Meet the English Cocker Spaniel breed, an adorable ear


Although its heritage dates back many years before, the First mentions of the term Spaniel are found in the fourteenth century in the writings of the famous English literary Geofrey Chaucer, known for his "Canterbury Tales." Later other writers like Shakespeare also cited them in their 16th-century manuscripts. Also in numerous hunting paintings from medieval times we find them represented next to the hunter and his hunting trophies or developing hunting tasks in the fields and forests of the countryside.

There is a lot controversy regarding the origin of the name Spaniel as to what It comes from the old French "espaigneul" which meant "Spanish dog" in clear reference to the country of origin where the original dogs were believed to come from, more specifically from the area between the former border of France and Spain, where they were known as "Spanyelly" or "Spaniell".

Other theories talk about spaniels coming to England from the hand of their Spanish owners who sold them to English hunters and aristocrats who quickly appreciated their skills as lifting dogs and game collectors.

What is true is that In these first descriptions the spaniels were divided by the hunters into two groups: the Land Spaniels (ground spaniels) and the Water Spaniels (water spaniels). The first were a very large group and with a great diversity of sizes. In fact in the same litter you could find dogs of different sizes and according to this criterion they were separated. The largest were used to lift larger birds. Among them we would find dogs that we currently know as the English Springer Spaniel or the Welsh Springer Spaniel. They used to have a liver color with some white nuances. The smallest were described as much more agile dogs, with legs and tail always in action and with a nose always busy sniffing the hunt. They had a most daring character (They were not afraid to enter the bushes and brambles in order to get out of the dam and did not even hesitate to dive into the water to collect it) and in turn they were more rogues and affectionate. His mantle had a greater diversity of colors. Together with these virtues, they were also highly appreciated for their gifts for the hunt for the scholarship (in English Woodcock) and most likely that is why they were called "cocking" or "cocker".

This second type of dogs was emerging very strongly all over England but especially in the southwest and Wales, and they were known as the "cocking spaniel", until at the end of the 19th century, specifically in 1892, was recognized as a breed by the English Kennel Club. Later, in 1902, the first official standard of the breed was published.

The cockers records can be traced until 1879, where we meet the first specimen recognized as a separate and distinct breed from the rest of spaniels in England: "Obo". He was born on June 14 of that same year and its owner, James Farrowit was who established the initial basis for the race as we know them today. In 1902 he founded the Cocker Spaniel Club of Great Britain, organization that still exists today. Undoubtedly "Obo" was the precursor of the current English Cocker Spaniel.

The interesting history of the English Cocker Spaniel breed

It is a breed known since ancient times, and used to be used for hunting, regardless of adult size. The smallest cocker spaniel were used to hunt birds and the largest to hunt mammals.

Thus, all the cocker spaniel breed variants we know today (Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Springer Spaniel and Sussex Spaniel) they were included in the same group. It was at the end of the 19th century when it was decided to consider these races separately and the Cocker Spaniel was made official as an independent race.

The Cocker Spaniel breed began to become popular in its place of origin, Great Britain, and subsequently spread throughout the rest of Europe. Upon arriving in the United States, breeders there preferred to modify the breed and give it a somewhat different look. As a result, two different races were differentiated: the English cocker spaniel and the American cocker spaniel. British moviegoers opposed crossings between the two races to maintain the purity of their English cocker, considered the "original race." But this had consequences: the American cocker became very popular in the USA., to the point of unseating English. However, although the American cocker spaniel is the preferred breed in the US, it is not as well known outside the country. The English cocker spaniel is the one who has conquered hearts of cinephiles from around the world.

Physical characteristics of the English Cocker Spaniel breed

English Cocker Spaniel They are very athletic and strong. As you can see, this is not a characteristic of only big or giant dogs, the English cocker spaniel, even in its largest variant, only becomes medium-sized and yet they are very sporty dogs.

They have a medium and elegant head, with a large nose and square snout. The color of the eyes is usually brown, except in the liver-colored cocker spaniel, which can be hazelnut. The ears of the English Cocker Spaniel breed are very characteristic, perhaps the most representative and well-known of these dogs: they are long, short and hanging.

The body, as we said is strong, compact and athletic, but not because of this it is a rough dog or one that feels heavy. The structure of the cocker spaniel is very stylized and elegant.

The tail is short and medium length. In its origins as a hunting dog, it used to be amputated, today, luckily, being a mainly domestic dog is no longer usually done. Yes, there are places where the tail of the cocker spaniel is still amputated for purely aesthetic purposes, but that habit is increasingly being lost. It is still a cruelty and an unnecessary practice that brings no benefit to dogs.

Fur of the English Cocker Spaniel breed

The coat of the Cocker Spaniel breed is smooth and silky and can be presented in several ways:

  • Solid colors: Black, fire, red, gold, liver. Some have a small whitish mark in the chest area.
  • Particicolors: Black and white, orange and white, lemon and white, liver and white. All of them can be smooth or mottled.
  • Tricolor: Black, fire and white or liver, fire and white.
  • Roman colors: Blue, orange, lemon, liver, combination of blue ruano and fire or liver and fire.

