Getting A Cocker Spaniel? 6 Key Things You Must Know

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Cocker Spaniels make excellent pets, they’re fun-loving, smart, loyal, playful and are great with kids.

Bred originally as bird hunters, most especially the woodcock bird. It is believed this was how the name ‘Cocker’ was gotten.

If you’re thinking about getting a cocker spaniel, it would be good to find out as much as you can about this breed before you bring home a new puppy.

This article will look at the six (6) key things you need to know about getting a cocker spaniel, which includes the different types, whether they make great family dogs, how much they cost, trainability (how trainable they are), common health issues, and grooming needs.

Getting a new pet is a big decision, so you must learn as much as possible about the breed before deciding if it would make a good pet for you and your family.

1. Types of Cocker Spaniels

There are two different breeds of cocker spaniels, the English variety and the American Cocker Spaniel.

While these breeds are similar, they do have a few distinct differences. The main difference between these two types of spaniels is their size.

English Cocker spaniels are slightly larger, while the American variety has longer hair, which can grow to floor length.

English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels have square bodies and an even proportion between the legs and torso.

They also have floppy ears with a wavy, silky coat and feathering on the legs, tail, and chest.

brown english cocker spaniel
English cocker spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are available in a variety of colors, including solid shades, or patches.

English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized dogs. By adulthood, the males would have grown to between fifteen (15) and seventeen (17) inches tall and will weigh between 28 and 34 pounds (12kg and 15kg).

The females are slightly smaller, with an adult female measuring between fourteen (14) and sixteen (16) inches tall and weighing about 26 to 32 pounds (11kg to 14kg).

American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels are slightly smaller than the English variety.

The male stands at the height of between fourteen (14) and fifteen (15) and a half inches and weighs twenty-five (25) to thirty pounds (30).

Females are slightly smaller and generally measure between thirteen (13) and fourteen (14) inches. They weight between twenty (20) and twenty-five (25) pounds.

American Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels are available in a large selection of colors, including black, tan, tri-Color, silver, white, and buff and brown.

These dogs are most famous for their beautiful long hair, which is very smooth and silky. For this reason, they make excellent show dogs.

2. Are Cocker Spaniels a good family pet?

Cocker spaniels make great family pets as they are friendly and loyal and great with kids.

They were initially bred as a gundog, so they need plenty of exercise and would suit an active family who spends a lot of time outdoors.

They are also playful dogs that would love to play a game of fetch or football with kids and make a great companion for any child.

You and your family should also be committed to training your new cocker spaniel puppy from a young age.

As well as training, your puppy will need to be groomed regularly and proper early-on socialization, so that it can grow into a happy, confident dog.

You should also know that many Cocker Spaniels are quite vocal.

They can also get very attached to their owners and will want to follow you and your family around everywhere you go.

3. How Much they cost

You’ll likely notice that the price of a cocker spaniel varies considerably from breeder to breeder.

A pedigree Cocker spaniels’ puppy may cost as much as $1500, whereas non-pedigrees are likely to cost between $500 and $1000. These prices are similar to the price of other similar sized breeds.

It’s also common that Cocker Spaniels are sold for a lot more if they’re going to be used as a working dog and come from a distinguished working line or if their parents and grandparents have pedigree show-winning potential.

4. Grooming needs

Cocker spaniels have relatively long coats, and they also have feathering on their legs, tail, and chest.

Their coats are very dense in places that help them to keep warm in cold weather; this makes them a great working dog.

Cockers Spaniels aren’t bothered about getting muddy. You’ll, therefore, need to thoroughly wash them with a dog shampoo.

Ensure you rinse and dry your Cocker properly to remove any leftover shampoo, this is to prevent skin irritation that can be created by the leftover shampoo.

It’s also a good idea to check inside your dog’s ears because seeds sometimes get stuck there after playing outside, and these can cause irritation.

During bathing, check their ears, also look out for excessive ear wax.

If you have a cocker spaniel as a pet, you’ll need to ensure that its coat is kept in good condition, the breed requires daily gentle combing and brushing.

This will help stop tangles and even matted fur from developing.

Cocker Spaniels either have flat or wavy coats. Those with wavy hair tend to be more prone to matting.

Due to the nature of their coat, it is important to use a professional, metal comb with medium teeth spacing. Combing your Cocker’s coat is more important than brushing it.

Pay extra attention to the ears during combing, as the skin on the edges can easily get injured due to its soft nature.

You may also need to trim your dog’s fur slightly, especially around the feet.

Cocker spaniels do shed their fur slightly, and their coats will require more combing when they’re shedding to get rid of loose hair.

