Cocker Spaniel lifespan ranges between 10 and 14 years.
English Cocker Spaniels live longer than American Cocker Spaniels, on average.
And they are more likely to reach the top end of that range.
But both types of Cocker Spaniel have been known to reach their late teens and even their early twenties!
How Long Is the Cocker Spaniel Lifespan?
If you’re a Cocker Spaniel owner or are planning to be one, this question is probably on your mind.
There are plenty of factors that can impact the Cocker Spaniel lifespan.
In this article, we’ll find out how long you can expect a Cocker Spaniel to live.
We’ll also discuss ways you can help to ensure that your dog has the longest, healthiest life possible.
But first, let’s discover the differences between the two Cocker Spaniel types.
English vs American Cocker Spaniel
Although their similarities outweigh the differences, there are some notable disparities between the English and American Cocker Spaniel in both appearance and temperament.
The English Cocker Spaniel was originally a hunter of feathered game.
In the early 20th century, American dog fanciers developed the companion-bred American Cocker Spaniel.
Both of these cheerful pups have big soulful eyes and long, lush ears.
Plus, they are prized for their friendly and frolicsome personalities.
However, due to their origins, the English Cocker Spaniel can be more energetic with a higher prey drive.
The American Cocker Spaniel is more relaxed.
They have a tendency to bond strongly with their owners.
Therefore, they can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone too much.
In terms of appearance, the English Cocker Spaniel is larger, standing 15–17 inches and weighing 26–34 pounds.
The smaller American Cocker Spaniel measures 13.5–15.5 inches and weighs from 20–30 pounds.
They also have a more abundant coat that requires extra grooming.
English Cocker Spaniels have a longer head, while that of their American cousin is more dome-shaped.
But when it comes to Cocker Spaniel lifespan, is there any difference between the English and American Cocker Spaniel?
How Long Do Cocker Spaniels Live?
The American Cocker Spaniel life expectancy is 10 to 14 years.
A UK survey returned by 33 American Cocker Spaniel owners, covering 60 pets, reported a median lifespan of 10.3 years.
The oldest dog survived for 17.3 years!
The English Cocker Spaniel lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
The same survey included the lifespan of 289 English Cockers Spaniels.
(It was a UK survey, after all!)
They had a median lifetime of 11.2 years.
The oldest dog also reached 17.3 years.
It’s possible for a Cocker Spaniel to live longer than 14 years with
- good breeding
- a nutritious diet
- sufficient exercise
- maybe a little luck.
Longest Living Cocker Spaniel
Although there are no official records, a Cocker Spaniel by the name of Uno from Sherman Oaks, California, was believed to have been 22 years old when he was profiled in a Los Angeles Daily News article in 2010.
That’s well over a century in human years.
Cocker Spaniel Health Risks
Be proactive with regular vet checkups and keep an eye out for of any signs of health problems.
That alone can go a long way to extending your pet’s life.
Unfortunately, like all dogs, Cocker Spaniels are subject to certain inherited conditions.
They can impact not only the quality, but the length, of their life.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is characterized by an enlarged heart that doesn’t function properly.
Signs of this serious heart disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid or difficulty breathing, coughing, weakness, and fainting.
Cocker Spaniels are at risk for a slew of eye diseases.
While it won’t necessarily shorten the Cocker Spaniel lifespan, many of these conditions can lead to blindness.
This could put them at a higher risk of being in perilous situations.
Canine distichiasis is described as having an additional row of eyelashes on the eyelid margin.
It causes chronic eye irritation, excessive tearing, and if left untreated can cause corneal ulcers.
Ectropion is an abnormality of the eyelids in which the lower eyelid droops and also affects the breed.
It puts them at an increased risk of developing corneal complications that could affect their eyesight.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in both dogs and people, and Cocker Spaniels are highly predisposed.
One of the breed’s most defining features are their long, droopy ears.
Unfortunately, since their ears cover the ear canal, air is unable to get in.
This is compounded by having a lot of hair growing on the inside of the ear.
It creates a warm, damp environment for bacteria to grow.
Cocker Spaniels are also prone to allergies, and excess scratching can also lead to ear infections.
