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Cocker Spaniel

Throughout the year Little Rascals UK often have Cocker Spaniel puppies for sale. So, if you are looking into buying a Cocker Spaniel please speak to us. We will be able to help you find your new Cocker Spaniel puppy. If you have a long journey and are looking for a Cocker Spaniel puppy near you “don’t worry”, why not use our delivery service.

Key Breed Facts

The Cocker Spaniel breed is also commonly known by the names Cocker, English Cocker Spaniel.

Lifespan: 11 – 12 years

Pedigree Breed Status: KC Recognised in the Gundog Group

Males 38 – 43 cm
Females 37 – 41 cm

Males 13 – 15 kg
Females 12 – 14 kg

Breed Characteristics


medium (6/10)


high (8/10)


very easy (8/10)


Average (5/10)


high (8/10)


good (8/10)


below average (4/10)

Cost to Keep

Average (6/10)

Being Alone

short periods (3/10)


above average (8/10)


Originally bred as a working gundog, the Cocker Spaniel has consistently been one of the UK’s most popular family pets for decades. They are happy, energetic dogs that adapt well to most lifestyles. Cockers are extremely intelligent, they boast having kind, patient, loyal natures and are never happier than when exploring a back garden, park or countryside with their noses glued to the ground.

Will happily retrieve objects around the house, garden or when out on a walk much as they would when working. They love to please which in short, means they are highly trainable. The dogs we see today were recognised as a breed when the Kennel Club was first established in 1873.

It’s worth noting there are two definite types of Cocker Spaniel, one being used in the field as a working dog and therefore quite a bit lighter, and the other being a show dog which have quite a bit heavier and sturdier build.

Cockers need to know who is the boss and occasionally need to be reminded of this because they are much happier dogs when they know their place in the pack and who to look up to when they need any sort of guidance and direction.


It was at the time of the Roman invasion during 54 and 55 BC that these charming dogs were introduced to the country. It is thought that spaniels may well have originated in Spain mainly because the name “spaniel” could come from the word Hispania which we now know as Spain. Others believe their name could have come from a French phrase which is Chiens de l’Espagnol which translated means Spanish Dogs.

Throughout time, spaniels were specifically bred to work, flushing out game for hunters in challenging terrains and were highly prized by the late 1600’s whether they were asked to work on land or marshlands and water. Originally, there were two “types” being land and water spaniels. It was only in the 19th century that enthusiasts began to separate them with “land” spaniels becoming a more specialised breed.

The first of the modern Cocker Spaniels we see today first appeared in 1879. In 1885, a breed standard was set with enthusiasts introducing more desired traits in the breed. Over time, the Cocker Spaniel became a consistent winner not only at dog shows like Crufts which the breed has won more times than any other, but with families and owners alike due to their charming looks and ultra-kind natures.

Interesting facts about the breed

There are 2 strains of Cocker Spaniels namely the show strain and the working strain with the working Cocker having a much lighter build than a show Cocker and they have finer coats as well as less feathering than their show counterparts. Cocker Spaniels are quite different looking than the American Cocker Spaniel.


Cocker Spaniels have charmingly square muzzles with well-developed skulls which are nicely proportioned, giving them their unique and endearing looks. Their eyes are typically dark or brown in colour and nicely rounded, not protruded at all. Dogs with liver or liver roan coats as well as liver and white dogs have hazel coloured eyes that blend in well with their colouring which is totally acceptable as a breed standard. Cockers are considered to have an intelligent look in their eyes, gentle yet always very alert.

Ears are long and lobular, always lying close to a dog’s head. A Cocker’s jaw is strong with a perfect bite, a physical trait these dogs needed when carrying and retrieving game. Cockers, as previously mentioned are well-proportioned, compact little dogs with strong legs and nicely formed toplines that slope gently from the wither to the tail.

Chests are well developed being neither too narrow or too wide. Their hindquarters are nicely rounded and muscular. They have very cat-like feet being well padded. Cockers always carry their tails level to their bodies. One of their endearing traits is the eagerness with which they are willing to wag their tails not only when happy, but when they are tracking down a scent too.

