10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel

Anyone can love a dog but it takes someone special to recognize that a canine deserves to be part of the family. Well, renowned singer Elton John had the luck of being gifted a Cocker Spaniel, Arthur, for his 56th birthday and Arthur instantly became John’s pet son. The bond between the two was so strong that John chose Arthur to be his best man during his civil union with David Furnish. When the beloved dog passed away at the ripe old age of 14, the singer performed the song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” as a tribute.

We all deserve an Arthur in our lives but not everyone can have the same luck as John so sometimes we have to settle for what we can find. If you are still bent on having a Cocker Spaniel too but cannot find one, perhaps these 10 dog breeds similar to the Cocker Spaniel will do. We have listed them based on different aspects you might be searching for so have a look and take your pick.

Based on Affectionate Nature

As Country Magazine informs us, Cocker Spaniels are some of the friendliest canines you can have around people. Still, there are other dogs similar to Cocker Spaniels based on being cuddly and they include:

English Seetter

English Setters

This is the ideal breed for a family that enjoys the outdoors because the canine will match your energy whenever you go for a run or want to play fetch. You will also be glad that when you just want to relax in the house, your English Setter is ready to sit calmly by your side. The English setter is so affectionate that it will frown upon raised voices and it prefers being rewarded for good behavior. Still, minimize treats because English Setters gain weight rather quickly. This breed makes a good house pet because it announces the presence of strangers and it is a very fast learner when you want to instill strict house rules.



Havanese are considered toy dogs, probably because of their small size and ability to make their owners happy. They make the worst guard dogs because they are friendly even to strangers. Still, they are the perfect companion for kids due to their gentleness. Havanese offer great emotional support, making them a good choice as therapy dogs. The breed is known for its loyalty and becomes very attached to one person. The attachment also means you cannot leave your Havanese alone for more than four hours lest separation anxiety kicks in and you return to a stinky or messy house.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

If you are looking to be a dog parent for the first time, you cannot go wrong with the Bichon Frise. Not only do they adapt to new environments quickly, but they are also so friendly that you will feel like you have known each other forever. They are small, standing at only 30 cm maximum height and weighing 5kgs at most; thus, even small apartment owners will have plenty of room for this breed. Besides, pet lovers who cannot be active for long hours will find the Bichon Frise ideal since all they need is 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Although they are social with people and other animals, the Bichon Frise can be timid hence the need for early socialization. However, making a Bichon Frise a house pet can be a headache because, according to Your Purebred Puppy, they are difficult to housebreak. Excessive barking can also upset your neighbors, and the separation anxiety will make you uncomfortable leaving your beloved canine alone for too long.

Based on Size

Cocker Spaniels are classified under medium-size dog breeds, with females standing at 36-41 cm while males grow to be 38-43cm tall. The average weight of Cocker Spaniels is between 13 and 14 kgs, although males can weigh as much as 16 kgs. Therefore, when focusing on dogs similar to Cocker Spaniels, let’s also consider the size.



Do not let the nickname “African Barkless Dogs” fool you into believing you will have a quiet environment because Basenjis scream and yodel instead. They are quite vocal when they need attention, so leaving them alone for too long is not an option especially when you have people living close by. Other than that, Basenjis make great house pets for dog lovers with enough space to keep the high-spirited canines well-exercised.

That said, Basenjis have a high prey drive and will chase any scent they can find hence the need to keep them in an enclosed yard with a relatively high fence since they will still try their best to reach that scent. They grow to a maximum height of 41 cm and weigh about 11 kgs but do not be mistaken, they are small but quite stubborn, especially during training, the only way to yield positive results is through loads of patience and a basketful of treats.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

If you cannot get enough of active sports, perhaps having the Australian Cattle Dog in your family should be in your plans. This dog breed will keep you on your toes with its excessive energy and will not tire to get that flying disc. As such, it is the perfect fit for active children since it is also loyal and protective. The only downside to this high energy level is that unless you can access the park, you will need plenty of room in your backyard.

Otherwise, if that energy is not used up, your pet will be destructive due to boredom. As the name suggests, the Australian Cattle Dog was bred to help with herding cattle. As a result, one of the admirable traits is it is easily trainable and watchful, thus you can rest assured no stranger will be in your home without your pet alerting you.

American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel

This breed was developed in the United States in the Great Lakes Region; to this day, it is commonly found in this specific area and is the official dog in the state of Wisconsin. It comes from a long line of Curly-Coated Retrievers, Irish Water Spaniels, English Water Spaniel, and Field Spaniel. Since the hunters wanted a breed that could retrieve on both land and water, they ensured that the resulting dog breed would be small enough to fit in a boat. Consequently, the American Water Spaniel stands at 38-46 cm tall and weighs between 11 and 20 kg.

