Some enhanced insights into the traits of the cocker spaniel

Some enhanced insights into the traits of the cocker spaniel

Life As A Pet Parent

The cocker spaniel is one of the most popular pet dogs kept within the UK today, and in the main part, they make for excellent family pets. They are kind, loyal and loving, good with children, appealing to look at, and receptive to training. However, as with any dog, the cocker has some very breed-specific and unique personality traits all of their own, and if you are considering owning one, it is important to find out all about these.

In this article, we will look at some of the core traits of the cocker spaniel behaviour and temperament. Read on to learn more!

Energy levels

The cocker spaniel’s history is that of a working dog, and historically they would have spent lots of time outside running around and working their body and mind! They are tenacious and can be good hunters, but they are also trainable in order to supress their natural hunting instinct when this is not appropriate. They are lively, active dogs that need to be walked several times per day, and they are certainly not one of the more sedentary dog breeds out there!

Lots of play, stimulation and exercise are required to keep the cocker happy within the family home.

Defensive traits

The cocker is one of the nicest looking dogs out there, with their cuddly bodies, kind faces and long, drooping ears! They tend to be very receptive and trusting of their owners once they know what is going on around them, and generally take new challenges and situations in their stride without overt levels of fear.

However, if your cocker is het up or suspicious of something, such as having a bath or getting their nails trimmed, they can become snappy, and react very quickly. It is important to get very familiar with the body language of the cocker, and learn about their triggers and warning signs of potential aggression.

Relationship to their owners

The cocker is one of the most loving, loyal and friendly of all of the dog breeds! They tend to be open and welcoming to strangers and enjoy being petted by people that they have only just met, and they also have a strong reputation for being kind and tolerant with children.

However, they can become overly clingy if they are not used to having to spend time alone and are not trained to be calm and quiet when left, and may manifest serious separation anxiety if something throws them out of their normal routine. It is important to begin training the cocker from a young age to happily use a crate or go to their bed to chill out, and that they cannot be with people all of the time! Work with your dog to get them used to spending time alone within the home, and do not enable clingy behaviour that can enhance difficulties with separation.


As a working dog breed, the cocker spaniel was traditionally very confident in most situations and bold and calm when faced with the unknown. However, as cocker spaniels are today much more commonly kept as pets than as working animals, this trait has become somewhat diluted within the breed, and some cockers may have a predisposition for being rather shy or fearful of situations that they are not familiar with.

When you are looking for your potential future dog, look for a litter than consists of bold, inquisitive and confident puppies that do not appear shy or overly fearful of meeting new people.


The cocker spaniel is a real people pleaser, and will work hard to achieve what you ask them to when training. They are intelligent enough to learn quickly and be able to repeat commands reliably, and generally very much enjoy working one to one with you and picking up new skills. Cockers can be taught to perform tricks and a range of higher level commands, and work very well on the praise and reward structure of positive reinforcement training, being given treats for successful responses.

Calm, kind handling that is firm but encouraging is what is required for the cocker spaniel, and their lively natures, high intelligence and willingness to make you smile go a long way towards making training of the cocker spaniel generally very pleasant.

Cocker spaniels and children

The kind, playful nature of the cocker spaniel makes them a very popular choice of family pets, and they are generally tolerant and loving with children of all ages. They will often bond strongly with children, and share many of their interests when it comes to playing and raiding the cookie jar! Ensure that your children are taught about the correct way to handle and play with your dog, and know when to leave them alone; the cocker is very tolerant and forgiving of mistakes from children, but if pushed too far, they will of course eventually growl or snap.



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