English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

Origin And History Of The English Cocker Spaniel

The exact origin of the English Cocker Spaniel is unknown. There is a theory, or rather a legend, which indicates that these dogs arrived from Spain to Great Britain more than 2000 years ago with the Roman soldiers of Julius Caesar and that their name derives from the term that in Latin comes to say Spanish dogs.

What is clear is that the ancestors of the current spaniel breed were already popular hundreds of years ago. For example, in the fourteenth century, the British writer, Geoffrey Chaucer, mentioned them in his plays, and William Shakespeare would do the same some two hundred years later.

In 1570, the scientist John Caius classified the British companion dog breeds, including the Springer Spaniel, whose function was to bear the rabbits and birds during the hunt and recover them once they were shot. Several breeds were developed from springer spaniel, including the English Cocker Spaniel.

In 1892 the English Kennel Club recognized it as an individual breed, which led to several spaniel clubs dedicated to breeding the breed. Unfortunately, as with other breeds of working dogs, breeding according to particular optical criteria would also cause exaggerated characteristics in the cocker spaniel, such as extra-long hanging ears.

english cocker spaniel

Partridge hunters

The English Cocker Spaniel was bred to hunt partridges in English woodcock. Partridges camouflage themselves very well on the forest floor and are hardly visible but can be detected by dogs’ sensitive noses. English Cocker Spaniels are prey-lifting dogs that hunt by zigzagging or circling ahead of the hunter, trying to spot potential prey.

They do not stop in front of bushes or reed beds to scare away the birds so that the hunter can shoot them. Although most Cocker Spaniels today are family dogs, this breed is still used for hunting in places like Scotland and England. Also, due to his developed sense of smell, he has excellent capabilities for police and customs work.

Appearance and Personality Of The English Cocker Spaniel

The colors of the English Cocker Spaniel are robust and of medium size, with a height at the withers of about 40 cm and a weight of up to 14.5 kilos. The coat is smooth and very silky. The color is varied, but single-toned dogs should have white fur only on the chest area. One of the characteristics of this breed is the long, hanging low set ears.

Bi-colored furry can be black and white, orange and white, chocolate and white, lemon and white. All of these may or may not have speckles. Tricolor quadrupeds occur in roan blue, roan blue and tan, roan orange, roan lemon, roan chocolate, and roan and tan chocolate.

Appearances are not always deceiving: the English Cocker Spaniel is a cheerful and open dog that needs family contact. It is kind to both people and animals, as long as the latter do not cross it outside, as it may see them as possible prey. He is attached, loyal and loving, always ready to play and have fun.

Although he announces strangers by barking, he befriends them quickly and is unsuitable as a guard dog. But despite all this kindness, his heart remains that of a hunter: once he follows a clue, he puts his hunting instinct before the commands of his keeper. In addition to family and hunting, this dog has another passion: food in all its forms. This little ball of joy loves snacks, which can often end up being overweight.

Caring For The Health Of Your English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel has a hereditary predisposition to vestibular syndrome, an inner ear disease that leads to balance disorders and partial deafness on one or both sides. Also, compared to other breeds, there have been frequent occurrences of eye problems (cataracts). It is also important to mention the supposed hereditary syndrome of rage or red cocker spaniel, which are aggressive attacks similar to epilepsy attacks, followed by exhaustion.

The theories that say that dogs of a single color tend to suffer from this disease more frequently than those with a white spot are now obsolete. Thanks to responsible breeding, this syndrome has already been greatly reduced. Kidney diseases are also genetic and can appear in cocker spaniels.

Despite these predispositions, most English Cocker Spaniels are robust, and much of these tendencies only affect a small part of the breed. Of course, prevention is better than a cure! Before acquiring an English Cocker Spaniel puppy, find out well about the health care of its parents and ancestors. Many contingencies can be ruled out with a genetic test, thus reducing the risks of inherited diseases. Some things depend on you: if your dog has little entertainment and too much food, he will tend to be overweight.

English Cocker Spaniel

How old does an English Cocker Spaniel live To Be?

A healthy Cocker Spaniel can reach around 15 years of age with proper husbandry and a balanced diet. Feeding for the English Cocker Spaniel It is important to keep the weight of this dog always under supervision as they tend to be overweight. It is best to weigh him frequently. To avoid the extra kilos, you must ensure that you exercise enough and that your diet is balanced. When it comes to giving snacks and sweets, less is more.

In addition to weight, other important factors influence nutrition, such as health, age, and physical activity. These criteria vary from dog to dog, so the diet must be adapted specifically to the quadruped. Apart from the special feed for a cocker spaniel, the BARF diet (biologically adapted raw food) is an alternative type of diet.

