The difference between a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel?

Updated 14/01/2023

The difference between a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel?

With both dog breeds have a long history in hunting, even side by side, the Springer and Cocker Spaniels have grown to become two very similar breeds. So, is the Springer Spaniel now basically a tougher version of the Cocker Spaniel? Is the Cocker Spaniel just a small Springer Spaniel?

What’s the difference between the Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel? In this article, we’ll be exploring the history of the two breeds and detailing the difference between both Spaniels, and showcasing how either breed is unique, too. So, if you can’t wait to find out more about these two popular, pampered hunting dogs, read on! 

So, what’s the difference between the Springer and Cocker Spaniel?

At first glance, the Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel almost appear to be the same dog, don’t they? Besides the fact that the Cocker Spaniel is the smaller of the two dogs, it isn’t easy to spot any other differences.

But hopefully, armed with reading the information in this article, the Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel may now appear like two completely different breeds to you!

5 Differences between the Springer and Cocker Spaniel

Springer SpanielCocker Spaniel
HIGHT45-56 cm tall35 -38 cm tall
COATShorter coat Longer coat
EARSHigher set ears Lower set ears
WEIGHT 20-25 kg10-13 kg
TAILslightly shorter taillonger

What type of dog is the Springer Spaniel?

What is the Springer Spaniel

The Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized pooch with unique, characteristic floppy ears and soft wavy fur. They are gentle dogs with a bushy, straight tail that you will see wagging as a Springer follows its nose around town.

With male Springer Spaniels 58cm tall on average, this Spaniel’s body is longer than it is tall. Their body is never too long, though, giving the dog the stamina they need to hunt.

Springer Spaniels also have a long muzzle. This efficient snout helps them to better track scents and to breathe efficiently when they run. 

Springer Spaniels have highly set ears, too. These ears help them to listen well and to pinpoint the direction of any sounds they hear.

What is the Cocker Spaniel?

What is the Cocker Spaniel

With males standing at just 38cm on average, the Cocker Spaniel is essentially a smaller version of the Springer Spaniel. With those same one-of-a-kind floppy ears and that silky, fluffy fur, as well as a similar friendly disposition, it’s pretty tricky to tell the Cocker Spaniel apart from the Springer Spaniel!

But there are some critical differences between the two breeds. For one, the Cocker Spaniel is notably smaller than the Springer Spaniel. Another big difference is that the Cocker Spaniel’s coat is typically on the fluffier side. 

And then there’s the Cocker’s tail. Unlike the Springer Spaniel’s straight tail, a Cocker Spaniel’s tail is thicker before tapering at the end. If you look closely, you’ll notice how a Cocker Spaniel’s tail is longer than a Springer’s. It usually doesn’t reach below the dog’s hock joint (when it ever stops wagging!).

What is the history of the Spaniel breed?

As the Spaniel name suggests, the Springer and Cocker Spaniels are thought to have come from Spain! As far back as Roman times, Spaniels were companions to Roman traders. Aboard Roman ships, Spaniels would keep the traders entertained. There are even Spaniel-Esque dogs seen in artworks from the 16th and 17th centuries! 

But what about the other half of the name? Well, as we touched upon previously, both the Springer Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel were first bred for hunting. In the past, the Springer Spaniel would “spring” large game and even small animals out from their hiding places and into the hunters’ waiting nets. 

Meanwhile, the smaller Cocker Spaniel would hunt smaller birds called woodcocks. The Cocker Spaniel can get into smaller spaces, right down into the undergrowth of wooded areas.

Are the Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel the same breed?

Yes, the Springer and Cocker Spaniels were considered the same dog breed at one time in history. In England, dogs from the same Spaniel litter were categorized as ‘Cocker’ or ‘Springer’ depending on their adult size and their excelled role during the hunt. This categorization continued from the 19th to the early 20th century.

However, today, these two categories have morphed into two distinct lines of dogs with two very different sets of traits. The two breeds branched off until, at last, in 1892, the Cocker Spaniel was recognized in England as a distinct breed.

What kind of coat does the Springer Spaniel have?

The Springer Spaniel has an insulating coat called a double coat. This coat has an underlayer called the undercoat, which keeps your Springer Spaniel at a comfortable temperature all year round. 

The undercoat works with your Springer Spaniel’s colorful, wavy topcoat to form an impregnable barrier against soil, burrs, ticks, dirt, and wind and rain. A Springer Spaniel’s coat may be a unique red-brown color called liver, or black, with some white markings. Other Springer Spaniels have mainly white markings.

Some Springer Spaniels are liver-roan. These dogs have a fine mixture of colored and white hair. Some Springer Spaniels are a diluted-black blue color!

What about the Cocker Spaniel’s coat?

We all know the Cocker Spaniel is a dog with a colorful personality. But did you know that the Cocker Spaniel has a more colorful coat than the Springer Spaniel?

It’s true! Though they have the same double coat system, a Cocker Spaniel’s coat can be red, brown, light cream, and even jet black, though, of course, they’ll always have at least a couple of white areas. 

How is a Springer Spaniel’s personality?

The Springer Spaniel is a playful and affectionate dog. This dog needs loads of exercise but will still be happy to snuggle up on the couch with you at the end of the day. The Springer Spaniel is loyal and obedient and loves nothing better than to learn new tricks with their favorite people!

How does the Cocker Spaniel act?

Much like their larger counterpart, the Cocker Spaniel is friendly and playful. They are affectionate, too, and love ear scratches as much as the Springer!

However, the Cocker Spaniel is a little more sensitive than the Springer. A Cocker Spaniel who is afraid or startled may quickly growl or even snap! This tendency you should bear in mind if you plan on having your Cocker Spaniel spend any significant length of time among young children.

What is the calmest dog out of the Springer spaniel or cocker spaniel?

It is difficult to say which of the Springer spaniel or cocker spaniel is the calmest as it can vary greatly from individual to individual. Both breeds are known to be friendly and energetic, but with proper training and socialization, they can also be calm and well-behaved.

It is important to consider the specific needs and personality of the individual dog when determining which breed would be the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

What is easier to train springer spaniel or the cocker spaniel?

Both the Springer spaniel and the cocker spaniel are considered to be intelligent breeds that can be easy to train with the right approach.

With proper training and socialization, both breeds can be well-behaved and obedient. However, it is important to note that each individual dog can have its own unique personality and learning style, so it may vary from dog to dog.

It’s best to research both breeds and speak with breeders or owners of the breed before making a decision. Additionally, it is important to remember that regardless of breed, all dogs require consistent training and positive reinforcement.

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