Practicing good hygiene that includes regularly cleaning their ears can reduce the risk of ear infections.
Your veterinarian can show you the procedures to clean and dry their ears.
You should do it regularly and particularly after a bath or a swim.
Otitis extrema is a common chronic inflammation of the external ear canal.
- increased discharge
- scaly skin.
Chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, are prevalent in Cocker Spaniels.
Liver diseases can often be treated.
But if not diagnosed early, they can lead to a serious brain condition known as hepatic encephalopathy.
Symptoms of liver disease include
- loss of appetite
- increased thirst
- increased need to pee
- yellow eyes or gums
Epilepsy is another inherited condition in Cocker Spaniels.
Seizures will usually begin between the ages of six months and three years.
They can often be suppressed with medication.
Although no one is quite sure why some breeds get urinary stones more than others, the Cocker Spaniel is at risk for these rock-like formations of minerals that form in the urinary system.
- painful and frequent urination
- blood in the urine
- loss of appetite.
Bone and Joint Problems
Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap slips out of place.
More severe cases can lead be very painful and may require surgery.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease in which the hip joint doesn’t form properly.
- lameness in the hind legs
- difficulty climbing stairs
- decreased range of motion
- looseness in the joint.
Severe forms of hip dysplasia can lead to arthritis.
Hypothyroidism is generally caused by the thyroid gland not producing enough of the thyroid hormone.
It typically occurs in middle-aged dogs, and neutered males and spayed females are also at a greater risk.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to corneal ulcers and anemia.
Hair loss, dry or red skin, weight gain, and behavioral changes are among the signs to watch for.
Ways to Improve Your Cocker Spaniel’s Lifespan
Diet and Exercise
Obesity is a growing problem for our pets, and Cocker Spaniels are at an elevated risk for packing on extra pounds.
A survey of canine obesity that was carried out in Beijing, China, between 2008 and 2011 found 69.4% of Cocker Spaniels to be obese.
Being overweight can have detrimental effects on their health and longevity.
Fat dogs are at a higher risk for a number of health conditions, including
- urinary disorders
- heart problems
- cardiorespiratory disease
- orthopedic diseases.
Modifying caloric intake will make the greatest difference in reducing your Cocker Spaniel’s weight.
But increasing exercise can also effectively help with weight management.
Cocker Spaniels want to please people and enjoy activities like retrieving a ball or going for walks with their family.
Preventative Health Care
A regular preventive health care regimen can go a long way to ensure your dog stays healthy.
Many canine diseases can be prevented or treated effectively if identified in the early stages.
Take your Cocker Spaniel to the veterinarian for regular physical exams.
It’s key in assessing their health and finding any issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Oral health is also important in maintaining overall health.
Dental problems can lead to infection and increase the chance of heart disease.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to having serious problems with their teeth.
So brush their teeth three times a week.
Choosing a Reputable Breeder
The first step to ensuring your dog has a long, healthy life is finding a reputable breeder.
See the conditions they’ve been living in and meet the parents.
It will give you a good indication of how well the puppies have been cared for.
You also want to choose a breeder who screens their stock for inherited genetic disorders.
They should show you proof that the puppy you want is free from any health issues.
Cocker Spaniel Lifespan
Do you have a long-lived Cocker Spaniel who’s older than 14 years of age?
Tell us about your pet in the comments below.
