Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Sporting > Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
Similar Breeds:

Cocker Spaniels, the smallest of the spaniel breeds, come in two types: American and English. Although very similar in temperament and appearance, the two dogs are separate breeds and owners do notice subtle differences. The American Cocker Spaniel generally weighs about 15 to 25 pounds, and the English Cocker Spaniel is slightly larger, at about 28 to 35 pounds. Both breeds are energetic, sweet, affectionate dogs, extremely popular through the ages as family companions that have earned the nickname "merry Cocker." Cocker Spaniels require moderate exercise, but do well living in an apartment or city with daily walks. Cocker Spaniels are gentle and playful, making them generally good with children, but Spaniels in general don't react well to teasing. Kids should be carefully supervised and trained to interact with their pet.

Famous Cocker Spaniels include: Lady from Lady and the Tramp; Checkers, President Richard Nixon's dog; and Solomon and Sophie, Oprah's prized companions.

General Care

Cocker Spaniels are generally low-maintenance dogs, needing little exercise and grooming. A daily walk or romp around the yard will suffice, and frequent brushing keeps their long, wavy coat from becoming matted. Their ears should be checked regularly for ear infections, burrs, and insects. Cocker Spaniels generally live about 12 to 15 years, but due to their long hanging ears, many develop ear infections that can lead to deafness. Breeders should be researched carefully as poor breeding causes abnormal, sometimes bizarre behavioral problems. Some issues include fear-based dominance, possessiveness, hyper-sexuality, and roaming. In general, Cocker Spaniels are still one of the best family pets around.

For more information on Cocker Spaniel ownership and care, check out

Search for a breed:

Looking for Pet Care? We make it safe & easy!

- Mom-reviewed pet sitters
- FREE background checks
- Recorded references
- Post jobs for sitters and walkers

Get Started