English Cocker Spaniel

AKC Group: Sporting

The English Cocker Spaniel dates back to the 1300s. They became divided into two types: land or water spaniels. In 1800, they were further divided into seven breeds: the Welsh springer, English Springer, Sussex, Clumber, Field, Irish Water and Cocker. Any spaniel weighing less than 25 pounds was considered a Cocker. The Cocker Spaniel (and all spaniels) were used to drive game towards the guns, but did not retrieve. Until 1892, Springer and Cocker Spaniels were considered the same breed. Then the Kennel Club of England stepped in and separated them which led them to be bred with different personalities. (Today, these two dogs differ greatly.) In 1940, the American and English Cocker Spaniel were deemed separate breeds. Personality-wise, they’re identical, but they have different faces and the English Cocker Spaniel is larger. The Cocker Spaniel was so named as they became prolific hunters of woodcock (once they were allowed to retrieve game). Their small size helped them in their pursuit.

Size: 14 to 17 inches; 25 to 35 pounds

Color: Black, liver, red, black and tan, liver and tan. Any of these colors against a white background. Particolored, ticked or roan patterned.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, kidney disorders, deafness, cataracts. Allergies, seizures and thyroid issues have also been noted in some bloodlines.

The English Cocker Spaniel is a small, handsome, sturdy built dog with a gorgeous silky coat. Long, silky ears frame their sweet faces.

Cockers are eager, playful, cheerful dogs who give so much affection! They love to be around the ones they love. They can become too dependent and turn clingy, so you may have to teach him independence. A sensitive breed, they can be too shy and submissive. Socialize him to new people, situations and other animals to increase his confidence. Eager to please and intelligent, a Cocker is a breeze to train. Housebreaking may be a hassle and some Cockers love to bark. Cockers love kids, other companions and even strangers. Cockers can get possessive of their toys.

You’ll need to brush your Cocker every other day so his coat won’t mat and to keep his natural oils flowing so he looks sleek. His coat may be clipped every few months. Check his ears often to ensure they’re clean and dry — look out for infections. Cockers tend to be naturally obedient. If you have a female Cocker, you may find she’s a bit more stubborn than a male Cocker. Cockers excel at competitive obedience training, so don’t shy away from this activity. They are sensitive dogs, so don’t be harsh. Once he’s grasped the basics, you can move on to elaborate tricks (and any kind of advanced competitions). They were bred to work. A Cocker does much better when his life has a purpose. If you’re going to take your Cocker hunting, you’ll find he’s the best darned trained dog in the world. There won’t be any need to talk, he can respond to a hand signal. If you hunt fowl (of any kind), this is the ideal dog for you.

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