Everything You Need to Know About Cocker Spaniel Puppies

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With their large innocent-looking eyes, smooth fur, and big floppy ears, Cocker Spaniel puppies are just a joy to look at.

Originally bred to hunt, flush, and retrieve upland game birds, the Cocker Spaniels have come a long way to find their positions as household pets.

These athletic dogs excelled in their hunting roles until they were named after for their excellent skills in hunting the American Woodcock birds.

There are two versions of the Cocker Spaniel dogs, at least in the US. We have the English and American Cocker Spaniels.

This guide will outline everything you need to know about cocker spaniel puppies before welcoming this hardworking dog into your home.

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Overview

1Official NameCocker Spaniel
2Other NamesSilky, flat or slightly wavy, medium-length
3OriginSpain (original), England (modern breed development)
4Height Range13.5 -15.5 inches (American), 15-17 inches (English)
5Weight Range20-30 pounds (American), 26-34 pounds (English)
6Shedding LevelModerate
7Coat TypeSilky, flat, or slightly wavy, medium-length
8Coat ColorsVarious colors including black, golden, red, liver, parti-color
9Eye ColorsBrown, hazel
10Distinctive FeaturesLong, silky ears; feathered legs and tail; gentle expression
11Average Lifespan12 – 15 years
12TemperamentGentle, affectionate, playful, intelligent, eager to please
13Health IssuesEar infections, eye problems, skin allergies, hip dysplasia
14Grooming NeedsRegular brushing, professional grooming recommended, ear cleaning
15Energy LevelsModerate to high
16Social NeedsEnjoys companionship, thrives on interaction with family
17Vocal LevelsModerate barking potential, especially when excited or alerting
18Gestation63 days (average)
19Mean Litter Size4 – 6 puppies

Getting a Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Puppy adoption and purchasing from a breeder are the two popular options you have for bringing a new Cocker Spaniel home.

The major difference between getting a puppy from a breeder versus a rescue organization is that rescues may have a more limited selection of young puppies available at any given time.

Deciding your favorite way of getting a cocker spaniel depends on your personal choice, but we recommend doing deep research on both methods.

A person holding a brown cocker spaniel puppy
Image Credit: Cocker Spaniel Place from Instagram

For your convenience, there are plenty of online resources that can help you find a reputable breeder and rescue organization in your surrounding area.

If you go the purchase route, make sure to go with a breeder who prioritizes the puppies’ health over quick bucks.

Ethical breeders routinely conduct health screening of the breeding dogs to reduce the risk of passing down congenital health conditions to the upcoming puppies.

You should be able to obtain health clearance certificates of both the parent dogs and the puppy to confirm the health status, vaccinations, and disease history.

Whether you work with a reputable breeder or choose your puppy from a rescue organization, you should be prepared for responsible pet ownership.

What Do Cocker Spaniel Puppies Look Like?

Cocker Spaniel puppies with their large expressive eyes, long, silky ears, and soft, plush coats are undeniably a beauty to look at.

Cockers’ coats can come in a variety of colors and patterns, including solid shades like black, red, golden, and liver, and stunning parti-colored coats that combine two or more hues.

As Cocker Spaniel puppies come of age, their coats develop a luxurious feathering on their ears, chest, legs, and belly, making them more irresistible.

One of the key highlights of Cocker Spaniel’s exterior is arguably their long, pendulous ears, which add to their good looks and serve the historical purpose of directing scent to their noses.

Cocker Spaniel Temperament and Personality

Playful, loving, and intelligent are the top three words that can be used to describe the Cocker Spaniel puppies’ temperament.

These charming pups are highly motivated to learn new tricks and they gladly take up any chance to join a puppy class for obedience training.

Although Cockers are family-oriented they are likely to form strong emotional connections to one member of the family.

While Cockers are generally eager to please, their innate playful nature can lead to a bit of mischief when they think they can get away with it.

