The Faithful and Friendly English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

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spaniel dog cocker spaniel english standing in field

The English Cocker Spaniel is a merry, yet mellow dog breed. English Cocker Spaniels are medium sized dogs with big hearts. Both emotionally and physically. They are friendly, people-driven dogs and have super stamina when out working in the field.

A Brief History of the English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

Spaniels are generally considered to be the oldest of the “sporting dog” breeds. In a time before the invention of reliable hunting rifles, the English Spaniel breeds were developed from Spanish stock (“spaniel” derived from “Spanish”).

These dogs used to aid in hunting birds. The different types of spaniel were initially categorized as either land spaniels or water spaniels. Depending on what kind of game they hunted for.

Land spaniels were further divided by their size. The larger dogs categorized as “springing spaniels” or “field spaniels”. The smaller types categorized as “cocking spaniels” as they specialized in flushing a type of bird known as a woodcock.

Cocker Spaniel English vs. American: What’s the Difference?

In 1946, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the two different types of dogs: the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. While the conformation of the English Cocker Spaniel stayed true to its hunting legacy, the American Cocker Spaniel was gradually bred to be smaller with a more luscious coat.

The English Cocker is taller with a deeper chest. It has a lighter coat and a long square muzzle. Its American cousin has a more rounded skull and a shorter muzzle. These dogs are companions rather than sporting dogs.

Types of English Cocker Spaniels!

As far as purebred dogs go, there are only two types of cocker spaniels (CS) – the English CS and the American CS. There are, however, several different types of spaniels.

As mentioned, Spaniels divide into two groups: land spaniels and water spaniels. Land spaniels include the English Cocker, the Field Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, and the Welsh and English Springer Spaniel. Water Spaniels include the Irish Water Spaniel and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje.

Within the English Cocker Spaniel breeding lines, there are two tendencies. The first is for an athletic, working dog. The second ‘style’ of English Cocker is the one you find in the show ring.

Field Dogs aka Working Dogs

Field dogs are sporty and have agility and stamina. The ‘field bred’ Cockers will come from hunting lines. These dogs are usually larger and more athletic.

They tend to have deeper chests to accommodate a bigger heart and more capacious lungs. This contributes to greater stamina and athleticism while out working in the field.

Show Dogs

English Cockers destined for the show ring rather than the hunting fields are bred with different goals in mind. The show ring versions have a more extravagant coat. They are usually smaller dogs with a finer bone structure. Their muzzles are shorter and the length at which their tails are docked is different.

The Appearance of this Cute and Cuddly Breed

The English Cocker Spaniel has a neat and compact conformation. The dog stands well up at the withers with an alert expression. These Spaniels have soulful eyes set wide apart.

One of the signature characteristics of the Cocker Spaniels is their ears. They are set low, hang long, and lie close to the head.

two english spaniels sitting with a cocker spaniel puppy

The Many English Cocker Spaniel Colors! 

English Cocker Spaniels come in all the colors of the rainbow! Many of them are parti-color, i.e. white with black, red, or liver.

  • Black. Spaniels can have an entirely black coat or be black with discreet white spots in. For example, a small white star on the chest.
  • Black and Tan exhibits as a black dog with tan points on the nose, feet, and/or ears.
  • Red. A warm and golden color with a coppery shine.
  • Liver is a darker version of the red. A red-brown sort of color.
  • Blue Roan. This is the most popular of the EC coat colors.
  • Golden. Very similar in color to that of a Golden Retriever, but towards the darker end of the spectrum.

What Are Their Grooming Requirements?

Spaniels have a medium-length coat and are moderate shedders. To prevent the formation of mats, their coat should be groomed 2-3 times per week.

Most Spaniels enjoy swimming so regular baths should not be necessary. Unless of course, they have rolled in something decidedly unpalatable!

Average Size and Weight of These Spaniel Breeds!

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog. The height of the male dogs is between 16 and 17 inches (40 – 42.5 cm) at the shoulder.

Female ECs measure at between 15 and 16 inches (37.5 – 40 cm). Males weigh in at 28 – 34 pounds (12.5 – 15.5 kg). Females weigh 26 – 32 pounds (11.5 – 14.5 kg).

Temperament, Trainability, and Personality: What to Expect!

