Interesting and Fun Facts about Cocker Spaniel

So far, we have come across two different variants of the Cocker Spaniel- the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. But, both breeds have been equally successful in grabbing the attention of dog owners. 

This breed in general is quite famous for its hunting and tracking skills. Yet, it is no longer used by people for this purpose. Instead, they prefer displaying them on dog shows and keeping them as companions. They are highly affectionate and can adapt easily under any given circumstance. 

Let’s learn more about such interesting and fun facts about this breed.

Top 12 Interesting and fun facts about Cocker Spaniels

1. The English and American Spaniel isn’t the same 

People often get confused thinking that the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel are the same. Although they have the same origin, there are remarkable differences between the two. 

Difference between English and American cocker spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel has shorter backs, and doomed heads and is smaller in size. On the other hand, the English Cocker Spaniel is taller and has narrowed chests and heads. They even have distinct eyebrows and longer snouts, unlike the American ones. Further, they have different coat colours; the ACS has fewer coat colours than the ECS.

2. These dogs are closely related to Springers

One of the interesting and fun facts about the American Cocker Spaniel is that they can give birth to both cocker spaniel and springer spaniel. Mostly, these dogs were separated on the basis of their size. 

The smaller ones were Cocker spaniels as they were always tasked with hunting the woodcock (a bird that flies very close to the ground). And the larger ones were called Springer Spaniels for they could jump easily into bushes and scare the birds in hiding. Both the dog breeds gained recognition by the English Kennel Club in 1892.   

3. They are among the 20th most intelligent breed

Did we mention that they are incredibly smart? Well, another fun fact about the English Cocker Spaniel is that they are the 20th most intelligent dog breed. Their intelligence and obedience as working dogs make it easier for owners to train them.

fun facts about Cocker Spaniel as 20th most intelligent dog breed

These dogs love to learn about new skills. They are born with high instinctive and adaptive intelligence. This makes them well-rounded dogs that not only have great hunting skills but are also capable of learning from past experiences.

4. These dogs are an inspiration for fashion

The cocker spaniels, especially the American ones, are known to be a fashion inspiration. When Paul Sperry, the journalist, saw his dog Prince run on ice without any difficulty, it made him wonder what could be the reason for such traction. 

This thought led him to discover a shoe that won’t slip. He invented the Top Sider’s unique sole, in 1953 after noticing the wave-like grooves on Prince’s paw pads. These topsiders were the first set of Boat shoes that provided great traction and white soles.

5. They were the first to detect cancer

A fact that is a surprise to all is that the Cocker Spaniel (English) was the first to detect cancer. At first, scientists also weren’t sure if dogs could identify cancer by scent. 

To figure this out, in 2004 they conducted an experiment with six dogs in England. Out of them, the cocker spaniel named Tangle was found to have the best success rate. Its senses were 56 per cent accurate. With further testing, its accuracy improved to 80 per cent.  

6. Cocker Spaniel added a special to movies

Cocker spaniels are well known for being portrayed in one of Disney’s most famous animation ‘Lady and the Tramp’. They even made their debut into the Bollywood industry, starting with the film ‘Raju Chacha’. The cocker that acted in this film was Casper, who in fact was owned by Ajay Devgan.

The South Indian Industry also made films where animals were given a chance to act. In the movie ‘Valatty’ which is a puppy love story, a golden retriever and a cocker spaniel have played the lead roles. The well-renowned animal illustrator Albert Staehle also used his black and white cocker to model for Saturday Evening Postcovers

7. Several celebrities owned them

The friendly temperament of this breed has been a prime reason for making them rich and famous. Actor George Clooney owned an elderly cocker spaniel named Einstein.  He rescued it from a Californian animal shelter. Even Elton John owned several dogs throughout his lifetime, a cocker being one of them. Arthur even served as the ‘best man’ at Sir Elton’s wedding. 

A cocker spaniel named Lupo was gifted to Duchess Kate’s younger brother, at his wedding. David and Victoria Beckham also brought home a cocker spaniel named Olivia in September. Even Oprah once had a cocker named Solomon.

8. They participated in dog shows

Dog owners today use this breed mostly for dog shows. Surprisingly, their appearance and other features have led them to be winners of several dog shows. Lloyd owned three English Cocker Spaniels who have been winners at Crufts consecutively. Luckystar of Ware won it in 1930 and 1931, Exquisite Model of Ware won it in 1938 and 1939, and Tracey Witch of Ware won it in 1948 and 1950.

In 1940 and 1941, a male American Cocker Spaniel named My Own Bruce won the title of ‘Best in Show’ at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. There was also another American Cocker Spaniel that won the title of ‘Best in Show’, four times in a row including its first win in 1921. 

9. They inspired the pop culture

After their appearance in ‘Lady and the Tramp‘, the breed got quite famous. Having silky hair and a prime disposition were among the main reasons for selecting it as the main lead character. 

Besides this, the breed even got advertised on bottles of Coppertone Suntan lotion. You will find them tugging onto the bathing suit on these bottles. Within the 1930s-1950s, they earned a good reputation. But, in the 1980s, the puppies of this canine were more in demand. According to current reports, they stand among the 30 most popular breeds in the world.

10. Presidents were attracted to this breed

Besides celebrities, even Presidents showed an interest in this breed. The cocker spaniel named ‘Checkers’ who was President Nixon’s dog might be the most famous dog of this breed. 

cocker spaniel were owned by presidents -- fun facts about Cocker Spaniel

During Nixon’s speech about defending himself against the accusations of corruption, he mentioned the name of Checkers, quite a number of times. People even know it by the name ‘the Checkers speech’. Again President Truman owned a Cocker Spaniel named Feller.  

11. They came in the Mayflower

One of the interesting facts about Cocker Spaniels is that they came to America on the Mayflower, back in 1620. It was an English ship that transported a group of families known as the Pilgrims, from England to the New World. 

These dogs have originated from one of the oldest dog breeds-the Spaniels. The spaniels were even included in stories by Chaucer (1342-1400) and Shakespeare (1564-1616). Their name comes from the country ‘Spain’, possibly from the French phrase Chiens de l’ Espagnol meaning ‘Dog of Spain’. The first Cocker Spaniel that was registered under the American Kennel Club was a white and liver coloured dog named ‘Captain’.

12. Cocker Spaniel are wonderful swimmers 

Both the English and American Cocker Spaniel are more of a hunting dogs, but they enjoy water once they get accustomed to it. Also, it is not necessary to coax the dogs before sending them into the water for they can tackle any water-related problem easily. 

However, not every Spaniel is a fan of water. Few dogs exhibit unfriendly behaviour when near the water. For such dogs, it is better not to force them. Instead, you can reinforce positive training so that the canine turns out to express positive actions towards playing in the water.


These dogs may look small in appearance but are high in talents. Their smartness can sometimes even be compared to that of a Border Collie. For example- the cocker spaniel named Fudge, a graduate of the Edinburgh Napier University knows how to match his robe with his owners’.  

Another dog named Bella Boo is capable of doing over 250 tricks along with balancing acts with treats.


Q. Can spraying or neutering a Cocker spaniel cause problems?

Spraying or Neutering your cocker spaniel at an early age can cause health problems in them. Wait for the right time to spay your female dog or neuter your male dog.

Q. Who is Ginger?

Ginger is a cocker spaniel who took Gaelic classes with her owner. She also mastered the talent of learning the basic commands like suidh (sit) and fuirich (stay) in just three weeks.

Q. How to solve behavioural problems of a Cocker Spaniel?

Provide the breed with obedience and respect training to get rid of behavioural problems like barking a lot or becoming aggressive too soon.   

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