Dog Breeds > English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

Alternate NamesEpagneul Cocker Anglais, English Cocker Spaniel
OriginGreat Britain
GroupFetcher Dog, Water Dog, Gun Dog
SectionFlushing-and-retrieving-game Dog

English Cocker Spaniel Profile

Robust (Health)
Supports Loneliness
Need Exercise
Easy To Maintain
Easy to Train
Nice Child
Agreement with Animals
First Dog
Able to Guard

Physical Characteristics

Varieties : a) red; b) black; c) other colors.

The English Cocker Spaniel is a joyful, robust, sporty and compact dog. The body length is roughly equal to the height at the withers, and the head is well chiseled, with well-developed skull, square snout, and a well-defined stop. The eyes are large, not prominent and should be brown or dark brown but never clear; they have a smart and sweet look. The ears are set low, and appear lobular and pendulant: they must reach, but not exceed, the truffle. The body is strong and compact, while the paws have good bones and are well plumbed. The tail, which is cut, is inserted just under the dorsal line. It is a characteristic of the breed that the tail continuously stirs.

Fur: smooth, silky and lightly feathered.

Color: according to the type, all colors are acceptable; for the unicolor, white is only permitted on the chest.

Size: 39 to 41 cm for the males and 38 to 39 cm for the females.

Weight: 12.5 to 14.5 kg.

Origins and History

It is a “Spaniel” but does that mean “Spanish” or British? The answer is undoubtedly British: the breed was selected in Great Britain from 1879, but the English had already been using the spaniel type as a hunting dog since the 18th century. Its ancient history, however, is probably Spanish, as proved by writings of the Dr. Caju in 1570 in De Canibus Britannicis. Further descriptions of English Spaniels are found in books dating from the end of the 14th century. Its name comes from the term “woodcock,” as the cocker is a true specialist hunting the bird.

Character and Abilities

Happy and playful, the English Cocker Spaniel needs to spend its energy to avoid becoming aggressive. It should always be considered a hunting dog; it is not a pet dog to be left in the living room. Being treated as a toy destroys its character. It is a flushing and retrieving dog, and therefore it is a very good helper for its owner. The English Cocker Spaniel is very smart and will find sneaky but efficient tricks to make the game birds fly away. It is a widespread pet dog too, but it can be happy only if its needs for exercise and outdoor life are met. If not, it will become a fat and neurotic dog.

Living Conditions

Preferably in the countryside where it is comfortable and self-confident. When it is able to express its abilities, it is a very friendly, sweet and cheerful dog. However, its strong mind can make it quite dangerous (within the limits of its size) when under stress. It is very important to monitor its weight due to its athletic metabolism, which makes the dog get fat quickly if it does not exercise.


It is a robust dog that can live a long life. Its eyes must be cleaned and its ears checked often, especially if living in the countryside. This is to ensure that no foreign body, which could be responsible for very troublesome ear infections, has sneaked in.

Average life expectancy: about 15 years.

Information and Tips

The English Cocker Spaniel is an adorable dog, but should not become an indoor dog. Elderly, sedentary people and people who don’t like to go for a run with the dog should preferably choose the American Cocker, as it is calmer and less subject to stress.

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