History of Spaniels

Spaniels are a very old family, going back in Spanish writings of the 14th century. It is English breeders who get credit for most of the various breeds of Spaniel. In the early days, it was common to have Cockers, Springers, etc., in the same litter, the difference being their size. In the late 1800s, Cockers were recognized as a unique breed. Although guidelines are set, the breed continues to change even today.

Breeders in America and England had different ideas of the best traits for the breed. By the late 20s, the breeds had diverged significantly. Shortly afterwards, each was recognized as a unique breed.

Cockers are considered high-maintenance dogs. This is due to their bearing heavy coats and, in many cases, due to numerous health problems. Both of these can be minimized by careful choice of a puppy and with proper grooming.

Combs and Brushes


 The first tool purchased by Cocker owners is a comb or brush. The pet store selection is overwhelming, each claiming to be the best. The double ended comb (lower left) has wide teeth for thick coats, and fine teeth for the fine hair on ears. This comb, combined with a detangling rake, are all the basic tools needed for many pets. Various manufacturers, $5-8.

The detangling rake (right center) has a razor blade embedded in a protective covering. As it is pulled through matted fur, it cuts through the mats. Some models have multiple blade, but they sometimes pull too hard and make grooming less comfortable. 4 Paws.

The card block (left top) has hundreds of spring wire teeth. After a thorough combing, the fur is blocked. This removes loose hair and gives the hair that silky, "poofy" look. Care should be used short hair to avoid scratching the skin underneath. Sergeants.

The grooming blade (top right) looks like a saw blade, leather handles. It can be used single handed, as shown, or unsprung to be held in both hands. The serrated edge is used down the dog's back, front to rear, to remove loose hair. Both dogs and cats seem to like their backs scratched with this blade, and you'll like it because there's that much less fur to fall off on the carpet. After a bath it's useful to "rake" excessive water from your pet's back. 4 Paws, $12.

I tried several "odd" combs, each claiming to work. Most didn't live up to my expectations. One exception was the varied-tooth comb (lower right). Especially useful for grooming ears, it can be held loosely in the hand, so it will "turn" rather than pull tangles. On a light combing, the widely spaced teeth "bite", with the other teeth coming into play as tangles are removed. I generally follow up with the double ended comb or with the card block. Wonder Fluff, $6.

Why is Dog Insurance so Important?

Today I want you to get acquainted with such burning issue for every pet owner - Dog insurance.
So, let's start....
Why is Dog Insurance so important?
  • The first reason is Peace of Mind.
    No one plans on their pet getting sick or being in an accident. With Dog insurance you don't have to worry about being faced with unexpected medical bills. You will be able to provide the best possible care for your pet when the unexpected happens.
  • Then Responsible Care.
    In many European countries - like the UK and Sweden - insuring your pet is just as common as insuring your home or car. It's second nature. Today, responsible pet ownership is about more than loving them - it means being able to provide the right environment, stimulation, lifestyle, exercise and activity levels, nutrition and health care for your pet.
  • You are financing Your Dog's Health.
    We all have the best intentions when it comes to saving money for emergencies, however it seems like something always comes up and we're back to square one.
    Cover for Life plans for dogs are like an emergency fund that never runs out!
    Dog insurance is a way to budget and control the cost of keeping your dog healthy. You'll always know your monthly costs so you won't be caught unprepared in the case of an emergency. You'll be free to provide your dog with your love and attention in times of need.
  • Insurance gives you an opportunity to avoid difficult decisions. Did you know that many dogs do not receive potentially life-saving treatments because the cost is too great for the owners to bear?
    Dog insurance allows you to provide your pet with the best possible care. Decisions regarding treatment are no longer complicated by financial restrictions. Treatments that may otherwise be unattainable can be provided without a second thought. Your primary concern becomes the health of your dog, not the cost of care.
  • With Dog Insurance you planning for the future.
    When you insure your pets before they develop health problems, you are completely covered if they develop anything in the future. Your dog will be covered for any conditions that do not exist before enrolling or that arise after the waiting period.
    Don't be caught unprotected. Insure your pets before anything happens.
  • And what is more important, insurance protect you and your dog from the unexpected.
    When people choose their dogs, they often plan for how compatible that species or breed will be with their lifestyle.
    However, few people budget for the common illnesses and medical problems associated with their dog's type or breed, or for the additional accidents or mishaps that occur over the course of an average dog's life; things like ear infections, fights with other pets and swallowing foreign objects.
    Dog insurance is your way of preparing for the costs of these unexpected occurrences, so you can go on with your life as quickly and easily as possible.

