The Playful Cocker Spaniel Breeds (American and English)

Originally bred as a hunting and retrieving dog, the cocker spaniel has become a favorite pet for families all over the world. The cocker spaniel’s temperament is often described as “merry” because they’re eager to please and they love their human companions. Enjoy many rounds of fetch with your cocker spaniel! They also get along well with other dogs and pets.

Looking for a family pet and you’re wondering if a cocker spaniel is a good selection? Are cocker spaniels high maintenance grooming-wise? Is the cocker spaniel breed easy to train? Are cocker spaniels barkers? Join us to learn more about the beloved cocker spaniel breed.

American and English Cocker Spaniels

There are several types of cocker spaniels — two of the most popular are English and American cocker spaniels. What is the difference between them?

The AKC describes the American cocker spaniel (ACS) as having a slightly longer tail and torso, making it more rectangular in shape while the English cocker spaniel (ECS) is squarer in shape. The ACS breed tends to have longer hair and more of it than their counterparts from “across the pond.” American spaniels have larger eyes that are closer together, while English cocker spaniels are more wide set on the sides of their faces. Some people think the difference between American and English cocker spaniels is their colors, but that’s not always the case.

Do Cocker Spaniels Bark a Lot?

Cocker spaniels are high energy dogs that could give the Energizer bunny a run for its money. This high level of energy is often displayed in incessant barking. Just when you think you have your cocker spaniel all worn out from play, think again, because he can find something to get excited about and go into a barking frenzy.

While keeping your dog active with toys and walks is excellent for physical fitness, it’s essential that you also exercise his mind. Mental stimulation like puzzles and interactive toys can help lower stress, teach them new tricks and prevent boredom in cocker spaniels, which is one reason dogs bark. Other causes of excessive barking include anxiety, loneliness, fear, protection, and excitement.

Although your cocker spaniel is a barking breed, you can help control it and other unwanted behaviors with some dog training.

How to stop cocker spaniels from barking?

Training a cocker spaniel to stop barking — or to do anything, really — requires time, patience, and consistent corrections.

First, identify what triggers cocker spaniel barking. Can you eliminate or minimize the sights and sounds that make him bark? For example, if your cocker spaniel reacts to the mailman approaching your house, distract your pet with familiar sounds like television or music. Close window blinds, curtains, and doors so he can’t see the mailman approach. Redirect your dog’s attention to reduce his anxiety and frustration barking.

Also, use our train, treat, repeat training techniques laid out in our barking guide. We recommend a combination of voice commands using a firm tone with the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool. Avoid using a sharp tone, physical corrections, or punishments when your pet misbehaves as the cocker spaniel is a sensitive breed and you’ll never get anywhere with the approach. Instead, positive reinforcement is the way to go; plenty of praise followed by treats to ensure training success. Offer small treats to avoid obesity issues.

Another important cocker spaniel training tip: Everyone in your home or who spends a lot of time with your dog should understand your training techniques. Otherwise, if you’re the only one using the train, treat, repeat methodology, your dog will catch on quickly and figure out who’s more likely to let him or her get away with unwanted behaviors.

Interesting Facts About Cocker Spaniels 

The cocker spaniel is a happy breed that enjoys playing whenever possible. Ranked 30 out of 196 in the AKC’s breed popularity list, American cocker spaniels are an obvious favorite among many dog lovers. Although bred to be hunting dogs, cocker spaniels have found their way into homes and families as all-around companions. They are energetic and make great playmates for children. Other things to know about cocker spaniels:

  • Size: The average height range for the cocker spaniel breed is 13.5-15.5 inches with a weight range of 20-30 pounds.
  • Life expectancy: Healthy cocker spaniels can live on average 10-14 years.
  • Coat: The coat of a cocker spaniel comes in an array of colors and patterns and might have a texture that’s silky, flat, or wavy.
  • AKC group: Cocker spaniels belong to the AKC sporting group, although they are the smallest sporting spaniel.

Are Cocker Spaniels Easy to Train?

Cocker spaniels are eager to please and are typically sensitive to a disapproving tone in their owner’s voice and compliant to corrections. As such, harsh corrections aren’t necessary when training a cocker spaniel. They enjoy activities like fetch and agility exercises (aka obstacle courses). Incorporating these types of challenges may prove helpful in your training. Cocker spaniels are highly motivated by food rewards and praise. Like other dogs, cocker spaniels benefit from early socialization.

Do Cocker Spaniels Need Grooming?

The beautiful coat of cocker spaniels requires daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats. A high-quality dog comb and brush like the BarxBuddy Self-Cleaning Dog Brush can help keep your pet’s coat healthy and shiny. When bathing, a thorough rinsing off is essential to prevent soap residue left behind that can cause skin irritation. Be sure to keep your cocker spaniel’s nails trimmed using the proper tools like the BarxBuddy nail clippers or visiting your groomer. Don’t neglect his chomper either! Brushing your dog’s teeth daily can help prevent health issues like gum disease, diabetes and health disease.

What If My Breed Is a Cocker Spaniel Mix?

Thanks to the combination of genes from both parents, cocker spaniel mixed breeds often make for beloved fun, lively, and energetic pets. Some mixes like the Cockapoo (cocker spaniel and poodle) can help reduce shedding and grooming needs thanks to the tighter coat of the poodle breed.

Here are some popular cocker spaniel breed mixes:

  • Bocker — cocker spaniel + beagle
  • Border collie Cocker — cocker spaniel + border collie
  • Chi-spaniel — cocker spaniel + Chihuahua
  • Cock-a-Tzu — cocker spaniel + shih-tzu
  • Cockapoo — cocker spaniel + poodle
  • Cockeranian — cocker spaniel + Pomeranian
  • Corkie — cocker spaniel + Yorkshire terrier
  • Cotralian — cocker spaniel + Australian shepherd
  • Docker — cocker spaniel + dachshund
  • Golden Cocker Retriever — cocker spaniel + golden retriever
  • Siberian Cocker — cocker spaniel + Siberian husky
  • Spanador — cocker spaniel + Labrador retriever
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