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English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel
Other names: cocker

The English Cocker Spaniel is a friendly hunting dog bred in the UK specifically for searching and lifting feathered game under shot.

Brief information

  • Breed name: English Cocker Spaniel
  • Country of Origin: UK
  • The time of the birth of the breed: XIX century
  • Weight: 13-14.5 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 39-41 cm, females 38-39 cm
  • Life expectancy: 13-14 years


  • Loudly barking about and without is one of the favorite pastimes of Cocker spaniels, so get earplugs or train your own patience and endurance.
  • English cockers do not like strangers, but they do not experience strong aggression towards them and certainly will not bite anyone, so for an experienced burglar to take valuables out of the apartment in which the "Englishman" lives is a matter of a few minutes.
  • Properly educated adult animals are very careful in everyday life: they do not spoil furniture and shoes, do not tear wallpaper, do not steal the owner's sweets and ask to go to the toilet themselves.
  • The main defect of the breed is innate nervousness, so during the upbringing of the dog it is easy to overdo the stick, settling in her a sense of insecurity and her own inadequacy.
  • Like their American relatives, English Cocker spaniels cannot stand prolonged loneliness and are very worried if they are deprived of human society.
  • The breed is distinguished by a phenomenal flair and a strong hunting instinct, due to which its representatives are often attracted to the search for drugs and other psychotropic substances.
  • It doesn't matter whether the English Cocker spaniel lives in an apartment or spends his days in a country aviary - walking the dog twice a day, loading it with additional physical exercises is your direct duty. Otherwise, get ready for the "miraculous" transformation of a pet into a lazy, hysterical and very fat creature.

English Cocker Spaniel is an athlete, an avid hunter and a tireless adventurer who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. It is with him that you will begin to find the charm of walking in any weather, acquire primary grooming skills and begin to absorb Bourgeois grouse for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if, of course, you seriously approach the issue of coaching). And it's just fun with a Cocker spaniel, because this prankster is inexhaustible for all sorts of inventions and will always prefer live communication to passive lying on the couch.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Activity ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Training ?
Easy ( Rating 4/5)
Molt ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Need for care ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Friendliness ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Health ?
Below Average ( Rating 2/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Attitude to Loneliness ?
Short Periods ( Rating 2/5)
Intelligence ?
Smart ( Rating 4/5)
Noise ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Security qualities ?
Good ( Rating 4/5)
*The characteristics of the English Cocker Spaniel breed are based on the assessment of experts and reviews of dog owners.

History of the English Cocker Spaniel breed

English Cocker Spaniel

Despite the fact that the official history of the breed begins with the XIX century, residents of the UK got to know its representatives much earlier. Well, to be more precise, all English cockers descended from spaniels that have lived on the shores of Foggy Albion since time immemorial. The spaniels themselves were ranked by scientists as relatives of ancient ash dogs that accompanied humans in the Bronze Age. Although some experts still consider the Mediterranean coast to be the birthplace of animals, citing as proof the old French name of the breed "espaigneul", that is, literally, the Spanish dog. However, be that as it may, the ancestors of the Cockers in England took root and even began to participate in crossbreeding experiments, which led to the stratification of this dog tribe.

By nature, all spaniels are good pursuers of feathered game. However, in the XIX century, the hunting qualities of dogs underwent a large-scale "upgrade" on the part of breeders, as a result of which the spaniel genus split into two distinct families. Large individuals, the so-called field spaniels, whose weight exceeded 11 kg, began to compete with their more lightweight counterparts – the ancestors of today's cockers. By the way, the British esquires themselves preferred to go for feathered game with more massive dogs, leaving the Cocker spaniels to hunt woodcocks, which gave the animals a start in life.

1893 is the year of the official recognition of the English Cocker Spaniel breed and its final separation from the Field Spaniel clan. At first, the weight of dogs was strictly regulated by the standard, which somewhat slowed down their breeding. But when the restrictions were lifted, British nurseries were able to catch up in just a few years. The breed was imported to Russia several times, but it did not cause a storm of delight among both breeders and ordinary people. As a result, the full-fledged breeding of English Cocker spaniels in our country began with a great delay, approximately from the mid-70s.

Curious fact: British breeders claim that the word "cocker" in the name of the breed is a shortened form of the English "woodcock" – woodcock.