References and Resources
Chen, P, “22-Year-Old Spirited Cocker Spaniel Could Be the World’s Oldest Dog,” People, 2010
Gooding, JP, et al., “Echocardiographic characterization of dilatation cardiomyopathy in the English cocker spaniel,” American Journal of Veterinary Research, 1986
Lehmann, K, et al., “Hereditary eye diseases in the Austrian English Cocker Spaniels – a population genetic study,” Wiener Tierärztliche Monatsschrift, 2000
Petersen, T, et al., “Prevalence and heritability of distichiasis in the English Cocker spaniel,” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 2015
Gelatt, KN, et al., “Prevalence of primary breed‐related cataracts in the dog in North America,” Veterinary Ophthalmology, 2005
Zur, G, et al., “The association between the signalment, common causes of canine otitis externa and pathogens,” Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2011
Moriello, KA, “Ear infections and otitis externa in dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual
Andersson, M, et al., “Breed, sex and age distribution in dogs with chronic liver disease: a demographic study,” Journal of Small Animal Practice, 1991
Kanemoto, H, et al., “American Cocker Spaniel chronic hepatitis in Japan,” J Vet Intern Med., 2013
References and Resources Continued
Tivers, MS, et al., “Hyperammonemia and Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Predicts Presence of Hepatic Encephalopathy in Dogs with Congenital Portosystemic Shunts,” PLOS One, 2014
Kearsley-Fleet, L, et al., “Prevalence and risk factors for canine epilepsy of unknown origin in the UK,” Veterinary Record, 2013
Seaman, R, et al., “Canine Struvite Urolithiasis,” Compendium, 2001
Arthurs, GI, et al., “Complications Associated with Corrective Surgery for Patellar Luxation in 109 Dogs,” Veterinary Surgery, 2006
Hou, Y, et al., “Monitoring Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Achieved Modest Genetic Improvement of 74 Dog Breeds over 40 Years in USA,” PLOS One, 2013
Milne, KL, et al., “Epidemiologic features of canine hypothyroidism,” The Cornell Veterinarian, 1981
Junfu, M, et al., “Prevalence and risk factors for canine obesity surveyed in veterinary practices in Beijing, China,” Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2013
German, AJ, “The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats,” The Journal of Nutrition, 2006
Christian Duff says
Not 100% sure how old Charlie is aka “Mr Pants”.
I have had him for 14 going onto 15 years now. Picked him up from the dog shelter as he was taken off his first owner for mistreatment. Apparently the kids of the family used to beat him. So as you can imagine he is not great with small kids and loud crowds.
The dog shelter told me he was around 18 months old.
He is super affectionate with me and other adults loves to have cuddles and has a beautiful personality..
He went blind around 3 years ago which rocked his confidence when going for walk however he is still a happy and healthy boy…
corinne armstrong says
We had a devastating Sunday morning January 9, 2022, when our American Cocker got up in the morning, ate normally his whitefish and goat milk mix, then dropped gasping for air eventually dying within seconds/minutes. He was 34 pounds and 10 years old and in good condition, other then his constant gas we noticed in the months before. We thought it was his diet, so we changed it to the whitefish and goat milk. He was absolutely allergic to everything but this whitefish and goat milk he loved and his BM’s went back to normal. We were so excited finding what we thought would be the solution. His diet change lasted about 1 month and he was happy. Until now, what happened, we are in shock and grieving horribly from his loss. Did we do something wrong? What happened? He layed down and gasping for air, so we did mouth to nose resuscitation and still nothing, soon he was gone just like that. Help if you have anything that will help us get threw this horrible horrible time.
Dave proudlove says
I’ve just had to take my 22year old working cocker to the vets for the last time , such a hard thing to do but it was his time ,
Such a loving loyal dog who’s been with me through happy times and sad
He’s lived outside his whole life and is now resting in our garden
Miss him so much
My lovely working cocker spaniel is 17yrs & 5 months old. He is blind and deaf but still going strong. Is he the oldest in the UK?
Julie ball says
Our English cocker spaniel is 15 years and 10 months old
One of my Cocker lived 19 years and the one I currently own is 15 years old but another one lived only 3.5 years old she died of cancer.
My cocker spaniel 3 weeks ago best dog in the world haven’t got over him and I never will pass away week after 14 birthday rip pepe
My Harley turned 15 on June 7th he’s deaf and his eye sight is starting to go slightly but nothing keeps him down. He had knee surgery on both of his back legs. He would chase the wild turkeys and any other animal that came in our yard he was sprayed by a skunk quilled by a porcupine nothing stops him. He’s the best
My beloved cocker, Filou (that’s rascal in French), is 14.5 years old now. She’s been through a lot with me (she nearly lost me to cancer a few years ago and wouldn’t leave my side while I was sick). We’ve travelled to France, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland together and she’s welcomed three rescue dogs into our lives over the last few years, with good grace (despite missing being my only dog). She’s a little confused these days (although not about meal times 😂 when she bounces around like Tigger) but can still sprint on walks despite her failing back legs. She stumbles around and bumps into things much more now. She can’t hold for the toilet as well and I now carry her upstairs most days but she’s doing ok for now as long as I anticipate her moves!
