About the Breed

There are two modern breeds of Cocker Spaniel, the Cocker Spaniel (English) and the American Cocker Spaniel. They were bred as gun dogs to use their sense of smell in order to flush birds into the air to be shot by the hunter. Once the bird has fallen to the ground, they use their eyes and nose to locate the bird and retrieve the bird with their soft mouths. Compared to the Cocker Spaniel which is popular in England, The American Cocker Spaniel is smaller with a shorter back, a domed head and a shorter muzzle.

Coat Colours

Cocker spaniel coat colours can be black, liver, red and golden, sometimes with additional white markings. There is also black and tan, liver and tan and a variety of color mixtures, including roans, roan and tans and tricolors. 


Cockers are compassionate, determined, kind, intelligent, athletic, alert and resilient and make great family pets. The breed does not like being alone, and will bond strongly to one member a family. Known for optimism, intelligence and adaptability, the breed is extremely loyal and affectionate with a cheerful nature. 

Working Cockers and Show Ring types

As with other Gundog breeds, there are differences in type of working Cockers and those bred purely for the show ring. With regard to physical appearance of working stock, the coat and ears are shorter than the show-bred type which is an advantage in the field. Regarding working abilities, Cockers bred solely as working Gundogs excel in doing what they were bred to do as a result of selective breeding. Cockers from show winning lines do vary in their ability to hunt, however many have retained their working instinct and, while running in the countryside, will remind you of what they were bred for.