Cocker Spaniel

This spaniel is believed to have originated in pre-fourteenth-century Spain. It evolved through selective breeding from several gundog breeds, depending on the terrain worked and the prey.


A hallmark of this breed is its happiness when working. Indeed, the Cocker's enthusiasm knows no bounds, underlined by its incessant tail wagging. It hurriedly quarters the ground, freezing as it bolts a bird or rabbit, waiting for the shot, and then going after the next. Remembering where the game lies, the Cocker Spaniel can easily find and retrieve it unmarked because of its extraordinarily soft mouth. Indeed, many dogs can carry eggs around in their mouth without breaking them!

must know

Originally Cockers assisted in falconry and were later used to drive birds into nets. When game bird shooting reached its zenith in the nineteenth century, the Cocker was found to be particularly effective in putting up woodcock.


Today there are more family pets than there are workers because Cockers are gentle, intelligent, biddable and easily trained. This merry little dog makes the classic companion, mainly because it loves the fellowship of its human family. The Cocker's greatest pleasure is to join in all the family activities, lying by the fire, indulging in horse-play with the children and running in the park as well as going out shooting.

must know

Some Cocker breed Hues are susceptible to hip dysplasia and kidney problems. Only buy puppies from eye-tested parents and check with the breeder that no genetic anomalies exist in their breed.


A square, compact dog with an affectionate nature and a soft expression, the Cocker Spaniel is well-muscled with good bone, and an easy mover. It has a silky, flat coat, well-feathered forelegs, underparts and above the hocks. A wide range of colours is acceptable - probably more than in any other breed-but in solid colours (black, red, golden and liver) no white is permitted except on the dog's chest. Dogs may also be particolour, tricolour or black and tan, some with attractive orange eye spots.

Cockers have long, pendulous ears which are set low on the side of the head – so low, in fact, that they have a tendency to fall into the dog's food bowl. Dogs are 39-41cm 151/2-16in) in height, while bitches are 38-39cm (15-151/2in).

Cockers have long, pendulous ears which can become dirty and matted when feeding.

Friendly and fun-loving, the Cocker Spaniel is an ideal family pet.

A Cocker Spaniel needs regular grooming to keep its coat in good condition and free from knots. If you start from an early age, both you and your dog will enjoy these sessions together.

Strangers 2/5

Will warn of intruders

Temperament 5/5

Sweet natured and co-operative

Exercise 4/5

As much as you can

Grooming 4/5

Daily attention to ears and feathering

Other dogs 5/5

Friendly and sociable


Happy-go-lucky, makes a lovely family pet

General care

To groom a show dog, you can use a "coat king" stripper, first on a coarse setting, then on a fine one for the dog's undercoat.

The Cocker Spaniel's coat needs regular combing to keep it silky and free from tangles.

To stay happy, the Cocker Spaniel needs all the exercise an owner can possibly provide, particularly free running in woods and fields. It is especially important to take good care of its long ears. They need combing every day, and it's a good idea to feed your dog from a tall, narrow dish which keeps the ears out of the food. Carefully comb out any debris from the ears and coat after exercise and groom your Cocker at least once a week, checking the paws and inside the ears for hayseeds in the summer. They can cause infection if they are neglected.

Gallery of Cocker Spaniel