How she’s survived this long, I’ll never know. She’s run in front of countless cars chasing after food she memorised the location of several km back on a walk 😬 and has annoyed tens of picnickers by (expertly) stealing sandwiches. I think she’s probably magic. My biggest commitment and my longest serving roommate. My first dog of my own and such a good friend. I don’t know how much longer I have my little dog for but I’m enjoying every moment ❤️
Melissa Cronin says
My Buff American cocker spaniel Sally is 15 yrs and will be 16 in October 2021; she is good apart from congestive heart failure, she’s on medication, she’s deaf and the eyesight is definitely failing but she still likes a walk, loves a cuddle and is the best companion ever! We recently got a border collie pup, she’s tolerating her thankfully and they are sleep together but Sally still likes her own time 🥰
Our beautiful Cocker Spaniel Winnie left us at age 15 years 1 month. She was the sweetest best dog we ever had. She loved everyone. Always followed the grandchildren around. Loved bird hunting for pheasant and partridge. She loved chasing bubbles and eating watermelon off the rind. She was almost blind deaf and had arthritis issues. At the end her breathing was very labored,disoriented,difficulty going up and down stairs and she walked in circles. Bumping into things. She was not drinking her water but did take her arthritis med in a bowl of soft dog food. I held her head on the ride to the vets. Hardest decision we ever had to make. But it was her time. She is now running in green fields with her sister ( our best friends dog) who passed within the same week. She was so loved and she is etched into our lives forever. Thank you Winnie for 15 wonderful years ❤️
Jennifer Lipkind says
I have my 12 year old Cocker spaniel (5 years ago) that we adopted from a shelter having been surrendered from a very neglectful situation. He is my best friend and seriously never leaves my side.
He is slowing down (not that he wasnt a full on couch potato before), sleeping more and his gluteal muscle area ON his back, his muscles look very pronounced as they never did before. Just wondering if this is usual for aging cockers. And yes he has a vet appt, i’m just curious if its common.
Lisa Rush says
Junior is my 3rd English Cocker, Eddie was adopted deaf, not that you’d know it. Then RC (Really Cute). Junior is 15. When he was @ 11 his eyes became dry, so we give eyedrops at least a dozen times a day. It’s routine! His hearing isn’t what it used to be. Eddie & RC passed away w congestive heart failure. Junior has just this week been moving around in disoriented way. My teenagers are experiencing thei first loss of our furry family member. Having been there at their age, 16, with my brother Brandy, our Saint Bernard. Like Brandy was with me.. always there as I grew up… is now our teenagers. I remember clear as day years ago Brandy. Some of You all can remember the times of hesitation to go through another pet, as from the loss being so sad. My Mom never could come to have another from losing the smartest dog I’ll ever know, our Brandy. He could carry on a conversation, I swear, lol. He and the movie Beethoven are the same!
Now, Junior is there. Tonight I put cool gel packs alongside his ribs and he’s had a good nap. We have a Basset Hound, Baron, who is 5. I saw it from Baron a few months back, how he was approaching Junior.
So, our kids and my husband & I will remember first and foremost the wonderful life Junior has had, our joy, and his joy.
Blessings to All.
Scott H. says
About 8 years ago, I adopted 2 of the most wonderful dogs ever… Alidzja and Anna. I had never owned cockers before but am familiar with the breed. I instantly fell in love with them at first sight and they me. Both were rescues and had been raised together.
Anna was already about 7 to 10 years old and a bit overweight. She was a very sweet girl who loved everyone, including our cats. We tried maintaining her weight and she never lost nor gained a single ounce. And she would eat way more than her share if we had let her. She somehow got out and was gone a couple of days, during her 48 hour excursion, she lost a part of a toe, nail and actual footpad and it became infected. She got sick and I took her to the vet and had to put her to sleep because the infection had spread pretty quickly. Plus there were other underlying issues, arthritis, and other issues. They couldn’t help her and Anna passed on June 23rd 2018. It broke my heart and i miss her every day. Alidzja stops at the same spot every time we go for a walk,( the same spot we still go every day, ) and stares off into the distance like she is seeing Anna…maybe she is. They were companions their whole lives and I’m sure Alidzja misses her best friend. Anna was about 16 years old when she “Went home.”
