English Cocker Spaniel: Care, History, and Unique Traits

This medium-sized English sporting dog has feathered ears, a strong build, and silky smooth fur on its legs, torso, and ears. It is known as the English cocker spaniel. Hard work and family life are equally satisfying to this breed, which also makes a loyal companion.

Even though all spaniels originated from the same lines, the English cocker spaniel is distinguished from the others today by its attractive appearance and amiable personality. English cocker spaniels make wonderful family pets since they are energetic yet peaceful.

Characteristics of the English Cocker Spaniel

English cocker spaniels, renowned for their devoted and caring dispositions, are an excellent breed option for households with young children. These athletic dogs require owners who can keep up with their demanding activity schedules, whether it be going for walks, rides on bikes, hikes, or runs.

English cocker spaniels are intelligent and eager to please their owners, so training them to do simple obedience and even some fun tricks should come naturally to them.

History of the English Cocker Spaniel

The English cocker spaniel originated from a wider breed of hunting dogs that were raised to be dependable and devoted field companions both in Britain and abroad. Any given litter could produce both cocker spanielsā€”smaller dogs adept at hunting woodcock birdsā€”and springer spaniels, prized for their ability to jump and “spring” birds from their hiding places.

There was more type differentiation within the cocker spaniel breed. These canines, sometimes known as American cocker spaniels, are distinct from the slightly bigger English spaniels that were bred to have longer legs, a shorter back, and less fur.

When the English cocker spaniel received official breed recognition from the AKC in 1935, the division became official. Today, this devoted pet remains a popular dog on both sides of the pond. Even the royal family of England recognizes the noble qualities of this breed: Kate Middleton and Prince William have an English cocker spaniel named Lupo that they bred from a dog that belonged to her parents.

English Cocker Spaniel Care

While English cocker spaniels don’t need a lot of care to be happy, healthy pets, they do need some extra attention. Even though they are simple to teach, they require regular grooming and a lot of exercise to maintain their manners at home due to their smooth hair.


Since these dogs are athletes, they have boundless energy and require something to release. Organize an hour and a half of daily exercise for your English cocker spaniel, which can be played outside, taken on long walks, or run. These dogs might become agitated or destructive if they don’t get enough exercise.

After an active day, your English cocker spaniel will be content to rest and relax within the home, even if they can run alongside you for hours on end.


Regular grooming is perhaps the most time commitment you’ll give to your English cocker spaniel, excluding daily exercise. These dogs have a gorgeous coat due to their medium-length, silky hair, which can quickly become matted.

Excessive shedding is easier to manage the more you can brush and care for the coat. The majority of English cocker spaniel owners regularly take their dog to a groomer in order to maintain the greatest possible coat condition.

It’s common to need to clip the hair around the stomach and legs to keep it from getting wild. Additionally, you should periodically examine your spaniel’s ears for unusual smells or excessive wax accumulation, as well as brush their teeth and trim their nails.


Since English cocker spaniels have a strong desire to please their owners, training them is typically not too tough. Puppies as young as eight weeks old can start basic obedience training. They require a lot of encouragement, though, because they are sensitive beings.

In addition to contributing to unwanted behaviors like submissive urination or separation anxiety, harsh training methods can induce fear and anxiety. If you are a hunter, these sporting dogs appear to be quite adept at what they do and grasp their responsibilities with ease.

Diet and Nutrition

Give your English cocker spaniel dog food that is complete and well-balanced twice a day. You may want to consider a diet with fewer ingredients if your dog has food sensitivities or allergies. Pay special attention to your English cocker spaniel’s weight. For assistance in creating a nutritious diet plan that takes your dog’s age, weight, and activity level into account, consult your veterinarian.

Common Health Problems

English cocker spaniels are susceptible to inherited health issues, much like other purebred canines. Before breeding, conscientious breeders check potential parent dogs for hereditary problems. This breed is linked to the following ailments:

Allergies: Foods and environmental allergens cause allergies in several breeds. Certain allergies can be tested for by your veterinarian.

Benign tumors: It is important to conduct tests to rule out cancer and other diseases if your dog develops abnormal growths or cysts on their skin.

Cataracts: Dogs are susceptible to cataracts, which are cloudy spots on the eyes that can impair vision, just like people.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Eventually, blindness results from this condition that affects the dog’s retina.

Ear infections: Dogs that have floppy ears are more likely to get ear infections. Regular cleaning and inspection of the ears is recommended by owners to avoid issues.

Hearing loss: The abnormal genes that cause particolored English cocker spaniels to become deaf can also cause hearing loss.

Luxating Patella: This ailment results in your dog’s knee popping in and out of place; in more extreme situations, surgery might be necessary.

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, affects the body’s capacity to create vital hormones. In order to reduce the likelihood that you may adopt a dog with any of these health issues, look for breeders who do testing from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals on each parent dog’s hips and knees.

If you’re thinking about getting a particolored English cocker spaniel, you might also consider taking the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals’ brainstem audiotry evoked response (BAER) hearing test.

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