Why Do Cocker Spaniels Have Long Ears? [Answered]

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The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with big ears and a happy disposition.

The term “Cocker” stems from their days of hunting woodcock in England, though British Cockers have also been employed to hunt a range of other birds.

They make excellent companion dogs for individuals who can provide them with the necessary exercise.

This loving and flexible dog would appeal to apartment residents as well.

Continue reading to see whether this is the breed for you!

Why Do Cocker Spaniels Have Long Ears?
Why Do Cocker Spaniels Have Long Ears?

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Why do cocker spaniels have long ears?

Spaniels with long ears, such as the American Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, and Welsh Springer Spaniel, are rather common.

The joyful mood and kid-friendly personality of the American Cocker Spaniel make them popular family pets (along with those curly-haired ears, of course).

What causes the ears of certain Cocker spaniels to be longer than those of others?

If you compare a working Cocker spaniel to a show Cocker spaniel, you’ll notice some changes in size and look, with dogs ear size being one of the most noticeable.

Working Cocker breeders bred for performance, whereas show breeders bred for aesthetics, as a result of selective breeding.

The length of the dog ears is one of the most important qualities for show Cockers, so breeders have focused on developing dogs with long ears for this purpose rather than erect ears.

The Cocker Spaniels ears may be almost touching the ground in some circumstances, obstructing the dog’s movement.

A working Cocker spaniel, on the other hand, will have shorter ears that are more flexible and less prone to obstruct the dog’s hunting.

Is it true that having long ears helps with scent?

When we look at a variety of dog breeds that are designed for hunting or finding out prey, we can observe that they all have one thing in common: long, floppy ears.

These types of ears are present in all spaniels; as hunting dogs, they aid the dog in his work.

Long ears aren’t just for spaniels; many other hunting and scenting dogs benefit from them as well, including:

  • Bloodhound
  • Beagle
  • Hound of Bassat
  • Weimaranar

Although we will never fully comprehend how a dog’s scent works, it is reasonable to believe that when we see a breed like the Bloodhound sniffing the ground with his ears flopping around his face, the long, floppy ears aid in the movement of scent particles towards his nose, improving his chances of tracking his prey.

What the difference is between an English Cocker and a Cocker Spaniel?

American and English Cocker Spaniels were once thought to be the same breed.

When it became clear that Cocker Spaniels in the United States and those in England were not the same, the decision to categorize them as separate breeds was made in the 1930s.

One distinction is the size.

In comparison to the English Cocker Spaniel, the American Cocker Spaniel is a smaller dog.

They have various bodily kinds as well. The English Cocker, unlike the American Cocker, is more likely to be found in the field with his cousins the Field Spaniel and the English and Welsh Springer Spaniels.

The lovable English Cocker Spaniel is cheerful and affectionate.

With a long, square muzzle, expressive eyes, long ears that reach the tip of his nose when pulled forward, and a docked tail, he’s a robust dog.

Although English Cockers in the field have a shorter coat than those in the show ring, the English Cocker has a medium-length coat.

They stand 14 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 26 and 34 pounds at the shoulder.

English Cockers have a lot of stamina and energy as athletic dogs.

They’re also inquisitive canines who enjoy investigating new things. English Cocker Spaniels are exceptional retrievers with delicate jaws who can hunt in challenging terrain.

While English Cockers are clever dogs, they can be stubborn at times, especially if they don’t perceive a compelling reason to do what you want.

Training your dog to come when called and heed your directions is a good concept for any dog, but it’s especially important for hunting dogs.

It’s critical to employ gentle, consistent training that won’t shatter your dog’s spirit because they are so affectionate toward their owners.

Training keeps your English Cocker mentally stimulated as well.

This is a dog who enjoys learning new things.

The abilities of an English Cocker are not restricted to the field. Tracking, obedience trials, flyball, and agility are all areas where he excels.

Because English Cockers are particularly people-oriented, they flourish when they are with their families and can become destructive if they are left alone for long periods of time with no company or activity.

They get along nicely with youngsters and make excellent companions for all ages.

Expect them to be attentive and bark at loud noises, but not as effective guard dogs.

They’re way too nice for that kind of work, and they’ll almost certainly wind up licking the hands of any strangers they meet while wagging their tails.


