The English Cocker Spaniel is a sturdy, compact, well-balanced dog. It has a characteristic expression showing intelligence and alertness. Its eyes should be dark and its lobular ears should reach “a bit past” the tip of the nose when pulled forward.
In England and Wales, docking can only be carried out on dogs where the owners have proved that the dogs will be used as working or shooting dogs. The English Cocker Spaniel is similar to the English Springer Spaniel and at first glance the only major difference is the larger size of the Springer. However English Cockers also tend to have longer, and lower-set ears than English Springers. In addition Springers also tend to have a longer muzzle, their eyes are not as prominent and the coat is less abundant.
Breed standards restrict dogs to certain colours for the purposes of conformation showing.
The colours themselves in the breed consist of black, liver with brown pigmentation, red with black or brown pigmentation, golden with black or brown pigmentation, sable, silver, ash, black and tan, liver and tan. More combinations are possible. On the chest white color is not allowed. They come in solid (or “self”), particoloured, and roan types of markings. Roan is similar to merle, but consists of solid patches and white patches speckled or “ticked” with the same colour as the solid patches.
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 an individual person in a family, usually the one who feeds it. Known for optimism, intelligence and adaptability, the breed is extremely loyal and affectionate. The English Cocker Spaniel has a cheerful nature.
With a good level of socialisation at an early age, Cocker Spaniels can get well along with people, children, other dogs and other pets. This breed seems to have a perpetually wagging tail and prefers to be around people.
Common health issues with English Cockers are bite problems, skin allergies, shyness, cataracts, deafness (affecting 6.3% of the dogs of this breed), aggression towards other dogs, and benign tumours.