Based on Lifespan

According to American Kennel Club, the average lifespan of medium-sized dog breeds is 10-13 years, with some living longer. In line with this conclusion, the Cocker Spaniel’s lifespan averages 12-14 years, and some of the dog breeds similar to it based on life expectancy are:



Beagles are known to live for between 12 and 15 years on average but getting your puppy to reach its teenage years is also quite another struggle. Some Beagles barely make it out of their suckling years due to a few diseases that increase their mortality rate. For instance, parvovirus is a common fatal infection among Beagles. There usually is a 68-92% recovery after being treated by a veterinarian once a dog contracts the virus but puppies, due to their weak immune systems, are rarely lucky. Besides contagious infections, the lifespan of Beagles is also greatly reduced by congenital diseases and trauma.

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Although Scottish Terriers are known to live up to 15 years, nowadays, having one that lives up to ten years seems like a miracle. According to Scottish Terrier Health, the health of Scottish Terriers has been compromised; thus, their lifespan has been declining. Irresponsible breeders do not care about genetic fitness resulting in some Scottish Terriers carrying as much as 20 times more the genetic load leading to bladder cancer than other breeds. Prospective dog owners who do not want the hassle of grooming this double-coated breed avoid the breed at all costs thereby decreasing the popularity of Scottish Terriers.


Labrador Retriever

The Guinness World Records validated the birth certificate of the oldest Labrador Retriever, Adjutant, who died at 27 years old. However, that is not to mean that all Labrador Retrievers live to be this old; the average life expectancy is 10-12 years, but this depends on several factors such as genetics and general care. Studies have shown that even coat color affects life expectancy. A chocolate Labrador Retriever is likely to have a 10% shorter lifespan than a yellow or black-coat counterpart.

A Labrador Retriever is considered to have reached its senior years once it turns seven years old. Unfortunately, the older the dog, the higher the risk of developing health complications. Reportedly, 80% of Labrador Retrievers over eight years old are at risk of developing arthritis. The common health issues that lead to death in Labrador Retrievers include heart diseases, tumors, and kidney failure. You might notice lumps in your Labrador Retriever, but not all are cancerous.

Border Collie

Border Collie

If you want your dog to live long you will have to be careful with its diet and exercise regime. According to AZ Animals, the oldest known Border Collie was Bramble and she lived to be 25 years thanks to a strict vegetarian diet and work out program. Generally, Border Collies are lucky to make it past 15 years. You can however try to get your dog a spot in the Guinness World Records by ensuring that you feed your canine a healthy diet, incorporate physical exercise and have a rigorous grooming schedule.

Did You Know the Church of England Owes Its Origin to a Cocker Spaniel?

One of the most admirable attributes of the Cocker Spaniel is loyalty and because of it, the Church of England was born. As Pressreader published, King Henry VIII was not satisfied with his wife’s inability to sire a male heir. The king, therefore, wanted the marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled, hoping to marry a much younger woman, Anne Boleyn. Since King Henry and Catherine wed in a Catholic church it was only appropriate that the Pope annulled the marriage.

Consequently, the King sent Lord Wiltshire, Boleyn’s father, and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to Pope Clement VI to have them speak on his behalf regarding his case. Lord Wiltshire would not leave his Cocker Spaniel behind and when they arrived, the Pope extended his foot for the Archbishop and Wiltshire to kiss it. However, the ever-loyal Cocker Spaniel misconstrued the extended foot as danger and therefore bit off the Pope’s toes.

Of course, the Pope, in his anguish, did not let King Henry have his way. For this reason, King Henry took matters into his own hands by breaking away from the Catholic church to create the Church of England, which he headed. As the head of the new church, King Henry had the authority to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Where Did Cocker Spaniels Originate?

It is believed that the Cocker Spaniels originated from Spain or France. They, however, made their way to England in 54-55 BC during Caesar’s invasion, and Englishmen prized the canines for their hunting prowess on land and in water. Although they had been originally bred to hunt on land, the Spaniels continued to be bred to assist huntsmen to retrieve water fowls shot down with arrows. Allegedly a litter of puppies would comprise two different types of Spaniels: smaller ones that hunted birds, and larger ones that sprung birds from their hiding places, due to this distinction, Spaniels were classified as either small or large Spaniels.

However, the differentiation became more distinctive in the 1890s when the two breeds were divided into Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels, and each was bred independently. Eventually, the Cocker Spaniel resulted in other classifications, such as English Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniel. The English Cocker Spaniel is usually taller and heavier than its American Counterpart.

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