Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

  • See All Dog Topics

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information

Size 15-16 inches (38-41 cm)
Weight 26-31 lbs (12-14 kg)
Origin Great Britain
Color Red, brown, black, mottled blue/orange/brown, black/white, orange/white, brown/white; multi-colored
Lifespan 12-15 years
Suitable As Family dog, scent dog
Personality Sensitive, affectionate, cuddly, attentive, happy

Cocker Spaniel at the beach Photo: wowkwasyl/

Breed Characteristics

The Cocker Spaniel is a very happy, excitable dog that likes to obey orders. This pup doesn’t need a "firm hand". Quite the opposite in fact - that would make it unhappy, as Cocker Spaniels are sensitive and docile. For the same reason it is not a good watchdog, either. It is so soft-hearted that it would end up helping burglars clearing out the house.

Family Dogs

The Cocker Spaniel is mainly a family dog and enjoys cuddling with its owners on the sofa. At the same time it likes being outside and is always willing to learn new tricks. The dog loves being challenged with exciting tasks like retrieving, agility and obedience. It also likes to swim. Did you know that it is a talented therapy dog, too?


Exercise Needs

Cocker Spaniels are often underestimated thanks to their cute looks and funny ways. Many people know or may have read that these dogs have lots of energy, but brand new dog owners are mostly still very surprised at how much these dogs need to exercise. If you want a happy Cocker Spaniel, you should constantly offer it new and interesting things to do. Especially with puppies, this can be quite the challenge for an owner!

Top Activities

Hide and Seek, Sniff It Out, Frisbee Fetch

Cocker Spaniel Photo: rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons


  • Easy to train
  • Polite, with good manners
  • Good stamina
  • Manages well in apartments
  • Friendly with other pets


  • Not a “beginner” dog
  • Lots of energy
  • Needs lots of exercise
  • Needs good training
  • Barks often
  • Sheds a lot
  • Extensive grooming
  • Strong prey drive

Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniel - Photo: photology1971/


Cocker Spaniels have a tendency to bark. If you live in a multi-family house with badly soundproof walls, a Cocker Spaniel would not be a good idea.


Health and Care

Cocker Spaniels need a lot of grooming - more than other dogs by far. Its coat must be brushed daily so it does not get matted and you have to trim and bathe the dog every few weeks.


Cocker Spaniels have a gorgeous silky, soft and shimmering coat. It is only short on its head. The coat colors are various and include red, brown, black, roan, black and white, orange and white, brown and white, tri-colored, ... and even more!

Cocker Spaniel at the beach Photo: rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock

History and Origin

The Cocker Spaniel comes from Great Britain where it was bred for hunting. Since the 19th century, the English and the American Cocker Spaniel have been recognized as separate breeds. Breeders in the US focused on different traits. This finally resulted in two different breed standards. While the American is smaller and has a rounder head, the English has a longer nose and less distinct eyebrows.

The word "Cocker" derives from a wild bird, the woodcock, because the dog was utilized to help hunt woodcocks. The word "Spaniel" probably comes from the Old French "espaigneul", which means "Spanish". This is of course a bit misleading because the dog breed actually originates in Great Britain.

Fun Facts

It is nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when you own a dog like this. It brightens up your life and so do think Hollywood actors like George Clooney (the dogs' name is "Einstein";)), Duchess Kate Middleton and Prince William as well as David and Victoria Beckham, too. They all have a Cocker Spaniel.

In the Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp" Lady is a Cocker Spaniel.

Comparable Breeds

Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniel - Photo: Aleshyn_Andrei/Shutterstock


See all topics on