Are there two types of cocker spaniel?

Answered by John Hunt

There are indeed two types of Cocker Spaniel: the Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel (ECS). While they may share similar names and have a common ancestry, there are distinct differences between these two breeds.

1. Origin and History:
The Cocker Spaniel originated in the United States and was recognized as a separate breed in the late 19th century. It was primarily bred for hunting small game, such as woodcocks, hence its name. On the other hand, the English Cocker Spaniel hails from England and has a longer history dating back several centuries. It was also bred for hunting, but with a focus on larger game, such as pheasants.

2. Size and Appearance:
One noticeable difference between the two breeds is their size. The Cocker Spaniel is generally smaller, with an average height of 14-15 inches (35-38 cm) and a weight of around 20-30 pounds (9-14 kg). The English Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, is slightly larger, standing at around 15-17 inches (38-43 cm) tall and weighing between 26-34 pounds (12-15 kg).

In terms of appearance, both breeds have beautiful, silky coats. The Cocker Spaniel’s coat is typically longer and thicker, with feathering on the legs, ears, and chest. The English Cocker Spaniel’s coat is also dense and water-resistant, but not as profuse as the Cocker Spaniel’s. Both breeds come in a variety of colors, including black, liver, golden, and parti-color (a combination of white and another color).

3. Temperament and Personality:
While both breeds have friendly and affectionate personalities, there are slight differences in their temperaments. The Cocker Spaniel is known for being gentle, playful, and eager to please. They are often described as happy-go-lucky dogs and are generally good with children and other pets. The English Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, is known for being more independent and energetic. They have a higher prey drive and may require more mental and physical stimulation to keep them content.

4. Trainability and Intelligence:
Both breeds are intelligent and trainable, but the English Cocker Spaniel tends to be slightly more independent and may exhibit a stubborn streak at times. The Cocker Spaniel, being eager to please, is often easier to train and responds well to positive reinforcement techniques. However, it’s important to note that every dog is an individual, and training and socialization play a significant role in shaping a dog’s behavior.

5. Health Concerns:
Cocker Spaniels, in general, are prone to certain health issues, including ear infections, eye problems (such as cataracts and glaucoma), and hip dysplasia. Both breeds can also be predisposed to certain genetic conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and familial nephropathy. Regular veterinary check-ups, proper grooming, and a nutritious diet are crucial for maintaining their overall health and well-being.

While the Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel may share a common ancestry and some similarities, there are distinct differences between these two breeds. From their origin and size to their temperament and trainability, each breed has its own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the smaller, more playful Cocker Spaniel or the slightly larger, energetic English Cocker Spaniel, both breeds make wonderful companions and are sure to bring joy and love to their families.