Cocker Spaniels are beloved by pet owners for their charming appearance. Deep expressive eyes, long floppy ears, silky hair and a constantly wagging tail add to the appeal of both the English and American Cocker Spaniel. As well as this, they draw owners looking for a hardy, well-balanced breed in a small to medium size.
Cocker Spaniels are to be found in almost all varieties and combinations of recognisable dog colours. Common colours include golden, red, liver, black and fawn. Parti-coloured Cocker Spaniels can be seen with any of these colours, with the addition of white, black or tan markings.
Rare combinations and colours include blue and roan Cocker Spaniels. Roan is when there is a solid base colour, white lighter coloured flecks and patches throughout. The ‘blue’ coat is a steely, grey colour which gives off a bluish sheen in certain lights. Roan and Blue Cocker spaniel puppies are highly sought after. All-white cocker Spaniels are extremely rare.
American Cocker Spaniels should stand between 14 and 15 inches at the withers, while English Cocker Spaniels will be a couple of inches taller. Similarly, the American will weight between 25 and 30 pounds, and the English will be a few pounds heavier.
Coat and Grooming
Grooming a Cocker Spaniel and retaining its beautiful silky coat requires a lot of commitment. Their long coat hair needs a thorough combing at least every other day. Those thinking of adopting a Cocker Spaniel should be aware that the breed sheds a lot – hair will come off in your hand when you rub them and will easily stick to furniture and clothes. As well as shedding, their hair continues grow and needs to be trimmed four or five times a year. This can be carried out by a professional groomer or by owners – it is relatively easy to learn how to groom a Cocker Spaniel. A condition which can affect the Cocker Spaniel coat is seborrhoea – this leads to excessively greasy and flaky fur. It can be dealt with through a combination of topical treatments and antibiotics.
The Cocker Spaniel’s long, downy ears are what give it a special appeal and unique appearance, but are also the cause of its most common health issues. Ear infections are an important concern for Cocker Spaniel owners. To prevent infections which could potentially require surgery and cause hearing loss, daily checks should be carried out on the Cocker Spaniel’s ears. Look out for moisture, grass seeds and ticks – the droopy ears provide a safe, warm environment for the growth of bacteria. The underside of the ear and the hair around the ear canal should be trimmed short to prevent blockages. For extra care around this area, owners can wash it with a homemade or professional dog ear cleaner every week.
The Cocker Spaniel is very prone to eye problems. Issues such as cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, conjunctivitis and ingrown hairs around the eyes commonly occur within the breed. It is important to take not of any changes to be seen in your dog’s eyes – any sign of infection or discolouration should be reported to the vet, who can hopefully treat these eyes problems in their early stages.
This breed is one of the few who suffer from excited or submissive urination. Some Cocker Spaniels tend to lose bladder control when over-excited or threatened. Only a minority of Cocker Spaniels display this issue, but it can be a very infuriating problem for the owners of those dogs who do.
As well as seborrhoea, Cocker Spaniels can suffer from skin allergies from certain foods, environmental changes and fleas.