English Cocker Spaniel

Canis Lupus

Last updated: February 9, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Labrador Photo Video/Shutterstock.com

Intelligent yet stubborn by nature!

English Cocker Spaniel Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis Lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

English Cocker Spaniel Conservation Status

English Cocker Spaniel Locations

English Cocker Spaniel Locations

English Cocker Spaniel Facts

Common Name
English Cocker Spaniel
Intelligent yet stubborn by nature!
Gun Dog

English Cocker Spaniel Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
15 years
15kg (34lbs)

English Cocker Spaniel as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$800 to $1,200
Dog group
Male weight
28-34 lbs
Female weight
26-32 lbs

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

View all of the English Cocker Spaniel images!


Key Points

  • English cocker spaniels reach their full size between the ages of 14 -16 months.
  • Owing to their past as hunting dogs, they require a great deal of exercise daily.
  • Due to their friendly nature, they are ideal companions for children.

English Cocker Spaniels are a sporting dog breed. Hundreds of years ago, the Spaniel breeds were developed in England.

See all of our expert product reviews.

These breeds were descended from dogs from Spain, hence the name Spaniel. Originally, the breeds were classified by whether they were a land or water spaniel. The three land spaniels were known as the Springing -, Field -, and Cocking Spaniel. The Cocking Spaniel, which was the expert at hunting woodcock, later became known as the English Cocker Spaniel.

43,934 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

These gun dogs come in a variety of colors. They may have a solid golden, black, brown, or liver coat. Additionally, English Cocker Spaniels may also have a parti-colored coat. These may be liver roan, blue roan, orange roan with black or brown, black and white, orange and white, and a variety of other colors.

These dogs are intelligent, friendly, and affectionate. They are very loyal to their owners and can make a great family pet.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning an English Cocker Spaniel

Easy to Train: English Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent and want to please their owners. This makes them very easy to train.Barking: These dogs bark more than some other breeds.
Good with Kids: This breed makes a great family pet. They are loving and affectionate with children.Grooming: This breed will require more grooming to maintain their coat than other breeds. Be prepared to brush your dog a few times a week and trim their hair monthly.
Playful: These dogs love to play. They would be a great addition to your family if you are looking for a playful pup or a companion for your child.Needs attention: English Cocker Spaniels do not do well when they are left home alone. They can develop separation anxiety, so this isn’t a good breed to consider if someone won’t be home with the dog most of the time.

Evolution and Origins

Running English cocker spaniel
English Cocker Spaniels were recognized as a breed in their own right by the AKC in 1935

©Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

As far back as the 16th century, when spaniels were employed as hunting dogs, litters were divided into “springers” which were larger pups which would be used for hunting larger game  and “cockers”, smaller pups which would grow to specialize in hunting woodcock.

Health and Entertainment for your English Cocker Spaniel

See all of our expert product reviews.

However, during the late 19th century, both breeds began to be bred separately resulting in each breed having a distinct physical appearance. 

About half a century following this selective breeding process, shortly before World War II, the AKC recognized the English cocker spaniel as a unique breed in its own right.

Size and Weight

English Cocker Spaniels are a medium-sized dog breed. Males are between 16 and 17 inches tall and weigh between 28 and 34 pounds. Females are just a bit smaller; they stand 15 to 16 inches tall and weigh between 26 and 32 pounds. At 3 months, the dog weigh between 11 and 14 pounds. By the time they are 6 months old, the puppies should weigh between 20 and 26 pounds. This breed will be fully grown somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16 months.

Height16 inches to 17 inches15 inches to 16 inches
Weight28 pounds to 34 pounds26 pounds to 32 pounds

Common Health Issues

English cocker spaniel relaxing in grass
English cocker spaniels are prone to obesity

©Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.com

Before adopting one of these dogs, there are a few common health issues faced by this breed that you’ll want to learn about. One problem that some English Cocker Spaniels face is obesity. Making sure your pup is eating the right portion of healthy and high-quality dog food is important. You will also want to make sure you give your dog enough exercise. Obesity can lead to other problems such as digestive disorders, joint issues, and metabolic disorders, so taking steps to prevent your dog from becoming obese are important.

