Needs Character
Temperament Health Care

What a Cocker Needs

Cockers are loveable and loving and loyal to their owners. They are active and merry by nature and happy to join in family fun. They are often greedy and feeding should be controlled and tit-bits restricted.

If you wish to become a Cocker owner you must be prepared to care for its coat. While the glamorous, silky show dog looks attractive, its preparation requires a lot of effort. You will need to brush and comb your dog regularly (preferably daily) and if you are unable to cope with the trimming – particularly of feet and ears – you will need to take it to a professional groomer four or more times a year.

Regular exercise is important for the health of the dog and can benefit the owner too. Cockers can be self-willed, but with patience can be trained for a variety of activities such as obedience and agility, and their particular qualities have made them useful as “assistance” or “sniffer” dogs.

Space is essential. A house with an enclosed garden or yard is an absolute must. Keeping a Cocker in a small flat or town house is not recommended. Nor is regularly leaving them alone for hours at a time. A bored Cocker, particularly a young or fretful one, can cause mischief.

A Cocker needs firm but gentle handling and must be taught that you are the boss. An ideal Cocker owner knows the breed or has experience of similar breeds e.g. Labradors, Retrievers, other types of Spaniels, Setters and Hounds or cross-breeds who have a close gun/working dog progenitor. If you have limited or no experience with this type of energetic dog it may be best to consider a more placid breed or cross-breed. Many dogs are abandoned or given up because an owner cannot cope.

In the right home a Cocker can be a wonderful and fulfilling companion. In the wrong home a Cocker can be a nightmare, dominant and very difficult to control. However, if you are willing to commit yourself to becoming a Cocker owner then the friendship and loyalty you will receive in return will make it all worthwhile.


These are busy, friendly little dogs who thrive on human companionship, wanting nothing more than to please their owners. The typical Cocker is an extrovert by nature, friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey. Cockers are known to continue to develop and mature until they are 2 years old. However, mentally, many tend to go on thinking that they are puppies for most of their lives!!! They are ideal pets where there are children about and get on well with other household animals. Cockers can be very manipulative - who can resist their soft, pleading eyes? The sad eyes, however, are a misconception, Cockers are a very happy breed, constantly wagging their tails and bringing 'presents' to one and all. Aggression and dominance are not common in the breed but can be a problem if not handled carefully when young. As a rule they make good companions and family dogs. Some of the less well-bred dogs can be stubborn or timid, some even resorting to nipping and growling. However this is the exception not the rule.


Energy - Medium
Overall Exercise - 40 - 60 minutes
Distress Caused if Left Alone - Low
Personal Protection - Low
Suitability As Guard Dog - Low
Risk of Sheep Worrying - High
Tendency to Bark - Medium
Ease of Transportation - High
Level of Aggression - Low
Compatibility With Other Animals - High
Suitable For Children - High

Health Care


Their susceptibility to illness is medium. Whilst the breed has a relatively long lifespan, they are prone to many eye problems and indeed, blindness can set in from the age of 10. The long drop ears predispose the breed to many infections and, therefore, regular checking and cleaning is a must.


Their energy level is medium, requiring about 1 hour overall exercise per day. They love the outdoors, energetic enough to go on all day. A lot of exercise and learning is required to keep this dog content. They love to be kept involved in all family activities and as such are ideal for a growing family. They will settle happily after exercise.


Their coats must be brushed regularly. The excess hair around the ear passages and beneath the ears must be removed to ensure the ears are adequately ventilated and that no infections set in. The hair around their feet and that between their pads also needs regular attention. They should be stripped out 3 or 4 times a year by a professional groomer. It is possible, however, to learn how to do this yourself. Cockers come in a multitude of different colours including: solid colours of black, red, orange and brown, combinations of black with white, liver with white, red and white, blue roan, orange roans, black roans, particolours and tricolours. There is little shedding of their coat.

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