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Cocker Spaniel: Everything You Need to Know

Mira Gibson

This gentle, happy purebred dog breed belongs to the “sporting group” of canines. Cocker Spaniels are the “parent breed” to many beloved purebred Spaniels such as the English Cocker Spaniel, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, and the list goes on.

 As a medium-sized companion dog, the Cocker Spaniel has been winning hearts and warming homes since 1850. In this blog, you’ll discover what makes the Cocker Spaniel, and all the Spaniels that derived from this tender-spirited breed, so lovable! 

A row of beautiful Cocker Spaniel dogs show how Cocker Spaniels are one of the best dog breeds for families.

TEMPERAMENT 

Cocker Spaniels are the Audrey Hepburns of the canine world. Elegant, alluring, sweet, and delightfully quirky, the Cocker Spaniel has a demure nature and happy-go-lucky temperament.

As a sporting group dog, this breed is always up for a frolic at the park, yet will gladly bask in the sunshine with you on the patio to enjoy blooming flowers and the occasional butterfly fluttering by. The Cocker Spaniel is docile and radiates an attitude of gratitude, patience, and warmth, making it a wonderful companion dog for people from all walks of life. 

On a sunny day filled with blue skies, six Cocker Spaniels sit obediently and look adorable, their faces expressing the temperament of Cocker Spaniel dogs.

APPEARANCE 

Soft and silky to the touch, the Cocker Spaniel has a fine, long double-layer coat of hair that comes in a variety of colors. From black to red to tan to golden to even the rare blue hue, Cocker Spaniels can be just about any color under the sun, or combination thereof, and still be accredited by the American Kennel Club.

One caveat with this breed is that though its hair is tidy and it doesn’t shed too much, the Cocker Spaniel is not a hypoallergenic dog breed. Cocker Spaniels have a round head, large expressive eyes, long floppy silky ears, and a graceful gait. Their hair can grow all the way down to their paws, and many owners keep their Cocker Spaniels groomed with a long coat that nearly “dusts” the ground. This contributes to the breed’s stunning, regal appearance.   

The Cocker Spaniel personality is cheerful as seen here with a long haired black and brown Cocker Spaniel trotting outside.

PERSONALITY

Ask any Cocker Spaniel owner the first words that come to mind when describing their pooch’s personality, and they’ll tell you, happy, merry, frolicking, perky, affectionate, playful, and even “impish”! Thanks to their upbeat, optimistic, and companionable personalities, Cocker Spaniels make great family dogs for children of all ages. They are gentle, love children, and also tolerate younger children who tend to be “grabby” and haven’t learned to regard boundaries.

Similar to the temperament of the Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniels will proceed with patients when enduring those younger unruly ages between 2 – 5. If you have toddlers and young children, you can be sure your Cocker Spaniel will love and protect them as a guardian who is honored to be a part of your family!

A woman trains her Cocker Spaniel inside on a couch in a sunny living room to show that Cocker Spaniels are easy to train.

TRAINABILITY

Cocker Spaniels are among the easiest dogs to train. They’re also among the smartest, but unlike most highly intelligent breeds that err on the side of being willful and stubborn, Cocker Spaniels don’t have a disobedient streak. Instead, a Cocker Spaniel puppy will approach training with an eagerness to please its owner. They pick up on basic commands quickly. And as a sporting group dog, Cocker Spaniels also love to learn complex commands and tasks.

Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to hunt birds such as quail, ducks, and woodcocks, and are natural “retrievers” of hunted game. This instinct will come alive during a simple game of fetch. You can even train your Cocker Spaniel to keep your yard tidy by collecting toys and even trash from your property. This makes the post-barbeque clean up a lot faster once your guests leave!

A Cocker Spaniel loves to play with balls as it looks up, smiling to show that the Cocker Spaniel dog breed's exercise requirements are moderate.

EXERCISE NEEDS

Though Cocker Spaniels belong to the sporting group of canines, they are not considered “high energy” dogs. Unlike the Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, and Jack Russell Terrier breeds that will burst at the seams they’re so full of energy, Cocker Spaniels are relatively low-key and calm.

That being said, they have excellent endurance for a good romp at the dog park. You can satisfy your Cocker Spaniel’s energy requirements by providing a cumulative hour of daily exercise. This can be broken up throughout the day with many walks and adequate time to “sniff and run” as needed. The one caveat with the Cocker Spaniel’s exercise requirements is that this breed does not do well when left alone for long stretches of time. Cocker Spaniels are truly “companion dogs” that are happiest when they’re with their owners for the majority of the day. 

A Cocker Spaniel is groomed by a woman while seated on a pink couch.

GROOMING REQUIREMENTS

This beautiful dog breed has moderate grooming needs. Since Cocker Spaniels have long hair, they must be brushed at least every other day in order to prevent tangles and matting. Brushing your Cocker Spaniel for 5 minutes a day is ideal. You’ll also have to take your Cocker Spaniel to the professional groomers about once every 3 months for a good shampoo wash and to trim the hair, clip the nails, and clean out inside his big, floppy ears.

Never shave your Cocker Spaniel, even if you live in a hot climate, because the double-coat of hair will never grow the same again. Shaving this breed damages the coat, but professional groomers already know this. In order to keep your Cocker Spaniel as cool as possible during the hot summer months, be sure to take him to the groomers during the spring to have his coat “de-shedded.” A professional washing and brushing will remove excess fur, greatly reducing his coat. And this will help him stay “light and cool” when it’s hot out. 

Cocker Spaniels are great family dogs as seen here an adult Cocker Spaniel is adored by an entire family.

IS A COCKER SPANIEL RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

The short and sweet answer is, “yes!” Cocker Spaniels thrive in families, especially big households where they can receive lots of love and attention from a variety of people within the home. Cocker Spaniels are not like other breeds that “pick” one family member to attach themselves to. Quite the opposite! Your Cocker Spaniel will treat each member of your family as though they are his very best friend in the world! But what if you’re a single person who lives alone? All the better! Your Cocker Spaniel will shower you with endless love and affection and be a true furry friend for life!

Are you ready to meet the Cocker Spaniel puppies at PuppyBuddy? Check out our new arrivals online or stop in our Boca Raton, FL location to see which of our furry Cockers are right for you!