The guide to owning a Cocker Spaniel.

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A black and white Cocker Spaniel at home looking at the camera.

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Stats at a glance.




Average weight

12-15 years (approximately)

39-41 cm

60 mins per day minimum

12-16 kg

A history of Cocker Spaniels.

The history of English and American Cocker Spaniels is intertwined yet distinct, reflecting their evolution as two separate breeds with unique characteristics.

English Cocker Spaniel:

The English Cocker Spaniel's origins can be traced back to medieval England, where they were initially bred as versatile hunting dogs. They excelled in flushing out game from dense undergrowth and were particularly skilled at retrieving birds from water. Over time, breeders refined their traits, resulting in a distinct breed recognised by The Kennel Club in 1892. English Cockers gained popularity as both hunting companions and show dogs. Their moderate size, intelligence, and friendly nature endeared them to families as beloved household pets.

A happy looking Cocker Spaniel sits in front of a stone wall.

American Cocker Spaniel:

The American Cocker Spaniel shares a common ancestry with its English counterpart but was developed independently in the United States. These dogs were brought to America by early settlers and underwent further selective breeding to adapt to American hunting and show preferences. Their smaller size and emphasis on coat appearance and temperament led to their recognition as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1946. American Cockers gained immense popularity in the mid-20th century, becoming one of the most beloved and recognisable dog breeds in the United States.

For a full list of all Cocker Spaniel types, check out our blog.

How much is a Cocker Spaniel puppy (UK).

On average, Cocker Spaniel puppies cost between £600 to £1500 in the UK as of 2023. When looking for a puppy, it’s vital you take the time to research reputable breeders to ensure a healthy and well-adjusted puppy. Reputable breeders promote responsible pet ownership and the ethical treatment of animals. Choosing a responsible source ensures the well-being of the dog, reduces overpopulation, and supports the preservation of breed standards and quality.

Colours and coat types.

Cocker Spaniel colours.

Cocker Spaniels come in a variety of colours, with two primary categories: ‘main’ colours and ‘parti’ colours. Main colours include solid shades like black, chocolate, red, and golden, while parti colours feature a mix of white with any of the main colours. This diversity adds a vibrant and playful range of coat patterns to these lovable dogs.

A black Cocker Spaniel jumping in the air.
A golden cocker spaniel sitting amongst flowers.
A brown and white Cocker Spaniel holding a large stick in it's mouth.
A happy looking tan Cocker Spaniel sitting in a park.
A dark brown Cocker Spaniel looking in to the distance.

Cocker Spaniel coat types.

Cocker Spaniels come in two main coat types: the glossy and fancy coat of the American Cocker Spaniel, famous for its beautiful feathering, and the tougher, weather-ready coat of the English Cocker Spaniel, which was built for outdoor adventures. These different coats show off the breeds' historical roles and environments, giving each one a cool mix of looks and practicality.

Cocker Spaniel coat types span a spectrum of textures, from the elegant wavy coats that cascade gracefully to the sturdy and textured wiry coats that exude character. These diverse coat types contribute to the breed's distinct charm and offer a range of styles to admire.

Size and weight.

One of the most searched questions in relation to this breed is, ‘How big does a Cocker Spaniel get?’. Fortunately, we’ve got all the answers. 

Cocker Spaniels usually grow to be around 13.5 to 15.5 inches (34 to 39 cm) tall at the shoulder and typically weigh between 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 14 kg). They're a cuddly, medium-sized dog that fits well in most homes and can be a great companion for families or individuals alike.

A Cocker Spaniel looking out over the top of some purple lavender plants.

Their adorable floppy ears and charming personality make them a popular choice for dog lovers around the world. Despite their size, Cocker Spaniels are known for their energetic nature and love for play, so be ready for some fun adventures together.

Temperament and behaviour.


Cocker Spaniels are renowned for their friendly and affectionate temperament, making them excellent companions. They usually get along well with people and other animals, earning a reputation as good family dogs.

