The English Cocker Spaniel is a sturdy, compact, and magnificent-looking dog. Larger than his American cousin, he weighs 12–16 kilos and stands 36–43 centimetres at the withers. His body resembles the working-dog form of the English Springer Spaniels and Field Spaniels.
An English Cocker Spaniel reaches his full height once he gets 12 months old. However, after that, he will still continue to develop in muscularity. By the time he turns 18 or 24 months old, he has already reached his full maximum weight. Through proper exercise and a balanced diet, he will be able to maintain this weight throughout his life.
The Cocker Spaniel has a square muzzle with a well-developed skull. His head is well-proportioned to his sturdy body. He has dark brown/brown eyes that are full but not prominent. He has charming lobular ears that are set low on a level with his eyes.
The coats of a working Cocker Spaniel and a show Cocker Spaniel are distinctively different. The working Cocker Spaniel has a finer coat with less feathering, whilst the show Cocker Spaniel has a flat and silky coat with plenty of feathering. Both should not be wiry, wavy, or curly. Feathering is found on the body, forelegs, and hind legs above the hocks.
The Cocker Spaniel breed comes in many colour varieties. Solid colours include black, golden, liver, and red. Bicolours include black and white, black and tan, liver and tan, orange and white, lemon and white, and liver and white.
The Cocker’s tricolours include black, white, and tan and liver, white, and tan. Roans include blue roan, lemon roan, liver roan, orange roan, blue roan and tan, and liver roan and tan.
Do Cocker Spaniels shed?
English Cocker Spaniel does shed. Contrary to popular belief, all dog breeds shed as it is a natural process of getting rid of old hairs and replacing them with new ones. However, the amount of shedding can vary from breed to breed.
Cocker Spaniel is a moderate to heavy shedder due to his double coat. This makes the breed have demanding grooming needs, with the show Cocker being more high maintenance.
The Cocker’s long hair needs daily brushing to remove dirt and distribute natural oils. Use a wide brush to brush his fur with ease and keep it free from tangles. The coat also needs to be hand- or knife-stripped.
It is recommended to trim the Cocker Spaniel’s hair around his eyes, ears, neck, belly, and toes using grooming shears. Never use a shaver on him, as it will keep his coat from growing back correctly.
Taking your Cocker Spaniel to a professional groomer every three months will make your life much easier. Bathing can be done as needed.
Apart from keeping your Cocker Spaniel’s coat clean and healthy, also make sure that his nails are trimmed regularly. His pendant-shaped ears can easily collect dirt and bacteria and are highly prone to ear infections. Regularly clean them by using dog-safe ear drops or solutions and cotton wool.
Regularly check the Cocker’s skin and fur for ticks and fleas as these parasites carry deadly diseases. Also, make sure that his teeth and gums are clean by brushing them regularly, and give him chew toys that can prevent tartar build-up.
Tear stains are a common problem in the Cocker Spaniel breed. It is characterised by brownish or reddish discharge underneath the dog’s eyes. The colour of the stain is caused by porphyrin, which is a pigment found in tears.
Avoid using rough or course materials such as paper towels or napkins to remove the tear stains. This will only scrape and irritate his eyes further.
Use a clean cotton ball or a soft washcloth. Dip it in lukewarm water and squeeze it until it’s damp, not soaking wet. This will keep water from dripping into the Cocker’s eyes. Begin by gently wiping from the inner part of the eye towards the outer part and repeat until the tear stain is gone.
Clean one eye at a time. Make sure to swap the used cotton ball/washcloth with a new one when you proceed to clean the other eye. Avoid using the same cotton ball/washcloth for both eyes. This is to prevent passing on the bacteria from one eye to the other. Trim the hair surrounding the Cocker’s eyes to avoid causing more irritation.
Are Cocker Spaniels hypoallergenic?
The Cocker Spaniel breed is not a hypoallergenic dog. He is a moderate to heavy shedder, so he is more likely to produce allergens, specifically dander, on his coat. For this reason, the Cocker Spaniel is not recommended for dog enthusiasts with allergies.
However, if you are set on getting an English Cocker Spaniel, there are a few things that can help you to reduce dander in your home:
- Regular grooming and bathing can help in getting rid of the allergens.
- Swap out old carpets and curtains, which are prone to accumulating dust, with new ones.
- Regularly dust furniture, and clean carpets and curtains.
- Frequently wash your dog’s items, such as his dog bed, blanket, and toys, with hot water.
- Consider getting high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air filters as they can greatly lessen airborne allergens brought by dogs.
- Do not allow your dog to sleep in your bed to prevent dander from sticking on your bedding and pillow.