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The Cockalier is a cross between two spaniel breeds, the Cocker Spaniel (show type or working) and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In rarer cases the American Cocker Spaniel can also be used.

The Cockalier can be a first cross (with one Cocker and one Cavalier parent), can be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Cockaliers bred together - so there are varieties in size, shape, coat types and temperaments.


  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–5 years
Weight: 4.5–12kg
Height: 30–8cm
Colours: The Cockalier can come in any colour that’s common to either the Cocker Spaniel or the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel including:
black; red; orange; brown; combinations of black with white; liver with white; red and white; blue roan; orange roan; black roan; particolours and tricolours; black and tan; ruby or Blenheim
Size: Small to Medium


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5
History and Origins

The Cockalier is a relatively new designer breed and as such, there’s not much in the way of history. Therefore, it’s important to look into the two breeds involved in its make-up to understand more about the Cockalier.

The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular spaniel breeds and also one of the oldest land spaniels. Prior to the early 1880s, the Cocker and Springer Spaniel were categorised as the same breed and referred to as the ‘Land Spaniel’, but they developed different jobs as the years went on due to their differing size. The Springer was used to ‘spring’ upon game, whereas the Cocker was used to flush out Woodcock, hence the names. The difference between the two breeds became greater defined due to selective breeding and in 1893, they were finally recognised as two different breeds.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the latest of the English Toy Spaniels and was developed in the 1920s in order to try and recreate the famous dogs of King Charles. The breed began with a long snout, but in the Victorian era shorter noses became the fashion, resulting in a much flatter faced breed. However, in 1926 an American called Roswell Eldridge visited England and was disheartened by the fact he couldn’t see the dogs so often depicted in art, so he set to reinstating the longer nose of the breed. This started a movement and led to the formation of the Cavalier King Charles club in 1928 and finally in 1945, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recognised as a separate breed to the flat-faced King Charles Spaniel.

The Cockalier can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.


Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Cockalier depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared. It’s clear from looking at the two breeds that make up the Cockalier that this is an active dog who needs quite a lot of exercise and needs to be a part of the family.

The personality of a Cockalier seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line successively bred, they can be either be bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Cocker or the Cavalier personalities) or else be bred to another Cockalier - in which case there is less predictability.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Cocker Spaniel - eye tests and hip scoring should be done, and there are several DNA tests that may need to be carried out too

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - sadly this is a breed that is prone to several serious health problems including eye problems, mitral valve disease and syringomyelia.

It’s very important to get puppies from only the most reputable breeders in order to reduce the number of possible health risks.

Information on DNA health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website.

Exercise Needs

Both the breeds that make up the Cockalier are active and enjoy exercise and will be happy with an hour plus every day. They will also enjoy games, training, interactive toys and being involved in all family activities too.

Space Requirements

The Cockalier isn’t a large dog and doesn’t need a huge amount of space, but they are very active (especially the Cocker side) and so will appreciate a large garden and access to the great outdoors for the walks they will need.

Nutrition and Feeding

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 important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Cockaliers

It’s difficult to predict what kind of coat the Cockalier is going to have, but they are likely to be long coated with feathering and be prone to matting if not groomed regularly (especially as they’re likely to spend a lot of their time diving into hedges).

Find a good local groomer who can either look after your Cockalier’s coat or teach you how to do it yourself as their coat develops.

Training Cockaliers

This is an active dog who is smart and busy and who both needs and will enjoy training. They’re a joy to train as both the breeds are intelligent and love working with their owner, but they will learn bad habits as quickly as good ones so reward-based training should start early and be ongoing. The Cockalier can excel in dog sports and can easily be the star of your dog training class.

Best Family Dog Breeds

If the Cockalier is sourced from a reliable breeder and well-trained from puppyhood, they will make fabulous family dogs, be a total joy to own and will get on with everyone. In other words, almost the perfect dog! An untrained or bored Cockalier can however easily become unruly and overly boisterous, so be sure to undertake adequate training and make sure they get enough stimulation.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Cockalier is a mixed breed dog so it’s not currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club
  • They naturally possess a very friendly nature and love spending time with their families
  • Due to their Cocker Spaniel roots, it’s likely they’ll retain their hunting instincts and may chase birds or small animals

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