I’m very grateful for the time she was with me.
Alidzja is a 15 year cocker. She has not been herself as of late. The last couple of days have been tough. She hasn’t been eating, drinking water, not much desire to go out for her potty runs and I’m very worried. She’s at the vets and I have no word from them yet as to the situation with her well being. I pray she’s going to be alright. However, should it be her time to “Go home” and reunite with Anna, then it’s time. It will hurt, and leave another empty space when it is her time and the good lord does take her home. I’ll miss her dearly. But will see them again when the call comes for me to go home one day. In the meantime, there are other dogs just like them out there who need homes and caring fur-ever families. Can’t take them all, but can be there for at least 2 more…
Jessie Kuang says
My american Cocker Wander wandered into my life many years ago and she was adopted by me and the vet estimated she was between 3 to 6 yo when I brought her to find out if she has any microchip. I adopted her since I could not find her owners as her chip was not registered. In her last week, She didn’t want to give up her life even though she was having blood in the urine and pale gum etc in 2016. Brought her to the vet and the vet suggested to put her to sleep and she was then either 16 or 19 years old. Wander became an angel on 30th Nov 2016. She was my best cocker spaniel.
Jessie Kuang says
My British Cocker Pokka is estimated to be about 17.5 years old. He is very skinny with various tumours but he is still eaten twice a day and drinking water and walking around by itself. Happiness is eat sleep walk around.
Michael Pennington says
My dog Rio is 15 yrs and 2 mos.He has been the best dog in my life.One of his best traits is that he is an ambassador to all he has ever met.He always has had time for children and they all want to pet him.He has gone on many vacations and loves to ride in the car.He is deaf and many aches and pains.Reading all these replies makes me happy and sad.The thought of him leaving me makes me not forget all he means to me.I wish you all could meet Rio.Dogs are the best.Love them while there here.
My Cocker Spaniel Dylan lived to
15yrs 7months. He died of liver and kidney failure and was a delightful old man. Sadly missed
We had to say goodbye to my beautiful english cocker spaniel this past weekend. His name was Beau and he was a month away from turning 15. He had so much personality! My best friend from the moment I got him. These last couple of days have been very tough. He had glaucoma and was completely blind, a little def too but he had so much heart! The Drs. Always told us we should be thankful he is so strong and healthy. He had a ruptured tumor in his spleen. It came out of nowhere. I pray we made the right decision. I just didn’t want my boy to suffer. I can’t wait to see him again one day.
Claire Pederson says
I just lost my 12 year, 4 month old cocker (Boo) yesterday. She had severe arthritis. One of the hardest decisions I had to make, but I was her advocate from the time I adopted her at 9 weeks. My heart is broken. But I have to believe she’s somewhere safe, pain free and waiting for me. Hopefully, the grief will pass with time as it usually does, but she’s in my heart forever.
I have a beautiful American / English cocker spaniel ; her name is Kaley she is 17 years old this August 22, , 2020 . She is fit , well cared , plays soccer , loves to walk ,and fetch …. mostly loves to eat very healthy homemade food . She is an incredible loving good natured girl ,very loyal and a teddy bear .secret to long healthy life …. good healthy food , good hygiene , lots of exercise , brush her teeth , visit your Veterinarian 3 times a year , or when needed , and give them lots of love !
My English cocker Arthur is 14 and although stone dead and blind on one eye is full on beans and climbed a mountain with us last year. He is slowing up and won’t climb two flights of stairs to follow me to the loo every time. His tail wags when I look at him. Will miss my boy terribly when he does go.
My Sassie. a buff American Cocker Spaniel, will be 18 years, 7 months old on July 2, 2020. She is my only ever dog. We bonded instantly when our eyes met at a pet adoption event of Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue in Virginia. Having been a cat person all my life, I was unaware of the depth of a dog’s love, enjoying kitty affection. But Sassie is the love of my life, and as we negotiate her ancient journey, we will complete a long bucket list of DQ pup cups, wading in sweet streams, take out leftovers, cross country trips, and playdates with my sister’s five enormous dogs. I wish I could have been a better mom for her. SHE is perfect. But our major goal is to break the Guinness world record for long lived cockers. I only wish you can have such a fine dog as my Sassinka.
