English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized, well-balanced dogs. Their coats are flat and silky with plenty of feathering on the front legs. Cocker Spaniels come in a multitude of different colours and combinations, including solid colours of black, red, orange and brown, combinations of black with white, liver with white, red and white, blue roan, orange roans, black roans, particolours and tricolours. Adult males measure 39-41cm and adult females 38-39cm. They weigh about 13-14.5kg.
The English Cocker Spaniel dog breed is one of the oldest types of land spaniel. Their origins can be traced back to 14th century Spain. Prior to the 1600s all types of spaniels were categorised together; the larger ones being used to spring game and the smaller ones to flush out woodcock. Hence the names Springer and Cocker were derived. In 1892, the Kennel Club of Great Britain differentiated the two breeds separately. On the other side of the Atlantic, Americans were using the same breeding stock to develop a slightly different Cocker, now known as the American Cocker Spaniel.
These busy, friendly dogs thrive on human companionship, wanting nothing more than to please their owners. They are ideal pets where there are children about and they get on well with other household animals. Cocker Spaniels are a very happy breed, constantly wagging their tails and bringing 'presents' to one and all. They are easily trained, being eager to learn and to please.
One of the most common problems encountered in the English Cocker Spaniel is recurrent ear infections, due to their large ear flaps. As with many breeds, they can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
These dogs adapt effortlessly to the family situation but do remember they are gundogs and, as such, should be given a reasonable amount of exercise – at least an hour a day, preferably more. They love to swim so take care when water is in the vicinity to ensure their safety. Allow them time off the lead to play and run off their energy.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
Their coats must be brushed several times a week and their ears checked regularly, to ensure they are clean and healthy. They should be stripped out 3 or 4 times a year by a professional groomer. It is possible, however, to learn how to do this yourself.