How to Groom English Springer?

Springer GroomingAdult English Springers have beautiful, long, well feathered ears and profuse silky hair on their chest, legs and underbelly. All this needs to be regularly groomed and kept clean and free from knots.

Once your English Springer reaches about six months old its coat will start to become much thicker and you will have to start trimming the excess hair so your dog retains its natural shape and looks. For a pet trim, the areas you will need to work on are around the inside of the ears, the top of the head, the top of the outside of the ear, the chest & throat and, the feet and hocks.

If you were going to show your dog, then you would have to learn to trim in a more specialised manner and you should get further advice on this from your nearest Breed Club Secretary.

You can learn to do a basic trim yourself or you can take your dog to a grooming parlour. Words of warning here though - make sure the parlour knows how to trim an English Springer properly. - always ask for your dog to be hand stripped.

If you do choose to learn to trim your own dog, the easiest way is to be shown in a practical demonstration. If you have bought your puppy from a reputable breeder they will probably be only too willing to give you a demonstration. If this is not the case, once again, ask your nearest Breed Club secretary to put you in touch with someone who will. For trimming at home you will need some specialised grooming equipment in the form of:

  • a pair of straight edged scissors;
  • a pair of thinning scissors;
  • an ordinary toothed steel comb;
  • a close toothed steel comb (known as a spaniel comb);
  • a Soft bristle brush;
  • a Hard bristle brush;
  • a slicker brush ( with "L" shaped metal teeth);
  • two rubber thumbs (the kind cashiers use to count notes!) or a rubber glove; and
    a trimming table or bench with a non-slip rubber mat on (It is much easier to groom a dog on a trimming table or workbench rather than at floor level. The dog soon associates the table with the grooming routine, and it is much better for your back).

To ensure your English Springer co-operates with you on the trimming table, remember to start your grooming routine early on in its life. Use brushes and combs early on in the routine, and pretend to trim using scissors at the same time so the pup gets used to the noise they make.

Below you will find some pictures demonstrating the various aspects of grooming..

Springer Grooming

Use the spaniel comb and slicker brush on the ear feathering

Use the combs and brushes to remove all dust, dirt, tangles and dead hair from the coat.

The close toothed spaniel comb and the slicker brush are particularly effective on the ear feathering. Don’t be rough with your dog when you are grooming it -

remember there’s real live skin under the hair!

Springer Grooming

Carefully trim inside the ears with some thinning scissors.

Inside of the ear around the entrance to the ear canal, the hair should be trimmed quite short to allow air to circulate freely into the ear.

You should use the thinning scissors to do this. They can also be used to trim the hair on the outside of the earflap. The hair from the top of the ear to about a third of the way down should be thinned out. After thinning, use the spaniel comb to remove all loose hair from the ear.

Springer Grooming

Thin out the hair from the top of the ear to one third down.

The hair from the top of the ear to about a third of the way down should be thinned out.

After thinning, use the spaniel comb to remove all loose hair from the ear.

Springer Grooming


any dead hair on top of the dog’s head, wearing a rubber glove or rubber thumbs. The hair on top of your dog’s head is likely to go a lighter shade and stick up when it is dead hair and therefore, needs to be trimmed out. All you need to do here is pluck the dead hair out using your thumb and forefinger. This is where the rubber thumbs or a rubber glove is useful as they give you a better grip on the hair. You can use this action to remove any dead hair from other parts of the dog’s coat.

Springer Grooming

Use a brush to remove dust and dirt from the coat.
Gently tease out any tangles and knots.
The hair on the chest and throat will, at some stage,

need thinning out
and you will once again do this with the thinning scissors and a comb.

Springer Grooming

Comb through the feathering on the chest carefully, teasing out any knots.

