Cocker Spaniel: Training and Attitude

The actual origin of this well-known and popular dog breed is in Spain. The ancestors of the Cocker Spaniels there can be traced back to the 14th century AD.

Profile/Breed Portrait

Interesting facts about the Cocker Spaniel breed

  • FCI Standard No. 5
  • Origin: Great Britain
  • Height at the withers: males 39-41 cm | females 38-39cm
  • intelligent and good-natured hunting dog
  • Retriever and family dog
  • Life expectancy 12 years +

Nevertheless, Great Britain is officially regarded as the country of origin, which is also expressed in the breed description at the FCI. Small game-tracking dogs are common in England and are called “cocking spaniels”. The name “spaniel” comes from the Old French word for “Spanish” and refers to the Spanish ancestors of the breed.

The Cocker Spaniel is simply called Cocker at home and in this country. The name “cocker”, on the other hand, derives either from the original task of driving the game into the net (“cock”) and later in front of the hunter’s gun, or it alludes to the special talent of the dog, small poultry, especially to flush out woodcocks. Before the turn of the century (1900) the Kennel Club was founded in England. This association quickly established that Field Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, and Springer Spaniels should be treated as separate breeds.

Within a very short time, the English Cocker Spaniel became extremely popular. This led to him being the most popular breed of all in the 1930s; also outside of the United Kingdom.


The Cocker Spaniel is one of the search dogs (or retrievers and water dogs). In England, the not-too-large dog is often used as a companion when hunting. The hunters value its endurance and reliability when tracking down the game. Large numbers of Cocker Spaniels are often found in large hunting packs.

Their name came about in connection with their activity of hunting woodcocks in nets provided for this purpose. These birds are called “woodcocks” in England, and this task earned these slightly smaller hounds the designation cocking spaniels. It later became a Cocker Spaniel.

The breed is characterized by cheerful robustness. Cocker spaniels have a well-balanced build, they are compact without appearing clumsy. On the contrary. Because they are not that big, they find their way through the undergrowth quite easily. Here they move fearlessly through impassable undergrowth, constantly busy following the trail they have recorded.

Character & Nature of the Cocker Spaniel

The latter ability is particularly important for a hunter since this relatively small dog is often unable to fetch its prey.

In addition, the Cocker Spaniel has an excellent sense of smell, which makes it a very good drug and explosives search dog nowadays. The English Cocker quickly enjoyed growing popularity after the breed was established and by the 1930s it was the most popular breed in Great Britain and retained this top position for the next twenty years.

At the same time, a significantly different Cocker Spaniel developed in the USA, despite the original breeding basis. Interbreeding between the English Cocker and the now American Cocker continued, but since the two types were now so far apart, breeders came to the conclusion that further interbreeding would harm both species.

In 1940 the Kennel Club England separated the breeds into Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels. While the AKC followed suit, national stubbornness led to America renaming the breeds English Cocker Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel. At the request of the FCI, it was finally agreed that both breeds should be differentiated according to their country of origin and that one dog would be known as the English Cocker Spaniel and the other as the American Cocker Spaniel all over the world.

The English Cocker is slightly larger and has a longer head than its American relative, and it is also less hairy than the latter. Although a hunting dog by nature, the Cocker Spaniel is now better known as a show dog. For example, at the Cruft’s Dog Show, no other dog has won more prizes than this breed.

Height and Weight

The English Cocker Spaniel has an attractive appearance. With a size of 39cm to 41cm (males) and 38cm – 39cm (females), this dog can reach a weight of 12.5 kg (females) up to a maximum of 14.5 kg (males).

The coat of the Cocker Spaniel is smooth, the individual hairs are very silky. They must be neither wiry nor wavy; not curly either. Both the building and its fore and hind legs are usually very well feathered. The English Cocker Spaniel comes in different colors, often they are multicolored.

The Cocker Spaniel is a real bundle of energy. He is less suitable for dog beginners, as he has a strong portion of self-confidence and an associated, quite well-developed will.

He should always be given due attention, otherwise, he will quickly become bored, which can lead to unwanted misconduct. You should give him enough exercise every day, let him fetch, and play with him often. His constant cheerfulness and the urge to cuddle with his caregivers make him an ideal family dog.

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