Meet the breed: Cocker Spaniel

Jul 5, 2014 at 7:45 a.m. ET
Image: D Trocio Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We're here to help you meet the breed that's right for you. If you're looking for a playful and friendly breed to bring into your family, learn all you need to know about the Cocker Spaniel.

Breed at a glance

  • Friendly
  • Playful
  • Loyal
  • Active
  • Requires regular grooming

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Famously known as Lady from Lady and the Tramp, this breed has a sweet temperament and a deep love for the human kind. Named after its preferred hunting game, the woodcock, the original Cocker Spaniel derived from England and was imported to the U.S. Now there are both the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. Regardless of your choice, this dog is the most-popular Spaniel breed. No longer used for hunting in America (but still used for hunting in England), this breed makes an awesome family pet, wherever it resides.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Sporting Group
  • UKC group: Gun Dog Group
  • Average lifespan: 11 - 13 years
  • Average size: 14 - 30 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Silky, straight or slightly wavy
  • Coloration: Black, tan, black and tan, sable and various other colors
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Medium size, dark eyes, low-set feathered ears, docked tail
  • Possible alterations: Coat may be another solid coloration other than black.

Is this breed right for you?

Often used as a therapy dog, this breed is very intelligent and easy to train. Friendly and extremely affectionate, the Cocker Spaniel makes the perfect companion or family dog. Extremely active, the dog requires daily exercise and play. A luxurious and thick coat, it will need to be groomed regularly. A social animal, it is best that the Cocker Spaniel isn't left alone much, and although apartment life may be OK if exercised regularly, it is best if it has space to play inside and outside.

breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

The Cocker Spaniel will likely sleep in or around its owner's bed. Following you around wherever you may go, your shadow will likely be ready for some early-morning game of catch or at least a short walk around the neighborhood. Keep it busy throughout the day with a lot of conversation and breaks for play. Take it for a long walk at the end of the day, and show it lots of love before you turn in for the night.

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