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Cocker Spaniel… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Seeing how the Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dog breeds in America, there probably aren’t many people out there who aren’t familiar with what they look like. But that doesn’t mean everyone is friendly with what it might be like to own a Cocker Spaniel. This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning this American Sweetheart so that if you do decide to adopt a Cocker Spaniel, you won’t be disappointed with your decision a year from now.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Cocker Spaniel Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  United States

Original Purpose:  Hunting companion and retriever

Height:  13 to 16 inches tall.

Weight:  24 to 28 pounds.

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting Group.

Origin of the Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel was the direct product of American Hunters in the early 1800s, attempting to take English Cockers and make them smaller and more compact. Their goal was to use this “smaller” spaniel to hunt quail and other small game birds, and they found it much more convenient to have a “smaller” dog with them that could still keep up with the hunt but not be so large as not to be able to be carried or transported in their small hunting boats easily.


The easy part is how the “why” the Cocker Spaniel was created. The “how” becomes a bit more “vague.” You see, several competing theories exist on “how” the American Cocker Spaniel came into being. Some credit the dog Obo the Second, born in or around 1880, as the first “American Cocker Spaniel,” while others aren’t. Much of the confusion lies in that early on, the American and English versions of the Cocker Spaniel were considered the same until they were officially “separated” by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1935. However, few can argue that the American Cocker Spaniel is one of the faithful “great” dog breeds, which is probably why he is still extremely popular today!

Physical Characteristics

Today, the American Cocker Spaniel breed is divided into three different color varieties: your black, your mixed color varieties, and your ASCOB, which stands for any SOLID color other than black. And while no one “kind” of Cocker Spaniel is preferred, most folks seem to like the brown or red version (while we here at IndulgeYourPet tend to prefer the mixed variety). Now, which color do you choose? All three types will have the same soft, silky coat, long let ears, docked tails, and massive, expressive eyes that will steal your heart!


Your Cocker Spaniel should be no more than 16 inches tall (the smallest of the sporting Spaniels) and weigh no more than 28 pounds; you’ll need to remind yourself that even though he is pretty handsome, he was built for hunting. This means that even though he may be a bit small, he will be ready to mix it up a “bit” and jump in the fray, whether that be some bushes, grass, or even water; you’re Cocker Spaniel will be prepared for some action!

At this point…

We also want to point out that Cocker Spaniel’s coats require much maintenance to keep looking their best. For this reason, we here at IndulgeYourPet generally recommend that their owners be sure to brush their spaniels at least two or three times a week and either become proficient with “clippers” themselves or take their spaniel to a professional groomer every two or three months so that they can have their coat “professionally” trimmed and maintained.

We should also mention that Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections, so you’ll also want to clean and inspect their ears frequently to avoid severe conditions.

Temperament and Personality 

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that one of the world’s most popular dog breeds is a joy to have around. After all, most Americans aren’t hunters and aren’t looking for the perfect little dog to help retrieve a “kill” for them! Yet the Cocker Spaniel remains one of the most popular dog breeds. And the reason for this is because these little guys are a lot of fun to own. They are intelligent, loving, incredibly loyal, and great to have around children, so what’s not to love?


Because of their small size, they do well in apartments or smaller urban-sized households, provided their owners offer them plenty of opportunities to run and stretch their legs on occasion. However, because they are so attentive and “loving” of their human pack, these little guys do not do very well on their own.   As a companion dog, the American Cocker Spaniel prefers to be near their family at all times, or they will suffer.


If you spend a ton of time outside the home or frequently travel, forcing you to board your animals, getting a Cocker Spaniel might not be the right choice. Additionally, over the years, due to the popularity of this breed, it has not always been as responsible as it should have been, which is why, today, the Cocker Spaniel breed is not one of the “healthiest” breeds out there. Common issues you might encounter can include:

What may go wrong with a Cocker Spaniel puppy is so long that we can’t go into each medical condition here. This is why it is best to be safe and ask the breeder for any certification they have on the breed’s health. A respected breeder will already have this information ready for you and should be able to introduce your puppy’s parents to you so that you can see they are healthy.

Now the last thing…

We want to scare you away from purchasing a Cocker Spaniel puppy or, better yet, adopting a Cocker Spaniel rescue dog. Still, we here at IndulgeYourPet feel it essential for you to understand what you are getting yourself into and why you agree to become a dog’s parent. We also stress the importance of ensuring you only work with a reputable breeder. If you do end up adopting a Cocker Spaniel, you also take a moment and consider purchasing a pet insurance policy as well.

This way…

If your little guy becomes sick or injured and needs to see a veterinarian, you won’t be on the hook for 100% of the cost should they need severe medical treatment. For more information about who we feel currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance products, we encourage you to check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Pat O'Shea June 29, 2020, 11:44 pm

    My golden cocker spaniel is loving to me and mine, but aggressive to people and children that want to get close to me..this is a big worry to me as I have had spaniels before that are docile and loving..she is 17 months old and with me 24 seven..Can you help me in this matter ?

    • indulgeyourpet June 30, 2020, 7:24 am


      We have heard that Cocker Spaniels can get a bit like this sometimes so don’t feel alone with your issue.

      So, our advice, would be to seek out a local dog trainer in your area and see if they can’t identify why it is that your dog seem so overly protective of you.

      Now if you live in a city where one of the “big box” pet stores are located check in with them and see if they offer an “free dog training day” each month. If so, stop on by and see what advise the can give you during those hours.

      If this is the only issue that you’re having with your loved one, you may be able to pick up all the pointers you need in those few hours and then apply what you’ve learned at home for free.

      Best of luck!


  • Khori September 3, 2020, 3:03 pm

    Cocker spaniels are great company dogs as well, as long as you take them for a walk at least 3 – 4 times a day (Even better if you can let them run freely after a ball, a bird or something to chase) to keep their high energy level under control.

    Take a Cocker Spaniel with you and soon you will love him (her).

    • indulgeyourpet September 4, 2020, 11:50 am


      We couldn’t agree more!


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