English Cocker Spaniel, purebred dog in white background

English Cocker Spaniel

Breed Characteristics

Elegant. Bigger and more houndlike than the American Cocker Spaniel. Makes a good watchdog. Very family oriented and enjoy traveling. Needs plenty of human companionship and doesn’t do well if left alone for long periods. English Cocker Spaniels calm down as they mature. Average barkers.

Is the English Cocker Spaniel approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?


However, a retired K-9 sniffer Cocker Spaniel will be allowed as a pet in a HDB Flat under the ADORE K-9 Scheme.


England, 1800s. One of the oldest spaniels known. Originally imported to England as a general spaniel-type dog, they were subsequently divided into 7 different spaniel breeds: The Cocker Spaniel, Clumber, English Springer, Field, Irish Water, Sussex and the Welsh Springer. Up until the late 19th century, size was the only differentiating factor between the Cocker and Springer Spaniels, and they were referred to as one breed. In 1892, the Kennel Club of England classified them as different breeds. In 1946 the American and English Cocker Spaniel were made distinct when the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs separated the breed.

Original Purpose

The name "Cocker" is derived from the eurasian woodcock, a game bird the dogs were known for flushing. The Cocker Spaniel is a hunting-gun dog able to work in challenging terrain in both wet and dry land. Cocker Spaniels excel at flushing and retrieving game with a gentle mouth.

Behaviour and Temperament

The English Cocker Spaniel boasts a charming personality with several key characteristics:

Energetic and Playful: They were bred for hunting, so expect a dog who loves to run, jump, and play fetch. They have boundless energy and need plenty of exercise to stay happy and well-behaved.

Affectionate and Loyal: These loving dogs thrive on companionship and form strong bonds with their families. They're eager to please and enjoy being involved in your activities.

Gentle and Sensitive: With a sensitive and gentle nature, they're often good with children who treat them kindly. However, early socialisation and positive reinforcement training are crucial to ensure they remain comfortable in various situations.

Curious and Independent: Their hunting instincts translate into a curious spirit, often leading them to sniff and explore their surroundings. While intelligent and trainable, they can also exhibit moments of independent thinking.

Social: This breed generally enjoys other dogs and pets, especially with proper introductions and socialisation. However, their playful nature might be overwhelming for smaller animals.

Friendly and Outgoing: Friendly by nature, they rarely display aggression towards strangers. However, proper socialization is still recommended to ensure they're comfortable around new people and animals.

What are some Physical Features of the English Cocker Spaniel?

38 to 43 cm; 12 to 16 kg. Colours are solid black, red (gold), liver, black-and-tan, buff, liver-and-tan; or any of these colour on a white background, either parti-coloured, ticked, or roan.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

Silky, flat, or wavy. High maintenance, though he has less coat than the American Cocker Spaniel. Some coats with an excess amount of cottony hair and are more prone to matting. Unless carefully groomed, this dog looks messy. Ears and feet need special care. Professional grooming is recommended; some trimming required. Average shedding year round.

Life Expectancy of the English Cocker Spaniel

12 to 15 years.

Have a English Cocker Spaniel?

Health Concerns

Eye problems (PRA, cataracts, glaucoma, distichiasis), hip dysplasia, prone to ear infections (check often), cardiomyopathy, obesity, deafness (parti-colours). Some solid colours have a history of rage syndrome.

Exercise Needs

High; they need a lot of exercise, much more than the American Cocker. Field lines require have a higher energy level and require even more exercise.


Can adapt to any living situation. Does okay in apartment life if sufficiently exercised. An average sized yard preferred.


Excellent, English Cocker Spaniels are very good with children, and generally take on strangers well. Some under-socialised individuals can become reserved with strangers. Gets along with most other pets, as long as they are introduced properly.


English Cocker Spaniels are generally considered to be highly trainable dogs. They are intelligent, eager to please, and love to learn new things. They were originally bred to work alongside hunters, so they have a natural instinct to follow instructions. However, it is important to use positive reinforcement training methods with these dogs, as they can be sensitive and will not respond well to harsh treatment.

Recommended Activities

Hunting, obedience, tracking, agility.

English Cocker Spaniel Dog Club / Communities in Singapore

There are over 1400 Cocker Spaniel lovers in the Singapore Cocker Spaniels Club (Facebook).