As with any aspect of trimming always work against the natural lie of the hair

Springer Grooming
Trim any hair growing between the toes and under the foot.
The feet should be trimmed using a pair of straight edge scissors; the aim is to make the each foot look tight and rounded. This also means trimming flat any hair growing up between the toes, and any growing underneath the foot. The hair on the hocks should be trimmed close using the thinning scissors.

You can find more information about grooming english springer spaniel on http://www.englishspringer.org/


Dog hair grows and dies just as human hair does. Some dogs hang on to their dead hair, thus requiring special grooming to remove it. Other dogs give it up quite readily, all over the house. Double-coated dogs generally drop their soft undercoats twice a year and lose their guard hairs once a year, although some individual dogs might shed constantly or only every 10-12 months. Shedding can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. A warm bath helps accelerate the process and daily (or twice-daily) grooming can help control clouds of hair that scurry into corners and under furniture.

Shedding is controlled by hormonal changes that are tied to photoperiod (day length) and is influenced by level of nutrition and general state of health. In addition to natural biennial shedding, a dog may drop its coat after surgery, x-rays under anesthesia, and whelping puppies.

Owners should be aware before purchase that a long-coated dog, purebred or mixed, will require grooming throughout its life. If the inclination to groom or the time to do so are not part of the plan, provisions should be made for professional coat care for the dog. Otherwise, a dog that can do with a lick and a promise is a better choice as a family pet.

Preparing Your Cocker Spaniel For Grooming

Here are some hints to make a trip to the groomer easier on both you and your dog:

  1. Teach the dog to stand on command and to accept the attentions of a stranger without cringing or growling.Obedience classes are wonderful for this good manners exercise, which is an integral part of the Canine Good Citizen test.
  2. Comb your dog regularly to prevent tangles and mats. Or schedule more frequent visits to the groomer. Matted hair can cause great pain to the dog and to the groomer who gets bitten .
  3. Crate train your dog, so he'll sit quietly while drying and waiting for your return.
  4. Warn the groomer of any bad habits that could interfere with successful grooming.

A groomer is not a miracle worker. She cannot take a poorly maintained dog and turn it into a show-stopper in one visit. You should maximize your chances of satisfaction by teaching the dog to accept the attentions of strangers and keeping the coat free of mats and tangles.

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How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Brushing your dog's teeth is simple after you've had a few practice sessions. Try to do this every day to promote healthy teeth and gums.Cleandogteeth_hero


  • Have a veterinarian check your pet's teeth before you start a tooth-brushing program. If your pet has gum disease or damaged teeth, the process will be painful and he will associate pain with tooth brushing. He may even bite you.
  • Get your dog used to your looking into his mouth. After each time you do so, reward him with a treat or praise.
  • Buy a pet dental kit, including toothpaste (made for dogs) and a toothbrush, at a pet store or from your vet. Follow the kit's instructions for use. Research alternatives, such as a finger toothbrush, if your pet refuses to let you brush his teeth with a toothbrush. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions.
  • Place your dog on a comfortable surface while brushing his teeth.
  • In general, try to use minimal restraint on your pet while brushing.
  • Brush your dog's teeth with a gentle, massaging motion.
  • Reward your dog with a tartar-control treat after the procedure.

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Basic Show Characteristics of American Cocker Spaniel

Here are some general show characteristics of American cocker. So I’ll try to give you a peace of useful information on how show-cocker should look like.

The head of the American Cocker should be well developed and rounded with eyebrows and stop clearly defined.

The muzzle should be broad, deep and square.

The jaws should be strong with a perfect scissor bite.

The eyes should be full, round and looking forward, with an alert, soft and appealing expression.

The ears are lobular, long and well clothed with long silky hair which may be straight or wavy.

The neck is long and muscular and the body short, compact and knit together, giving an impression of strength.

The chest is deep with well sprung ribs.

The legs should be moderately short and strongly boned, the feet compact and round.

The tail is carried on a line with the back or slightly higher and in the past has been docked to two fifths of its length.

The coat is silky, flat or slightly wavy, it is short on the head and of medium length on the body.

On head, short and fine; on body, medium length, with enough under coating to give protection. Ears, chest, abdomen and legs well feathered, but not so excessive as to hide body lines or impede movement and function as a sporting dog. Texture most important. Coat silky, flat or slightly wavy. Excessive coat, curly, woolly or cotton texture undesirable.