Under their breed standard, Cocker Spaniels should have “flat, silky coats to the touch that should never be wiry or wavy, nor should their coat be too curly or profuse” and their front and back legs as well as their bodies should be well-feathered. Some Cockers have a slight wave in their coats and although very rare, dogs can have very curly coats too which is thought to be a throwback to their water spaniel lineage.

Show Cockers boast lovely flat and silky coats with lots of feathering on legs and trim. One of the most attractive physical traits the Cocker Spaniel boasts, is their amazing variety of acceptable colours under the Kennel Club Breed Standard being as follows: Black, Black & Tan, Black & White, Black & White Ticked, Black White & Tan, Blue Roan, Blue Roan & Tan, Chocolate, Chocolate & Tan, Chocolate & White, Chocolate Roan, Chocolate Roan & Tan, Chocolate White & Tan, Golden, Lemon & White, Lemon Roan, Liver, Liver & White, Liver & White Ticked, Liver Roan, Liver Roan & Tan, Liver White & Tan, Orange & White, Orange & White Ticked, Orange Roan, Red.


Cockers move with true drive and they cover a lot of ground always looking keen and alert when they do.


Cocker Spaniels are renowned for their gentle and loving natures. They are full of life and are always ready and eager to please, their wagging tails are usually all the proof a person needs to see how “merry” these dogs can be. They are consistently one of the most popular family pets for this reason. The one thing you need to bear in mind, is that a Cocker will form a stronger bond with the person who feeds them. They are incredibly loyal characters that show a determination and resilience when needed.

Are they a good choice for first time owners?

Cocker Spaniels have remained one of the most popular family pets the world over thanks to their gentle, kind natures and because they are so amenable, they are a wonderful choice for first time owners.

What about playfulness and best setting?

Cocker Spaniels are renowned for being playful and of having a real sense of humour. They enjoy playing interactive games and like nothing more than to keep an owner entertained which they do well into their senior years.

Cockers are highly adaptable dogs and will happily live in an apartment setting providing they are given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation. A bored Cocker would quickly find ways to entertain themselves which could see dogs being destructive around the home and excessive barking.

Intelligence / Trainability

Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent dogs with the added bonus being they love to please and are always willing to learn new things they are taught. As such they are easy to train providing their education starts early and their training is consistent throughout their lives. Housetraining is not usually an issue with a Cocker because they quickly learn where to do their “business”.

Cockers need to be taught basic obedience from the word go and they should know the boundaries and limits an owner sets for them which they don’t typically test once they know the rules. The first commands to teach a Cocker are as follows: Sit, Stay, Come, Wait, Leave, Quiet and Bed.

Cockers enjoy taking part in all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like agility, flyball and obedience all of which they breed is known to excel at. A lot of Cocker Spaniels show a natural ability to work alongside hunters and quickly learn what they are asked to do when out in the field.


The average life expectancy of a Cocker Spaniel is between 11 to 12 years and even longer when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages and any health issues a dog may be suffering from.

However, the breed is known to suffer from and develop certain hereditary and congenital health issues as well as some acquired ones which are worth knowing about if you are hoping to share your home with a Cocker Spaniel. Cancer is one of the leading causes for the death of around 30% of Cockers. Other commonly seen disorders include the following: Skin allergies, Benign Tumours, Deafness, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Heart Murmurs.

What about vaccinations?

Puppies should be vaccinated when they are around 8, 10 and 12 weeks old with most vets recommending that dogs are given annual boosters for the rest of their lives. So, it’s important to discuss this with a vet before making a final decision. Any Cocker going into a boarding kennel must have their vaccinations up to date.

What about spaying and neutering?

Cockers like other breeds should be spayed and neutered at the right time. Females can be spayed when they are 6 months old and male Cockers can be neutered when they are 6 months old too.

Recognising health issues in Cocker Spaniels

As with any other breed, recognising when a Cocker Spaniel may be developing some sort of health concern early often makes their condition that much easier to treat and the prognosis for certain conditions tends to be better too. This is especially true of ear and eye infections so consult with the breeder and your vet.

Caring for a Cocker Spaniel

As with any other breed, Cocker Spaniels need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and more especially their skin is kept in tip-top condition. They also benefit from being professionally groomed at least 4 times a year. Being high energy dogs, Cockers need to be given regular daily exercise so they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed a good quality diet throughout their lives to ensure all their nutritional needs are met.

