Graceful, enterprising and with mischievous stubbornness – no wonder the English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most beloved dog breeds. Here you will learn the most important things about this long-eared Brit.
English Cocker Spaniel, silky beauty
English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized and robust. They have a height of around 40 cm at the withers and a weight of up to 14.5 kg. The coat is smooth and above all very soft. The coat color varies. But monocolored dogs should have white fur at least on the chest. Another striking feature of the breed are the low set long lop ears.
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Also read: English Bulldog Breed Information
Descendant of the Pied Spaniel family
The exact origin of the English Cocker Spaniel is unknown. One theory – not to mention legend – holds that the dogs came to Britain from Spain over 2,000 years ago with Julius Caesar’s Roman soldiers and the breed takes its name from the Latin name for “Spanish dog.” “.
It is certain that the ancestors of the current Spaniel breed were very popular hundreds of years ago. For example, British author Geoffrey Chaucer refers to “spaniel dogs” as early as the 14th century, and about 200 years later, William Shakespeare immortalized the Spaniel in his works. In 1570, the scientist John Caius classified today’s British dog breeds, including the spaniels he divided into land and water spaniels. Among the Land Spaniels, he counts the Springer Spaniels who were tasked with hunting rabbits or birds and retrieving them after the shot. Several breeds have developed from these Springer Spaniels, including the English Cocker Spaniel. In 1892, the English Kennel Club recognized the breed as an independent.
In the US, special spaniel clubs quickly developed that were engaged in the breeding of the breed. The Cocker Spaniel was originally a working dog. As with other former working dog breeds, breeding was focused on appearance. This also had consequences for the English Cocker Spaniel; exaggerated traits such as ultra-long lop ears were bred.back to menu ↑
Deployment as a woodcock hunter
The cocker spaniel was bred specifically for hunting the woodcock, English: woodcock. The woodcock is barely visible on the forest floor due to its good camouflage. But the good nose of the dog can track them down.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a hunting dog that mainly hunts by walking in front of the hunter in lines or circles, trying to track down traces of potential prey. The Cocker Spaniel does not shy away from impenetrable thickets. There they chase the birds away so that the hunter can shoot at them. Even today, the breed is still used for hunting, especially in England and Scotland. But the majority of English Cocker Spaniels meanwhile live as a family dog. In addition, the dog with its good nose has excellent skills to work for the police and customs.
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Nature: cheerful, friendly, greedy
Its appearance is not deceiving: the English Cocker Spaniel is a cheerful open dog that needs to connect with its family. He is friendly to humans and animals unless the animal sees him as prey. He is affectionate, loyal, loves to cuddle, and is always up for a game. When strangers arrive, he will bark – though he will quickly befriend them. Therefore, the English Cocker Spaniel is generally not a good watchdog. Despite his kindness, he remains a hunter at heart, who once he follows a trail, heeds his hunting instincts and not your commands. In addition to his family and hunting, the English Cocker Spaniel often has another passion: food in any form. The little nature lover loves delicacies, which unfortunately often leads to being overweight.back to menu ↑
The breed has a hereditary predisposition to the congenital vestibular syndrome, an inner ear disease with balance disorders and partial unilateral or bilateral deafness. Furthermore, in comparison with other breeds, eye problems (cataracts) often occur. Also noteworthy is the presumably hereditary “cocker craze” in which affected dogs experience seizures similar to epileptic seizures. Exhaustion is often the result. These attacks are certainly not comparable to the “wild five minutes” of a playful puppy or mischievous dogs. A visit to the vet is therefore necessary. Theories that mono-colored dogs are more commonly affected than those with part-white fur are now outdated. Due to responsible breeding, the “cocker wrath” has already been greatly reduced.
Despite these tendencies, most English Cocker Spaniels are robust dogs because genetics naturally affects only a small portion of the breed. Nevertheless, precaution is better than acting afterward! Before buying an English Cocker Spaniel puppy, check the health of the parents and his ancestors. Many diseases can now be almost ruled out by genetic testing, helping you minimize the risks of hereditary diseases. And some things are of course under your control: with too little exercise in combination with too much food, the English Cocker Spaniel tends to be overweight. A healthy Cocker Spaniel can live to be about 15 years old.back to menu ↑
Care of the English Cocker Spaniel
You might not think so at first, but caring for the English Cocker Spaniel is relatively time-consuming. The silky coat should be brushed extensively at least every other day and preferably every day. For example, the fur under the “armpits” and under the ears can quickly become tangled. It is best to get the dog used to the joint grooming ritual from an early age by giving him a soft brush. Practice brushing “troublesome” areas such as the abdomen – this is how he learns to enjoy the obligatory grooming ritual. After walks, check whether your darling has small pieces of wood, tangles or even vermin in his fur. The lips should be cleaned with a damp cloth once a day to avoid inflammation. It is best to let the dog get used to this as a puppy. His love of water can make grooming even more difficult, as many representatives of the breed are magically attracted to mud puddles and require you to rinse off your little Brit after a walk.