The ears, chest, abdomen and legs should be well feathered but not excessively so as to impede movement and function as a sporting dog. There are strict rules covering the colours of American Cockers which come in three varieties. These are Black, Any Solid Colour Other than Black (ASCOB), and Particolours. Blacks and Browns may have some tan in the coat but never white.
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Cocker for the Show

Cocker show grooming

Dogs bred for show often have heavier coats and are smaller than those bred for sport. In full trim, it's difficult to see the legs as they "swoosh" across the floor. They are affectionate animals, but their diminished size and heavy coat make it hard to imagine them working the field. The muzzle is notably shortened, 1/3 of the total head length. While AKC "rules" give a maximum size of 14" (female) or 15" (male), these show dogs are much smaller than their "classic" counterparts. The dog pictured above is an example of the "show" cocker. He might weight 15 pounds, while the "classic" would weigh in around 25 pounds. This has led to misunderstandings, with some dogs labeled as "miniature" or "toy" Cockers.

In show dogs, the differences between ACS and ECS are obvious. In working class dogs, the differences are sometimes obscured. A larger dog, with longer muzzle and lighter fur, are desirable in a working dog. Lucky is an example of an attractive working class dog. These differences have led to arguments in the show circuits that the ACS should be removed from the sporting dog classification. In England, where this argument may be the strongest, there are still some notable exceptions, with owners going for titles in show, then placing well in field trials. This works well, since many show dogs have earned their standing by the time they reach full maturity, while many field dogs do their best work at several years of age.
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Tipping your Dog Groomer.

You do tip your own hairdresser, don't you? This is the same kind of courtesy - a 15% tip - to let your dog groomer know you're happy with the style, care, and attention to detail she is peforming for your dog. When I groomed dogs at PetsMart, I noticed a wide range of tipping behaviours in the Grooming Salon. Some people leave nice, big tips - which are gratefully accepted. Some people leave a dollar or two, which is still a very nice token of appreciation, and never considered cheap. Yet a lot of folks don't tip at all, even when it's apparent that they are very pleased with the services rendered.
Grooming is a skilled trade that takes years of perfecting to get right. There are the five basic clips - body contour, hand scissoring (poodle, bichon), the bladed body/fuller leg (schnauzer), short-legged terrier (westie, cairn terrier, scottie), long-legged terrier (wire fox, airdale), and sporting clip (cocker, springer). And then there are the myriad variations on these themes that make up both the extreme end (show clips), to the casual end (pet and so-called "puppy" clips).
The groomer must be skilled with both shear and clipper blade, dog handling, nail trimming, dematting tools, body washing and, of course, blowdrying techniques. She must be able to quickly analyze a pet's skin and coat condition to select the proper shampoo and conditioner. There are as many kinds of treatments for dogs as their are for your own hair - from hypoallergenic oatmeal brands, to medicated dandruff shampoos, to those designed to brighten white fur or deodorize strong musky dog odors. She must be able to assess the condition of mats in the fur and recommend a proper cut to work with the owner's own daily care regime.
Groomers can help an owner with questions about proper canine nutrition (a poor diet shows up on the skin first), show how to properly brush out the coat, and even help the owner develop a proper toothbrushing routine for their favorite furry friend.
Since the groomer works intimately with each dog over a series of hours, they can alert the owners to changes in the dog's behaviours and body. Groomers might be the first to notice an oozing sore which might require a vet's attention, cut a dew claw before it can grow around and into the footpad, note changes in warts and old wounds, and pull out thorns from doggie toes that could have become staph infections in time.
A really good groomer will also try to ensure your dog has a nice day at the salon. Being away from their owners can be stressful for pooches, and not every dog enjoys a good bath and blowout. They might be foot-shy, which makes clipping nails problematic. Head-shy dogs don't like clippers or shears near their faces. It's the groomer's job to help the dog feel comfortable with the process, by using warm water, a gentle but firm hand, and soothing words through the process.
Many dogs come to enjoy being groomed. After all, they ARE being lavished with individual attention, something all canines crave. If an owner uses the same groomer each time, so much the better for the dog, who develops a bond with their own personal "hairdresser".
Dogs who are clean, dry and looking good always know it. They act happier, more light and alert, than when they arrive. When the pet parent arrives to pick up their "child", it's always very exciting and rewarding - the dog is happy to see their family, be smelled and held and fawned over. The excitement spills over to the groomer, who has worked so closely with the pet. So, while a tip is never mandatory, it is still a nice gesture