So that it receives all the necessary nutrients, it is also given organ meats, vegetables, fruit, and vitamin and mineral supplements. Consult your veterinarian to find out the nutritional needs of your English Cocker Spaniel. Also, pay attention to hygiene: feeders and drinkers should be cleaned regularly.

Although it may seem otherwise, the care of the English Cocker Spaniel is quite complicated. The silky coat should be thoroughly brushed at least every two days, although the ideal is daily. Above all, the fur under the armpits and ears tends to mat. It is important to accustom the dog from puppyhood to caring for the most sensitive areas, such as the belly, with a soft brush, as this is how it learns to enjoy this necessary routine.

After each walk, you must check that they have not dragged pieces of wood, burdocks, or bugs and parasites with their long fur. The lips must be cleaned daily with a damp cloth. Get your dog used to this also from a young age to avoid lip inflammation. Finally, the love for the water of the cocker spaniel can complicate the care of the coat, as many specimens of this breed are attracted to mud puddles. As a consequence, you will have to bathe them after the walk.

The fur must be cut every two months. The hair on the back, lips, under the ears, and belly are trimmed. You can cut your dog’s hair yourself with some patience and the necessary material (trimming scissors, scissors, brush, comb, blade). Also, trim excess hair from the legs to avoid dirt and infection. The humid climate in the hanging ears favors the appearance of fungi on the skin, irritations, and infections. Observe your furry’s ears daily. The ideal for dental care is specific snacks or toys for dogs.

Education And Training

The Cocker Spaniel is a natural hunter who needs a consistent but loving education. Before the arrival of the new member of the family, it is convenient to set clear rules and comply with them. Otherwise, any exception will be the new rule for this headstrong dog. If the rules are followed, then education will be easy even for first-timers.

The English Cocker Spaniel’s trademark gluttony makes rewards easy during education, but beware: don’t be swayed by the pleading look your adorable dog gives you to get what he wants. Keep meal and snack times to the table. Another way to reward your furry is through small games of throwing and looking for the ball or other objects to satisfy his collector instinct. Finally, try to keep his passion for tracking under control as a puppy so that you can take him out for a walk without a lead.

English Cocker Spaniel

Despite its small and cheerful appearance, the English Cocker Spaniel has the soul of a hunting dog, so it needs a lot of exercise and entertainment, at least one to two hours a day. In addition to the walks, it is important to keep your head occupied with games of search or catching objects or training with a dummy. Some Cocker Spaniels even dare to jump into the water.

Runners consider them ideal as companions, as long as they are guided step by step to training. They take on tracking tasks with joy and are ideal for trailing or searching activities. They love exercise and entertainment but also pampering with their bonding persona. An active and fit English Cocker Spaniel is a faithful companion who will rub off on his good humor.

The English Cocker Spaniel has the optimal qualities of a family pet: he is friendly, affectionate, loyal, and playful. It is ideal for sporty families who love to hang out outdoors. He also tends to get along well with other domestic animals, while his hunting instincts can be overcome outside.

Before acquiring one of these active dogs, make sure that you have enough time for the next fifteen years to entertain and care for it as well as provide it with daily exercise. Consider different options in case of illness or vacation, and if you want the furry to go with you on a trip, find out in advance about hotels and accommodations that accept animals. Also, check that no member of the family is allergic to dogs.

In general, this breed gets along very well with children, but it is important that you set clear rules for your children on how to treat the furry one not to impede a beautiful friendship. Finally, besides the high cost of this breed and the basic equipment (leashes, feeders, blankets, toys, carrier, baskets), you must have the costs of balanced food and veterinary reviews. Serious illnesses can lead to unexpected expenses.

Before the dog’s arrival, you could go looking for a nice school for dogs to socialize your dog and receive advice on the education and entertainment of your new canine friend. If it is your first experience with a furry, find out well about the proper diet for dogs, as the English Cocker Spaniel tends to be overweight.


Since it is such a popular breed, there are a large number of English Cocker Spaniel breeders. Choosing a puppy should be a decision made not only with the heart but also with the head. Take the time to choose a responsible breeder who puts quality before quantity with healthy breeding animals. Avoid all those who are not part of a breeding club or show you the breeding evidence.

A good breeder pays special attention to the health of the parents and their ancestors, wide socialization, leaves enough time for the mother to recover between litters, and shows interest in the new home of her young. In general, they are people you can contact in case of any questions regarding your puppy, even after taking him home. The puppy is vaccinated, dewormed, and is delivered to you with a pedigree, vaccination card, and chip.

As they are such a popular breed, they end up in the animal shelter from time to time. The advantage here is, above all, for newbies, as they acquire an already educated English Cocker Spaniel. Although there are also those dogs that end up in the shelter because their previous caregivers were overwhelmed with their education, little knowledge and patience are required.

In general, you can find out if you and the dog will make a good team by talking with the handlers. Giving an older animal a second chance is undoubtedly a very enriching experience.

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