English Cocker Spaniel Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
English Cocker Spaniel Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The AKC Standard says, "His enthusiasm in the field and the incessant action of his tail while at work indicate how much he enjoys the hunting for which he was bred."
With more sporting instincts than the American Cocker Spaniel, the lively English Cocker Spaniel likes more exercise.
When well socialized, the English Cocker Spaniel has a merry tail-wagging nature and is sweet and gentle with everyone. Some are on the reserved side, and there is timidity and excessive submissiveness in some lines.
This equable dog is responsive to persuasive obedience training that includes praise and food rewards.
Unless taught to be independent, some individuals are so persistently affectionate that they become clingy and demanding of attention.
If you want a dog who...
- Is conveniently sized and athletic
- Has a pretty feathered coat in a variety of colors
- Is lively and playful, with a tail-wagging nature
- Is usually polite with everyone
- Is peaceful with other pets
An English Cocker Spaniel may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Frequent brushing, combing, and clipping of the silky coat
- Considerable shedding
- Potential for excessive barking
- Excitable or submissive urination (tendency to dribble urine when excited or nervous)
An English Cocker Spaniel may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult English Cockers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your English Cocker Spaniel to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the English Cocker Spaniel
If I was considering an English Cocker Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise. The English Cocker Spaniel is a hunting dog who needs more exercise than you might think. Just because he's small doesn't mean he will be happy living in an apartment with no yard and a couple of walks around the block. This breed needs some outside space (fenced) to romp and play.
- Potential separation anxiety. English Cocker Spaniels need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.
- Lots of grooming. To keep their silky coat free of mats, English Cocker Spaniels require regular brushing and combing, plus trimming and clipping every couple of months. You either need to learn how to use an electric clipper, or pay a professional groomer to do it.
- Shedding. English Cocker Spaniels shed quite a lot – I would call it on the "high side of average".
- Potential barking. English Cocker Spaniels are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.