First-time dog owners often find the Cocker Spaniel’s gentle nature, stable temperament, and responsiveness to positive reinforcement training to be a perfect match for their new journey.

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Common Cocker Spaniel Dogs Health Issues

While Cocker Spaniel puppies are generally healthy, they can be predisposed to certain health conditions that every owner should know.

Highlighting these health issues doesn’t mean that every Cocker Spaniel puppy must suffer any one or all of them. It is rather meant to keep you in the know for proper management and prevention.

1. Ear Infections

The adorable and floppy Cocker Spaniel ears are beautiful to look at, but unfortunately, they can form a comfortable home for bacteria and yeast.

Due to their limited air circulation, those adorable Cocker Spaniel ears are prone to trapping moisture, making them a hotbed for ear infections.

The most common symptom of ear infections in dogs is the production of a strong foul odor from the infected ear.

Other symptoms include head shaking, ear-scratching, redness within the ear canal, and excessive wax buildup.

Regular ear cleaning is important to prevent infections and wax buildup. We strongly recommend that you see a vet immediately if you suspect an infection within your dog’s ear.

2. Congenital Eye problems

Sadly, those innocent-looking cocker eyes are prone to congenital eye disorders like Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

PRA is not painful, but the consequences are often dire. Dogs with this inherited condition may have problems with vision in low light conditions at first, but the condition can progress and lead to blindness.

Cell degeneration on the dog’s retina is one of the leading causes of PRA, which sadly has no known cure but most dogs can adapt to the decreasing vision.

Cataracts on the other hand are caused by a congenital defect of the lens and traumatic eye injuries. When untreated, Cataracts can cause cloudiness of the lens and lead to total blindness.

If you observe any changes, such as redness, cloudiness, or any alteration in your dog’s vision, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian promptly, even if it’s before your next scheduled appointment.

Everything You Need to Know About Cocker Spaniel Puppies.
Image Credit: mylifeasfrenkie from Instagram

3. Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder in dogs where the ball and socket joints don’t fit properly, leading to wear and tear that can cause pain and arthritis.

Although Canine Hip Dysplasia is a common condition in large dogs, it can also affect Cocker Spaniels as well.

If you suspect this condition, you might notice your Cocker Spaniel limping, struggling to stand up, or showing reluctance to run or jump.

While hip replacement surgery is often considered the most effective treatment for severe hip dysplasia, it may not be feasible for every dog.

In such cases, a combination of weight management, controlled exercise, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications can help improve your dog’s quality of life and manage the condition.

In cases of osteoarthritis, your veterinarian might recommend a joint supplement for your Cocker Spaniel.

These supplements typically aim to reduce inflammation and promote cartilage regeneration, potentially easing discomfort and improving joint health.

4. Obesity

Cocker Spaniels have a sweet tooth and a love for food. This high appetite can, unfortunately, contribute to excess weight and obesity.

A dog is considered overweight if their actual weight exceeds the ideal body weight by 10% or more, while a 20% excess or more is classified as obese.

Besides overfeeding, insufficient exercise can contribute to excessive weight gain, increasing the risk of canine obesity.

However, certain medical conditions, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), can also lead to obesity, even with adequate exercise and a healthy diet.

Obesity is characterized by an excessive buildup of body fat and can significantly increase a dog’s risk of developing health problems such as cardiac diseases and diabetes by placing too much stress on joints.

If you have any concerns about your Cocker’s weight, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a weight assessment and a thorough examination.

If you find it difficult to feel your dog’s ribs or notice a lack of a defined waistline when viewed from the side, your dog is likely carrying extra weight.

5. Pancreatitis

Canine Pancreatitis is the ‘inflammation of the dog’s pancreas’. It’s a common condition in Cocker Spaniels who consume a high-fat diet, especially if they gulp it down in one sitting.

Pancreatitis occurs when very digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas mistakenly begin to digest the organ itself.