As you can see, it is one of the races with the most variety of coat colors. And they are all so beautiful that it costs to choose a favorite!

English Cocker Spaniel Character

The English Cocker Spaniel It is a race with a very appropriate character for family life. They are very playful, funny, friendly and affectionate dogs, as with other breeds, They have a habit of choosing a family member as a reference.

Cocker Spaniel socialization is usually very simple, since they are dogs of a sociable and affable nature. However, this does not mean that the socialization process must be omitted when the cocker is a puppy. Watch out! In fact, if they are not well socialized, they can be aggressive. Especially unjustified episodes of aggressiveness have been reported in golden cocker, this does not mean that everyone is aggressive. A complete and appropriate socialization, will make the cocker spaniel a close and friendly dog ​​with people, dogs and even other animals. In addition, it is advisable to inform yourself about the temperament of the puppy's parents before acquiring it.

They also tend to be very nervous and destructive when they are alone for too long.

English Cocker Spaniel care

Hair needs moderate attention. Being quite straight, it does not get entangled as much as that of other long-haired dogs, but we cannot ignore it either. You will need frequent brushing, two or three times a week. It is also recommended remove dead hair 5 to 6 times a yearYou can do it yourself or take your cocker spaniel to a dog groomer.

It is also very important to check and clean the ears frequently.

They are very active dogs, so they need physical exercise every day. In addition to the walks that all dogs need, it is advisable to take the cocker spaniel to practice some canine sport. If the exercise is appropriate, The cocker will have no problem adapting to life in apartments or flats, even in very populated cities.

As we said, tend to nervousness and destruction when alone. It is not convenient to leave them without company too many hours a day. If you are one of those who leave home in the morning and do not return until late at nightYou may not be the ideal companion for a dog of the Cocker Spaniel breed.

General information

It is believed that the ancient Romans spread throughout their empire a type of hunting dog especially adapted to work in aquatic environments, so it is possible that this type of dog arrived in the British Isles in remote times.

However, it is also believed that the strain that later gave rise to the "spaniel" races, to which the Cocker belongs, is more specific to the Iberian Peninsula, hence its name. But nevertheless, there is no consensus on the origin of the term spaniel, since some scholars say that it comes from the term “l’espainholz”, derived from the old French “s’éspagnir”, and that it meant “lying down”, in clear reference to the behavior of dogs during hunting.

In any case, the first “spaniel” - they will arrive in Britain from Spain or not - gave rise to two different types depending on the British terrain in which they carried out their hunting work: water spaniels (Water Spaniels) and the ground spaniels (Land Spaniels). The latter, in turn, evolved to create two other types differentiated by colors and sizes, so that the Setting Spaniels appeared (which later founded the different types of setter) and Springing Spaniels, which were also divided into two sizes, large and small, where the Cocker came from.

Precisely because until the nineteenth century these dogs they belonged to one group or another according to their size (in a litter of Springing Spaniels there could be large and small dogs), it is difficult to deepen the development of the Cocker. Once at the dawn of the twentieth century he began to be selected as a race proper, he liked it both in Europe and in the United States, although there he was selected with different aesthetic criteria to the point that they ended up being considered different races: the English Cocker and the American Cocker.

The same as with the etymology of "spaniel", experts do not agree on the origin of the term "cocker", but the most widespread theory is that it is a derivation of "cocking", which is the English term for the water coot.


He Cocker stands out for his intelligence, joy and dynamism, characteristics that it maintains since its first years of development.

In the past, the myth that the red Cocker were "crazy" and that is why they bit and were very difficult to treat. We do not completely know if this “urban legend” was forged from an isolated case or is nothing more than a myth repeated over and over again, but the truth is that Today there is no reason to continue believing that the Red Cockers have behavioral problems. In addition, breeders have made a lot of effort to preserve their balanced character in all colors.

As part of its balanced character, The Cocker maintains his hunting instinct and a great predilection for water. Therefore, in case we are in the countryside and carry it loose, it will not hesitate to dive into puddles, rivers, etc. Of course, we must be aware of him in these cases.

Also due to its balanced character, The Cocker can adapt without any problem to life in the city, They just need to exercise periodically and, of course, daily walks.

The Cocker has easy maintenance, but it is it is essential that we brush long fringes Because they knot easily. If necessary, they can be trimmed, but it would be better for a specialist.

Nor is it too much keep hairs growing between fingers and pads short, since if they are very long they can hinder their movement, even cause slips.

In addition to this specific care of your mantle, The Cocker only needs the care of any other dog: vaccines, deworming, periodic reviews to see how your health is and, of course, much love.


The Cocker is not a sickly breed, although his long, hanging ears can make him have certain predisposition to the suffering of otitis. Therefore, we must learn to keep them clean and if an otitis appears, we must follow the veterinarian's instructions.

As part of your daily care, it is more than adequate choose an adapted diet to your needs, since you are a puppy. This allows the strengthening of the immune system and the care of your still sensitive digestive system, as well as your skin and hair. This is the case of Royal Canin Junior Cocker food, which also has a croquette adapted to the jaw of the Cocker puppy and a reinforced palatability.

