What Is the Difference Between Cocker Spaniel and Springer Spaniel?

The Cocker Spaniel and Springer Spaniel are intelligent, fun, and lovely family pets. They are recognizable by their long hairy ears, coats, and big adorable eyes, making it hard for people to tell the family of Spaniels apart. Is there any way to know the difference between the two Spaniels?

Cocker and Springer Spaniels are similar breeds, but they vary in appearance, personality, lifespan, and training disposition. Cocker Spaniels have colorful coats, curly hair, and a slightly longer lifespan. Springer Spaniels are larger, more energetic, and easier to train.

In this article, we will be exploring a few topics related to this question, including some things you didn’t know about Cocker and Springer Spaniel breeds. I’ll also highlight the main differences between the two Spaniels, showcasing how each species is unique from the other. Read on to find out more about these two hunting Spaniels.

Differences Between Cocker and Springer Spaniels

If you pay closer attention to both of these breeds, you may find that they are different from each other based on their:

  • Physical appearance
  • Size
  • Personality
  • Lifespan
  • Training

Physical Appearance

From their coats and curly hair to floppy ears, Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels look similar. Sometimes you may think the Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels look identical. However, upon closer inspection, you will realize their appearances are pretty subtle and different.

Most Spaniel lovers can attest that Cockers have colorful fur, but did you know they have a bright and fluffier coat when compared to Springers?

Cockers have a double coat made of solid colors such as black, red, brown, black, and cream. Some, of course, do have a few patches of white areas in their coats.

In contrast, the Springer Spaniel may also have a double coat but does not have complete solid-colored furs as Cockers do. Their coats have varied shades of brown, a mixture of black-blue, and liver with white markings.

It is also important to note that Springer Spaniels have medium-length and wavy fur coats while Cocker Spaniels have very curly coats.

Additionally, Cocker Spaniels have a lower and droopier set of ears with thicker and longer tails, while the Springer Spaniels have a higher set of ears and slightly straighter and shorter tails.


Did you know that Cocker and Springer Spaniels vary in height and weight?

Cocker Spaniels have an estimated weight of 25-35 pounds (11- 16 kg) and a height of 15-17 inches (38-43 cm). This makes them smaller and shorter than a Springer Spaniel, with a typical weight of 40-50 pounds (18-23 kg) and a height of 19 – 20 inches (48.26 – 50.8 cm).


Both Spaniels are very loyal, affectionate, good-mannered, and sweet.

However, Cocker Spaniels are more delicate and have softer dispositions than Springer Spaniels. These Cockers quickly get nervous and anxious, and when afraid, they can easily snap or growl at people, especially strangers.

Cocker Spaniels can exhibit a more stubborn behavior due to separation anxiety if neglected for a long time. This can lead to barking and chewing things.

Despite their stubbornness, Cocker Spaniels are incredibly loving and friendly. This lets them form deep bonds with their owners. In contrast, the Springer Spaniels may have trouble calming down and focusing on specific things at home due to their high energy and desire to explore their surroundings.


With an estimated average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, the Cocker Spaniel lives slightly longer than the Springer Spaniel, which has an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. However, the eventual lifespan of a particular dog depends on its health and well-being.


Overall, both Cockers and Springers are brilliant dogs who quickly pick up new tricks while training and are eager to please. They are highly trainable but can get easily distracted.

If you’re looking for a difference between the two, Cocker Spaniels are probably harder to train. They are very sensitive and can be easily angered and stubborn with strangers. They are, however, more obedient, which makes them respond well to constructive behavior reinforcement.

In contrast to Cockers, who may like to joke around when getting trained, Springer Spaniels are more competent and easier to train.

Springer Spaniels are always happy and social when they have an activity to do. For this reason, they thrive in their daily routine and training sessions. If you want to learn more about how to calm down your energetic Springer, you can read my article on What To Do When A Springer Spaniel Won’t Settle Down?

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend picking up this online based training program that will walk you through the steps to train your dog. At just $47, you get a structured and detailed training program from a professional trainer for just a fraction of the cost of a local trainer. This is a perfect program for your Spaniel since they are easy to train on your own with the right guidance.

Things You Didn’t Know About Cocker and Springer Spaniels

As a dog lover, you should know that the Cocker and Springer Spaniels evolved from the same ancestors. In other words, they share much of their genes. Their similar roots as they both are due to the fact that both originated from Spain.

These Spaniels used to be separated by size, and their owners chose their names based on their hunting styles.

The first Spaniel owners differentiated the smaller dogs as Cocker Spaniels because they used to hunt woodcock in dense cover. At the same time, the larger ones were referred to as Springer Spaniels because they used to “spring” or “flush” out the game for the hunters to catch them.

But that’s not where the classification ends. There are two different types of Cockers and Springer Spaniels.

Cocker Spaniels are categorized into the American Cocker and English Cocker Spaniels. They were both bred as gun dogs for their sense of smell and hunting techniques. The difference is that the American Cocker is smaller with a shorter back and muzzle, slanted hind legs, and domed head. In contrast, the English cocker is taller with straight hind legs and a narrower chest and head.

On the other hand, Springer Spaniels were distinguished into bench and field Springer Spaniels. The differences between the bench and the field type are their coat and tails, as well as their usefulness. Bench Springers were known for their longer and thicker coats and were designated as show dogs. Meanwhile, the Field Springers were used for their hunting skills and can be distinguished by their docked tails and lighter coats.

Both Spaniel breeds come with a lot of energy and desire for mental stimulation. Below are two products I recommend if you are looking to tire your Spaniel out physically or mentally. You can play fetch using this ChuckIt! Ball Launcher (available on Amazon.com). This will get your pup running fast and far, which can help control their energy levels.

Some mental games like hide and seek, obstacle courses, and rollover can help tire out Spaniels mentally and physically. There are even interactive toys for dogs. A popular one on Amazon.com can be found here.


As either a Cocker or Springer Spaniel owner, you should understand that both dogs have distinctive characteristics, including:

  • Appearance and size
  • Behavior
  • Longevity
  • Ease of training

Despite their varied differences, when choosing which Spaniel to buy or adopt, you can be assured that they will be great dogs. You’re bound to find a special Spaniel for you and your household.

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