Symptoms of pancreatitis can vary significantly. The severity of the disease depends on how much pancreatic enzymes are activated prematurely.

A milder form of pancreatitis is characterized by swelling (edematous pancreatitis) and a more severe form involves bleeding within or around the pancreas (hemorrhagic pancreatitis).

Caring for a Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Raising a Cocker Spaniel puppy comes with a good share of responsibilities, especially in the grooming department.

Brushing or combing your dog’s coat is essential in keeping the exterior smooth, fluffy, and free from knots or mats.

Your brushing schedule can vary but it should not be less than five times a week. Pay closer attention to the feathering on the belly, legs, and ears.

Golden Cocker Spaniel puppy embraced with a hug
Image Credit: pippa_thegoldenspaniel from Instagram

Plan regular nail trims to keep your dog’s nails short and paws tidy. Overgrown nails can affect the dog’s walking posture and encourage bad scratching habits.

Monitor your dog’s ears to check for signs of infections, debris, moisture, and excessive ear wax. Use a vet-approved ear-cleaning solution and a soft cotton ball to clean the ear canal.

Cocker Spaniel Puppies’ Nutritional Needs

Straight after weaning, your Cocker Spaniel puppy deserves a constant supply of a balanced diet with the right mix of animal proteins, healthy fat, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Offering a balanced diet is good for the dog’s health and it can also prevent them from contracting some of the previously discussed health conditions.

Your vet is better placed to strongly recommend what you should and should not feed your dog. If your Cocker suffers from allergies, your vet will help you tailor a specific diet for the dog’s needs.

Cocker Spaniel Puppies Exercise Needs and Fun Activities

Just like any other young canine, striking the right balance of exercise for your Cocker Spaniel puppy is very important.

Too little activity can lead to pent-up energy and potential behavioral issues, while overexertion can put undue stress on their developing joints and potentially cause long-term problems.

As a general guideline, most Cocker Spaniel puppies are ready for short walks after their second round of vaccinations.

A good rule of thumb is to provide them with five minutes of structured exercise, like a daily walk, for each month of their age until they reach adulthood.

brown cocker spaniel puppy playing outdoors
Image Credit: Cocker Spaniel Place from Instagram

To protect your puppy’s developing joint, you should prioritize gentle exercises during the first six months, and gradually introduce a more engaging routine during adulthood.

A fully grown Cocker Spaniel dog should manage well-structured routine exercises for about 60 – 90 minutes every day.

Cocker Spaniels are intelligent and versatile dogs who enjoy a variety of activities. To keep them engaged and stimulated, consider mixing up their exercise routine with some of these exciting options:

  • Scent trail
  • Brain training
  • Hide and seek
  • Agility
  • Water games
  • Canicross
  • Tug of war
  • Obedience training
  • Freebie

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are Cocker Spaniels good with children?

Yes! Cocker Spaniels are kind to both older and younger children. These affectionate dogs have a stable temperament and a sweet spot for funny games which they can find in kids.

Despite Cockers’ welcoming attitude toward children, remember to teach your kids how to interact with dogs to prevent potential scuffles and injuries.

2. When do Cocker Spaniel puppies calm down?

Cocker Spaniels take about 2 – 3 years to reach full physical maturity and mental adulthood, which is about the same time you can expect them to calm down.

3. Are Cocker Spaniels easy to train?

As a working dog, Cocker Spaniels are easy to train, thanks to their intelligence and eager-to-please attitude.

These quick learners respond best to positive reinforcement training techniques, so make sure there are plenty of training treats to make the tasks simpler for you.

Despite their orientation to learn things faster, you should strive to start training them from an early age and keep the lessons short and fun.


That’s everything you need to know about cocker spaniel puppies to prepare you for a flawless pet parenting journey.

While the traits highlighted in this guide apply to Cocker Spaniel breed puppies, remember each dog is an individual.

This means your new puppy might exhibit unique or unexpected behaviors that may not be typical of other Cocker Spaniels.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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