Is this the right breed for you?

lilyExercise Required: MEDIUM-HIGH
Trimming/Clipping Required: HIGH
Amount of Shedding: MEDIUM
Activity Indoors: MEDIUM
Ease of Training: MEDIUM
Sociability with Strangers: MEDIUM
Fine for Novice Owners
Medium Size with a Feathered, Medium Length Coat.

If you can honestly say, “yes”, and have researched this breed very carefully, then we say, “Fantastic! Welcome!”  If you still have some concerns and are hesitating, please visit the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America’s site or talk to a breeder or breed representative.

As the English Cocker is still a comparatively rare breed in the United States, you may not find precisely the dog you have in mind at a given time with respect to color, age, sex and convenience of location.  English Cocker puppies may be available from a knowledgeable breeder and occasionally, adults are available as well.  Please keep in mind that puppies are not suited for everyone’s lifestyle no matter how cute they are.  Don’t hesitate to ask the breeder if they might have something a bit older,  especially if you want to avoid the puppy stages.

Pet Stores and Puppy Mills: Buyer beware!  To educate yourself about buying from a pet store, click here.


(Click Here for the Full Breed Standard)


Merry and affectionate, the English Cocker Spaniel is an excellent family companion due to its even disposition and trainability. Whether working in the field or at home lounging on their owner’s bed, their tails rarely stop wagging. The breed can live in any environment provided it receives daily exercise. Their medium-long coat does take some care, including brushing and regular stripping or clipping.


To begin with, the word “spaniel” means “dog of Spain”.  Spaniels were used in England for hunting and were developed to flush woodcocks from the fields.   Thus they became known as “cockers”.   The English Cocker was brought to America and Canada in 1870.  In 1871, the American Cocker Spaniel club was founded.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, a change came about to the English Cocker Spaniel breed.  It was as if the English Cocker became “Americanized”.  The bloodlines that were being developed by breeders were following a different type of conformation.  The head became smaller, the height of the dog was shrunk by 1 to 2 inches, and the dog became lighter in weight.  The coat became longer, silkier and softer.  The “Americanized” Cocker Spaniel became used as a family pet, instead of a hunter’s helper.  The differences became so striking that breeders who preferred the “English” type formed the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America in 1935, and agreed not to interbreed their dogs with the “Americanized” variety.

For the next ten years, until 1946, the Club and its members sought to have the American Kennel Club recognize their dog as a separate breed.  Until 1946, the English Cocker (also called the Engie), and the American Cocker competed in show conformation as one breed.  In 1946, the AKC recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a separate breed from the “American” Cocker Spaniel.

ecsolidredPhysical  Features

Males stand 16-17 inches and weigh 28-34 pounds. Females stand 15-16 inches and weigh 26-32 pounds. The coat on the head, short and fine; of medium length on body; flat or slightly wavy; silky in texture.  The English Cocker is well-feathered, but not so profusely as to interfere with field work.  Trimming is recommended to remove overabundant hair and to enhance the dog’s true lines.  It should be done so as to appear as natural as possible.  English Cockers come in a variety of colors;  blue roan being the most common, orange roan, liver roan, black, black/tan, black/white, liver, liver roan/tan, liver/white, orange/white, blue roan/tan, black/white/tan, red, golden, and several more.

Health Issues

Both sire and dam should have OFA certificates (hips), OptiGen tested for PRCD (eyes) and FN (kidneys) or yearly CERF’d (eyes).  Ask about low thyroid,allergies, and skin conditions in the lines.  Lifespan: 12-15 years.

Cautions When Buying

If you are looking for an English Cocker for hunting, make sure the breeder can prove field ability with demonstrations and hunting test titles (JH, MH, SH) in the pedigree. Some lines are bred only for conformation, profuse coat, and elegance.
You should always ask the breeder about health checks on the parents of any English Cocker you are thinking of purchasing. (Excerpts from AKC and Barkbytes.)