- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: high
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: high
- Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: aware
- Registered?: aca, akc
Cocker Spaniel Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Cocker Spaniel has origins from both Spain and the U.K. and is a popular dog breed with a jovial and sweet personality. Being the smallest member of the American Kennel Club’s sporting group, the energetic Cocker Spaniel’s original purpose was as a hunting or “bird” dog. Today, the Cocker Spaniel has become more of a companion breed for most people. However, they still have the characteristics of the original hunting breed in many ways. For a period between the 1930s and 1950s, the Cocker Spaniel was one of the most popular and most registered dogs with the AKC in the United States. All things considered, the Cocker Spaniel makes for a fantastic family pet and a welcome addition to any home.
Cocker Spaniels have playful and jubilant personalities. Being very loyal and friendly, they are not known to be an aggressive dog breed with their families. As with all dog breeds, early socialization and training is recommended. Furthermore, when socialized properly, they should be a good fit for a family with children. It’s important to keep in mind that, being a bird dog, they do come from a sporting background, so it may take some additional training to keep them from trying to chase down every squirrel they see.
The Cocker Spaniel is a highly adaptable dog breed. They can thrive on a 10-acre farm or a condo in Manhattan, all it takes is the right amount of activity and/or exercise. They love attention, so being introduced to new people or having visitors should not be an issue when properly introduced. Because of the level of alertness required to be a hunting dog being present in their genes, Cocker Spaniels may be somewhat sensitive to chaotic environments or large gatherings, so ease your pup into the settings and reassure them. This dog breed thrives on attention, so being left alone for long periods of time is not a good fit. A Cocker Spaniel will need to be an active, everyday part of your family activities.
Cocker Spaniels are generally healthy when properly cared for. Breeder and owner care can avoid most major health complications regarding this canine. As with all dogs, there are certain potential genetic issues to be aware of with the Cocker Spaniel in particular. Later in life, Cocker Spaniels can develop cataracts or potential joint issues. With proper care, screening, and veterinary care, many of these instances can be avoided. It is recommended that breeders screen their sires and dams and acquire eye clearances and joint clearances for all breeding dogs.
The Cocker Spaniel is an extremely intelligent dog. Positive and consistent training will lead to an obedient and well-behaved member of your pack. They can tend to be a bit stubborn, so novice owners should consider the assistance of dog obedience training to ensure training success. A key to successfully building a positive training relationship with your Cocker Spaniel is a positive and reward-based approach. The Cocker Spaniel can be somewhat sensitive to any type of harsh reprimand and they can also sense their owner’s frustration, so patience and a gentle tone is key for connecting with this pup.
The Cocker Spaniel has a long, smooth, and wavy coat, which will require daily brushing and care to remain tangle-free and healthy. Ignoring a Cocker Spaniel’s coat and not grooming them properly can lead to tangles and mats. As a puppy, using a brush at the same time as stroking the coat with your hand is a good way for your pet to get used to the feeling of being groomed. With care and attention, grooming can become a bonding experience for you and your puppy, and one they will love.
Also, gently handle your puppy’s paws early on. By getting them used to having their paws handled, nail trimming will not be difficult as they grow. Be sure when trimming any dog’s nails to not cut them too short, which can cut the quick and cause bleeding. When in doubt, seek the help of a professional groomer.
This dog breed is known for its long floppy ears, which must stay clean. Trimming the fur under the lower part of the ear will help with this and will also help the inner ear to stay dry. As important as it is to keep your pup’s nails trimmed to the proper length, it is imperative that you pay attention to dental care as well. You should make your pet comfortable with nail trimming, ear care, and brushing their teeth at an early age.
At their core, the Cocker Spaniel is a high-energy bird-dog with an immense prey drive. If you’re looking for a couch potato, this may not be the breed for you. However, if you have an active family that is on the go, loves camping, or the outdoors in general, the Cocker Spaniel is a perfect fit. A properly exercised Cocker Spaniel will often be a well-behaved member of your pack.
The average height of this breed is between 14 and 17 inches tall at the withers. The average weight of the Cocker Spaniel should be between 24 and 29 pounds. The size of your specific pup will be based on the gender and genetics of the parents.
The Cocker Spaniel generally lives between 12 and 15 years.
“That’s Amore!” An animated version of an American Cocker Spaniel portrayed one of the main characters “Lady” in the 1955 Disney feature film “Lady and the Tramp”.