English Cocker Spaniels are a very handsome breed with long ears, round heads and a feathered coat. They are slightly larger than their American cousins, have shorter hair (even where feathered) and their heads lack the abrupt stop of the American version. Additionally, their muzzles are a bit longer than those of the American Cocker. The upper lip should hang down, covering their lower jaw and the preferred bite is a scissor. Black Cockers will always have black noses, but lighter colored dogs may have brown noses. They have round eyes with oval eye rimes that appear to look straight forward. The English Cocker has cat-like feet with arched toes and dewclaws should be removed for showing purposes or if the dog will be participating in outdoor activities. They come in colors of black, buff, cream, red, tan or brown and may be parti-color. A Cocker Spaniel's tail should be docked to 2/5 of its original length, except in Europe, where docking is illegal.
Size and Weight
The ideal size for a Cocker Spaniel is 15 to 17 inches at the withers for males and 14 to 16 inches for females. Males generally weigh in between 28 and 34 pounds whereas females average 26 to 32 pounds.
Coat and Color
Cocker Spaniels have a thick, sometimes wavy coat that is shorter on the head and back than it is on the ears, chest, belly and legs. On these areas there is distinct feathering, though the hair is not as thick and long as that of an American Cocker. They can be solid black, cream, red or brown or they may be parti-color which is two or more colors, one of which is always white.
Owning an English Cocker Spaniel means a lot of maintenance, though they require less than the American Cocker. Many owners opt to clip their Cocker to reduce the need for brushing and maintenance. For those who keep the long hair, brushing the feathers every other day can prevent tangles and matting. Because Cocker Spaniels require regular grooming, it is important to train puppies to be handled by humans at a young age.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections because their long, heavy ears do not allow for air to circulate into the ear canal. Veterinarians can recommend a cleanser that can be used on a regular basis to keep the ears dry and free from wax and bacteria.
It is important to brush a Cocker Spaniel's teeth on a regular basis to prevent tartar buildup and promote healthy gums.