Are Cocker Spaniels Good Family Dogs? A Guide for Parents.

A cocker spaniel in the woods looking up at his owner with adoration

I don’t know how many different ways I can explain this to you. I love my family more than life, but I don’t love other families that much. People. Am I right? Enough about me. Let’s get into the meat of your question. Are cocker spaniels good family dogs?

A cocker spaniel’s typically gentle demeanor makes them wonderful additions to any family. Cocker Spaniels have a predisposed tendency to be mild mannered, loyal, and intelligent dogs.

I’m a cocker spaniel.

Sure, it makes me an expert on this particular topic, but don’t inundate my email with complaints if you happen to adopt a crazy cocker.

These are enigmas, but they do exist.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

Cocker Spaniel Size

When looking to add a dog to your family, the size of the dog plays a dominant role in the decision making process.

If you get a tiny dog, you may lose them in the couch cushions.

If you get a dog the size of a horse, they may accidentally sit on a child and you won’t be able to find them.

You see?

The size of the dog you add to your family is a big deal.

Best we fully cover what you can expect when it comes to the weight and height of a cocker spaniel.

I may be biased, but I personally think Cocker Spaniels are the perfect size for any family.

Not too big and not too small.

We’re just right.

Our size is another feature in the “why cocker spaniels make great family dogs” column.

Here’s exactly what you can expect:

Female (adult)15 inches tall27-32 pounds
Male (adult)16 inches tall30-34 pounds

How Long Can You Expect a Cocker Spaniel to Live?

Life expectancy is vital to the information needed when contemplating adding a cocker spaniel to your family.

You don’t want your kids to get overly attached to a dog and then have their hearts broken because the pup was predisposed to have a short life.

While I think we can all collectively agree that NO dog lives long enough, you can rest a little easier knowing that a cocker spaniel’s life expectancy is on the longer side coming in at 15 years.

I personally plan on living much longer than that, but even the oldest dogs never make it much past 20.

Fun Fact: The oldest dog EVER was Bluey. He was an Australian Cattle Dog and lived from 1910-1939. Bluey was 29 when he died.

Ensuring that you feed your dog a diet rich in whole food ingredients and exercise them on a daily basis will increase the outlook of life expectancy for your cocker spaniel. Any dog breed, for that matter.

Want in on a little industry secret?

The secret to a long cocker spaniel life is letting us sniff on all of our walks.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s crazy, Jax. I don’t have time for this every day.

And I hear you.

But now I need you to hear me.

This is imperative to our psyche and overall health.

Don’t believe me?

Deep dive into the topic more with me here: Should I let my dog sniff on walks?

Sniffing for a cocker spaniel is like eyesight for humans. It’s critical to how we experience life.

We were bred for hunting. Our sniffers are a part of us and we need you to harness that and not stifle our simple pleasure in life.

Cocker Spaniels and Kids

Let’s just call a spade a spade here and cut to the chase. You want to know if your little ankle biters are going to get bit by the big bad wolf puppy. Right?

Well, that depends.

What did your kid do to deserve the nibble?


I know your kids are perfect and there’s never any rationalized plausible deniability when it comes to justifying that type of vicious behavior.

Know your audience, Jax. Stay focused.

Cocker spaniels and kids. Right. Okay.

Typical cocker spaniels are givers and human please-ers. They have a tendency to imprint (shameless Twilight plug because I’m a hopeless romantic at heart) on one person and can suffer from severe separation anxiety as a direct result.

Cocker spaniels have a friendly and cheerful disposition making them truly wonderful kid companions. Rest assured that this breed won’t ever leave your child’s side.

You’ve heard the saying, ‘following me around like a lost puppy’? Yeah, well, cocker spaniels are the reason that cliché was cliched.

Cocker Spaniels have a tendency to follow you around wherever you go.

I’ll let you in on another cocker secret. We hate being alone. Loathe it entirely, actually. Some dog breeds need their alone time which can cause them to get agitated with constant play if relentlessly pursued by the kiddos.

Not cocker spaniels!

Want to snuggle and watch TV? I’m here for it.

Want to throw this tennis ball so I can go get it for you 264 times? I’m totally down for that.

Want to go for a long walk in the park? Where’s my leash? I’ll help.

Want to wrestle in the floor? Okay, but get ready for the kissy licky monster.

We welcome the company – we need the company – we love you.

How to Guarantee Your Child and Cocker Spaniel Will be BEST Friends

Here’s a pro tip for all you parents out there.

The one way to ensure that your child and pets are ridiculously compatible is to wait until your child is old enough to understand proper puppy etiquette.

I dove a bit deeper on this specific topic in my first time dog parents guide. I’ll link that article here for you.

