The Cocker Spaniel

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American Cocker Spaniel
Weight: 24 — 28 lbs
Height: 15” — 16”
AKC Rank 2008 #21
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group Sporting
Origin United States

Dog Breed Info - Cocker Spaniel

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Breed Overview

The Cocker is a happy dog that wants to learn and please his owner. He comes in various colors such as brown, brown and tan, black. Black and tan, and cream.

The American version of the Cocker Spaniel was derived from the English version. In the late 1800’s, many English Cockers were brought to America, but American hunters preferred a slightly smaller dog to hunt quail and other small game birds.

It’s not clear how this smaller Cocker Spaniel was developed. Some credit a small dog named “Obo 2nd,” born around 1880, as the first true Cocker. Initially, the English and American Cocker Spaniels were considered varieties of the same breed, but they were officially separated by the AKC in 1935. Although Cocker's were already popular after the separation, the American Cocker surged in popularity and has remained one of the most loved breeds in America.

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"How To Train Your Cocker Spaniel" is a 96 page hardcover book that helps you decide if you want to get a dog, ideas for caring for the dog and training it. This is a 5-star customer approval rated document.

How to Train Your Cocker Spaniel (Tr-106)


Intelligent, easy to train for hunting and general obedience. Use clicker training for excellent results. Dogs love it and it's easy to do/ Pick up a clicker at any pet store for around $3.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your American Cocker Spaniel? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Cocker Spaniels are fairly easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

6 week old Cocker Spaniel puppy
waiting for her master to return.

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The Cocker Spaniel is playful, friendly, cheerful, willing to please and responsive to it’s family. The dog is not known for retaining it's hunting instincts.

Some bark a lot, some are overly submissive. The Cocker Spaniel is a highly social dog but some can be temperamental.

If you happen to get a Cocker Spaniel with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes. Generally good with other dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Good with other pets in the house. Be careful with cats.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Pretty good. Likes people, generally accepting.


Yes. Very playful dog.


Very affectionate. Cocker's need lots of attention and human contact.

Good with children

No. They can be temperamental and don’t tolerate the nonsense kids throw at them.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. Lovable, quiet and loyal as well as a very good watchdog. As long as the senior can walk, this dog is good to go. It craves attention and needs plenty of brushing which a senior would have the time to offer. Find a Cocker Spaniel rescue or local kennel for a more mature dog if longevity is a problem for the senior.

Living environment

The Cocker Spaniel needs a house with a medium size yard. It's also a great farm dog. Needs room to roam and snoop around as well as chase balls and play fetch.

Energy level

Energetic. Likes to play, walk and run.

Exercise needs, daily

Needs to keep busy. Play, walks. Can get into trouble if not exercised enough.A long daily walk, or a good romp in the yard should suffice for the Cocker Spaniel.


Yes. Barks at strange noises and doorbells.

Guard dog



Some. (low)


You can trim this dog back to a standard “dog” cut or leave the fur long as in the photo above for a show dog.

If you leave the fur long on your Cocker Spaniel, brush it out daily and see a professional groomer every 4-8 weeks.If you cut it back, brush it weekly.

The ears need cleaning weekly with a cotton swab.


Suggested Reading - The Cocker Spaniel

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.


Cocker Spaniel Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Cocker Spaniel puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training. It's not often that Cocker Spaniel puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway as sometimes they raid illegal breeders and come up with surprises.
American Cocker Spaniel Breeders with puppies for sale.

Cocker Spaniel Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Cocker Spaniel and are looking for a Cocker Spaniel rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dog Rescue - (Nationwide)Be sure to check into dog health and any past issues before you adopt a dog.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas. There are more Cocker Spaniel rescue sites online and of course check locally for Cocker Spaniel rescue kennels, dog breed rescue groups etc.

Dog Health Issues For The Cocker Spaniel
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Cocker by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness / medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

The Cocker Spaniel is basically a healthy dog. As with all dog breeds, there are certain inherent health problems that arise as time goes on. Some breeds are prone to one disease more than others.


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