Video: English Cocker Spaniel

Appearance of the English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel puppy

Although outwardly the English cocker is inferior to its glamorous american "cousin", he does not look like a poor relative against his background. In general, the "British" are larger than the "Americans" (the average weight of an adult male is 13-14.5 kg) and a centimeter or two higher than them at the withers. At the same time, they have quite a harmonious physique. The dog looks especially graceful in motion and it does not matter at all whether it is rushing across the field for prey or just trying to catch a frisbee disc.


The English Cocker Spaniel has a normal, not stretched in width and moderately short skull. The muzzle is proportional, square, with a raised stop.


Massive, with a classic type of bite ("scissors").


The exceptional flair of English Cocker Spaniels is provided by a fleshy nose with wide, open nostrils.


Large, without noticeable bulge, dark brown or brown colors. For dogs with chocolate fur, nutty shades of the iris are typical.


Long, oval, low set. Covered with soft, silky hair. The type of ear cloth is hanging.


The neck of a proper English cocker should not be very long, strong, muscular and without folds.

The muzzle of an English Cocker spaniel


Purebred representatives of the breed have a strong body of compact size. The back of the English Cocker Spaniel is straight, without a hint of sagging. The croup is massive, but short. The chest is moderately deep, spacious, but without noticeable bulge and barrel shape.


Great guys

Strong, straight and not excessively elongated legs are considered an ideal option. The shoulders and knees of this breed are well bent, which makes the dog's movements more free, and the reach of the forelimbs is large. An elastic push to the English cocker is provided by good angles of the joints of the metatarsal and hock joint. The paws of the animal are rounded, with tightly adjacent fingers and elastic pads.


The tail of the representatives of the English Cocker Spaniel breed is traditionally docked. But since this procedure is prohibited in a number of countries, there are individuals at exhibitions who have never been subjected to it. The natural length of the dog's tail is up to the hocks, the landing is noticeably below the level of the back, the shape is thickened at the base and tapering as it approaches the tip. The cropped tail should not be too short, which will prevent the "Englishman" from clearly expressing his own emotions and, as a result, will significantly worsen his hunting performance.


Adjacent, very soft, not curly and not wavy. On the front and hind legs, abdomen and groin area, the hair is more abundant, with a small wave. There are oches present.


English cocker spaniel puppy of black and white color

The FCI standard gives English Cocker spaniels the right to single-color, spotted, tricolor and speckled types of colors.

Solid (monochrome):

  • Golden;
  • black;
  • red;
  • chocolate;
  • liver with scorch marks;
  • black with tan markings.


  • fawn with white;
  • red with white;
  • liver with white;
  • black and white.


  • black and white with tan;
  • liver-white with tan.


  • fawn roan;
  • red roan;
  • blue roan;
  • liver roan;
  • liver roan with scorch marks;
  • blue roan with scorch marks.

Defects and disqualifying vices

There are a lot of reasons to lower the rating of exhibition cocker spaniels, ranging from curly hair to a short neck. The disadvantages that exclude the possibility of an animal getting into the "champions league" also include a deformed deflection or a hunchbacked back, a cow's set of limbs and white "patches" on the chest and throat of individuals with monocras.

An English cocker can be eliminated from the competition at the selection stage only if he has malocclusion, pink lobe, depigmented lips, yellowish irises and cryptorchidism. Aggressive individuals and dogs moving at an amble have nothing to do at exhibitions either.

Photo of an English cocker spaniel

The character of the English Cocker Spaniel

Child playing with English Cocker spaniels

English Cocker spaniels are inquisitive, self-aware hustlers with a friendly, but by no means weak character. They will appreciate and obey the owner by default, but they will not allow the rest of the household to manipulate themselves. Moreover, when trying to force a pet to do something, get ready to observe stubbornness and skillful imitation of misunderstanding. If we are talking about respect, then first of all the dog experiences it in relation to the owner, and secondly – to itself. Children in this hierarchical pyramid occupy the penultimate step. Yes, the "English" are happy to play with them, but do not expect angelic patience and iron endurance from the dog when the child begins to cause her serious discomfort or pain.

