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Cockalier (Cocker Spaniel & Cavalier King Charles Mix): Pictures, Info & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Cockalier on dock

Height: 12–15 inches
Weight: 10–28 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Black, white, chestnut, brown, red
Suitable for: Families of any size, individuals who work from home, energetic retirees
Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, loving, loyal, social, easygoing

The Cockalier is an adorable and lovable designer dog breed that is a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They’re known for their intelligence, ease of training, loyalty, and willingness to please—so they make wonderful companion dogs for those who have love and affection to return. They’re emotional pups that need attention and seek it out on nearly a constant basis, so if you’re looking for a four-legged friend to be your loving shadow, look no further!

This breed has a moderately high level of energy, so daily exercise is a must. However, they love snuggling and watching Netflix just as much as they enjoy hitting the pavement.

The Cockalier is typically a very social dog and will likely get along with strangers and other dogs just as well as they will with children and other family members. Their intelligence leads them to be understanding and responsive dogs. As long as they get their energy out in constructive ways, they’re able to adapt well to whomever they’re around throughout the day. Let’s take a closer look at this adorable breed.

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Cockalier Puppies

Cockalier puppy
Image Credit: Angela Holmyard, Shutterstock

Cockalier puppies are tiny and lovable, so if you’re not careful you may find yourself bringing home an entire box full! They are truly the embodiment of the title, “man’s best friend,” so they will make wonderful additions to your home whether you live alone or with a large family. This breed has a lot of affection and love, and it’s likely everyone around your Cockalier will feel like your pup’s favorite human.

Cockaliers are intelligent dogs that are usually eager to please their human counterparts, so training is typically very easy. They are also generally very sociable, but it’s always advisable to socialize your pup early to avoid any temperament issues—although they are rare with this breed.

Cockalier puppies have a moderate-to-high energy level, so an hour or more of exercise will be required every day. Energetic play likely won’t be enough, so you should plan from early on to walk or run your pooch every day. Pent-up energy in puppies—regardless of the breed—can always turn into a chewed slipper or two, so get your pup outside and moving!

3 Little-Known Facts About the Cockalier

1. Cockaliers make great therapy dogs.

Cockaliers are emotionally intelligent, affectionate, and responsive dogs, and these traits make them excellent therapy dogs. People who need a furry companion in their lives can comfortably turn to Cockaliers for some love and attention, and because they’re intuitive, they often react directly to your emotions and actions.

Cockaliers will often follow their human counterparts wherever they go, usually waiting for the opportunity to hop up next to them on a couch or, better yet, settle into their lap. They are known to be “comforter dogs,” and you’d find it difficult to choose a breed that is more affectionate and attentive than the Cockalier.

2. Cockaliers are great with people of all ages.

Because of their loyal and responsive nature and their intelligence, Cockaliers are able and willing to adapt to the humans around them. They’ll likely fit in perfectly with all the humans they’re introduced to and will happily spend time with any family member.

With kids who play rough, Cockaliers will show a spike in energy and be ready to play. With adults who are working from home, they’ll gladly lay by their side or in their lap and accompany them through whatever their workday brings. With older owners who enjoy casual walks, Cockaliers will be perfectly fine with toning down their energy output a bit and matching their owner’s speed.

3. Cockaliers have a high prey drive.

You may not expect a breed as small and as unassuming as the Cockalier to have a high prey drive, but these pups are all about chasing down prey. Both Cocker Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have high prey drives, so Cockaliers naturally inherit that instinct from both parent breeds.

This is definitely something to consider when walking your Cockalier because every squirrel, rabbit, and bird will probably have your pup leaping toward the possibility of a hunt. No matter how well your Cockalier is trained, you should always walk him or her on a leash and preferably with a sturdy harness. Your Cockalier may be strong, but a good harness will help prevent injury if your pup decides to lunge toward a squirrel or other animal on a walk.

The parent breeds of Cockalier
The parent breeds of Cockalier: Left – Cocker Spaniel (Kajetan Sumila, Unsplash) | Right – Cavalier King Charles (otsphoto, Shutterstock)

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Cockalier 🧠

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

We mentioned earlier that Cockaliers are considered among the best companion dogs, and the camaraderie, friendship, and love you’ll get from your Cockalier will very likely extend to all members of your family. These dogs adore human interaction, and they’ll gladly accept attention and love from people young, old, and everywhere in between.

Cockaliers are not only good with people of all ages, but they need a lot of attention and love, so the bigger or more attentive the family is the happier your pup will be. All in all, they will make wonderful additions to your family.

