The English Cocker Spaniel is an alert medium-sized dog of the spaniel family. Their ears are long and almost reach the nose when they're pulled forward. The English Cocker Spaniel is a strong and solidly built dog. Their eyes are dark and oval with an intelligent expression. Their hair is of medium length with the body and legs being well feathered. Although black is the preferred color, their noses can be black or brown. Their feet are round like a cat with arched toes.
The English Cocker Spaniel is popular for many reasons, mostly their compact size, which makes them perfect for a housedog. Although they may be compact, they're still big enough to be hardy and sturdy. This very versatile energetic dog will be happiest when they are by your side. They enjoy doing things with their owner and would be with them all the time if they had their way. Many of the English Cockers are used for hunting and have a great hunting instinct. Although they may not be fast runners, they are sure footed and can make it through almost any terrain. Their intelligent and make good hunting dogs because they require little training.
The coat of the English Cocker Spaniel is short around the head and medium length on the rest of the body. It tends to be flat and silky on the body with longer feathering on the legs and rest of the body.
The English Cocker Spaniel may be many different colors but the most common color is blue roan. In fact almost 60% of the English Cocker's are blue roan. This is similar to black spots on a white background intermixed with black hairs. Other shades for this dog may be solid shades of black red or golden.
The English Cocker Spaniel got its start as far back as the 1300s when they were described by Gaston Phebus. Over 500 years later, the English Spaniels were broken into seven different breeds: the Sussex, Clumber, English Springer, Welsh Springer, Irish Water Spaniel, Field and the Cocker. The Cocker and Springer Spaniels were developed together with their only difference being their size. In 1892, the Kennel Club of England recognized them as individual breeds. The Canadian and American Kennel Clubs recognized them as separate breeds in the 1940s.
The got their name for the woodcock, which is a bird they were bred and trained to hunt. Because of their excellent hunting and retrieving ability, they are used a lot for hunting. They are a versatile dog, however, that does well as a companion dog, watchdog, hunting dog and show dog in dog competitions.
The temperament of the English Cocker Spaniel may vary depending on their family and environment, but are generally an affectionate dog. They tend to be reserved with strangers but are very loyal to their family. The English Cocker is a homebody at heart and somewhat protective of their family. Although they enjoy pleasing their family, at times they may require persuasion. They are happy dogs with a lot of affection. They do occasionally have the bad habit of digging or barking excessively.
The English Cocker Spaniel enjoys being around children and like them a lot. This is especially true if they grew up together. It's important that the children treat the dog with respect or they cocker may snap at the child. Although this is the exception, it may occur. Overall, though, they seem to love children and playing with them.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a very healthy dog with very few health problems. One health issue that does affect this dog is ear infections. They seem to be very prone to developing ear infections and should be checked regularly to avoid an infection getting worse. Their ears should be cleaned regularly as this may help prevent an ear infection or catch it in the early stages. The English Cocker is also susceptible to skin allergies, which may require special food and gentle hair shampoo. Many times ear infections or skin allergies are food related, so make sure the dog gets high-quality food. This dog may develop cataracts as they get older.
The English Cocker has a coat that is attractive with flat and silky hair on the body with long feathering on the rest of the body. Although this may sound difficult to maintain, it's very easy. They require some clipping around the ears and head and simple trimming by the feet and tail. Other than this, all they require is regular combing or brushing. Shedding is minimal with this dog when they are groomed regularly. Their nails should be trimmed before they get too long and break on their own. It's important to clean the Cocker's ears regularly to prevent ear infections, which they are prone to developing.
The English Cocker Spaniel is a dog that can exercise all day long. There is no such thing as too much exercise for this dog. They are energetic dogs that love walking, running and do well in many dog competitions. They excel at hunting and retrieving competitions as well as agility. If you don't feel you can give this dog exercise every day, this is not the dog for you.
English Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent dogs and can be trained for many activities. They are often trained to compete in dog competitions in agility and obedience. Basic obedience training is something they should have at a very young age. Surprisingly, the Cocker is sometimes difficult to housebreak. They require consistency and patience.