The same goes for the Royal Canin Cocker Adult food, whose formula is adapted to the breed once it turns 12 months, with its special and unique croquette shape.

Origin of the English Cocker Spaniel

The cocker spaniel were in their time separate races del Field and the springer spaniel, after the formation of the Kennel Club. Initially it was known as "cocking spaniel" derived from "flushing woodcock". The name derives from ancient French, "spaigneul", which literally means" Spanish dog "since the original breed came from Spain, country in which it was used as a hunter and collector. The Cocker Spaniel came to England from the hand of Spanish owners and you can see the enormous popularity they acquired in numerous references in English literature, as in works by Sheakespeare or Chaucer.

This breed has been very marked by hunting. Although formerly they were used for different types of prey according to their size, no distinction was made by races. Thus, in the same litter of land spaniel large dogs (more used to hunt mammals) and small dogs (more used to hunt birds) could be born. Consequently, the dogs we know today as cocker spaniel, field spaniel, springer spaniel and Sussex spaniel formed a single group.

It was only at the end of the 19th century that these races were separated and the Cocker Spaniel was officially recognized for the first time. His main function as a hunting dog was, and still is, to raise the scholarship or chicken hen.

This little dog became very popular in Britain, his homeland, and the rest of Europe. It was then exported to the United States of America where it also achieved a lot of popularity, but American breeders they decided to modify the race to get a somewhat different appearance.

Logically, British moviegoers opposed the changes made by the Americans and decided to ban crossings between the original breed and the American variety. Thus the two varieties were separated into two different races, the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel.

The American cocker became extremely popular in his country, displacing English. However, the American version of the breed is little known in the rest of the world, while the English cocker spaniel is very popular and appreciated. At present we can discover small differences between the breed destined for "work" and that of "beauty", as is the case with the German shepherd dog.

Physical characteristics of the English cocker spaniel

The cocker is a dog compact, sporty and athletic. Its head is well modeled without being very thin or very coarse. Naso-frontal depression (stop) is well marked. The nose is wide and the snout is square. The eyes are brown, except in dogs with totally or partially liver-colored fur, in which the eyes can be hazelnut. The ears are long, low insertion and hanging.

The body is strong and compact. The upper line is firm and horizontal to the back. From the loin to the insertion of the tail, descend gently. The chest is well developed and deep, but it is neither too wide nor too narrow.

The tail is of low insertion, slightly curved and of moderate length. Formerly it was amputated to reduce wounds during hunting days. Today, however, most of these dogs are family partners, so there is no reason for that practice. In many places the tail is still amputated for purely aesthetic purposes, but fortunately that custom is less and less accepted.

He fur is smooth, silky, not very profuse and never curly. Four varieties of color They are accepted by the breed standard:

  • Solid colors. Black, red, gold, liver, black and fire, liver and fire. They may have a small white mark on the chest.
  • Individuals Black and white, orange and white, liver and white, lemon and white. All with or without mottling.
  • Tricolor: Black, white and fire, liver, white and fire.
  • Romanians Ruano blue, roano orange, roano lemon, roano liver, roano blue and fire, roano liver and fire.

English Cocker Spaniel Education

The English cocker spaniel is an intelligent dog and if we work using positive training we will be able to develop the full potential of the dog, whether in basic or advanced training. We will begin by highlighting the importance of the correct socialization of this dog that will start from his arrival home in his puppy stage.

We must present all kinds of people, animals, objects and environments, in this way, when you reach adulthood you will not have behavioral problems such as fear or aggressiveness. Socialization is not usually complicated in this breed, since the English cocker spaniel is a dog sociable by nature.

Despite its sociable temperament, the English cocker dog can become a destructive dog if we spend too much time away from home or do not stimulate it as required, so it is important to take into account before adoption that this breed will need company and frequent activity.

It will be essential to teach our cocker the basic orders for dogs, fundamental for their safety and that of their environment, but later we can work canine skills or various tricks. The important thing is to keep our dog entertained with new exercises that will also help him in his day to day.

English Cocker Spaniel Health

As with virtually all races, especially those with pedigree, the English cocker spaniel is susceptible to several inherited diseases. Deafness, for example, is a major problem in colorless cockers. Between the most common diseases of the English cocker spaniel we find:

It is important to make regular visits to the veterinarian, every 6 or 12 months, to quickly detect any of these health problems. It will also be very necessary to correctly follow the vaccination schedule of the dog, as well as periodic deworming, both internal and external. Remember that the life expectancy of the English cocker spaniel is above the 12 and 15 years.

Behavior and personality

The English Cocker Spaniel is a magnificent dog for any family. He is active but not too much, very affectionate, docile, sweet and intelligent. It can be a bit manipulative, but it is very adaptable. In addition, although we have to train it as a puppy, it does not mean that we cannot have a good time. In fact, to be happy you have to teach him to live in society, but you also have to take good care, that is, take him out for a walk every day, play a lot with him, and, in short, spend time.

In addition to what we have commented so far, it will be necessary give a quality diet without cereals and brush daily. Thus, it will look beautiful, as it will be healthy. Also, once a month it is convenient to bathe it with a dog shampoo in order to remove all the dirt.