Gentle grooming - brushing scared dogs

What kind of dog and what kind of coat? If she's really matted, I'd recommend going to a groomer for a shave down first. But this also depends on what kind of coat we are talking about. Some double coats should not be shaved.If shaving is an option, as the hair grows back in, you can slowly ease Bridget into a brushing routine. By the time mats might occur again, she will be comfortable with it all.
Here's what to do: Have short (five minutes, ten max) play sessions daily, with yummy treats and toys, lots of praise, and just let the brush 'hang out' with you, in your lap or whatever she will allow. Don't touch her with it for a few days. Just let it be there. In fact, let it lie around on the floor all day for awhile, like furniture, so she can see it is not a threat.
Let the play sessions end on a happy note, each time. You are training for positive responses to the sight of the brush.
If she can tolerate the sight of the brush, try turning it over (smooth side) and letting it go over her skin without bristles. Praise her for accepting it with treats and lovins. Eventually she will let you gently brush her, and she should still be mat-free from being shaved. If there are mats, leave them alone until she accepts brushing.
What kind of brush are you using? A "slicker" type is better than a pin brush or human one.
Other options include soft rubber brushes that feel like a doggie massage, and the "zoom groom" (look it up online), that dogs don't mind on their bodies because it feels nice to them. The zoom groom won't take out mats but it's non-threatening, and really great for getting off dead hairs, which means no more shedding if you use it every day.
Now, for de-matting, you can certainly ask a groomer for advice on tools and techniques. Brushes can prevent future mats but should never be used to get out an existing mat. Get a specialized tool for that and ask a groomer to show you how to use it. She won't charge for this but you should give her a tip of 3 or 5 bucks for her time. There are easy ways to take out bad mats without hurting the dog, but using a plain brush would just be painful for Bridget. And for you!
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Dog Grooming - How To Groom A Difficult Dog

"I don't know how you do it," my grooming clients say. "He just yelps and carries on like I am going to kill him!" Over the past twenty plus years as a groomer I have heard over and over again from my customers that they can't get Fido to sit still long enough to brush him, never mind put up with a bath. Guess what, the majority of the time they do it for me too. The reason I can get the lil' darlin' to mind is simple. Dogs, and especially spoiled dogs, are no different than children. They tend to test the babysitter and if they can get away with their antics, they will do everything to do so. In my shop they can't. It is not because I use drugs to knock them out; however, I have had clients who have had the vet sedate their dog before coming to me.
(Generally, I find them even more difficult when sedated and harder to guess when they might snap as their reactions come without warning.)
The dogs discover that with gentle handling and a firm commanding voice, there is no choice for them but to behave.
Specialized equipment is essential. Without a grooming arm attached to the grooming table, I would require an extra set of hands. Most dogs don't like company while being groomed and become even more agitated when there is more than one person handling them. Sometimes a Velcro muzzle will actually calm down a dog who is prone to nipping your fingers while you are detangling his coat or clipping his nails. When they realize that their teeth are rendered ineffectual they are forced to sit and watch.
Patience is key. Consistency will train him readily. Reward him with praise for good behavior and don't allow bad behavior to go unchecked. If his struggles become a full blown war of wits between you both, then no one wins. Put him in a crate so you can cool off and he can calm down, but make certain you go right back and end with you accomplishing even the smallest victory. So today he sat through a half hour of brushing and you told him what a good boy he was; tomorrow you can stretch it out and maybe trim two nails. The most important part of training him for grooming is for him to relax so you can do the job. Once he can trust, it won't hurt, and that, in fact, he even likes the attention, and then you can get the same results as you would by sending him to the groomer ( well almost, read previous articles on styling etc. for perfection).
Our devoted canine companions want nothing more out of life than to be with you and for you to be happy with them. They live to please us no matter if we pull tangles out of a matted coat or not. Not getting tangles out is more of a disservice to out four-legged friends that you can imagine, from skin problems to an even more nasty temperament due to being uncomfortable. So if you wouldn't let your kids go without combing their hair, brushing their teeth or having a bath, Don't let your dog get away with it either.

