English Cocker Spaniel is a gun dog breed. Spaniels originated in Spain but were prized in England (and other places) for their hunting abilities. Bred to hunt birds, the English Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel were the same breed, differentiated only by size, until the late 1800s. The American Cocker Spaniel became a separate breed in the early 1900s, although the English and American Cockers were interbred until the 1940s.
The English Cocker Spaniel stands between 15 and 17 inches tall and weighs between 26 and 34 pounds. He has a softly arched skull, long muzzle, large oval eyes, and hanging ears. The tail is docked, and the coat is medium length and silky. The English Cocker Spaniel coat on the head is short, but the ears, legs, and tail are feathered. The coat may be solid colored or parti-colored. Black, liver, and red are all acceptable English Cocker Spaniel colors. This coat needs regular grooming to prevent tangles and mats. The coat should be brushed and combed two to three times a week—more if the dog gets wet or dirty. The coat should be trimmed every six to eight weeks.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a moderately active dog breed. Adults can be calm in the house, although puppies are quite active. These dogs will enjoy a walk mornings and evenings, a good run, a training session on the agility course, or a vigorous game of flyball. The breed is still used for hunting. Socialization and training are important to this breed, if for no other reason than they are friendly, social, intelligent dogs who thrive on social contact and activity.
Training should continue into adulthood to keep their minds busy. English Cocker Spaniels also do well in obedience competition. This breed needs an active owner who likes grooming. The English Cocker Spaniel is good with children who treat him with respect; he does not like to be handled roughly. He is good with other dogs and pets, although interactions with smaller pets should be supervised. Health concerns include deafness, hip and knee problems, allergies, and seizures.