Spaniel (Cocker) illustration
Gundog

Spaniel (Cocker)

Popular family pet and gundog first bred to hunt woodcock

Breed characteristics

Size
Small
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
Every day
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 10 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

The breed's name comes from its original function, as he was used to hunt woodcock. The breed was not recognised as a separate variety until 1893 and until that time all the spaniels, collectively known as Land Spaniels, were bred together and later classified depending on size and colour. They were selectively bred for suitability for their work and for the terrain. It was a requirement that a Cocker Spaniel should be simply be under 25lbs in weight. Whilst blacks dominated the rings in the early shows, Welsh Springer outcross was used to establish parti-coloured lines.

The Cocker Spaniel earns the epithet 'the merry cocker' for his ever wagging tail denoting his happy temperament. In the early 20th century the breed was at its height of popularity and it remains hugely popular as a family pet.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Gundog breed group

Dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. This group is divided into four categories - Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters - although many of the breeds are capable of doing the same work as the other sub-groups. They make good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs.

 

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Black
  • Black & Tan
  • Black & White
  • Black & White Ticked
  • Black White & Tan
  • Blue Roan
  • Blue Roan & Tan
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate & Tan
  • Chocolate & White
  • Chocolate Roan
  • Chocolate Roan & Tan
  • Chocolate White & Tan
  • Golden
  • Lemon & White
  • Lemon Roan
  • Liver
  • Liver & White
  • Liver & White Ticked
  • Liver Roan
  • Liver Roan & Tan
  • Liver White & Tan
  • Orange & White
  • Orange & White Ticked
  • Orange Roan
  • Red

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour, it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog. Health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Non-breed-standard colours in this breed include:

  • Sable (NBS)
  • Black Sable (NBS)
  • Blue Roan Sable (NBS)
  • Chocolate Sable (NBS)
  • Chocolate Sable Roan (NBS)
  • Dark Sable (NBS)
  • Gold Sable (NBS)
  • Red Sable (NBS)
  • Sable Roan (NBS)

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed-standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registration process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Other health schemes and tests available

*CombiBreed - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests for breeders

The DNA tests listed above marked with an * are included in our CombiBreed health test package. This includes:

  • AMS (Acral mutilation syndrome)
  • FN (Familial nephropathy) (partner lab)
  • prcd-PRA (Progressive retinal atrophy)

As part of this package, all three tests are carried out from a single swab for a total of £135 (incl. VAT). Assured breeders receive a 10% discount (£121.50 incl. VAT).

Find out more about our CombiBreed health packages.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Cocker Spaniel.

Breed watch

Category 1

Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club's breed standard.

Read more about Breed Watch

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club's rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

More information

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