Dog Health & More
English Cockers are a medium-size dog breed with long ears and a happy disposition. The name Cocker comes from their use to hunt woodcock in England, although English Cockers have been used to hunt many other types of birds as well. They make great companion dogs for people who can give them the exercise they need.
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What's the difference between an English Cocker and a Cocker Spaniel, you say? Not very long ago, American and English Cockers were considered to be the same breed. The decision to classify them as separate breeds was made in the 1930s when it became evident that Cocker Spaniels in the U.S. were different than ones in England.
One difference is size. The English Cocker Spaniel is larger than the American Cocker Spaniel. They also have different body types. And unlike the American Cocker, the English Cocker is likely to be found in the field alongside his cousins the Field Spaniel and the English and Welsh Springer Spaniels.
The engaging English Cocker is happy and affectionate. He's a sturdy dog with a long, square muzzle, expressive eyes, long ears that reach the tip of his nose when pulled forward, and a docked tail. The English Cocker has a medium-length coat, although the English Cockers you see in the field have a shorter coat than those in the show ring. They are 14 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 26 and 34 pounds.
As sporting dogs, English Cockers have a lot of stamina and energy. They're also curious dogs and like to investigate things. English Cocker Spaniels are excellent retrievers with delicate mouths who hunt well in difficult terrain.
While English Cockers are intelligent, they can be stubborn at times, especially if they don't see a good reason for doing what you want them to do. Obedience training is a good idea with any dog, but with hunting dogs in particular, you need to train them to come when called and to obey your commands.
Because they are so affectionate toward their people, it's important to use gentle, consistent training that won't break your dog's spirit. Training also helps keep your English Cocker mentally stimulated. This is a dog that loves to learn. An English Cocker's talents aren't limited to the field. He can also do well in tracking, obedience trials, flyball, and agility.
Because English Cockers are very people-oriented, they thrive on being around their families and can become destructive if left alone frequently with no companionship or activity. They get along well with children and make good companions for people of all ages.
While they are alert and will bark at noises, don't expect them to be effective guard dogs. They are far too friendly for that kind of work and most likely will end up licking the hands of any strangers they encounter, all the while wagging their tails.