Coat and Groom Tips.

Cocker Spaniels have significant coats that must be maintained on a regular basis. The coat is silky and flat or a little wavy according to rigid standards, but groomers may find they will groom dogs with more cottony coats that matt and tangle very easily. The show trim for Cocker Spaniels is far different than common styling provided by groomers for owners not concerned about show grooming. In particular, groomers often use electric clippers on the back coat of a Cocker Spaniel but that should never be apparent on a show Cocker Spaniel. Owners of of non-show Cockers may choose to have the coat shortened to assist them in maintaining their grooming duties. Where the coat is shortened adequately the owner may choose to have the pet groomed near our outside recommendation of 8 weeks between professional grooming. Again, Cocker Spaniels with more cottony coats require more grooming attention.

Owners not skilled in brushing and combing both the under coat and outer coat should seek training from their breeder or groomer. Many unskilled owners tend to brush and comb only the outer coat, leaving the under coat subject to potential matting problems. Like many other long coated breeds hair shed can and often does remain in the under coat until it is removed by proper brushing and combing. Hair shed not removed will, with time or immediately upon getting damp or wet, begin to "tangle" and "matt" whereby the hair shed both wraps and compresses around the existing hair coat. Matts simply ruin the beauty of the dog's coat, and severe matting causes any pet discomfort and even poor skin health.

 We recommend hair shed and matts be removed before bathing the Cocker Spaniel, and that it be hand fluff-dried with a professional force blow dryer. Your type of bathing and drying equipment will affect the way in which you groom the dog. Experienced groomers may choose to leave some of the hair shed and matt removal until after the bath, and apply special coat conditioning products to ease matt removal.

Protein-enriched shampoos followed by cream rinses can add to the luster of the Cocker Spaniel coat.

 The Cocker Spaniel coat may show some clipper marks, but this can often be reduced by using a stripping knife to remove extra shedding. However, you should be trained by a professional in the use of this tool before attempting it.

 Blow dry and straighten the coat, all matts must be removed. Final comb well. You will need a clipping guide for this breed. When scissoring around the feet the nails should not be seen when done. Be sure to clip the hair from the pads too.

What is the difference between american Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel?

American Cocker SpanielsAmerican spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels have round eyes, a rounded skull, a more pronounced stop, and a shorter muzzle than English Cocker Spaniels. They come in many of the same colors as English Cockers, but are rarely seen in the roan colors. The classic "buff" color that is so popular among American cockers is not seen in the English Cocker, although there are "red" English Cockers that have a darker red color. English Cockers are a bit taller and heavier than the American breed and tend to have less coat. The head of the English Cocker is more setter-like than the American Cocker. Just because a dog has a longer muzzle or is bigger than the usual AC doesn't make it automatically an EC. Often, it takes someone expert in the breed to tell the difference.Below are pictures of some American Cocker Spaniels. Two are buff colored and one is a show groomed liver American Cocker.

English Springer Spaniels.


English Springer Spaniels may have a similar coat pattern in open-marked (black/white, liver/white) English Cocker Spaniels. The English Springer Spaniel stands taller and heavier (average 25-35 lbs.) English Springer Spaniels have a longer muzzle, the eyes are not as prominent and the coat is less profuse than most Cocker Spaniels. English Cockers are smaller and have longer, and lower-set ears than English Springers. Field-bred English Springer Spaniels often have a lighter build, with a more moderate amount of coat and featherings than show-bred Springers. Their markings are frequently predominantly white, or white with varied patches of color.

English Cocker SpanielsSpaniel

English Cocker Spaniels may be many coat colors. They may be parti-colored, with patches of black, liver, red, orange, or gold against a white or roan background. ("Roan" is when the white background is lightly to heavily speckled or mixed with hairs of a color listed above. Roan colors are common in English Cockers, while relatively rare in other spaniels.) English Cockers may be solid colors of black, red, liver, and golden; or any of the above colors accompanied by tan points on the eyebrows, muzzle, throat, rump, and feet. English Cocker Spaniels have a medium coat length. The average size is from 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder, and 25 to 35 lbs.