Spaniels have been around for ages in various sizes.

Spaniels have been mentioned in works by Chaucer and Shakespeare dating back to the Middle Ages.

There are two types of spaniels: land spaniels and water spaniels.

The land spaniel family includes English Cockers.

They got their name from the job they did, which was to hunt woodcock, which is a gamebird.

It wasn’t uncommon for a single litter of spaniels to have puppies of various sizes until the last century.

Breeders would choose what purpose the puppies in their litters appeared to be best suited for based on their size, muscle, intellect, and stamina.

However, at the end of the nineteenth century, British breeders began to divide the spaniels into distinct breeds, including the English Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Sussex Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Irish Setter and Irish Water Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniels were defined as spaniels weighing less than 25 pounds.

However, there was significant disagreement about some of the weight designations, therefore it was eventually decided that type should take precedence over weight when establishing the dog’s breed.

The Spaniel Club of England was founded in 1885.

One of the club’s early projects was to develop breed standards for the many spaniel breed.

The evolution of Cockers on the other side of the pond went a different path.

Smaller dogs with a more rounded cranium, shorter nose, and thicker coat were preferred by American breeders.

It was obvious by 1935 that American and English Cocker Spaniels were two distinct breeds.

The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was founded in 1936, and the American Kennel Club recognized the two variations as independent breeds in 1946, with the English Cocker Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel being the names given to them.

The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom, despite the popularity of the American Cocker Spaniel in the United States.

The breed’s relative lack of popularity in the United States has allowed it to stay healthy and true to its heritage as a hunting dog and enjoyable companion.

The English Cocker Spaniel is now ranked 74th out of 155 AKC-registered breeds and variations.


English Cockers are generally healthy, but they are susceptible to certain health issues, as are all breeds.

Although not all English Cockers will contract one or more of these diseases, it’s important to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one like ear infections.

Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents if you’re buying a puppy.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA):

A degenerative illness of the retinal vision cells that leads to blindness; cataracts, a cloudy film that forms over the eye; glaucoma, a disorder in which pressure builds up inside the eyeball; and eye abnormalities are all common in Cocker Spaniels.

Take your Cocker to the vet if you notice any redness in his eyes or if he starts rubbing his face excessively.

Hip Dysplasia:

This malformation of the hip joint is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, environment, and food.

Affected Charles Spaniel may be able to have regular, healthy lives, but you’ll have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t overdo it with their exercise.

To go around easily, your Cocker may need hip replacement surgery in severe circumstances.

Renal Failure:

Kidney failure occurs in young children (between the ages of 9 and 24 months) and is thought to be inherited.

Congenital Sensorineural Deafness:

A condition found solely in parti-colored English Cockers at the moment.

Affected puppies have this condition from birth in the ear canal, with degeneration of their hearing progressing to deafness by the age of four weeks.

Before breeding English Cockers, some breeders are starting to test them for deafness.

Cocker spaniel ears are prone to ear infection because of having a long ear and can also get an otitis externa condition.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy:

Heart muscle enlargement is a condition in which the heart muscle gets enlarged.

It appears to mostly affect English Cocker Spaniels with solid colors.

Symptoms include weight loss, weakness, abdominal distention, coughing, fainting, and a fast heart rate.

The diagnosis is made using X-rays and echocardiography.

Other Dog Breed

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Afghan Hound
  • Basset Hound
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do cocker spaniels like to cuddle?

Cockers have a tendency to approach so close to their humans that it appears as if they are attempting to become a layer of your skin.
Some Cockers will cuddle with anyone, including the vet tech, the next-door neighbor, and even the mailman!
Other Cocker Spaniels dislike being huddled together.

Do cocker spaniels attach to one person?

Do Cocker spaniels form attachments to their owners?
Most dogs, in my experience, attach to different members of the household at different periods, and Cockers are no exception.
Rather than having a single favorite person, they tend to have multiple favorites.

Why do cocker spaniels smell?

A smelly cocker spaniel could be suffering from a problem with his bottom or anal glands.
The unpleasant, putrid smell coming from their bottoms is the quickest method to tell if they have blocked anal glands.
Cocker spaniels’ anal glands must be expressed or emptied.

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