Most cockers are peaceful and get along (exceptions are also possible), so it is quite acceptable to move cats and other dogs to them. But in the case of birds, not everything is so smooth. Left alone with canaries, parrots or chickens, a pet is unlikely to cope with the temptation to hone his hunting techniques on them. The call of the ancestors – nothing can be done. In the games, the "English" are a kind of Nancy Drew in dog form. Having an excellent nose (American cockers rest) and excellent eyesight, they love to play detectives and find seemingly forever lost objects. During walking, most individuals turn on the "excavator" mode and begin to excavate on flower beds and sand slides, which looks very funny from the outside.

As for temperament, inside every English Cocker Spaniel there lives a restless party-goer who despises regularity and grandeur. These long-eared vivacious people are sincerely glad of any company. And the more participants there are, the better, because the dogs really like to play in public. Born tacticians and psychologists, the "British" will always find a way to squeeze into even the least friendly dog collective and gain a foothold in it in the position of a shaggy mass entertainer.

Recently, more and more breeders have noted the love of English cockers for traveling by various types of transport. So, for example, taking advantage of the owner's absent-mindedness, during a walk they can easily jump on a shuttle bus and drive off in an unknown direction. If you have your own car, the Cocker Spaniel will be happy to test its speed by lounging in the back seat and exposing its muzzle to the wind through the open window.

Happy Paws

Education and training

It is unrealistic to make an English Cocker spaniel learn under pressure, but it is very easy to interest him in a new, unusual type of activity. Cockers are simply turned on motor activity, so it is best to comprehend lessons associated with reasonable physical exertion, presented in a playful way. The intelligence of this breed is also fine, so it won't take much time to master basic team techniques, but classes should not be long and monotonously repetitive – so the dog will quickly lose interest in them.

Master, take the leash

The upbringing of an English cocker begins with his socialization. At 2-3 months old, the baby needs to be taught to observe subordination and etiquette norms, as well as to overcome fear of strangers. Possessing gourmet inclinations and a keen nose, little English Cocker spaniels like to watch how the owner eats, managing to simultaneously play the role of a hungry sufferer. Do not be fooled by such shows and in no case treat the pretender with food from your own table. Each such concession reduces your credibility in the eyes of the dog, which quickly begins to understand how to push to get what you want. Extremes are also best avoided. An authoritarian parenting style for a puppy is just as harmful as excessive lisping. Teach your pet basic commands unobtrusively, but persistently and systematically.

Despite the mimic appearance, English Cocker spaniels are no strangers to leadership habits. Usually, a wave of independence covers puppies aged 3-4 months. During this period, the dog tries to take the position of the head of the house, displacing the owner from it. If you do not want to be under the heel of a shaggy dominant, you will have to prove your own worth to him hourly. The methods can be very different. In particular, during walks it is better to "extinguish" the emotional outbursts of the pet. Use prohibitions more often in everyday life, and also do not let a puppy walking on a leash drag you along with him in tow.

Trying on an English cocker collar starts from 3 months. It is better to wear the "accessory" for the first time during the game so that the animal does not notice it. You can do this procedure before feeding: food will distract the dog from unpleasant sensations for her. At first, you should choose a longer leash, gradually shortening it in the process of getting used to it. If the puppy is 8 months old, you can proceed to the OKD (General Training Course), which is considered a mandatory program for Cocker spaniels. Even if you are not going to take your pet hunting, he is obliged to obey your requirements.

Nataska English cocker Spaniel

Hunting with an English Cocker Spaniel

In modern conditions, "Englishmen" smoothly change their qualifications, increasingly turning into sports dogs and frisky companions. However, the hunting instincts of the breed do not suffer from this situation. English Cocker spaniels can work with both marsh and field, or even with hog game. However, given the fact that each bird species has its own smell, different in intensity, it is unlikely to train a dog for both snipe and grouse at once. Experienced owners recommend starting to introduce your pet to hunting with a wading bird. According to observations, the dog, who deftly manages the hollows, shows himself no worse when working with quails. At the same time, dogs that are used to raising only field inhabitants on the wing, slow down and get lost in wetlands.

The English Cocker Spaniel is trained from an early age and in a playful way. For example, you can tie a bird's wing on a string and pull it in front of the nose of a 3-month-old puppy. The surprised animal will immediately try to grab the animated bunch of feathers, and your task is to let him do it. Just do not allow the puppy to chew the "prey", because later this habit will be transferred to real hunting trophies. At 4 months old, babies are trained to search for and offer objects. The dog is given a sniff of a bird carcass, after which they hide it in a secluded place and offer to find the missing. At first, you can use hints – a hand gesture in the direction of the object or a deliberately created draft that carries the smell of game around the apartment.