American Cocker Spaniels have longer hair, which can sometimes be floor length and requires lots of grooming.

Many dog owners choose to have their pet’s hair clipped or may have them groomed by a professional grooming salon.

5. Potential Health issues

Cocker Spaniels do tend to be a very hardy and robust breed of dogs, which is one of the reasons that they were originally bred to be working dogs.

They do, however, suffer from several breed-specific health issues.

These problems could affect your pet’s health and well-being, so if you own a cocker spaniel, it’s essential to check for any health problems before they become severe.

It’s also a good idea to learn about the common hereditary health problems that affect Cocker Spaniels before deciding to buy one.

This will mean that you’ll be more likely to spot any issues your pet has and take the necessary steps to get treatment for your pet.

It’s also a good idea to find out if there are any recommended health tests for the breed of dog you’re planning to buy.

It’s recommended that Cocker Spaniels be checked for common conditions such as mammary cancer and pyometra as they are more affected by these conditions than other dog breeds.

Pyometra is a condition that causes the bitches uterus to become infected and inflamed. This condition is hard to treat and can be fatal.

It’s, therefore, a good idea to spay your female cocker spaniel.

Cockers Spaniels are also prone to problems with their eyes and ears, and these areas should be checked regularly.

Many spaniels suffer from an eye condition called ectropion; this causes the eyelid to droop.

Many Cocker Spaniels also suffer from a genetic condition called Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which can lead to blindness.

When buying a puppy, you should check that the parents have been tested for and are free from these diseases.

Hip dysplasia is also a genetic disease that affects many cocker spaniels.

This is where the hip joint is malformed. The condition can cause severe pain as well as problems with walking.

There are a few other tests that your puppy’s parents should have had, which will reduce the likely hood of the puppy suffering.

These include Familial Nephropathy, which is a kidney disease, and Gonioscopy, a glaucoma test.

6. Trainability (Are Cocker Spaniels Easy To Train?)

Cocker spaniels are a very smart breed of dog, and they like to please their owners.

For that reason, with the right handling, they are relatively easy to train.

They are a versatile dog that makes excellent pets, show dogs, or working dogs. As they are clever dogs, they can quickly learn new commands.

Although the breed can learn a lot, they also get bored quickly, so their training and routine needs to be varied.

If your dog becomes frustrated, it may start to develop bad habits or even behavior problems.

This often makes them harder to train for the inexperienced owner than a breed that isn’t as smart.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions asked by most people on the internet.

Where should I buy a Cocker Spaniel From?

When buying a Cocker Spaniel, you should look for a reputable breeder.

You can check out the American Kennel Club’s market place to find verified, reputable breeders.

Or, check out the folks at Adopt a pet, to find breeders and adoption centers around you.

Ensure that you see both the parents and check that they don’t have any genetic conditions such as hip problems that spaniels are prone to.

Also, check that the puppy is in good health before making the commitment.

Can I adopt a Cocker Spaniel?

The decline of the demand for working dogs has meant that all types of spaniels have become less popular in recent times.

This means that you’re likely to find a cocker spaniel in a dog shelter or animal rescue center, which will be cheaper than buying from a breeder.

There are a few different cocker spaniel rescue centers in America, including the Cocker Nation Rescue in Michigan and The Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue.

You can also find out more about adopting a springer spaniel from the Cocker Spaniel Club.

Are Cocker Spaniels good with cats?

Although bred for hunting, the Cocker Spaniels with proper puppy socialization can get along just fine with cats.

Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to hunt birds and not mammals, making it easier for them to coexist with cats.

Are Cocker Spaniels good with other dogs?

Cocker Spaniels are great with other dogs when they are properly socialized from a very young age.

It is advisable to give your Cocker Spaniel a well-exposed upbringing with sufficient playtime with other dogs, in a controlled environment.

How much exercise does a Cocker Spaniel need?

The Cocker Spaniel belongs to the sporting family breed and would require regular exercise to keep fit and help maintain a toned muscle.

The Cocker doesn’t require a lot of exercises and can be sustained with the occasional play session as well as retrieving or playing fetch. This in turn makes them great dogs for apartment living.

Check out these 10 easy exercises you can do with your Cocker to keep them healthy and fit.


The Cocker Spaniel is a smart, loyal, active, and playful dog breed that excels in various conditions; from apartment/urban living to farm and remote living.

The are easy to train, great with kids, cats, and other dogs if you have any.

Before you consider buying one from a breeder, please take a visit to your local dog shelter, a pup might just be in need of all the love and care you have to give.

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