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    Breed Profile: English Cocker Spaniel

    The English Cocker Spaniel is literally a breed fit for royalty and was chosen by Prince William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to join their family.

    They were originally bred as hunting dogs for their excellent sense of smell and eyesight which made them ideal for flushing out birds and then locating them once downed. The name cocker comes from their use in hunting Woodcocks.

    They are the most successful breed at Crufts in the UK, taking home no less than 7 best in shows.

    Temperament & Training

    "Cockers" are obedient, loyal and energetic. They tend to bond to a single guardian but make great family pets. They have been a family favourite for generations.

    They also have a strong hunting instinct and their above average intelligence makes them well suited as working dogs.


    English Cocker Spaniels come in many colours and are described as sturdy, compact and well balanced. They are tall compared to other Spaniels. Their ears extend to a little past the tip of the nose when pulled forward. Males are a little taller than females but both have similar weights of between 13 and 14.5kg.




    English Cocker Spaniels have a predisposition to luxating patellas (dislocated kneecaps), progressive retinal atrophy (vision loss through degeneration of the retina), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, cataracts, and kidney disease. Some colours are prone to deafness. For these reasons it is important to have knees, ears, hips, eyes and thyroid tested.

    English Cocker Spaniels can be prone to rage syndrome, a sudden onset of rage towards anyone nearby. This is thought to be an epileptic type condition.

    Celebrity and Trivia

    They inspired a range of boat shoes after a fashion designer spotted they were very good at running on ice. The wave like grooves in a Cocker Spaniel's paw was imitated in the shoe sole design.

    English royals, Prince William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a Cocker Spaniel named Lupo.

    Celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham have a Cocker Spaniel called Olive.



    The more general "Spaniel" term was first used in the 14th century with the dogs commonly believed to have Spanish origin. In 1801 texts include references to Springer and Cocker Spaniels but at this time the word "Cocker" referred to a number of individual Spaniel breeds. The only requirement at the time to be classed as a Cocker Spaniel was weight.

    The commonly held opinion is that two particular dogs are the foundation of the modern breeds of Cocker Spaniel (English and American). Ch. Obo, born in 1879 to a Sussex Spaniel and Field Spaniel, is considered the father of the English breed with his son Ch. Obo II the father of the American line.

    Do you have a Cocker Spaniel or know any trivia? Show us your Cockers in the comments below.

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    Andy is co-founder of The Dogly Mail, dog guardian to a German Shepherd Dog (Kara) and a software developer.

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