Cocker Spaniel



The Merry Cocker has been sharing man’s hearth for centuries, helping to provide food for the table and filling the life of those who love him with joy and happiness. The breed’s cheerful disposition is infectious. From its ever-wagging tail and big shimmering pool eyes, to its easy-going nature, it’s no wonder the breed was the most popular dog in England in the first half of the 20th Century for two decades.

The Cocker Spaniel is still one of the top-ranked breeds in popularity. The breed has been sharing its affection and love of life for over seven hundred years. Chaucer (1328) records mention of Spaniels in “The Wife of Bathes Prologue”.

A breed of gun dog, the Cocker Spaniel is believed to have originated in Spain. However, it was in England, where the breed that we know today as the Cocker Spaniel was developed and was used extensively as a hunting companion. The original Spaniels were classified according to size, with the smaller Toy Spaniels kept as companions and larger “Cocking” Spaniels used for hunting.

Today, most Cockers still retain their instinctive hunting abilities and are very good when it comes to agility and field work, but they are predominantly companion dogs and thrive most when taken in as part of the pack.

Named for its talent for hunting woodcock, the Cocker Spaniel is fiercely loyal to it’s companion. These dogs just love to love you.

General appearance

Merry, sturdy, sporting; well balance; compact; measuring approximately same from withers to ground as from withers to root of tail.


Merry nature with ever-wagging tail shows a typical bustling movement, particularly when following scent; fearless of heavy cover.


Gentle and affectionate, yet full of life and exuberance.

This breed is loyal, lovable and devoted. They are cheerful, easygoing dogs that love to please their owners.

Suitability & Care

The breed is rarely aggressive, so is well-suited to families. In addition to their playful personality and ever-wagging tail, the breed’s gentle and tolerant temperament will bode well with children.

Cockers are also appropriate for energetic singles who spend a lot of time at home. Cockers will sound a warning bark when strangers are around; however, they are more likely to cover people with kisses than anything else.

Most Cockers still retain their instinctive hunting abilities and are very good when it comes to obedience, agility and field work, but they are predominantly companion dogs and thrive most when taken in as part of the pack.

A daily check of the coat for any mats is highly suggested paying particular attention to the area under the front legs and elbow, if knots are found gently brush them out.

A full groom and bath is required weekly to keep your Cocker in tip top condition. Remove any dead hair, make sure that ears are cleaned and dried and trim any excess hair from around the feet. Always speak to your breeder regarding your dog’s grooming needs, as breeders are only too happy to help in any way that they can, even where to go if you decide to have you Cocker “pet Clipped”.

As with all dogs, heart worming and flea control is required monthly and in summer you will also need to treat your dog against ticks.


Bought from reputable breeders Cockers are very sturdy, healthy little dogs. Over the years some cases of the following hereditary diseases have been recorded, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy and hip dysplasia. Dedicated reputable breeders are now able to utilise DNA testing for many of these diseases, epilepsy, auto-immune diseases and deafness have also on occasions been recorded in the breed.

Information: Cocker Spaniel Society of NSW, QLD Cocker Club, Cocker Spaniel Club of Victoria
Image supplied by Kingsway Kennels. Wombledog Photography

In Conclusion

Now you know a little about the Cocker Spaniel, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Cocker Spaniel and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.