English Cocker Spaniel
Type: Gun Dog
Height: Females: 15 - 16 inches; Males: 15.5 - 17 inches.
Weight: 26 - 34 lbs.
Life Span: 12 - 15 years.
Litter Size: 3 - 8 puppies
Country of Origin: Wales
Description: The English Cocker Spaniel is the smallest in the gundog group, yet are able to flush out and retrieve game birds from undergrowth. A gentle, popular pet, they are also called the Merry Cocker because of their energetic, playful, eager-to-please nature and their unique tail wagging which includes their entire hindquarters. English Cocker Spaniels are compact, but bigger than their relative, the American Cocker Spaniel. Their tails are docked at birth. They are friendly, lively, and a hard worker. Enthusiastic about anything, the English Cocker Spaniel is very devoted to family, and loving in nature. They are social animals, making both a good family pet as well as hunter. They get along with children that are older. Although popular, the Merry Cocker has a plethora of health problems. English Cockers can suffer from allergies, deafness, heart disease and other problems. They are excellent at flushing out game, the purpose for which they were bred. English Cocker Spaniels are happy little dogs, eager and able to please their master continuously.
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Other Names: Cocker Spaniel (England), Cocking Spaniel, Merry Cocker
Colors: Varies; self (pure) colors. Various solids, or colors in a broken pattern with white. They often have roan patterns.
Coat: Flat and silky in texture. The fur straight or silky, and is well feathered.
Temperament: English Cocker Spaniels are responsive, affectionate, and gentle. They are happy dogs, merry in appearance and continually enthused. They are good hunters, excellent in flushing game. They are intelligent, obedient, and willing to please. They are friendly, lively, and a good companion. They like to work hard, and will exercise for as long as you please. They are devoted to family and love to be around them. They are good with children as long as they are taught not to bother the dog, or if they are older.
With Children: Yes, but children need to be taught to be gentle. Gets along best with older children.
With Pets: Yes, usually gets along well with other pets.
Special Skills: Field sports dog and family pet.
Care and Training: Brush and comb the English Cocker Spaniel three times a week to remove dead hair and keep coat shiny and lying flat. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. Check ears for grass seeds and signs of infection. Brush and trim hair over the toes and base of the feet. Special care should be taken to ensure that mud or sticks do not get stuck in the paws and in the ears. Some owners gently pin back the ears when the dog is eating, as the long flaps may get dirty and infectious. English Cocker Spaniels enjoy as much exercise as they can receive. Daily walks and free run should be part of their routine as they are a sporting breed. English Cocker Spaniel training should be with understanding and consistency, as they are a naturally willing dog who quickly understands and will want to do what you want. Positive training is probably best.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - Medium. English Cocker Spaniels are intelligent dogs.
Special Needs: Grooming
Living Environment: English Cocker Spaniels can live in an apartment as long as sufficient exercise is provided. The Merry Cocker does best with a home with a fenced yard and an owner who is patient and will not spoil them. The best owner for this breed would be an active family or individual who lives in a suburban or rural home.
Health Issues: Inherited eye diseases, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), ear infections, and kidney problems such as familial nephropathy. Other health concerns include allergies, deafness, heart disease, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, seizures, temperament problems such as rage syndrome in solid colored dogs, and skin problems.
History: The spaniel family originated in Spain. In the 1800s the spaniels were divided into two groups; Springers, whose function was to "spring game"; and cockers named for their ability to flush and retrieve birds from dense undergrowth, or for hunting woodcock. The English Cocker Spaniel descends from the cocker dogs developed in Wales and southwest England. In the 1930s the English Cocker was the most popular breed in England, which lasted for an outrageous 20 years! At the same time of the development of the English Cocker Spaniel was the American Cocker Spaniel. Both were simply named after the places they originated, but both were from the same breed. At first the two versions were considered one, and were allowed to interbreed. Later, the differences seemed apparent, and near the 1940s, the Kennel Club of England distinguished between the breeds and the AKC followed suit. In America today, the American Cocker Spaniel is simply referred to as the "Cocker Spaniel", while in England the English Cocker Spaniel is also referred to as the "Cocker Spaniel". Both countries simply use the name of the other country when naming the breed from the opposite country. Thus, in England, what Americans call Cocker Spaniels are to them, American Cocker Spaniels. And in America, what the English call Cocker Spaniels, America calls English Cocker Spaniels. The breed was highly popular right before WWII, and is still quite popular today.
First Registered by the AKC: 1878
AKC Group: Sporting Group
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC(GB), UKC