers and cockers came from the same litter stock for most of that time. The larger littermates were named Springers with jobs to spring fowl from the brush. The smaller cockers hunted woodcock birds, hence their name Cocker Spaniel. 

But by the turn of the 20th century, selective breeding had created distinct breeds, with springers and cockers becoming cousins on the family tree rather than direct littermates. With the creation of the American Spaniel Club in 1881, both springers and cockers began to be bred for shows and competitions, rather than just as purely sporting animals.

Springers and cockers were shown as the same breed until the Kennel Club created separate breed standards in 1903. Since then, English cocker spaniels have become show and competition favorites. They are the breed with the most wins in the history at the Crufts dog show, winning Best in Show seven times. 

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels are reasonably rare, even in their home country. The prices of English Cocker Spaniels range between $800 to $2,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could be as much as $3,000, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $200 to $350, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the English Cocker Spaniel.

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your English Cocker Spaniel and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, spaying or neutering, etc. You can expect to spend about $4,500 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $1,300 a year.  

The typical annual costs of having a medium-sized canine such as an English Cocker Spaniel will not necessarily be much less than a larger dog. In fact, medical expenses throughout the Cocker’s life could be more than average because some smaller breeds are predisposed to more health problems than some larger dogs.

Except for the lower food volumes, vaccinations, microchips, and other expenses are the same, regardless of the dog’s size. Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $650. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the English Cocker Spaniel are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would only affect the maintenance costs of long-haired English Cocker Spaniels,  and the weekly grooming of both types of English Cockers is minimal. 

How to Name an English Cocker Spaniel?

Choosing a name for your English Cocker Spaniel involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Cocker’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but as far as your canine companion goes, only the sound matters. English Cocker Spaniels respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Cocker pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Cocker will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your English Cocker Spaniel. Below is a list of suggestions of names for your English Cocker Spaniel.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Names

Honoring their Fame

English Cocker Spaniel Boy Names

English Cocker Spaniel Girl Names


Sir Elton John’s English Cocker Spaniel. Arthur has made red carpet appearances with his master and served as “best man/dog” at Sir Elton’s wedding. He even received credit on the album “The Captain and the Kid,”



To match your Cocker’s color. 

The original 1959 Coppertone advert featured the producer’s neighbor’s English Cocker Spaniel pulling at the pants of Cheri, her own 3-year-old daughter.


The name of a 5-year-old Cocker adopted by George Clooney days before he was to be put down.


Named after a Cocker Spaniel given to Nixon’s daughter


Albert English Cocker Spaniel Crufts winner 1996


The name of Oprah Winfrey’s Cocker Spaniel


For that noisy Cocker


Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Italian for Bear)


For the Turbo Cocker


The star of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.”


The Cocker that gets away with everything


Bella Notte – the song in the famous spaghetti scene in Lady And The Tramp


What are the Different Types of Cocker Spaniels?

Although there are multiple spaniel breeds, only two of them are cocker spaniels.

They are The English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the English Cocker Spaniel?

English Cocker Spaniels are not easy to find. Purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Cocker at a rescue center might be an equally challenging process. However, below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • American Cocker Spaniel: Field-bred American cockers, like the English Cocker Spaniels, can be trained to hunt just about anything from upland birds to waterfowl. more about American cocker social life, care & diet information.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and English Cocker Spaniels are both known for their swimming abilities and for being able to flush out waterfowl when hunting.
  • American Water Spaniel: American Water Spaniels and English Cocker Spaniels are both affectionate and social dogs. They both are friendly even with strangers. Both dogs have a brown coat, but an American Water Spaniel’s coat is curly whereas an English Cocker has a feathered coat.more about American Water Spaniel social life, care & diet information.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.