A black Cocker Spaniel sitting on a grey sofa with its tongue out.

They tend to have a playful and energetic side - enjoying interactive activities with children and forming strong bonds within a family.

While Cocker Spaniels are generally good with children, it's important to teach kids how to interact gently and respectfully with any dog. Early socialisation and proper training are key to ensuring a Cocker Spaniel's positive behaviour around kids and other pets. With proper introductions and patience, Cockers can coexist harmoniously with cats and other pets, demonstrating their adaptable and sociable nature.


Cocker Spaniels are affectionate and lively dogs, known for their friendly and sociable personality and good behaviour.

A red Cocker Spaniel looking up at the camera with a big grin.

They thrive on human interaction and enjoy active playtime, making them great companions for families or individuals who can provide plenty of attention and exercise. With proper training and early socialisation, Cocker Spaniels can develop into very well-behaved pets, although their energetic nature might require management to prevent excessive barking or jumping.

Cocker Spaniels are prone to developing separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods, so they may not do well left alone for more than 4 to 6 hours at a time. While they can adapt to apartment living, their energetic nature requires regular exercise and mental stimulation, making daily walks and playtime essential for their well-being.

One of the most frequently asked questions of prospective Cocker Spaniel owners is, ‘Do Cocker Spaniels bark a lot?’. Whilst we wish we could give a clear answer, it’s a lot more nuanced than that! Barking tendencies differ for each dog, so whilst some may be more prone to barking (especially if they are not properly trained or stimulated), consistent training and attention will allow you to manage and reduce excessive barking in Cocker Spaniels.

Living with a Cocker Spaniel: an owner’s perspective.

“My name is Lydia and my dog is called Bluey. We live in South East London with my fiancé, Toby - we are both musicians. Bluey is a blue roan Working Cocker Spaniel and is nearly 1 year old.

Cocker Spaniels are clever dogs who thrive in the right environment and, because they’re working dogs, enjoy having a ‘job’ to do. We absolutely love having Bluey in our family as she is so loving and friendly with anyone we bring into our lives.

She plays really well with other dogs. She has quite a boisterous play style which occasionally can be too much for shyer dogs, but in general, she is good at reflecting play styles. She’s also really good with children.”

A woman holding the paw of her Cocker Spaniel.
A Cocker Spaniel sitting on a sofa looking at it's owner.
A Cocker Spaniel near a dining table looking up out of the frame.
A Cocker Spaniel sitting patiently on top of an arm chair.
A Cocker Spaniel sitting next to its owner on a sofa.

Training a Cocker Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniels exhibit a fair level of intelligence and are often receptive to training and learning new behaviours. Their intelligence can shine through when engaged in interactive activities, puzzle toys, or obedience training. While they might have a bit of a playful and sometimes independent streak, with proper guidance and positive reinforcement, they can showcase their cleverness and adaptability.

Toilet training a Cocker Spaniel, like any dog, requires consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. While some Cocker Spaniels may pick up toilet training quickly, others might take more time.

A black Cocker Spaniel on a leash.

With a well-structured routine, regular outdoor trips, and rewarding good behaviour, most Cocker Spaniels can become reliably house-trained. It's important to stay consistent and attentive during the process to achieve successful results.

Cocker Spaniels can be obedient and responsive to training, but their obedience levels vary based on individual temperament and training methods used. Generally, they are intelligent dogs that can learn commands and tricks when provided with consistent and positive reinforcement training. Some Cocker Spaniels might have a more independent streak, so patience and proper training techniques are key to fostering their obedience

Shedding and grooming.

Cocker Spaniels have a moderate shedding tendency, with their coat shedding more noticeably during seasonal changes. Regular grooming, including brushing a few times a week, helps control shedding and keeps their coat healthy and free from mats. Additionally, routine grooming sessions provide an opportunity to check for any skin issues or irregularities, ensuring your Cocker Spaniel looks and feels their best.