My Sassie crossed the Rainbow Bridge October 3, 2020 at age 18 years, 9 months, and a day. She had lost her vision and eyesight, was arthritic and incontinent both ways. Her bloodwork showed the beginnings of kidney failure, anemia, and other blood issues. The hardest decision of my life is the decision to schedule her release from an earthly life. What a magnificent dog! Such a devoted friend.
Sheldon Storer says
Our American Cocker, Abby, just turned 18 on June 19, 2020. It takes her a little effort to get going after she snoozes – which is most of the day, but once she loosens up, she is good for long walks. She loves fruit, vegetables and almonds, but is pretty fussy about what she eats – which varies by the day. Her hearing is poor, except for certain key words/phrases like treat and car ride. Her eye sight is excellent and all her vitals are good too, so we expect her to be around for a while. I’m assuming she’s one of the oldest American Cockers still alive, but I’ve found nothing definitive on that.
Ian M says
It’s funny that the cover photo of your article about the American Cocker shows an English one 🙂
Mike and Gail says
Our precious Corky was the treasure of our life. He passed on December 2, 2019. He was 14.5 years old. He had an enlarged heart which makes total sense as his love magnified our lives. Prior to Corky we had another cocker Mickey who lived to 14. We were so Blessed to have our two cockers for almost 30 years. We still love you both and look forward to seeing you guys soon.
Stephanie Turner says
We are blessed to still have our sweet American Crocker Spaniel, “Come Here” 😊. He turned 16 years old on March 1, 2020. He’s as sweet and loving as ever but struggles a bit with climbing stairs and he’s deaf. He’s been my best friend and shadow for years.
Steven Elwell says
My American Cocker Spaniel will be 15 in May. He is completely deaf and just about blind. He’s my best friend
Christina Loggins says
My American cocker spaniel “Lexus” lived a couple months after her 12 th birthday. She passed away in my arms Jan 17th of this year due to heart problems. My heart had never felt so heavy and broken till that morning. She was by far the best dog and friend i’ve ever had . I mis her everyday . And I truly that we will meet again. She taught me a much about love. Thank u my lexy girl for being in my life.
Meg Austwick says
So sorry for your loss, it sounds like Lexy had a long happy life with you.
Tanya Bierman says
Prayers for you and Lexi. My Lexi is two and loves my 10 year old old cocker named Ezra he was a rescue and is my greatest joy. He helped me when my Mom and Dad died 4 months apart. Cockers are the best I have been blessed by seven and currently own four.
My American cocker spaniel, Sally will be 17 on March 27th 2020. She is and has been the best dog I ever had. I can’t imagine her not with me. She is very loved by everyone who knows her. She is not quite the athlete she once was, but then neither am I! Besides a few small health issues, she has been extremely healthy and active. Maybe it was the salt air since we walked on the beach a lot together. She is still going strong. I love you Sally!!
Our purred cockerspaniel is 16 years and 8 months and will be 17 may 5 2020.His name is Ollie and although he has been deaf for 5 years he can still see and is as active as if he was a still a pup.he eats dogfood people food and loves marabone dog treats.he has never been overweight.He has only been to the vet 3 times for an ear infection a pinched nerve and removal of a skin tag that was not cancerous.We will miss him when he is gone.
Vickie Sells says
Our American Cocker Spaniel, Molly, is 14 years old. She is AKC registered. She has some hearing issues. She also has breathing issues at night. She gets regular checkups at the Vet .
Sue Miller says
My american cocker is 15 and a half. He is blind but still deathly.
Our miniature cockaspaniel is 19years 6mths old. She has suddenly become more puppy like and seems to have aged backwards.
My two cocker spaniels are both 14, missy is showing her age and has weak hind legs whereas cleo is still going strong after recovering from having a cancerous lump removed last year. I’m not looking forward at losing the first one as the other one left will suffer from separation anxiety
My American Cocker Spaniel will be 17 on August 11th. She is blind, can still get around just fine