The commands "To me!" and "Near!" in hunting dogs should be worked out to automatism, so the OKD passed before the natasha is only good for the English cocker. Another important skill is indifference to shots, which is the most difficult for the "British". To accustom a pet to the sharp sounds and smell of gunpowder begin in the field. First, the shots are fired at a distance (the optimal distance is 150 m) and only after the dog gets used to the noise, the gap between the shooter and the animal is gradually reduced.

Important: in order to develop a clear understanding of your requirements and performance in an English Cocker Spaniel, use only one prohibitive command out of several possible ones. Do not disorient the dog with the word "Fu!", if before that she heard from you only "It is impossible!".

It is better to start acquaintance with swamp game with hollows that fly low enough and hard enough. Swamp chickens are also a good object for an inexperienced cocker. In hog hunting, the optimal target will be a black grouse brood. As a rule, English Cocker spaniels are not attracted to working with waterfowl, but it is also possible to train a pet for this type of game if desired. Wait until mid-July, when the ducklings will grow up, but not fully fledge, and start training. Well, an option for the most seasoned is hunting a hare. Why is it for aged? Because spaniels love to aimlessly chase big-eared, in 99% of cases leaving the owner without prey.

Maintenance and care

Grooming of an English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker spaniels feel most comfortable in private country houses, where they will always have the opportunity to chase butterflies and dig in the sand. Maintenance in the apartment is also possible, but with regular and prolonged walking. English cockers are not just hunters, but playful and active minx, who need to run around and fool around in order to maintain mental balance.

It is not necessary to take part in all the tricks of the pet while walking. Just let him off the leash in a sparsely populated and safe place and let him cut circles around the territory. However, if you throw your ward a frisbee or a ball, he will gladly support your initiative and join the game. Walking the "Englishman" is supposed to be twice a day, and each of these promenades should last at least an hour. It's a big mistake to take a dog outside just to relieve herself. In the end, the lack of free time is the problem of the owner, not the Cocker spaniel.


Caring for an English Cocker spaniel is not the most difficult, but you will need to pay some attention to the animal. Required: cutting claws, cleaning eyes and teeth (all according to the same scheme as for other breeds). On the issue of bathing, breeders' opinions were divided. Someone recommends washing cockers as little as possible, because too frequent splashing in the bathroom provokes dandruff in pets. Opponents of this method advocate regular "bath days" (every 7-10 days) and the use of veterinary shampoos that preserve the structure of the coat and stimulate its growth.

Black English Cocker Spaniel

Combing is a daily ritual in the life of an English Cocker spaniel, so add a soft and hard brush, a fluff, a hair cutter and a metal comb with long teeth to the list of mandatory purchases. Owners who plan to save on professional grooming should add a trimming glove and comb, as well as hairdressing scissors.

The hanging ears of the English Cocker Spaniel require increased attention. For example, when an animal eats, it is advisable to pull them together with an elastic band on the back of the head. So the ears will get dirty less and distract the dog. The cokers themselves meet such manipulations without enthusiasm, but over time they get used to responding to them adequately. A bad smell from the ears, which inexperienced owners of cocker spaniels often complain about, is the result of insufficient care. There are a lot of hairs in the ear funnel of spaniels, blocking the flow of air inside, as well as magnetizing impurities and sulfur secretions, which are the source of the characteristic "ambre". The problem is solved by plucking the wool in the ear canal and removing accumulated dirt in it with the help of veterinary lotion and sponge.

English Cocker Spaniel haircut

There are several basic techniques for processing the wool of English Cocker spaniels, which can be combined if necessary:

  • stripping (plucking wool with a special knife; an ideal technique for processing the head and body of a pet);
  • plaking (plucking hair with fingers);
  • klippervek (ultrashort haircut with a typewriter);
  • flatback (regular haircut with a typewriter);
  • blending (shearing with scissors).

Cutting the English Cocker Spaniel yourself, avoid a radical change in the image of the animal. In the homeland of the breed, its representatives are cut very carefully, so the inhabitant of Foggy Albion who came out of the groomer's office looks as if he had never entered it at all. The best option for a haircut is to walk on the dog's head with a trimming knife, strip the trunk and slightly shorten the feathering on the legs. The wool between the fingers is also subject to cutting.