While Cockaliers are usually excellent with children and can adapt to their play style, you should be mindful and attentive if your pup is around toddlers or very young children. Your Cockalier will give nothing but love, but your child may unknowingly hurt your dog. Cockaliers are small and somewhat fragile, so make sure you supervise young children if they do play with your pup.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Cockaliers don’t just get along well with humans, but they’re also highly social around other dogs as well; this includes those who live in the same home and those they meet on the street. This breed has very high sociability, so you usually don’t have to worry about how they will interact with other pooches.

It’s important with any dog breed to socialize early and often, and Cockaliers are no exception. You should begin introducing your pup to other people and dogs early on so they become accustomed to social interaction.

You should also be wary about introducing a cat to a Cockalier later in life. If your pup grows up with a cat there may be no issue, but introducing a cat to a grown Cockalier may end with a chase.

Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Cockalier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Cockaliers require nothing more than a standard, healthy doggie diet. They benefit most from a diet of high protein that comes from varying sources like beef, chicken, and fish, and they need healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in their bowls as well.

As with all breeds, you should find food that is made with high-quality and nutritious ingredients, and you should purchase food made specifically for your dog’s size and energy levels to make sure you’re providing all of the nutrients your growing pup needs. For Cockaliers, look for food made for small breeds with moderate-to-high or high energy levels.

With many small dog breeds, weight gain and related issues can be a problem, so take care not to overfeed your Cockalier. If in doubt, check with your vet for proper food volumes or follow the directions on your dog food manufacturer’s packaging for small breeds.

Exercise 🐕

While Cockaliers love snuggling and relaxing with their owners, they also need a good amount of exercise. This breed has a fairly high energy level, and to stay happy and healthy Cockaliers need on average about an hour of exercise each day. This can include walking, running, swimming, or hiking. Just make sure to keep your pup leashed on all walks, as their prey drive is high and could lead them to chase down a squirrel or other animal without warning.

Cockaliers can adapt pretty well to their owner’s lifestyle and daily energy expenditure, so as long as your pup gets his or her recommended hour of exercise each day, their time outside of that hour can be spent cuddled up on the couch or adventuring further. Cockaliers love exploring and being outdoors, so if you’re one who enjoys lots of physical activity, your pup will happily step up their energy level and stick right by your side through it all.

Training 🦮

The Cockalier gets its intelligence and eagerness to please from both parent breeds, Cocker Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These traits in dogs very often lead to ease of training, and you’re likely to have little difficulty training your Cockalier.

As with all dog breeds, starting training early will lead to better results and a better-trained pooch. Cockaliers who don’t start training at young ages are likely to become stubborn and a bit entitled just like any other dog, so it’s important to begin a proper training regimen when your furry friend is still an impressionable puppy.

You’ll most likely find that positive reinforcement and a calm and friendly approach to training using treats and play as rewards will yield a Cockalier who picks up on new commands quickly and with enthusiasm.

Grooming ✂️

Cockaliers are fairly low-maintenance dogs that don’t require anything out of the ordinary in the way of grooming. With some regular home grooming and an occasional trip to the groomer, your pup will look fresh and stay healthy.

Cockaliers do have long fur which is prone to matting, so weekly brushing will be required. With regular brushing and bathing, visiting a groomer likely won’t be necessary, but you may opt to bring your pup for a haircut every once in a while, to maintain a clean look. Given the disposition of this breed, you should have no issues with behavior at the groomer, especially if you introduce your dog to grooming practices early on.

Beyond normal brushing and bathing, make sure to clip your dog’s nails regularly or bring him or her to the vet or groomer for nail clipping. As with all dogs, you should also clean your Cockalier’s ears once a week or so to prevent ear infections.

Health Conditions ❤️

Cockaliers are pretty hearty dogs, so generally speaking, they don’t have many common health issues. Of course, no dog breed is without medical problems, so keep an eye out for potential issues listed below:

Minor Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Eyelid issues (ectropion and entropion)
Serious Conditions
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Syringomyelia

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Male vs Female

While female Cockaliers may be a little smaller in size than males of this breed, your Cockalier’s temperament will very likely be the same regardless of sex. Both male and female Cockaliers are known to be loving, affectionate, energetic, and playful.

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Conclusion on the Cockalier

Cockaliers are known to be wonderful companion dogs and therapy dogs, and once you meet one, you’ll instantly know why. This breed is outgoing, friendly, happy, and loving toward nearly every human and dog they meet. If you’re looking for an affectionate fur friend, Cockaliers may be the breed for you.

These dogs are energetic and playful but also enjoy cuddling up on the couch for movie night. They are known to be wonderful with kids, are adaptable to apartment life, and love and crave attention from their owners. If you’re looking for the perfect furry companion and friend for yourself or a large family, Cockaliers will happily fill that role.

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Featured Image Credit: Angela Holmyard, Shutterstock

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