You should aim to brush your Cocker Spaniel's coat at least 2-3 times a week to prevent matting and keep their fur healthy.

Bathing is recommended every 4-6 weeks or as needed, based on their activity level and coat condition.

Regular hair trimming can be done every 6-8 weeks to maintain a neat appearance, but this can vary depending on your dog's coat and your preferences.

Cocker Spaniels do shed, and their shedding can increase during seasonal changes. While they are not among the heaviest shedders, routine brushing and grooming can help manage their shedding.

Cocker Spaniels are not particularly known for excessive drooling, so it’s generally not a major concern with this breed.

Cocker Spaniel's nails should be trimmed approximately every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on their activity level and how quickly their nails grow. Regular nail trimming is essential to prevent overgrowth, discomfort, and potential issues with walking or paw health.

Exercise needs.

Cocker Spaniels are an energetic breed and require a good amount of exercise to stay healthy and content. Aim for at least 45 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily, which can include walks, playtime, and interactive activities. 

Mental stimulation is equally important for a Cocker Spaniel, so engaging your pup in training sessions, puzzle toys, and mental challenges will help satisfy their intelligent and active nature. These activities provide physical exercise and also engage their active minds, preventing boredom and potential behavioural issues. Regular play sessions and mental challenges help fulfil their need for interaction, as well as prevent anxiety and restlessness overall contributing to a healthy and happy Cocker Spaniel.

A brown and white Cocker Spaniel swimming through deep water.

Feeding and nutrition.

Choosing the best dog food for a Cocker Spaniel involves considering their nutritional needs and any specific dietary requirements they may have. Look for high-quality dog foods that list real meat (such as chicken, turkey, or lamb) as the main ingredient and avoid those with excessive fillers or artificial additives. 

Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears which can lead to lots of discomfort. Fortunately, a healthy diet can play a key part in preventing ear infections from developing further. Another health condition Cocker Spaniels can suffer from is obesity. This means it's important to feed your dog a well-balanced diet at all times.

At Waggel, we (and by we, we mean our dogs) love Butternut Box. Butternut Box is the UK’s home for fresh dog food delivery and offers tailored, perfectly-portioned meals to suit even the fussiest of pups. Using human-quality meat and vegetables, Butternut Box gently cooks their food to create simple, tasty, and complete meals - all with the right balance of vitamins and minerals for dogs of every age.

Another great option that’s sure to get tails wagging is They deliver both wet and dry food straight to your door for no extra fees. Their flexible subscription means you can pause or cancel anytime.

All Waggel members can currently gain access to 40% off their first 2 meal boxes with Butternut Box.

Two Cocker Spaniels eating from their bowls.

If your pup prefers kibble, why not grab a bag for free with You’ll also get 50% off your entire order with them. (Again, this offer is only available for Waggel customers.)

The amount of food a Cocker Spaniel should eat can vary depending on factors like their age, size, activity level, and the specific dog food you're using. As a general guideline, adult Cocker Spaniels usually require around 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. Though puppies and more active dogs may require slightly more.

It's important to follow the feeding recommendations on the dog food packaging and consult your veterinarian for precise guidance tailored to your Cocker Spaniel's needs, especially if they are on a fresh, wet, or raw diet. Adjust the portion size based on your dog's weight and body condition to maintain a healthy weight.

Common health issues.

Cocker Spaniels are generally robust and healthy dogs, but like any breed, they are prone to certain health issues. Some common health concerns in Cocker Spaniels include ear infections (due to their floppy ears), eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, and skin conditions like allergies.

To help you gain a better understanding of the conditions, treatment and insurance claim costs associated with Cocker Spaniels, we’ve compiled the following list with data based on claims from 2022 to 2023:

Ear infections: Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections due to their long, floppy ears that can restrict airflow and trap moisture. These conditions create an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive. Regular ear cleaning is essential to prevent infections. Signs of an ear infection may include excessive scratching, head shaking, redness, odour, or discharge. Treatment for ear infections, including diagnostics and medications, can range from £50 to £200 per episode.

