Cocker Spaniel Characteristics

English Cocker Spaniel characteristics are appealing to everyone, particularly families with children because they're so loving and affectionate. However they can sometimes be sensitive and will benefit from good socialization and training to keep their manners in check. Discover more information about the Cocker Spaniel here.


Physical Characteristics

Cocker Spaniels are so endearing; with their adoring eyes, long floppy ears, and wagging tail - once you've owned one, you'll never consider any other dog breed!

Cocker spaniel characteristics are wonderful. Just look at his beautiful coat and ears, and those eyes....adorable!

Their characteristics are unmatchable. They have such an attractive, appealing face with beautiful, expressive dark brown (sometimes hazel colored) oval eyes.

Cocker Spaniel's ears are long, set low and lie close to the head, and are clad in beautifully soft, flowing fur.

I love the way their ears gently swing from side to side as they trot about their business - they're so adorable. Unfortunately, one of the down sides to these beautifully pendulous ears is that they often end up in their dinner bowl!

Cockers are sturdy, compact, and medium-sized, with a deep chest, a short back, and chunky, cat-like paws.

Their skull is domed and slightly flattened; the muzzle is softly shaped and the same length as the skull.

Their American cousins are slightly different, and it's obvious when you see them together - if you'd like to see some photos and learn more about their American cousin just follow the link.

Cocker Spaniel Temperament

This breed has a wonderful temperament; however sometimes they can be a little fearful and if not handled properly, that's when problems can begin!

I've known many unfortunate dogs that have ended up in a rescue center because the family has been unable to 'handle' it, when it could have been so easily avoided in the first place.

Firstly, I strongly recommend socializing your puppy as soon as you get him home and continue introducing him to new sights, sounds and situations every day until he's 12 months old.

The most effective time (and many say the only time) to socialize a puppy is when he's between 6 and 12 weeks old, and although you can continue after this, it won't be nearly as effective as it is between these two ages.

Secondly, I recommend training your puppy - simple basic obedience commands will go a long way to giving your Cocker some good 'manners'.

A word of warning though, if your training methods are harsh, he won't respond very well, it will simply make him fearful. When dogs are frightened they either become aggressive or they run away - and if they can't run away, they will growl and bite!

I also recommend you follow 'best practice' given in this article about the alpha dog.

But above all, be gentle with your 'sensitive' little boy.

Cocker Spaniel Characteristics - Their Wonderful Coat

Their beautiful coat has two layers; an undercoat and a silky top coat which is flat and straight, but sometimes wavy, and very soft and silky to the touch, with heavy feathering on the legs.

My golden cocker spaniel, Max enjoying a frosty morning in  the garden!

My Little Boy (Max) - Typical Cocker Spaniel Characteristics
include a long silky topcoat and feathers on legs and ears!

You'll also see feathering on their ears, chest, and underbelly.

To say that Spaniels need frequent brushing is probably a bit of an understatement as their coats can be fairly high maintenance if not looked after properly.

Ideally, you should be brushing your dog every other day, especially if you walk him in the countryside, otherwise you may get away with brushing only a couple of times a week.

I brush Max every other day but I tend to concentrate more on his ears and his legs, especially if I don't have much spare time.

I may only do his ears one day, but the next day I'll brush and then comb through his legs, and the following day his underbelly (including under his 'arm pits') gets the quick once-over.

Grooming your Spaniel regularly will keep his wonderful coat looking in tip-top condition!

Cocker Spaniel Characteristics - Docked Tails!

In the past, it was customary for Cockers to have their tails docked when they were very young puppies - between two and five days old (ouch!).

Today however, opinion seems divided; some seem to think that docking is cruel and done simply for cosmetic reasons.

Others feel that it's necessary to dock their tails because enthusiastic tail wagging, bolting through hedges after quarry, (or just for the heck of it!) often resulted in damaged or broken tails.

However, since 6th April 2007 the automatic docking of tails became illegal in Europe.


Cocker Spaniel Characteristics - Height and Weight

English Cocker Spaniel dogs will grow to somewhere between 39 and 41cm (15-16") in height.

Cute little cocker spaniel puppy, blue roan

The bitch is usually smaller and as an adult will reach between 38 and 39cm (15-15.5").

The ideal weight for both sexes is somewhere between 12 and 14.5 kg.

If well-cared for, you can expect your dog to live a long and happy life, somewhere between 10 and 12 years, however, this can often vary considerably. I've known Cockers to be living healthy happy lives (although sedentary) at 15 years old!

As with us humans, I think longevity very much depends on their 'lifestyle', for example, if your dog is fed a very healthy diet, is exercised, well-groomed, and has regular trips to see his vet, the chances are he'll live a long and healthy life.

I'll drink to that!

More Relevant Titles:

I'm sure you'll agree that Cocker Spaniel characteristics are wonderful, making this breed of dog very lovable indeed...and if you'd like to learn more, simply click on any of the links below:

  • Learn more about their well-being and which health problems, illnesses and diseases, Cocker Spaniels may be prone to.

  • The Cocker's coat comes in some beautiful colors, simply follow the link if you'd like to see more, and you can learn even more about the Cocker Spaniel breed in general here.

  • One of my favorites of the Spaniel breeds is the Clumber Spaniel - I think they're just so gorgeous and always look so sad!

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