Cocker Spaniel Care

Ah, the Cocker Spaniel--a loving, energetic, highly sensitive breed that's one of the most popular in the world. Despite these dogs' acclaim, there's actually a lot owners don't know about Cocker Spaniel care and maintenance.

That's what this page is for! Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for a Cocker Spaniel: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more are covered here. If you know of a Cocker Spaniel that needs a new home, by all means adopt the dog--and be sure to bookmark this page!

Cocker Spaniel Breed Development

As a small- to medium-sized breed, Cocker Spaniel growth stages typically span 15-17 months from birth to full maturity. Since these dogs' lifespan is 12-15 years, a senior Cocker Spaniel is one 9-10 years old or older.

Physical Development: For puppies, the Cocker Spaniel growth rate is rapid in height and length for about the first seven months, then those growth rates slow while the adolescent "fills out" with muscle and fat. And at what age do Cocker Spaniels stop growing? These dogs normally reach their full adult size--an average of 15 inches in height and 25 pounds in weight--at 10-11 months of age.

Social Development: Puppies reach adolescence at about six months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity by about 16 months.

For further details on Cocker Spaniel life stages, see the following:

Cocker Spaniel Exercise Needs

These dogs are energetic and playful--and while Cocker Spaniel exercise requirements aren't super-high, they will need to be consistent. As instinctive hunters, these dogs will need a variety of activities that both condition them physically (walking, fetch) and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports).

Specifically how much exercise does a Cocker Spaniel need? Adults, depending on their age and overall activity level, will require about 45 minutes of proper exercise each day. You can start giving your Cocker Spaniel puppy exercise when it's about three months old by taking it on short walks, then you can make the walks longer as the puppy grows.

    Precautions with Cocker Spaniel exercise needs:
    • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're eight months old
    • High prey drive means a leash is required in public
    • Yards should be securely fenced
    • Tendency for separation anxiety; should never exercise alone

      Though they don't need a lot, it's important to give your Cocker at least some exercise every single day. These dogs are sensitive and energetic, and without consistent activity they'll become upset and frustrated--and they'll dig, bark, and howl nonstop. Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! A few Cocker Spaniel exercise ideas:
    • Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
    • Fetch/Frisbee: These dogs love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
    • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
    • Dog Park: If properly exercised, Cockers enjoy the company of other dogs
    • Canine Sports: These dogs can excel at obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other events
    • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity

    When indoors, give your Cocker access to balls or toys that allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Cocker Spaniel Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs don't need a whole lot of care--but they will need a lot of grooming overall. Cocker Spaniels' shedding is fair, and drooling isn't an issue.

Cocker Spaniel shedding information: these dogs have thick, medium length coats that usually have a slight wave to them. And does a Cocker Spaniel shed at all? It does, but not heavily. Even so, Cockers will need frequent bushing using both a 2-in-1 comb and a slicker brush. The brushing will both minimize the Cocker Spaniel moulting and keep the coats from matting and tangling. Hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will only be necessary once in a while.

And for the Cocker Spaniel, drooling isn't a problem. If your Cocker is drooling excessively, it might be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Cocker Spaniel Diet

The Cocker Spaniel diet will need to include animal proteins and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients these dogs require to maintain their health in the long term. This means the best Cocker Spaniel dog food is premium dry kibble, as it has balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients. If fed a high-quality food like Royal Canin, Cocker Spaniel dogs will be much healthier than if they subsist on cheap, generic food--which has mostly empty "filler" ingredients that simply don't meet a dog's nutritional needs.

Royal Canin is a brand that has a line of "breed-specific" food formulated specifically for the Cocker Spaniel. Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel Puppy Food, Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel Junior, and Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel Adult dog food are each formulated for this breed at specific ages.

Specifically how much should a Cocker Spaniel eat? Adults will need about two cups of premium food per day, divided into two meals. Portions of food for Cocker Spaniel puppies are a bit smaller: depending on a pup's age, about 1½ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months old.

For more info, here's a handy Cocker Spaniel puppy feeding guide:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a little more adult food to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

Try if possible to stick to the above-listed portions. These dogs will easily become overweight if constantly overfed--and a fat Cocker Spaniel will have major health problems. You can help control your Cocker's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules and by not leaving food in the Cocker Spaniel food bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Cocker is overweight, try running a hand along the dog's side; if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!

Living Environment

This breed's temperament makes the Cocker Spaniel both an outside dog and an inside dog. They'll need some daily outdoor exercise, but will definitely need to live inside with their people. And the Cocker Spaniel is an apartment dog for sure! Long as they receive adequate exercise, they'll do fine in smaller living spaces. Just note that at home, Cocker Spaniels often urinate excessively, even when housebroken, if they get especially excited or nervous.

In regards to temperature, Cockers tolerate heat and cold with equal ease.