Anyway, what I mean by puppy etiquette is that there are times when a necessary level of maturity is needed to properly form an inseparable bond between dog and human child. If you do this, and truly wait to introduce the dynamic, you’ll give your child a friend for life. You’ll give your dog a friend for life, too.

Queue Toy Story music.

I’ve seen too many stories of a young child getting snapped at by a dog because the child was far too aggressive with the dog.

This is especially the case with older dogs and breeds that aren’t completely submissive in nature.

I’m not excusing these attacks by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just attempting to highlight the inherent need for your child to be old enough to understand boundaries and mutual respect before introducing a dog (of any kind) into your family.

Train Your Dog and Your Kid

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 8 times.

Dogs need repetition.

It’s literally the only way we learn anything.

Don’t believe me?

I wrote a whole thing on this very thing. You can click ON THIS link to hop on over and read it for yourself.

Here’s the deal, if you tell us once, it’s guaranteed to be ignored. You tell us twice, we still don’t care. But if you tell us three times and this time you come bearing treats, then I’m hearing you loud and clear, lady.

And let the kid participate in our training process. It seems to help the synergy all around. This also helps us to see your child as an authoritative figure and someone who we should respect.

Teach your kid not to abuse this new found power. It should be amicable and harmonious – like butterflies and sunshine.

Kids and cockers.

Okay. Admittingly the tagline needs some work.

Let’s move on for now.

The Official ‘Are Cocker Spaniels Good Family Dogs’ Meter

All in all I’d say we’re pretty dang near close to perfection.

Okay the kid friendliness meter isn’t bursting past 100%, so what. This is an average and I think we can all agree that some kids are trifling. How would you like your tail crunched, ears yanked, and nose plunked on a daily basis?

We deal with it as best we can, but sometimes that causes us to dip into the 60 percenters.

I’ll touch on this a little more in the next session.

Ensuring that your cocker spaniel is well socialized can play a major role in the adaptability and progressive relationship they have with your child.

We like people of all ages, shapes, and sizes – you just have to allow us the time to get use to them.

Topics for Discussion When Adding a Cocker Spaniel to Your Family

Oh, you’re looking for discussion topics?

Here you go: Just get one! I speak from experience when I say that you will absolutely not regret this decision to bring a cocker spaniel into your growing family.

Nothing else will be validated through family dog adoption debates here. Stop wasting your time and you too can have your very own Jax the Magical Cocker Spaniel.

I can’t guarantee that your cocker will write a blog as comprehensive, witty, and intellectually inept as mine, but they can certainly dream.

Kidding. You’re asking for topics to discuss with your family when contemplating cocker spaniel adoption.

I’ll oblige.

See below.

Topics to Discuss Before Getting a Cocker Spaniel
What are a cocker spaniel’s typical health needs and behaviors like?
Will you have time to train your cocker spaniel to behave in your home?
Will everyone in your family follow the training rules? Stay consistent.
What size crate will you need for your cocker spaniel before beginning training?
Do you know how you will begin house training your cocker spaniel?
Who will actually do the training? You? Entire family? Hired help?
Will you have the time your cocker spaniel requires of you to spend with them on a daily basis?
What is a cocker spaniels typical energy levels like?
Do you want a puppy or an older cocker spaniel?
Will you be able to afford everything your cocker spaniel will need for his entire life?

As a matter of fact, you may want to start with my dog parenting guide. I’ve linked in directly below my sign off. Let me know if you have any other questions.

For Those of You Who Scroll to the Bottom for the Answer

I like your style. Shut up and give me the quick answer, dog.

Reading you loud and clear.

ANSWER: Get a cocker spaniel. They’re magnificent creatures who can exponentially increase the value of your family’s longevity and comprehensive happiness.

Cocker spaniels make excellent family dogs.

You kid will love us, we’ll love your kid, you’ll love us more for loving your kid, and we’ll love you more for loving us more for loving your kid.

Do you see? Win, win, win all around.

We’re like Oprah up in here tossing wins around.

You get a win, you get a win, YOU get a win.

In the meantime, my fine hairless human friends, remember to always Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

Are Cocker Spaniels Easy to Train?

Cocker spaniels are intelligent and easy to train.

They’re eager to please nature makes them the poster children for specific and ongoing training of any kind.

Side note: Cocker spaniels also make excellent running partners because of this very reason.

Are Cocker Spaniels Aggressive Dogs?

While cocker spaniels make excellent family dogs, for many different reasons based on common characteristics, they are also consistently ranked among some of the most aggressive dog breeds.

It is important to note that this will be based completely on the individual cocker spaniel’s personality and many environmental factors.

Aggressive behavior can be taken care of and completely removed with obedience training on a consistent basis.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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