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  • Post category:Behavior / Dogs
  • Post last modified:August 21, 2023
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Are cocker spaniels hunting dogs? (Are they aggressive?)

We all love a cocker spaniel, don’t we? Never mind the mischiefs that come more than once in a while, it’s all forgotten when an owner gets lost in this breed’s naughty, dreamy eyes, and we can’t but get used to their loving ways and personality.

But here’s the question: some of us may want answers too. Are cocker spaniels hunting dogs? Can their smartness contribute to this trait that we are looking for?

Well, if this is a question on your mind regarding adopting this dog, read on, and we’ll tell you whether you can find a hunting dog in a cocker spaniel.

Are Cocker Spaniels Hunting Dogs?

Are cocker spaniels hunting dogs? A brown spaniel sitting on the ground surrounded by lush green grass looking at his owner.

Yes, Cocker Spaniels are indeed hunting dogs. Despite their small size, they are highly efficient in the field. In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) classifies them as a sporting breed, which is a category that includes many types of hunting dogs.

In addition to their hunting abilities, Cocker Spaniels make great family pets due to their affectionate and loyal nature. They are also intelligent and trainable, making them a great choice for novice hunters.

For a first time owner, the small size of a cocker spaniel may lead him to doubt his efficiency as a hunting dog, but this is where the cocker spaniel will surprise his owner in a number of ways, for there are many things that a cocker spaniel can do.

What Kind Of Hunting Dog Is A Cocker Spaniel?

Coming in a range of colors, these dogs are versatile and appealing, with compact bodies that make them highly agile and a friendly nature that makes them pleasant to play with.

However, their active nature can be a challenge for first-time dog owners as their energy levels are high, leaving them to go on even when their owners are drained. 

That said, there are two kinds of cocker spaniels: English and American. The former comes with a higher prey drive than that of the American cocker spaniel, which is more friendly and eager to please. 

What Do Cocker Spaniels Hunt?

Are cocker spaniels hunting dogs? A brown spaniel running through a green landscape.

Cocker spaniels normally hunt down birds. Especially a kind of bird known as the woodcock, which is very often hunted down for the fact that they are lovely to feast on, chunky and pigeon sized, and juicy on one’s plate.

These are birds that are often found in the woods, which is the reason they are hard to hunt down. However, the cocker spaniel is here to help, and in fact, it is with this in mind that the cocker spaniel got its name.

But that’s not all. The high intelligence of cocker spaniels makes them easy to train, which means they can be used to hunt just about anything at the end of the day.

Are Cocker Spaniels Aggressive?

One can’t really refer to this dog as being aggressive, as cocker spaniels are sweet-natured dogs, though a bit naughty and mischievous.

On the downside, they can have a strong will, which can come out as disobedience as a result of their superior intelligence, but here’s something dog owners can do.

Taking the dog to an obedience school is a good way to lovingly and patiently give him the kind of training that he needs, so in the end, what remains is a sweet and energetic dog that is always eager to please.

So, while this breed may find a place in the list of the world’s most aggressive dogs, there’s not much to worry about here, as they are truly loving and good. 

Must Read: Are St Bernards Aggressive?

What Were Cocker Spaniels Bred For?

It's a cute white spaniel puppy staring directly at the camera.

Cocker spaniels are mainly a sporting breed and have been quite popular after World War II as a result of this, with a number of them having gotten themselves with the American Kennel Club. In other words, they were originally bred as hunting dogs.

They were later introduced to the United States to hunt down certain birds that were popular. Today, these dogs are very popular in shows, all thanks to their high intelligence and trainability, which makes them easy to adapt to entertainment. This is more so in the case of the American cocker spaniel. 

Let’s not forget the fact that the cocker spaniel, with its dreamy eyes and coat of fur, is a beautiful dog, which only makes it more valuable on a stage.

Do Cocker Spaniels Have A High Prey Drive?

Cocker spaniels have a high prey drive, another reason why they can be considered excellent hunting dogs. Their high energy levels make them very easy to train, where all they need is a bit of positive reinforcement.

This is an area in which the cocker spaniel will not disappoint his owner but surprise him with more than what he expects at the end of the day. This, as seen above, is more so in the case of the English Cocker spaniel. 

Are Cocker Spaniels Water Dogs?

Yes, cocker spaniels are water dogs. In fact, they are excellent swimmers though their small stature may make a first-time dog owner think otherwise. Their webbed toes, water-resistant coats, and strong endurance levels make them surprisingly very easy to train in the water

And they enjoy it too, from puddles and showers to the waves; a cocker spaniel loves it all. 

Recommended Reading: Are long haired dachshunds hypoallergenic?

Which Spaniel Is Best For Hunting?

An English Springer Spaniel in black and white sitting with its mouth open.

The English Springer Spaniel. This is the best that one can get if he is looking for a cocker spaniel that he can take along, especially for hunting. 

These dogs come with incredible noses and energy levels that can surprise any dog owner, diving into the thickest covers and working tirelessly to please them all day. 

They can zip from one end of the place to another at surprising speeds, making them equal to a horse in their power. 

Final thoughts on (Are Cocker Spaniels Hunting Dogs?)

Are cocker spaniels hunting dogs? Yes, so if you are looking for an adorable, loving yet, active, and energetic dog who shares your love for hunting, a cocker spaniel is a good option for you. 

However, this is if you are willing to put up with the occasional mischief that you will come across, after which they will melt your heart to escape the beating or two. 

Also, be prepared for a little extra care, for all that beautiful fur comes at a cost that makes them a high-maintenance breed. 


Hey there, pet lovers! I'm Pratik, a lifelong animal lover, and pet care expert. My passion for animals began at a young age and has only grown stronger over the years. Through my blog, I hope to share my knowledge and expertise with other pet owners and provide them with valuable information on pets.