English cocker spaniels and water

Despite the fact that the English Cocker Spaniel breed was bred mainly for hunting swamp game and rarely worked with waterfowl, the craving of its representatives for water is simply fantastic. In the absence of a normal pond nearby, the cocker will calmly bathe in a puddle, shake himself off next to the owner and will sincerely wonder why the latter has such a sour face. Do not be lazy in the warm season to take your pet to the river beach. Firstly, because bathing is an additional physical activity, which indoor cokers often lack. And secondly, because water relieves dogs of fatigue and accumulated stress during the day.


Cocker Spaniel and food

Most "Englishmen" are not prone to spontaneous gluttony, but they are quite capable of falling into food addiction. And all because cockers are notorious gourmets who have their own taste preferences, which the owner needs to control. In addition, dogs have few and unproductive walks, but they fill their bellies with sweets from the heart, obesity develops rapidly, which significantly reduces their life expectancy. If you do not set out to send your pet "over the rainbow", do not succumb to his pleading looks and do not feed the animal with delicacies.

Now about the daily menu. Meat to English Cocker spaniels is given in boiled or raw form at the rate of 50 g of product per kilogram of animal body weight. Stringy mutton, beef, poultry (without bones) are best suited. By-products can be introduced into the diet only thoroughly frozen. So the risk of infecting the dog with worms and intestinal parasites is minimized.

Prohibited foods:

  • legumes;
  • potatoes;
  • pasta, as well as any confectionery and bakery products;
  • sausage products;
  • bones;
  • broccoli;
  • tomato sauce and dishes with it.

You can supplement the English spaniel menu with rice or buckwheat porridge, fermented milk products, sea fish and vegetables in the form of sliced vegetable oil. Eggs are given to dogs boiled soft-boiled or in the form of an omelet. And the cockers have a real passion for fruits, but since most of them can provoke an animal's digestive disorder, it's worth treating him with such goodies less often. Alternatively, use dried fruits and raisins as an incentive treat. Once a week, offer your pet a clove of garlic, which works as a natural anthelmintic. In addition, in the period from 3 to 7 months, when the skeleton is actively forming, it is recommended to mix grated chalk or 2-3 tablets of calcium lactate into the puppy's food.

Happy paws
Master, leave me the wand!

Health and diseases of English Cocker Spaniels

The average life expectancy of an English Cocker spaniel is 10-14 years, but the animal does not always pass this time period in good health.

Typical diseases of the breed:

  • urolithiasis;
  • hip dysplasia;
  • melanoma;
  • otitis;
  • deafness;
  • food allergy;
  • distichiasis;
  • eye diseases (conjunctivitis, inversion/inversion of the eyelid, cataract);
  • epilepsy;
  • hydrocephalus;
  • hepatitis;
  • atopia;
  • discopathy;
  • perianal adenocarcinoma.

The mental health of the breed is also not always a reference. For example, many Cocker spaniels are prone to hysterical seizures, which are treated with physical exertion in combination with regular walking.

How to choose a puppy

English Cocker spaniel puppy with mom
  • Visit dog shows more often to get to know reputable breeders and their pets.
  • If a puppy is bought as a future hunter, make sure that his dad and mom have diplomas in field and swamp game. In most cases, offspring inherit parental talents.
  • Bitches of the English Cocker spaniel are easier to train than males, but both are good at work. Keep this fact in mind if you are going to instill hunting skills in an animal yourself.
  • The breeder, who boasts of the field diplomas of the puppy's parents, should clarify the type of document available. It's great if the dog has a certificate of the 1st degree. This gives hope that the hunting abilities of her offspring will be expressed quite clearly. The diploma of the 3rd degree is not the biggest reason for pride.
  • It is better to choose cheerful, curious and playful kids. But it is better to abandon the English cockers who are constantly giving voice. Excessive "talkativeness" is not necessary for the future hunter.
  • Those who are looking for a friendly pet in an apartment, on the contrary, should look at more phlegmatic puppies.

Photos of English Cocker spaniel puppies

How much does an English Cocker spaniel cost

The cost of an English Cocker spaniel puppy with the RKF metric varies from $200 to $250. A pet with minor exterior defects and a completely clean pedigree can be purchased for $120 - $180 . Plembrak and mestizos will cost even cheaper – on average from $50 to $100.

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