The Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with low-set, floppy ears. Originally used as hunting dogs, Cocker Spaniels' tails were clipped, or docked, to avoid getting tangling in bushes on a hunt. Because it was bred to be a hunting dog, the Cocker Spaniel requires a lot of exercise. Although the breed frequently has medical problems, proper grooming, regular exercise and care will yield a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is about 15 inches long and weighs 28 to 30 pounds at full maturity. Bitches are slightly smaller and weigh a little less. The dogs have an eager, friendly temperament and do well with children as long as they are trained well. Their coat is medium length on the body but shorter on the head, with feathering on the ears, chest and abdomen. They can be black, tan, caramel, brown, or have spots or blotches of these different colors.
English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is slightly larger than its American counterpart. English Cocker Spaniels measure about 17 inches in length and weigh 30 to 34 pounds. The dogs have the same coat attributes and temperaments as the American Cocker Spaniel. The American Kennel Club classifies English Cocker Spaniels as Gun or Sporting dogs.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to cataracts, glaucoma, hip and elbow dysplasia, liver disease, urolithiasis, eye and eye infections. These pure-bred dogs may need extra medical attention throughout their life. Because hunting is in their nature, the dogs are hard-wired for regular exercise, so owners should make sure they get it through daily play and walks or runs.
Because Cocker Spaniels are prone to eye and ear infections, proper grooming is essential. Wipe under the eyes often because they are prone to tearing. Cocker Spaniels are average shedders and should be brushed once a day, washed once a week and clipped as desired. Some owners prefer to keep the coat short while others like it longer. Shorter coats are easier to maintain.