The English Cocker Spaniel has been a popular family companion dog for decades, although the breed was originally developed to hunt woodcock and other game birds.
A slightly smaller cousin of the English Springer Spaniel, the two breeds were developed together until they were recognized as separate breeds by the Kennel Club of England in 1892 and interbreeding was ceased.
The versatile English Cocker Spaniel is a good choice for the owner who wants to participate in dog activities. In addition to their superb hunting and retrieving skills, cockers excel in obedience and agility trials, watch dogging, and tracking.
English Cocker Spaniel History
In the 1940’s, the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club recognized the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel as two distinct breeds. The American Cocker Spaniel is smaller than the English Cocker Spaniel, with a different body conformation, and may be more stubborn and reserved than the characteristically congenial English cocker.
English Cocker Spaniel Appearance
English Cocker Spaniels are medium size, solidly built dogs. The average adult male stands 16″ to 17″ tall and weighs 28 to 34 pounds, with females slightly smaller. Life expectancy is 12-15 years.
The body is compact and slightly higher at the withers than the rounded hindquarters. The head is softly contoured, with a cleanly-chiseled muzzle and long, low-set, pendulous ears. The tail is generally docked at birth. The feet are rounded and cat like.
The English Cocker Spaniels� beautiful coat is this breed�s most distinguishing feature. It is characteristically silky and smooth or slightly wavy, although some lines may bear a coat that is wooly or rough. A thick undercoat protects the cocker from inclement weather. The hair is short on the head and longer on the body and ears, with the legs and underside of the body being heavily feathered. Field cockers generally have shorter hair and ears than cockers bred for show.
Coat colors vary widely between individual Cocker Spaniels. Solid colors of black, liver, and shades of red are common. The coat may be parti-colored or patchwork, with ticking or various markings. Interestingly enough, coat color seems to have some link to temperament. A study by the University of Cambridge of 1000 English Cocker Spaniels suggests that cockers of a solid color are more likely to be aggressive, with red English Cocker Spaniels showing the most aggression.
English Cocker Spaniel Temperament
English Cocker Spaniels are characteristically outgoing and affectionate dogs, although they do tend to be independent, and some individuals may be reserved with strangers. Females may be somewhat dominant; males are generally more eager to please. Intelligent and sensitive dogs, they excel in obedience training when firm yet gentle methods are used.
Field Cockers are seldom gun shy as a breed, perform well in wet terrain, and can make their way through thick brush to retrieve game birds. They are active and enthusiastic in the field.
English Cocker Spaniel Exercise Info
Cockers are moderately active indoors and can get enough exercise in a small home or apartment if they are taken on one long daily walk. While they don�t need large amounts of exercise, they do need lots of daily attention from their family to be content. They won�t do as well with a family whose members are away at work or school all day, and may get into mischief out of boredom.
English Cocker Spaniel Grooming Info
The coat sheds an average amount and requires frequent grooming to keep it free from tangles. Check your dog�s coat for burrs after he has been through dense brush or playing in the woods, and brush out any tangles. Special attention must be paid to the ears, since English Cocker Spaniels are prone to wax buildup and ear infections, which can lead to deafness. Check your dog�s outer ears and ear canals regularly for ticks, burrs and other plant matter, and for signs of infection.
English Cocker Spaniel Training Info
The versatile English Cocker Spaniel is a good choice for the owner who wants to participate in dog activities. In addition to their superb hunting and retrieving skills, English Cocker Spaniels excel in obedience and agility trials, watch dogging, and tracking.
English Cocker Spaniel Health Info
English Cocker Spaniel Right Breed Info
The English Cocker Spaniel�s attractive coat, general good nature, and moderate size have made this dog breed a popular family companion for many decades. Cockers generally get along well with children they have been raised with. Older cockers who are not used to being around children may not tolerate their boisterous antics and teasing.