A Closer Look At The English Cocker Spaniel Dog

Picture taken from www.free-extras.com

Picture taken from www.free-extras.com

Good day and welcome everyone!

This is Sharda with another Cocker Spaniel newsletter.

Last, time we talked about the appearance of the American Cocker Spaniel.

So, today, let’s talk about the counter part of the Cocker Spaniel breed which is the English Cocker Spaniel.

Here we go!

The English Cocker Spaniel is a compactly built, active and merry sporting dog.

Vibrant with energy; the Cocker’s gait is powerful and smooth, making him equally able to cover ground with little effort or penetrate dense cover to flush and retrieve game.

Bred to hunt, his enthusiasm in the field is evident by the incessant action of his tail while at work.

The Spaniel dog is, above all, a dog of balance, without exaggeration in any part.


  • Size – The ideal height at the withers (shoulders) for an adult male is 16-17 inches and for an adult female, 15-16 inches. The most desirable weight for males is 28 to 34 pounds; females, 26 to 32 pounds, however, proper conformation and substance is more important than weight alone.
  • Proportion – A properly proportioned Cocker is compactly built and short-coupled, with the height at withers being slightly greater than the distance from the withers to the set-on of the tail.

The head is strong and smooth and is softly contoured without sharp angles. Taken as a whole, the parts combine to produce the expression distinctive of the breed.

  • Expression – The expression should be soft and “melting,” yet dignified, alert, and intelligent.
  • Eyes – The eyes are essential to the desired expression. They are medium in size, full and slightly oval; set wide apart; lids tight. The haws (protective eye membrane or third lid) are inconspicuous and may or may not be pigmented. The eye colour is dark brown, except in livers and liver parti-colours where hazel is permitted, but a darker hazel is desired.
  • Ears – The long, flowing ears are a distinctive feature of the Cocker Spaniel and as such, they should be set low. They should be “leather fine and extending to nostrils” with long silky, straight or wavy hair.
  • Skull – The skull is arched and slightly flattened when viewed from the side or front. In profile, the brow is not noticeably higher than the back of the skull. From above, the lines of the sides of the skull are roughly parallel to those of the muzzle with a definitive but moderate and slightly grooved stop.
  • Muzzle – The well-cushioned muzzle is the same length as the skull. The jaws are strong so that he may easily carry game. The nostrils are wide for scenting and black in colour. While black is still preferred, livers and liver parti-colours and reds and red parti-colours may be brown. The lips are square, not loose-hanging and have inconspicuous flews (the loose flaps of skin on the sides of the upper muzzle).
  • Bite – The bite should be that of a scissors. A level bite is not preferred. An overshot or undershot bite is severely penalized.


  • Neck – The neck is graceful and muscular of moderate length and in balance with the length and height of the dog. It is arched toward the head, blending cleanly without “throatiness” into sloping shoulders.
  • Topline – From the top of the head to the neck—blends into the shoulder and backline in a smooth curve. The backline slopes very slightly toward a gently rounded rump with no sagging or “rumpiness”.
  • Body – The English Cocker Spaniel has a deep chest that is of proper width to allow free movement of the forelegs without appearing narrow or pinched.

The forechest is well developed with a prosternum that projects moderately beyond the shoulder points. The brisket (chest) reaches to the elbow and slopes gradually to a moderate tuck-up.

The ribs are “well sprung” and reach gradually to the mid-body, tapering to the back ribs which are of “good depth and extend well back.”

The back is short and strong; the loin short, broad and very slightly arched without noticeably affecting the topline. The tail is docked and carried horizontally and is in constant motion while the dog is in action. When excited, the dog may carry his tail somewhat higher, but not cocked up.

The English Cocker has moderate angles. Its shoulders are sloping with a flat blade.

The forelegs are straight with bones nearly uniform in size from elbow to heel. The elbows are set close to the body with semi-flexible nearly straight pasterns. The feet are in proportion to the legs, and are firm, round and catlike; toes arched and tight; pads thick.

The hindquarters are accentuated by moderate angulation, and most importantly, are in balance with the forequarters. Hips are relatively broad and well rounded. The powerful upper thighs are broad, thick and muscular. The stifle (knee) is strong and well bent. The length from hock (ankle) to pad is short.

The head hair is short and fine; the body hair is flat or slightly wavy, of medium length and silky in texture. The English Cocker’s coat is well-feathered, but not so much as to interfere with field work. Trimming excessive hair to enhance the dog’s true lines is permitted but should appear as natural as possible.

As with its American cousin, there are a variety of acceptable colours. Parti-colours are clearly marked, ticked or roaned with the white appearing in combinations of black, liver, or shades of red.
In parti-colors it is preferable that solid markings be broken on the body and more or less evenly distributed. Absence of body markings is also acceptable.

The English Spaniel dog’s gait is characterized more by drive and power than by great speed, making it capable of hunting in dense cover and upland terrain.
In the ring, he carries his head proudly and is able to keep much the same topline while in action as when standing. He moves in a straight line without sideways movement or rolling.

The English Cocker Spaniel is happy and affectionate with a calm disposition. He is not sluggish or hyperactive, an eager worker and a faithful and charming companion.

I hope that you learned a lot from today’s Cocker Spaniel newsletter

All the best and take care

Sharda Baker