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

You may not know this, but the “English” Cocker Spaniel is a different dog breed than the “traditional” Cocker Spaniel that most Americans know. And while they are both great dogs, you should see the difference between them, particularly if you’re considering purchasing or adopting one.

This is why…

In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss the English Cocker Spaniel dog breed so that you can get a better idea about what it might be like to own one and so that you can better understand where these dogs initially come from. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  England

Original Purpose:  Bird flushing and retrieving

Height:  15 to 17 inches

Weight:  26 to 34 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting Group

Lifespan:  12 to 15 years

Origin of the English Cocker Spaniel

While it’s true that the “Spaniel type” dog breed has been around for over 500 years, they didn’t start to be bred for specific characteristics such as size until the late 1800 or early 1900’s. Then, the “Spaniel” breed began to be “customized” to meet the individual needs of the hunters using them. As a result, two different “types” were created:

  • A “land” type
  • And a “water” type.

The “English” Cocker Spaniel…

It belongs to the land type of “Spaniels.” These “types” of Spaniels are generally larger than their “water” brethren and “tended” to be better at flushing out birds on land. And because hunting birds on the ground was prevalent in England in the late 1800s and early 1900s, these dogs were quite popular throughout England.

At this time, however, there wasn’t an “official” designation between the Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel because, at this point, there wasn’t all that much of a difference between the two breeds other than their size.

This all changed, however…

When the English Cocker Spaniel was brought to America, American breeders began customizing him to their needs, which generally meant making him more diminutive and compact. Changes didn’t sit well with English Cocker Spaniel breeders and enthusiasts, who ultimately created an English Cocker Spaniel Club of America to discourage folks from interbreeding the larger English Cocker Spaniel with the smaller “American” version.


The two breeds were “officially” recognized as being different by the American Kennel Club (AKC). At that point, they both went their separate ways, with the “American” version becoming much more popular in the United States and the English version remaining much more prevalent in England.

Now, which version you prefer is entirely up to you. We at IndulgeYourPet feel that you can’t go wrong because both breeds make excellent pets.

Physical Characteristics

English Cocker Spaniels are compactly built sporting dogs with soft, contoured heads, large dark eyes, and lush yet close-lying ears. And while they may appear to be a relatively “relaxed” dog breed, you can bet your bottom dollar that these guys are always on alert, ready to spring into action and flush out any small game in their path!

For all of our “purists” out there…

You’ll be interested in knowing what the breed standards are for this breed, which have been set as follows:

  • The male English Cocker Spaniels are between 16-17 inches tall and weigh between 28-34 pounds
  • Female English Cocker Spaniels are between 15-16 inches tall and weigh between 26-32 pounds

Also, English Cocker Spaniel can come in various accepted colors, including black, lemon and white, orange roan, sable, blue roan, orange and white, liver and white, ash, black and tan, liver roan, liver, golden, tri-color, etc. What won’t vary is their medium-length coat, which will “feel” very silky and soft when touched and brushed.

Personality and Temperament

The English Cocker Spaniel dog breed is very happy and affectionate. These guys are typically amiable toward most people and generally do well with other dogs and household pets. And while they may be a “bit” reserved around “strangers,” isn’t this what you want in a good dog? Especially a good watchdog? Which these guys happen to be. They seem to have an “uncanny” ability to differentiate between “good guys” and “bad guys” and have just enough “girth” to them to make an intruder think twice about entering your English Cocker Spaniel space.

While all the time…

They remain small enough not to worry about him knocking you or your child over when they get excited! This is why this is one of our top 10 dog breeds that we’ll often recommend to folks who have children or plan on having children in the future. But remember, these guys are brilliant, which means they will be pretty easy to train but also a menace if not given plenty of exercise and attention. Because if you leave an intelligent person alone for too long, it’s natural that they will become bored.

And a bored…

An intelligent dog will likely come up with ideas on what to do. And many of those “ideas” are likely not to agree with what you would like them to do with their spare time. So if you value your possessions and the security deposit on the apartment that you are renting, you’ll want to be sure that you enroll your English Cocker Spaniel in a good obedience class when they are a puppy and be sure to spend plenty of time playing with them when you get home from work!

Potential Health Concerns

English Cocker Spaniels are a healthy breed. However, they aren’t immune to specific genetic health problems. Let’s take a look.

  • Eye problems: The English Cocker Spaniels are prone to getting eye health problems such as Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which is a degenerative disease that affects the retinal visual cells and causes blindness as well as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye and entropion.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Many factors, including environment, diet, and genetics, contribute to the weakening and deformity of the dog’s hip joint. The affected dogs can live healthy and everyday lives but may need surgery.
  • Congenital Sensorineural Deafness: The condition is found in particular English Cockers and is present at birth. The hearing of the affected pups degenerates progressively and can cause deafness when the dog is about four weeks of age.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy: The disease affects the dog’s heart muscles, and they become overly distended. This acts as solid-colored English Cockers, and symptoms include abdominal distention, weakness, coughing, a rapid heartbeat, and fainting.

This brings us to the last topic we wanted to mention in our article about the English Cocker Spaniel dog breed: the importance of purchasing a pet insurance policy. If your little buddy gets sick, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of their medical bills.

For more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies, check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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