As of 2007, docking tails was banned here in the UK, although there are exceptions allowed, but only under the strict guidelines defined by the law. You should never consider purchasing a Cocker Spaniel puppy with a docked tail because there are very heavy fines for having this done to a dog where permission has not been officially granted.

As a puppy

Cocker Spaniel puppies have a ton of energy and playtime can be boisterous. It’s important for their education to begin from day one of arriving in the home. Setting ground rules, limits and boundaries also helps a puppy settle into an unfamiliar environment and it helps them understand what their owners expect of them when still young. It has also important to time when a puppy is introduced to a new home and to make sure they are not left on their own for too long, which is why it is best to time their arrival when people are going to be at home for a few days.

Your puppy would have been wormed by us, which is information that will be included in their paperwork along with details of microchipping, but it is important for them to be wormed again when the time is right once they arrive in their new home. They should be wormed regularly as follows: Puppies should be wormed monthly to the age of 6 months old and then quarterly.

It has also a good idea to set up a nice, quiet corner for a puppy’s crate or bed bearing in mind that puppies can sleep for up to 12 hours a day in between bouts of boisterous play, but it should be somewhere you can keep an eye and ear on them so not too out of the way. It has also good for puppies to know someone is around without having to put up with too much traffic passing them by which could disturb their napping time.

Feeding guide for Cocker Spaniel puppies

A good breeder would give all new owners a feeding schedule for their puppies and it is important to stick to this for the first few weeks to avoid any digestive issues. A puppy’s diet can be changed but this must be done gradually over the course of 4 weeks and if puppy does get a tummy upset to put them back on their original diet before asking advice from us or the vet. 


Cocker Spaniels are high maintenance in the grooming department mainly because of the length of their coats. The require frequent daily grooming to keep knots and tangles at bay. They also benefit from being taken to a professional grooming parlour every 2 to 3 months so they can be clipped out or hand stripped which makes keeping their coats in good order that much easier.

Ideally Cockers benefit from a daily quick brush over more especially after they have been out for a walk because it means any thorns or other debris can be removed from their coats sooner rather than later. Then once a week it is a good idea to give a Cocker Spaniel a thorough groom which is something most of them really enjoy more especially if it has become a routine that started when they were puppies. It has best to groom Cocker puppies and adult dogs on a table making sure they are never left unattended which could result in a dog jumping off and injuring themselves.

When it comes to how often a Cocker Spaniel would need to be bathed, it depends on several things which includes the time of the year and how dirty a dog gets after they have been out for a walk.  It is also important to use a dog specific shampoo and conditioner because it will have the correct pH balance. Cockers benefit from being professionally groomed several times a year and although this can add to the cost of owning them, it makes it that much easier to keep their coats in good condition in between visits to the grooming parlour which is typically every 8 weeks.  Neutered male Cockers tend to need more in the way of trimming thanks to the fact their coats tend to become thicker and woollier once they have been neutered.

Because Cockers are naturally drawn to water, they have a tendency to get muddy especially during the wetter months. As such, regular bathing could be necessary although you must be careful not to overdo it. Cockers are prone to allergies and too much bathing will end up altering the balance of natural oils found in their skin and coats, making an allergy worse or it could trigger one.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Cocker Spaniel

You would need to pay out anything from £350 to well over £1000 for a pedigree, Kennel Club Registered Cocker Spaniel puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year old Cocker Spaniel in the north of England would be just under £20 a month for basic cover to over £38 a month for a lifetime policy (quote as of March 2016). It is worth noting that lots of things are factored in when a company calculates a dog’s insurance premium and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog’s age.

Cockers need to be fed a good quality, nutritious diet and one that suits their ages. You should expect to pay around £30 to £50 per month on food.

As a rough guide, the average cost of keeping a caring for a Cocker Spaniel would set you back around £60 to £80 a month depending on the type of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the price of buying a well-bred, pedigree Cocker Spaniel puppy and Cross Bred Cocker.

Breed Specific Buying Advice

When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. Our advice includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.

Cocker Spaniels are extremely popular both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred dogs can command lots of money and more especially if they are bred from working lines.

For any advice on the best choice of puppy for you please call Little Rascals Pets on 01522 789191


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