English Cocker Spaniels

An Online Owners Guide



'Wicket' - Smith/Minor

Congratulations on finding one of the dog world's best kept secrets, the English Cocker!

I think ECs are proof that Mother Nature loves to laugh. Truly the clown of the dog world, they are just as happy lying on the couch watching TV with the family as they are trotting merrily through the field searching for birds. While some hunting breeds may seem more "high-strung" and hyper, the typical EC (originally bred for flushing birds) is a very mellow, loving dog. Very much a family dog, they definitely should not be considered for a busy family that has no quality time to spend with their pet. Easily bored, they can become destructive and/or noisy when left alone for long periods of time.

Most are very eager to please, the main problem being that they are sometimes SO smart they sometimes can outfox the owner! They are challenging but satisfying students of almost all performance events including agility, hunt tests, obedience, etc.


English cockers come in a variety of colors, from "self colors" (or "solids") of red (dark red to light golden or "orange"), liver, black, and black and tan, to parti colors of all of the above colors in combination with white. Blue roan is the most common color seen in the US, the coloring being much like that of mixing salt and pepper together. Roans are also seen in liver and orange.


Puppy Litter - Bartholomew

Temperaments vary from bloodline to bloodline, and indeed some say from color to color, but a typical EC will greet strangers at the door with wariness until they receive the OK from you, at which time they'll usually shower this new friend with kisses (and hair <g>). They require grooming every couple of months, and brushing several times weekly (depending on the amount and type of coat, which also varies from color to color, and bloodline to bloodline). As with most breeds, there are several genetic health problems possible. Any reputable breeder should be willing to explain and discuss these with you.

3 Blue Roan with Tan Puppies - Roth



Unlike some breeds, the males of this breed are usually quite soft and loving, and no harder to housebreak than any other dog. Also as with most any other breed, pets should be spayed or neutered as young as possible to not only avoid unwanted pregnancy but to avoid medical problems in later years.


There are many well-educated, knowledgeable and responsible breeders of English cocker spaniels around the world.  Unfortunately there are also those that choose to profit from producing EC puppies. The ticket to finding the perfect dog for your family is to keep looking until you find a responsible breeder you can trust, and then trust them to choose the right dog for you.