Affectionate, playful, friendly, intelligent and loyal. All round, a wonderful companion dog. English Cockers make for great family dogs. They also get along well with most furry family members too. They are highly intelligent dogs, which makes them a delight to train.

Most Spaniels love to work. Intellectual stimulation will be important in ensuring a well-balanced, obedient dog. The English Cockers are athletic dogs that need regular exercise and will enjoy activities such as agility and flyball too!

Spaniel Mix? The Absolutely Adorable Golden Cocker Retriever

The Golden Cocker Retriever is the ultimate “Forever Puppy”. This adorable hound is a combination of a Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel.

The appearance and personality type of this pooch depends very much on its parents and can vary from pup to pup and litter to litter. Some aspects are pretty certain though. You will more than likely end up with a sweet and doting dog who loves to hang out with you.

The golden cocker retriever will very likely require a great deal of exercise. They should be intelligent and easy to train though.

How Long Do English Cocker Spaniels Live?

If you feed your Spaniel a well-balanced, veterinarian-approved diet, you can expect a lifespan of 12 – 14 years. Regular vet checks go a long way to ensure a long and happy life. Keep up to date with vaccinations and deworming. Consistent, age-appropriate exercise is also important to keep your dog fit and healthy.

english cocker spaniel colors two dogs running on grass

8 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!

Unfortunately, many purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems. If you get a puppy from a responsible breeder, you shouldn’t have to worry about these. Yet, it is good to familiarize yourself with the possibilities.

  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Cocker Spaniels are prone to many different eye problems. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disease that can eventually lead to complete blindness.
  2. Patellar Luxation: A luxating patella is basically a kneecap dislocation. It is a genetic condition and is most common in small dog breeds.
  3. Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is the result of a deformity in the hip joint. Genetics, lifestyle, environment and/or diet are all factors that can contribute to this condition.
  4. Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a common disease characterized by a reduction in the production and/or release of hormones from the thyroid. Symptoms include a dull coat, slow heart rate, lethargy, and weight gain. Fortunately, this condition is easily and effectively treated with synthetic thyroid hormone supplements.
  5. Juvenile-onset Renal Failure: This is a failure of the kidneys between the ages of 9 and 24 months.
  6. Cataracts: Cataracts are typically noted by the cloudy film that develops over the eye. This milky appearance is caused by the breakdown of the fibers in the eye’s lens. If you catch them early enough, you can cure them with surgery.
  7. Hemolytic Anemia: This is a disease of the immune system. It is caused by components of the dog’s immune system identifying red blood cells as imposters and killing them off.
  8. Ear Infections and Deafness: Some degree of deafness, early-or late-onset, is quite ubiquitous within the Spaniel breeds. You should ask for a clearance certificate from the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test if you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

English Cocker Spaniel Puppies for Sale!

Do you have your heart set on an English Cocker Spaniel puppy? The next step is finding a reputable breeder. Have a look at the Breeders’ Club website or the AKC website for a list of breeders in your area.

For good advice on EC Spaniel breeders, you could ask at your local veterinarian or other English Cocker owners that you might know.

How Much Does an English Cocker Spaniel Puppy Cost?

The cost of a purebred dog depends very much on the breeder that you are purchasing your puppy from. An English Cocker Spaniel puppy could cost you anywhere between $ 900 – $ 1200. You could pay as little as $ 400 though.

A word of caution: don’t go for the cheapest puppy. There are sometimes (not always) good reasons for the expense of buying a puppy from a breeder.

Responsible breeders incur many costs ensuring that their pups are raised healthily and correctly. Having all the vet checks and health checks done in the breeding stock costs money. As does creating a healthy and appropriate environment to raise the young puppies in.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Spaniel Rescues!

There are several options available to you should you want to adopt a dog. Even it is a purebred pooch you’re after. Breed groups and their websites are a great place to start your search for your very own Spaniel friend.

You could also contact your local vet or pet stores to find out about rescuing a Spaniel.

adorable english cocker spaniel puppies sleeping in trunk

Common Questions About the English Cocker Spaniel

How Many Types of Cocker Spaniels are there?

Do English Cocker Spaniels Make for Good Family Dogs?

Are English Spaniels Easy to Train?

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