English Cocker Spaniel breed: the lop-eared love package

László Enikő

2020. August 23 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

The English Cocker Spaniel is a very popular companion dog. Previously bred for hunting, it now wins the hearts of millions.


The Cocker Spaniel’s appearance is as charming as its inner qualities. A lovable, kind and affectionate companion. He adapts well to different situations and finds common ground with everyone. It is not recommended for house patrol, because it could even make good friends with a burglar.

The Cocker Spaniel is also beautiful in appearance.


The exact origin of the breed is unknown. Some believe the Spaniel was taken from Spain to England by Julius Caesar’s soldiers. Its supposed origin is also indicated by its name, the Spanish word for Spaniel. II. King Philip of Macedon ruled in the 3rd century BC. A coin from this period shows a picture of a dog resembling a Spaniel. At that time, the Cocker did not exist as a breed in its own right, they were just called Spaniels.

Depiction of the Spaniel from 1811.

He was a popular dog not only in everyday life, but also in literature. In the 14th century, the British writer, Geoffrey Chaucer compared his character to a spaniel in one of his works, The Canterbury Tales.

Shakespeare mentioned the dog in several of his works, for example in Macbeth. Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield also featured a spaniel.

In 1570, a naturalist, John Caius, classified English dog breeds into two groups: water and field dogs. The former included those who excelled in water hunting. The latter included the flushing spaniels, who chased birds and rabbits from the depths of the bushes. The hunter then shot the prey and the dog took it to him. English Cocker Spaniels were bred from the former flushing spaniels. They were named after the bird they usually hunted: the woodcock. It was recognised as an official breed by the English Kennel Club in 1892.

Former US President Richard Nixon and his Cocker Spaniel.

In the 1870s, the British brought Spaniels to America. Breeders there started breeding dogs in two ways. One side preferred the smaller dogs for showing, the other the larger ones for hunting. Thus the breed was split into the English and the American Cocker Spaniel. The latter is slightly smaller than its British counterpart. In 1946, the American Kennel Club officially recognized them as two different breeds. Today, the English Cocker Spaniel is the most common type of Spaniel.

Often chosen as a family favourite.

Breed standard

Officially, it belongs to the retriever group, in the section of the hounds. It comes in almost all colours, which is a typical so-called hound dog colour. The coat is silky to the touch, smooth, not curly or wavy. Depending on sex, they weigh 10-15 kg and are 38-40 cm tall. His ears are big, hairy and droopy. His eyes are dark brown and almond-shaped. His gaze is intelligent, lively. The tail, which is straight and never curves upwards, used to be cropped, but this is now less accepted.

There are many colour variations, but gold is the most common.


The English Cocker Spaniel is a truly charming creature, and not for nothing is it a popular dog around the world. His winning personality will sweep anyone off their feet. He is a very friendly, lively breed who is very affectionate and would love to spend every minute with his owner. He is pious, friendly and therefore not a good watchdog. He is a very temperamental dog, and if not brought up firmly, he tends to be stubborn. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start training your dog as a puppy. He is a quick learner, an excellent retriever and excels in dog sports. He loves water, swimming, he is an incredibly energetic dog.

Great playmate, loves to play ball.

Ideal environment

He can be kept both in the house and in the garden. He adapts well to all life situations. Exercise is important to him, so he needs frequent walks. He is also recommended for families with children, he can be an excellent playmate.


The coat should be combed daily, paying particular attention to the legs where the fur can easily tangle. As it grows quickly, it needs to be trimmed frequently, paying special attention to the paws and ears. If it gets used to frequent brushing and grooming as a puppy, it should have no problems as an adult. Eyes and ears should be cleaned regularly.

It is important to look after your pet’s coat regularly.

Common health problems

Spaniels have very sensitive ears. Because it is large and hanging, it can easily get infections if it is not properly ventilated. Therefore, care should always be taken to ensure that the hair is regularly trimmed. He loves to eat, so only give him reward food in moderation, as it is relatively easy for him to gain weight. Because they are very clingy, Cocker Spaniels are more likely than average to develop separation anxiety. Compared to other breeds, they also have a higher incidence of an eye disease called cataract.

An extremely affectionate dog.

A cocker rage is an innate neurological problem specific to this breed. It is an aggressive outburst of anger similar to an epileptic seizure. It’s not just a simple lack of manners, but a seizure that occurs overnight and requires urgent veterinary attention.

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