A Complete Guide to the Cocker Spaniel

There are two distinct types of cocker spaniel: the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel. The differences between the two are relatively minor and primarily esthetic. Both types of cocker spaniel display only average intelligence and tend to be trusting and gentle animals.


Height: The American cocker spaniel is slightly smaller than the English cocker spaniel. An adult of the American variant is about the size of a Jack Russell terrier, usually maxing out at 15 inches in height. The English breed can grow as high as 17 inches.

Weight: The weight of an adult male cocker spaniel dog ranges from 15 to 30 pounds for American breeds and up to 35 to 40 pounds for English breeds.

Coat: Cocker spaniel breeders aim to produce animals with soft fur that shags at the extremities when grown long. Fur is normally black, a solid non-black color or tri-colored.

Ears and Eyes: These dogs have round, slightly almond-shaped and evenly spaced eyes that are dark in color. The ears are among the breed's most distinctive characteristics. Long and lobular in shape, they should hang no lower than the base of the eye.

Tail: Most cocker spaniel puppies come with docked tails that are ⅖ of the original length. A short and stubby but active tail is standard.


Both English and American variants are sweet, loyal animals that thrive on their owners' affection. They don't like to be teased, so these breeds don't make the best choice for households with young children. Overall, though, they make excellent companions.

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AKC Group: Sporting

Training: A very gentle but firm hand is needed when training a cocker spaniel dog. Their average intelligence makes teaching cocker spaniels new tasks a little trickier than teaching other breeds. Once trained, though, cocker spaniel breeders note that these dogs are exceptionally obedient.

Ideal Environment: Cocker spaniel puppies and adults tend to roam and should be kept indoors or in enclosed spaces as much as possible to prevent loss or injury.

Health and Care

Feeding: No special feeding instructions are specified for this breed.

Grooming: Cocker spaniel puppies and adults are relatively high-maintenance in terms of grooming, requiring daily brushing. Dogs with longer hair need frequent shampooing and quarterly clipping, but the good news is that this breed doesn't shed much.

Exercise: These dogs display a high energy level and need, at minimum, a long walk every day.

Health Problems: American cocker spaniels frequently suffer from cataracts and glaucoma. English cocker spaniels are prone to ear infections, so they also need daily ear cleaning. Keep in mind that all dog types have breed-specific health concerns to guard against. Regular veterinary care and canine cancer screening for older dogs is highly recommended. Also, guard against common canine worm infections like ringworm and tapeworm.

Average Lifespan: The cocker spaniel has a shorter-than-average lifespan for a dog its size. American cocker spaniels live for 10 to 12 years, while their English counterparts tend to live an average of one year longer.

Finding Cocker Spaniel Puppies for Sale

Interested parties can contact local breeders to find cocker spaniel puppies for sale at generally affordable prices, usually ranging between $350 and $500. Cocker spaniel rescue centers also match stray and unwanted dogs with loving homes.

Despite lower prices for puppies, prospective owners are urged not to deal with puppy mills or farms. These establishments subject their animals to poor living conditions and tend to produce less healthy puppies.