What Were Cocker Spaniels Bred For? [Answered]

Cocker spaniel are affectionate, caring, and easygoing, making them a wonderful addition to any family.

They are often intelligent and simple to train.

They are also suitable for any size household, from apartment to single-family house, due to their tiny size (they grow to approximately 14-15 inches tall and weigh no more than 30 pounds).

They’re extremely devoted pets who will follow you from room to room all day.

American Cocker Spaniel also enjoy taking long walks and appear to be frolicking everywhere they go.

They were initially bred as hunting dogs, but they today make excellent companions for both young and senior pet owners.

Continue reading to learn more about what this popular breed is.

What Were Cocker Spaniels Bred For?
What Were Cocker Spaniels Bred For?

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Why were cocker spaniels bred to be selective?

Cocker Spaniels was developed in the United Kingdom as hunting dogs.

With the term “cocker” referring to their ability to hunt the Eurasian woodcock.

The breed was bred to a distinct standard when it arrived in the United States, allowing it to specialize on hunting the American woodcock.


Cocker spaniels are medium-sized, attractive dogs.

Male puppies reach a height of 15 inches, while female puppies reach a height of 14 inches.

They shouldn’t be heavier than 30 pounds, and they’ll need your help to avoid overeating.

Cocker spaniel feature thick, smooth, wavy coats in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, light cream, red, white, and brown, as well as long, luscious ears that people can’t stop caressing.

Cocker spaniels, with their huge, dreamy, appealing brown eyes, are most certainly the source of the epithet “sweet puppy dog eyes.”

However, their appearance necessitates continual upkeep, both at home and at the groomer.

The American cocker spaniel, often known as the cocker spaniel, is a unique breed from the English cocker spaniel.

The cocker spaniel is longer than she is tall, whereas the English cocker spaniel is taller than she is long, despite their shared ancestors.

The cocker spaniel also has a shorter nose and almond-shaped eyes than her English counterparts.


A happy breed, the cocker spaniel.

They are also intelligent and obedient to their owners.

While they have a natural hunting urge, they prefer to spend their time at home as a friend.

They are willing to do everything their owner requests since they like satisfying their human family.

There’s a cocker spaniel in the house.

Do your kids want to play in the yard?

They’re also up for it.

While initially reserved, cocker spaniels quickly become friends with almost everyone they encounter.

They have a lovely disposition and can be extremely friendly and cuddly.

They also get along nicely with other pets, including cats, if properly trained.

However, due to their natural hunting instincts, sharing a home with a pet bird is usually not an option.

Living Requirements

“They’re big enough to be strong and able to play with kids, but tiny enough to be an apartment or condo dog.”

It’s a match made in heaven as long as your cocker spaniel is reared with children who are polite and sensitive to animals.

Your cocker spaniel, who is people-oriented by nature, will want to spend as much time as possible with you.

They love being a member of the family and flourish when they can participate in all of the family’s activities.

When left alone, they do not do well and can exhibit unpleasant behaviors such as barking, crying, and other undesirable habits.

They will dig or bark to keep themselves occupied if left outside.


If you choose a cocker spaniel, keep in mind that regular grooming is required, according to Steen.

Haircuts on a regular basis maintain them looking their finest and prevent matting.

Ask the groomer to cut your cocker spaniel’s hair to the same length all over, known as a “puppy cut,” for a low-maintenance look.

Their signature floppy ears should always be preserved with longer hair, regardless of style, and should be checked for mats.

Introduce your cocker spaniel to grooming at a young age, as this will result in more successful groomer appointments.

Be prepared to schedule grooming appointments on a regular basis—roughly every six to eight weeks—which might be costly.

Plan on brushing a much in between haircuts.

Purchase a metal, professional-quality dog comb with fine and medium tooth spacing.

If you come across a tangle when brushing, gently pick it out.

Baths with a high-quality dog shampoo and thorough rinsing are also required on a regular basis.

To avoid infections, keep their nails cut on a regular basis and wipe out their ears once a week.

Make sure their ears don’t get moist whenever they go to get a drink of water.

Use deep, narrow bowls for food and water, or use a snood to shield your cocker spaniel’s ears as she eats.

Cocker spaniels are excellent therapy dogs because they are gentle and affectionate.

Cocker spaniel are a versatile breed that can be trained for agility courses as well.

They are adept at paying attention and obeying orders.

Patience and repetition will be required during training.

Make careful to address barking as soon as possible.

Potty training will take a long time because cocker spaniels are known for marking their territory indoors when aroused or scared.

It will take a lot of positive reinforcement over time to make a difference.

Cockers are sensitive and don’t like being treated harshly, so be nice and kind to bring out the best in them.


Although the cocker spaniel is a generally healthy breed with a lifespan of 12-15 years, there are a few frequent illnesses that owners should be aware of.

“Some of the most common diseases I find in cocker spaniels include allergies and recurrent ear infections,” Steen explains.

With common allergies to beef, poultry, maize, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs, their diet could be to fault.

Changes to their nutrition should be discussed with their veterinarian.

Also, make sure you’re not overfeeding your dog.

They will eat too much and use their wide, brown eyes to persuade you that they require a second helping at mealtime.

An overweight cocker, on the other hand, is a sick cocker.

Working cocker spaniel are prone to heart, liver, and renal failure, as well as cancer, as they age.

Epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (which causes blindness), and cataracts can all afflict Cocker spaniel (which requires expensive surgical correction).


The cocker spaniel is a breed that originated in Spain and has been documented since the 14th century.

They were separated into two categories by the 1800s: toys (for companionship) and hunting dogs.

They were classified as an official breed in England in 1892 for their proficiency in field hunting the woodcock. Cocker spaniels are supposed to have accompanied the pilgrims to North America.

Cocker Springer Spaniel immediately became popular dogs among both pet owners and breeders, and they did particularly well in the show ring.

The American Spaniel Club was founded in 1881 and is America’s oldest breed club. For the first time, a cocker spaniel won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1921.

The American Kennel Club recognized the American and English cocker spaniels as two separate breeds in 1946.

Interesting Facts

  • Cocker spaniels is one of the AKC’s initial nine breeds to be recognized.
  • The cocker spaniel is the tiniest of the sporting dog breeds.
  • Brucie, a black cocker spaniel, contributed to the popularity of the flashy breed by winning Best in Show at Westminster twice in 1940 and 1941.
  • When the breed was featured in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp in 1955, its popularity skyrocketed in the United States.
  • Sophie and Solomon, two cocker spaniels owned by media tycoon Oprah Winfrey.
  • The intelligent and affectionate cockapoo is created by crossing a cocker spaniel with a poodle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are working cocker spaniels bred for?

Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as gundogs, and their natural inclinations to ‘work’ make them intelligent, loyal, and eager to please.
They are known for being active, flexible, and friendly, and they can live peacefully in a variety of settings.
Cocker Spaniels are calm and kind, making them ideal for first-time dog owners.

What are cocker spaniels known for?

Cocker spaniels are known for being gentle, easy-going and affectionate yet lively.
They are generally considered good with children.
They tend to be non-aggressive toward other animals and people, but that also means they are not particularly good watchdogs.

Are cocker spaniels smart?

Cocker spaniels are affectionate, caring, and easygoing, making them a wonderful addition to any family.
They are often intelligent and simple to train.

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