English Cocker Spaniels also may have problems with their teeth that can progress to dental disease. When tartar builds up on their teeth and isn’t removed, it can lead to an infection in the roots of their teeth and their gums. You’ll want to be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and schedule dental cleanings with their veterinarian.

English Cocker Spaniel can also develop PRA, or progressive retinal atrophy. This is a degenerative eye disorder that can cause them to lose photoreceptors at the back of their eyes. This can cause an English Cocker Spaniel to completely lose their eyesight. Since PRA is hereditary, purchasing an English Cocker Spaniel from a reputable breeder is a good idea.

Bacterial and viral infections are other ailments that English Cocker Spaniels may face. Making sure your dog is properly vaccinated can help reduce the chances of them developing an infection such as rabies, distemper, or parvo.

To review, here are some of the common health issues that English Cocker Spaniels may face:

  • Obesity
  • Dental disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Viral and bacterial infections


English Cocker Spaniels are very playful and amiable but have a mind of their own

©Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

These dogs have a very affectionate personality. In general, this breed is very friendly towards people, especially those they know and trust. They may bark at a stranger or act slightly more reserved when someone they don’t know is around.

In addition to being very friendly and affectionate, they also exhibit very playful traits. When they are properly socialized, they can be a great dog to have around children and will enjoy being a playmate for a child.

English Cocker Spaniels are also known for being very intelligent and loyal dogs. Overall, these behaviors make them easy to train, but they are also known for being a bit stubborn.

How to Take Care of an English Cocker Spaniel

Before bringing home an English Cocker Spaniel, you’ll want to learn more about this breed so you can develop an appropriate care plan. The common health concerns, temperament, nutritional needs, and other factors should all be considered when you plan to care for your new dog.

The Best Dog Food for English Cocker Spaniel

taste of the wild pacific stream puppy
Monitoring your English cocker spaniel’s calorific intake is important

©Switlana Sonyashna/Shutterstock.com

When feeding your dog, it is important to make sure you monitor their calorific intake and daily exercise levels. Since this breed often has problems with obesity, you want to be proactive to prevent your dog from facing this health concern. Keep in mind that dogs like English Cocker Spaniels that are prone to dental issues should eat kibble, not wet food.

Whether you have an adult or puppy, you will want to select a high-quality dog food that will meet their nutritional needs. Adults should eat somewhere between 1 and 2 cups of food each day. Again, keep their activity level, weight, health concerns, and other important factors when deciding the amount of food to feed your dog. You should divide their food into two meals each day.

When choosing food for a puppy, look for a food that is specially formulated for puppies. Younger puppies have a smaller stomach than older puppies and adults. Because of this, they will need to eat smaller, more frequent meals. You should plan of feeding puppies that are up to 4 months old four meals each day. Puppies between 4 and 6 months should eat three meals each day. By the time a puppy is 6 months old, they should be able to handle eating two meals each day.

Considering the breed’s health tendencies, A-Z Animals says the best dog food for English Cocker Spaniels is Eukanuba Adult Medium Breed Dry Dog Food.

With real chicken as the first ingredient, this recipe is hearty enough to help your dog know when it’s eaten enough to help prevent excess weight gain. The crunchy kibble is the perfect texture and shape to help remove plaque and tartar buildup for cleaner teeth and gums. And beta-carotene is helpful when it comes to eye health and good vision. Finally, the probiotics balance gut biome for a thriving immune system.

Check Chewy or Amazon for this product.

Best for Active Medium Breeds
Eukanuba Adult Medium Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Adult medium breed dry dog food formulated with complete and balanced nutrition for medium breed dogs over 12 months old and weighing between 24-54 lb.
  • Promotes lean muscle development and joint health in active adult dogs with a combination of animal protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate.
  • Helps keep dogs sharp and supports healthy brain function with DHA and vitamin E.
  • Fuels an active lifestyle with optimal levels of fats and carbohydrates.
  • High-quality chicken is the first ingredient for protein that powers his day.

Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

English Cocker Spaniels are not a low-maintenance dog. Their coat will need to be brushed and combed at least once a week to keep their fur from getting matted and tangled. You will also need to schedule appointments with the groomer or trim their hair around their feet, face, and tail on your own. This should be done once every month. If you plan on doing this trimming on your own you can purchase a pair of clippers, a stripping tool, and shears.

In addition to taking care of their coat, you will also need to clean their ears and make sure that wax or debris aren’t building up in them. A monthly nail trim and frequent tooth brushing will also be important with this dog breed.


When positive reinforcement is used, these dogs can be very easy to train. They aim to please their owners, which simplifies the training process. It is important to note, though, that this breed responds very poorly to negative training methods. Stay positive and offer a lot of praise if you are looking for the best results.

In addition to training your dog, you will also want to be sure to socialize him from an early age. This can help ensure that he adjusts well to other people, pets, and places.


You will want to make sure that your English Cocker Spaniel gets plenty of exercise each day. This breed enjoys playing, walking, or hiking with their family members. Since these dogs were bred to be hunting dogs, their exercise requirements are higher than some other breeds. Additionally, since this breed is prone to obesity, making sure your dog stays active can help prevent this problem as well.


English cocker spaniel puppies
English Cocker Spaniel puppies should be taken to the vet soon after you have brought them home

©Liliya Kulianionak/Shutterstock.com

If you are bringing home a puppy, be sure to puppy-proof your home first. Remove anything that could be potentially hazardous to the puppy or that you wouldn’t want to see destroyed by the dog. You will also want to make sure you are prepared for the arrival of your new puppy. Purchase food, treats, a crate, a bed, a collar and leash, and other supplies before the new dog comes home.

After bringing your puppy home, be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Keep your dog up to date on his or her vaccinations and have your veterinarian screen your dog for any health concerns. Keep in mind that puppies have a smaller stomach than a fully-grown dog. You’ll want to feed your puppy smaller, more frequent meals because of this.


These dogs often make a great family dog. They have a very friendly and gentle personality, making them an excellent dog to have around children. If you have younger children who are more unpredictable, it may be best to wait until they are old enough to understand how to appropriately interact with a dog. As with all dog breeds, being in the same room and supervising your children when they are with the dog is a good idea. This will prevent any accidental injuries to either your child or the dog.

Dogs similar to English Cocker Spaniels

Three dog breeds that are similar to English Cocker Spaniels are American Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Field Spaniels.

  • American Cocker Spaniels: While the American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel are often confused, they are two distinct dog breeds. While both breeds have shared ancestors, breeders in North America focused on different traits than those in Europe, creating two different breeds. American breeders were looking to created Cocker Spaniels with solid colors, while British breeders preferred the parti-colored and roan Spaniels. American Cocker Spaniels are longer than they are tall, while English Cocker Spaniels have a squarer shape since they are taller than they are long. Both breeds are friendly and affectionate and can make a great family pet.
  • English Springer Spaniels: English Springer Spaniels are also sporting dogs. Both dogs are highly intelligent, playful, and easy to train. One key difference between these two breeds is their size. English Springer Spaniels are larger. They weigh around 50 pounds and are between 18 and 21 inches tall. English Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, weigh closer to 30 pounds and are between 14 and 17 inches tall.
  • Field Spaniels: Field Spaniels are another gun dog. Both of these breeds are playful, easy to train, affectionate, and sensitive. Field Spaniels are a little easier to groom than English Cocker Spaniels and are less likely to bark.

Famous English Cocker Spaniels

These dogs have been features in literature and film. Two poems written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “To Flush, My Dog” and “Flush or Faunus” were written to her Cocker Spaniel.