Hip dysplasia: Canine hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joints of dogs, including Cocker Spaniels. It happens when the hips don't develop quite right, causing discomfort and trouble moving. Watching your Cocker Spaniel's weight, giving them appropriate exercise, and regular vet visits can help keep their hips happy and healthy. Treating hip dysplasia in the UK can cost between £800 and £4,000 or more.

Dental disease: Cocker Spaniels, like many other breeds, are susceptible to dental disease. Plaque and tartar can build up on their teeth, leading to gum inflammation, bad breath, and potential tooth loss. Regular dental care, including brushing your Cocker Spaniel's teeth several times a week, providing dental chews or toys, and scheduling professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian, can help prevent and manage dental issues. The cost of treating dental disease can vary widely depending on the severity. Routine dental cleanings might cost around £50 to £200, while more extensive dental procedures or extractions can range from £200 to £800 or more.

A black Cocker Spaniel looking at the camera.

Pancreatitis: Cocker Spaniels can be at risk for pancreatitis, a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. This condition can be triggered by a high-fat diet, table scraps, or consuming fatty foods. Symptoms of pancreatitis in Cocker Spaniels may include vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, and lethargy. To prevent pancreatitis, it's important to feed your Cocker Spaniel a balanced and appropriate diet, avoiding fatty and greasy foods. Treating pancreatitis may cost between £300 and £1,500 or more, depending on the severity and hospitalisation requirements.

Dry eye: Cocker Spaniels can sometimes experience a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) where their eyes don't produce enough tears. This can make their eyes feel uncomfortable, red, and even lead to discharge. It's important to have regular check-ups with a vet to catch this early. If your Cocker Spaniel does have dry eye, treatment could involve using special eye drops and medications to keep their eyes feeling better. Treatment for dry eye can range from £100 to £500 or more, including medications and ongoing management.

Luxating patella: Cocker Spaniels can sometimes develop a condition called luxating patellas, where their kneecap temporarily moves out of place. This might make them limp or have trouble walking comfortably. It's a good idea to have regular vet visits to keep an eye on their joint health. If you see any limping or signs of discomfort, it's important to get them checked out by a vet. The cost of treating a luxating patella typically falls in the range of £800 to £2,000.

These are approximate figures and can change over time due to inflation and developments in veterinary care practices. Though the above treatment prices can seem costly, pet insurance provides financial coverage for a portion of your pet’s medical expenses - a portion you can set yourself! By paying a regular premium, you can ensure that you have financial support when unexpected veterinary bills arise.

Waggel Pet Insurance provides peace of mind and Lifetime protection against a range of potential health issues, including conditions like dry eye, luxating patellas, and more. With Waggel, you can rest assured that your pet's health concerns are financially supported, allowing you to focus on what’s most important; being the best pet parent possible.

Insurance for Cocker Spaniels.

If you’re considering getting a dog, you’re probably already familiar with pet insurance. But do you know just how essential it is? Long story short, Waggel Pet Insurance ensures that your new companion receives the best possible care without financial worries. 

Unexpected illnesses and accidents can happen at any time. However, at Waggel we provide peace of mind, allowing you to make decisions based on your pet's well-being rather than cost. To explore coverage options tailored to your pet's needs, get a free quote today. 

As a Waggel member, you’ll also get exclusive access to our membership platform. Here you can find Joii, a 24/7 online vet care provider connecting you to a vet whenever you need help. You’ll also be able to book behaviour and nutrition consultations with Junior Hudson, a holistic canine wellness expert from Heal The Dog.

However, it doesn’t just stop there. You’ll also receive personalised perks, discounts and deals every month to suit both you and your pet. What’s not to love?