English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

  • Other names:
  • English Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breed that developed from other spaniel varieties centuries ago. In close semblance to its smaller American Cocker Spaniel cousin, the ECS was bred as a small game hunter, and is a lively, fun-loving, affectionate breed. These dogs are highly prized for their personable temperaments and loving natures, and make terrific family pets. They are not only very warm towards children but are friendly towards other pets and usually to guests. They do require frequent brushing, regular bathing, and plenty of daily outdoor exercise. ECS can be adapt to indoor or outdoor living but will need a fenced yard if kept outdoors. While some are known for being a little stubborn, and some obedience training may be necessary, this breed makes a fantastic companion if you are capable of putting in the time and effort to train and housebreak them.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred12-14 yrs.14-17 in.26-35 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

Below are details and specs for the English Cocker Spaniel dog breed.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed Description

This is a medium-sized breed. Males are 15-17 inches at the shoulders, and weigh 28-35 pounds; females are 14-16 inches in height, and weigh 26-32 pounds.

An ECS is playful, intelligent, and extremely personable. These dogs are great family pets because of their intense devotion and fun-loving personalities; they may be a bit stubborn at times, and tend to be easily "spoiled," so they may require some obedience training.

These dogs need a fair amount of care. Their longer coats will need frequent brushing, and they require a good deal of exercise.

English Cocker Spaniel Breed History

The ECS has its origin, of course, in England. Prior to the 1700s, before England, Scotland, and Wales combined to form the kingdom of Great Britain, numerous hunting dogs of this type were commonly referred to simply as "spaniels." As Britain's population diversified into more distinct classes (and after the U.S. declared its independence), so too did the various spaniel dog breeds. These varieties were first separated into "land" and "water" spaniels, and the land (or "field") spaniels were themselves divided into "setting" spaniels (like the English Setter), which crept forward and pointed their game while on a hunt, and "springing" spaniels, which would dash forward to "spring" game from their nests. During the early 1800s, the springing spaniel variety was subdivided yet again, with smaller springers becoming known as "cocker" spaniels, named for their ability for flushing birds known as woodcocks. Since that time, yet more varieties of the cocker spaniels exist: the English is the larger variant generally known for its hunting prowess, while the American is smaller, and is ultimately valued as a pet and in the show ring. Though the English and American cocker spaniels are two separate breeds, each is known simply as a "Cocker Spaniel" in its prospective country.

The English Cocker Spaniel was originally recognized by the Kennel Club in Britain in 1892. While the AKC in the U.S. had recognized the Cocker Spaniel – the American variety – in 1878, the organization recognized the ECS as a separate breed in 1946. Today, the ECS is wildly popular in England, though less so elsewhere.

English Cocker Spaniel Appearance

The ECS has a medium-length coat, with an abundance of fur on its ears, chest, legs, and underbelly. (Dogs used in the show ring often have longer, "feathered" coats than those used for hunting.) The breed's body, which appears quite angular and streamlined, is generally a bit greater in length than in height. The head is the shape of a narrow wedge; the medium-sized, oval eyes are brown or hazel in color; the ears are low-set, very long, and covered with silky hair. An ECS's neck is of medium length, graceful, and muscular, and its topline slopes gently from front to back. The chest is deep, the legs are medium-length and curved slightly, and the tail is of moderate length, curved slightly, and is usually docked to a quarter of its length.

English Cocker Spaniel Coloring

English Cocker Spaniels exist in a wide variety of colors, and their coats are either solid or parti-colored ("dual-colored"), with the parti-colors existing in a vast array of patterns. Colors include black, red, liver, brown, blue, merle, orange, and tan; these colors can be solid, or they can be combinations of two. Occasionally, an ECS will have slight white markings in addition to two other colors.

English Cocker Spaniel Size

The ECS is a medium-sized breed. Males weigh 28-35 pounds, and are 15-17 inches at the shoulder in height; females weigh 26-32 pounds, and are 14-16 inches in height.

Average Adult Height

14-17 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

26-35 lbs

English Cocker Spaniel Temperament

Friendly, intelligent, curious, and loyal, the ECS is a remarkably people-oriented breed, and is known as one of the most amicable of any dog breeds. Bred as hunting dogs, these animals are alert, lively, and playful, and make superior companions both in the field and as family pets. Some ECS owners claim the breed has a complex, almost human-like personality; while extremely personable, these dogs can also be stubborn and willful. If not trained in proper obedience from a young age, experts suggest, an ECS may become "spoiled," and might suffer from Small Dog Syndrome, in which the dog believes it "rules the roost," so to speak. Professional trainers recommend gentle, consistent training when an ECS is a puppy to minimize this stubborn behavior. (But at all costs, avoid any harsh treatment, the trainers say; this breed is very sensitive, and rough discipline may cause an ECS to become overly skittish and fearful.) But these dogs are fast learners, and will respond well to any training they receive. This breed is also typically difficult to housetrain, and may "go potty" in undesirable places unless it's taught properly. An ECS may tend to bark quite a bit as well.

Overall, though, the ECS is a warm, loving breed, and will make a fantastic addition to any family.

English Cocker Spaniel and Children

This breed is incredibly affectionate to children of any age.

English Cocker Spaniel and Other Pets

An ACS normally socializes very well with other animals; the breed is especially known for its fondness of cats.

English Cocker Spaniel and Strangers

As very people-oriented animals, these dogs will usually respond well to strange people. Some may be a bit reserved at first around strangers, but will typically warm up quickly, especially if their owners are friendly to the unknown person.

English Cocker Spaniel Maintenance

English Cocker Spaniels need a moderate amount of care. Not much training will be required, other than some lessons in obedience; a fair amount of grooming will be necessary, as will a good bit of exercise.

Grooming Requirements

An ECS typically sheds moderately. Brushing will be necessary quite often – 3-4 times per week is usually enough – with special attention paid to the dog's longer fur on its lower body. Baths are needed about once a month. In addition, the ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent infections.

Exercise Requirements

These dogs are quite active, and will need daily exercise. Outdoor games like Frisbee and fetch are great for an ECS, as they give it the opportunity to "please its master." This breed also makes a great jogging companion.

Living Requirements

If provided with enough exercise, an ECS will adapt to any living situation, be it home or apartment. If these dogs are kept in a yard, a fence is recommended, as they tend to wander easily.

Temperature Range

An ECS will typically tolerate any climate.

English Cocker Spaniel Health

Life expectancy is 12-14 years. This breed is generally quite healthy, but may suffer ear infections due to its long, floppy ears. (Veterinarians suggest regular cleaning of an ECS's ears with a soft, moist cloth to help prevent these infections; if an infection develops, seek veterinary care.)

Other health issues, though rare, include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems such as cataracts, and renal failure.

  • Cataracts
  • Ear Infections
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Renal Failure
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English Cocker Spaniel Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the English Cocker Spaniel as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Canine Registry
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • View all 15...
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