Another famous English Cocker Spaniel is Lupo. He is the dog owned by Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Below are a few popular names for these dogs:

  • Brandy
  • Callie
  • Lucy
  • Mellie
  • Winnie
  • Archie
  • Buddy
  • Leo
  • Milo
  • Ollie

View all 116 animals that start with E

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

English Cocker Spaniel FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does an English Cocker Spaniel cost to own?

The cost of adopting an English Cocker Spaniel can vary, but on average you should expect to spend between $800 and $1,200. In addition to the cost of adopting the dog, be sure to think about the other related expenses you’ll need to cover. These can include medical bills, food, treats, crates, dog beds, leashes, collars, and other supplies. This could add up to $1,000 or more for the first year you own the dog, and you should budget at least $500 for every year after that.

Are English Cocker Spaniels good with kids?

Yes, English Cocker Spaniels are good with kids. Depending on the child, they may be best suited for older children. English Cocker Spaniels are very gentle and friendly, which makes them a good choice if you’re looking for a family dog. Early training and socialization will help ensure your English Cocker Spaniel learns how to interact appropriately with children.

How long does an English Cocker Spaniel live?

The average lifespan of an English Cocker Spaniel is between 12 and 14 years.

How do you groom an English Cocker Spaniel?

English Cocker Spaniels will require a lot of attention to keep their coat well-maintained. They should be brushed at least once a week. You will also need to trim the hair around their feet, face, neck, ears, and tail. To do this, you will need clippers, a stripping tool, and shears.

How big do English Cocker Spaniels get?

English Cocker Spaniels are a medium-sized breed. Males weigh between 28 and 34 pounds and are 16 to 17 inches tall. Females weigh between 26 and 32 pounds and are 15 to 16 inches tall.

Are English Cocker Spaniels aggressive?

Most English Cocker Spaniels are very friendly and affectionate dogs. Most are not aggressive, however, some dogs in this breed can be impacted by rage syndrome. While this is a very rare condition, dogs that are impacted begin to exhibit aggressive behavior for no apparent reason. It is still not completely understood, but some believe that rage syndrome is a genetically inherited condition.

Most instances of aggressive behavior in English Cocker Spaniels are not rage syndrome. More often than not aggressive behaviors stem from dominance, guarding resources, or being territorial. If you are concerned about aggressive behaviors you are noticing in your English Cocker Spaniel, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Are English Cocker Spaniels good family dogs?

Yes, English Cocker Spaniels are good family dogs. Depending on the personality of the children in the house, they may be best suited for families with older children. English Cocker Spaniels are very gentle and friendly, which makes them a good choice if you’re looking for a family dog. Early training and socialization will help ensure your English Cocker Spaniel learns how to interact appropriately with children.

Do English Cocker Spaniels shed a lot?

While some dog breeds shed more than an English Cocker Spaniel, this breed is still considered a moderate shedder. To reduce the amount of hair that is left on the surfaces in your home, you’ll want to be sure to brush your dog at least once every week.

Are English Cocker Spaniels herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

English Cocker Spaniels are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the family Canidae.

What order do English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do English Cocker Spaniels belong to?

English Cocker Spaniels belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do English Cocker Spaniels have?

English Cocker Spaniels are covered in Hair.

What is an interesting fact about English Cocker Spaniels?

English Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, yet stubborn by nature!

What is the scientific name for the English Cocker Spaniel?

The scientific name for the English Cocker Spaniel is Canis Lupus.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  5. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/english-cocker-spaniel/
  7. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Cocker_Spaniel

Newly Added Animals

A Campine Chicken
Campine Chicken

Campine chickens were exported from Belgium by Julius Caesar!

A Tarantula

More than 1000 species of tarantulas have been identified all around the world!

A Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup

Young lesser scaups learn to dive as soon as their down dries.

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Monte Iberia Eleuth
Monte Iberia Eleuth

The smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere!

A Lizardfish

The lizardfish can camouflage itself against the sandy bottom to avoid predators.