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The Breed Report: Cocker Spaniels

Our Expert

Our Expert

India Lawson
Kathi Alexander is the secretary of the board for Oldies But Goodies, a cocker rescue in Virginia. She has lived with cocker spaniels for 20 years and has worked in breed rescue since 1998.

General Information

Grooming: Cocker spaniels’ ears are their trademark. They can also be a major problem if they’re not regularly cleaned. Because their length doesn’t let much air into the ear canal, cockers’ ears are prone to infections. Alexander recommends weekly ear cleaning. (To help new employees and volunteers learn how, visit You can also help cockers keep their ears from drooping into their munchies by providing small food and water bowls.

Cocker coats need to be brushed one to two times per week to prevent mats. If your shelter gets a cocker with overgrown or matted hair, your best option may be to shave him, since knots and mats can be painful for the dogs.

Behavior: Alexander cites housetraining problems as a primary reason for cocker surrender; cockers are notorious for their submissive urination and difficulty with housetraining issues, she says.

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