Cocker Spaniel Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

The fun-loving Cocker Spaniel is a pleasure to have. Originally bred as hunting dogs, Cockers are currently popular for being an all-around companion – whether you’re interested in joining canine sports, or simply want an adorable and loving pet.

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History

The Cocker Spaniel originated from, well, the Spaniel family. The word “Cocker” comes from woodcock – a game bird that this breed usually hunts, while “Spaniel” means Spanish dog, where it is believed they have descended.

The Cocker Spaniel highly resembles the English Cocker Spaniel. In fact, the two breeds were formerly considered as one. However, Spaniel enthusiasts have distinguished different varieties of the Cocker and decided to preserve them as separate breeds. The interbreeding of the English and American lines was highly discouraged.

In 1946, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized them as two distinct breeds.
Today, the Cocker Spaniel is one of the most-loved and most popular family companions, suited for apartments, condos, and homes with a yard.

Appearance

The Cocker Spaniel has a dense, wavy coat that is short on its head and back, but long on the ears, chest, tummy, and legs. Their naturally smooth, flowing coat makes this breed elegantly good-looking. Their ears are long, which adds up to their beauty, but it may also cause health issues so make sure to regularly check your Cocker’s ears for infections.

The Cocker Spaniel comes in a variety of colors, such as solid black, light cream, red, or brown. Their color can also be a mixture of any of those, including white.

Size

The male Cocker Spaniel stands at 15 inches, while the female is slightly smaller at 14 inches. Both dogs weigh between 24 to 28 pounds. However, some may be bigger or smaller than the average size.

Life Span

Because they are small-sized breeds, the Cocker Spaniel has a good life span of 12 to 15 years. To prolong your dog’s life, make sure to provide them with the basic needs, as well as much love and affection from their family.

Shedding

Cocker Spaniels are moderate shedders and would require intense and possibly expensive grooming. If you opt to keep their hair long and beautiful, it’s better to hire a professional groomer to brush, trim, and bathe your Cocker every six to eight weeks. This might be pricey, but it’ll surely keep your dog’s hair from mats and tangles.

If you decided to keep their hair short, which some owners do to make grooming easier, trimming, bathing, and daily brushing is still essential to keep their coat neat and beautiful.

Temperament

A properly raised Cocker Spaniel has a sweet temperament, which is a pleasure to have. This dog is loving, cuddly, and playful – expect him to happily participate in family activities.

Keep your Cocker Spaniel active to prevent him from getting bored. Boredom may lead to the development of behavior problems, such as excessive barking, digging, and chewing.

They are also known to be sensitive dogs and can be a bit nervous. Sometimes, the Cocker may suffer from submissive urination – a possible scenario is when he gets excited.

Like with most dogs, the Cocker Spaniel needs early socialization so he grows to be a well-mannered dog.

Intelligence

The Cocker Spaniel is one, smart dog. They especially excel in obedience and working intelligence, but also in adaptive and instinctive intelligence. This trait itself makes them highly trainable dogs.

Agility

Compared to other dogs in the Sporting group, the Cocker Spaniel has a small body and a cute face but it doesn’t affect their ability to be athletic. They make good competitors at various canine sports, such as agility, obedience, hunt tests, flyball, or tracking. Some are also successful at being therapy dogs.

Exercise

The Cocker Spaniel is playful and active. He may not need a large space to roam around, but he still needs daily activities to keep him happy and healthy. A 30-minute brisk walk, along with few play sessions will suffice his physical needs.

Trainability

The Cocker Spaniel is smart and eager to please which makes them easy to train. They enjoy challenges, so make sure to experiment with your training to know what interests your Cocker the most.

While they can quickly learn tricks and commands, Cocker Spaniels have a soft personality. They are sensitive to the tone of your voice and don’t respond well to harsh corrections. Instead of making them fearful, use positive reinforcement techniques, such as food rewards and praises to get the best training result.

Good With Family

A well-bred Cocker Spaniel is affectionate and gentle who makes an excellent companion for kids, other pets, and elders. Because of their sporty nature, they make the best playmates for children. But since they are sensitive, all interactions between children and Cockers should be supervised to avoid trouble.

The Cocker Spaniel likes to be close to their family, although they should be kept on leash whenever you take them out for a walk since they tend to chase small and moving animals.
At home, Cockers easily get along with other pets, such as dogs, cats, and small animals. Just make sure that they are properly trained, though.

Apartment Living

Because they’re small, Cocker Spaniels easily adapt to apartments, condos, or large homes. They love to play with children in the yard but are also happy cuddling with you on the couch.

However, Cocker Spaniels tend to bark often, though they can learn the “Quiet” command. You may want to reconsider having this breed if you live in an area with noise restrictions.

Separation Anxiety

For Cocker Spaniels, there’s nothing better than spending time with their human family. If left alone all day, they may suffer from separation anxiety and develop destructive behaviors, such as barking and digging.

They should live indoors, close to their human family.

Health Issues

In general, Cocker Spaniels are healthy, but they’re still prone to some health conditions, such as eye diseases, ear infections, overeating which leads to certain health issues, and lip fold dermatitis or “Cocker Mouth.”

Because the Cocker Spaniel is so popular, you may often find irresponsible breeders who breed without consideration to temperament, health, and conformation. Avoid those “breeders” and buy only from reputable breeders.

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