The English Cocker Spaniel should be trimmed every two months. Then the hairs on the back, on the lips, under the ears and under the belly are shortened. With a little patience and the right tools (nail clippers, scissors, brush, comb, trimming knife) you can trim your English Cocker Spaniel yourself – but be instructed carefully. In addition, regularly trim the protruding hair on the soles of the feet to prevent dirt and infections. The lop ears promote skin fungi and irritations due to their warm and humid climate and therefore also inflammation. So check your dog under the ears every day. There are special dog snacks or dog toys for dental care.back to menu ↑
Education: it’s all about consequence
The passionate hunter needs a consistent upbringing without harshness. Before the arrival of the new family member, set clear rules about parenting and stick to them. Otherwise, an English Cocker Spaniel will see every little exception as a new rule and use it to get his way. If you take this into account, the education can also be done well for beginners. On the one hand, it is easy during the education that the English Cocker Spaniel is a foodie, but on the other hand, you have to be careful: when it comes to food, you should not let him wrap you around the paw. The English Cocker Spaniel is only too happy to use a longing look to achieve his goal.
Don’t give in to that, but stick to fixed eating times and give sweets in moderation. Small games of fetch are also suitable as a reward. Try to channel his passion for tracks from an early age so that you can let your adult English Cocker Spaniel run free and he doesn’t run off every time he is on the trail.
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Activity for the lively tracking dog
No matter how small and cheerful the English Cocker Spaniel looks, the heart of a hunter beats in his chest. That requires plenty of exercise and activity – at least one to two hours a day. In addition to normal walks, his handsome face also needs to be kept busy, for example with search and retrieval games. Some cocker spaniels also literally take a leap into the deep (water). For joggers, the small energy bundle is an optimal companion who likes to go with you. You have to train him to step by step. An English Cocker Spaniel loves searches and is therefore very suitable for mantrailing or searching for tracks. However, he not only likes exercise and activity but also cuddly moments with his owner.back to menu ↑
Questions before the dog moves in with you
The English Cocker Spaniel is friendly, affectionate, loyal and playful – the optimal qualities for a family dog. It is very suitable for sporty families who like to be outside with their dogs. The open cocker spaniel easily makes friends with other pets, while outdoors his hunting instincts take over. Think carefully in advance whether you have enough time every day for the next 15 years to care for and keep the dog busy.
Also think carefully about babysitting in case of illness or when you are on vacation and check which holiday destinations you could go to with your future four-legged friend. Just to be sure, check if anyone in your family is allergic to dogs. In general, the English Cocker Spaniel is a dog that loves children. Make clear agreements with your children for respectful handling of the four-legged friend – then nothing stands in the way of a good friendship. Last but not least, you should also think of the high purchase price of an English Cocker Spaniel and the basic necessities (line, food bowls, blanket, toys, car security, basket). Also think about regular costs for a balanced diet, vet checks, and dog tax. Acute illnesses can lead to unforeseen costs.
Look for a nice dog school before the dog moves in with you to socialize the dog well. They will also give you tips for proper upbringing and activities. If this is your first dog, you should also read up on dog-tailored food because an English Cocker Spaniel tends to be overweight if it is over-calorie. When feeding dry food, it is advisable to weigh this regularly so that you can estimate how many calories the dog is taking in and you can adjust it if necessary.
Wanted English Cocker Spaniel?
Because the breed is so loved, there are also many breeders who breed English Cocker Spaniels. Choosing a puppy is something you should make with your heart and mind: calmly look for a responsible breeder who breeds from healthy parents and is not out to breed as much as possible and maximize profits. Be wary of all breeders who are not affiliated with any association and who cannot provide you with reproductive studies.
A good breeder pays attention to the health of the parents and ancestors and to extensive socialization. He gives the bitch enough time to recover between litters and is interested in his puppy’s new home. Often the breeder is also a contact person after purchase where you can go with questions about your new family member. If you get the four-legged friend, he is vaccinated, dewormed,
If it can also be an adult dog, you will quickly find a four-legged friend on the internet who will be happy with a new home, because its original owners can no longer keep the animal. In many countries, there are “Spanish in Need” organizations that offer Cocker Spaniels as well as high cocker share crossbreeds. Also, check the website of the animal shelter in your area. English Cocker Spaniels often end up there too – although they are very popular.
For dog novices, it can be an advantage to get an English Cocker Spaniel that has already been well trained. Of course, there are also four-legged friends whose owners did not have sufficient knowledge and patience during their upbringing. Usually, the shelter finds out during a conversation whether you and the dog can become a dream team.
We wish you a pleasant time with your playful English Cocker Spaniel!