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How Long Do Cocker Spaniels Live? Vet Reviewed Lifespan, Data & Care

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By Chelsea Mortensen

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with long, silky ears and a gentle, affectionate personality. They are the smallest breed of Spaniel, standing about 15 inches tall. They’re also known for their longer lifespan—up to 15 years for an English Cocker Spaniel! But that lifespan depends on a variety of factors.

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What’s the Average Lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel?

There are two breeds of Cocker Spaniel: English and American. American Cocker Spaniels live about 10 to 14 years. English Cocker Spaniels have a slightly longer average lifespan—12 to 15 years.

Of course, those numbers are just average estimates. Some dogs will have health issues that lead to a shorter lifespan, while others might live even longer than the breed averages suggest. There are lots of factors that make a big difference in your Cocker Spaniel’s lifespan.

Senior cocker spaniel dog on the grass
Image Credit: Angyalosi Beata, Shutterstock

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Why Do Some Cocker Spaniels Live Longer Than Others?

1. Nutrition

Food is fuel—and bad fuel can run down the engine. If your dog doesn’t have good nutrition, you’ll see some major issues crop up down the line. Many Cocker Spaniels are also overfed. Obesity can have a major impact on lifespan and introduce many problems.

2. Environment

Indoor dogs generally live longer than outdoor dogs, and having a good environment will make a big difference. Does your dog have adequate shelter from the elements? Do they have plenty of clean water? Is your dog’s area safe?

A leading cause of death in dogs is accident or injury. One of the best ways to help your dog have a long life is to avoid situations where your dog can run away or get hurt.

3. Exercise

Healthy dogs need lots of exercise! Cocker Spaniels may be small, but they’re still a lively breed. Walking, running, and playing games will all help your dog live longer, be happier, and stay in good shape.

american cocker spaniel dog swimming in water
Image Credit: Afiraz, Shutterstock

4. Neutering

There are a lot of factors that go into lifespan, and one gender isn’t guaranteed to live longer than the other. Spaying or neutering your dog will help them live longer whether they are male or female.

5. Genes

Unfortunately, we can’t control all aspects of our dog’s lifespan. There are hundreds or thousands of genes that can help your dog live longer or introduce health problems as they age. No amount of healthy lifestyle can help your dog avoid all health problems.

6. Pedigree

You might think that a purebred dog will live longer than a mongrel,  but it’s often the other way around. Many purebred dogs will be less robust because of their restricted gene pool—in other words, they’re a little inbred.

On the other hand, many high-end dog breeders today use genetic tests and careful pet care to avoid common health issues. If you’re going to shop purebred, choosing a responsible breeder makes a big difference.

English Cocker Spaniel lying on bed
Image Credit: Alkhaine, Pixabay

7. Healthcare

Regular vet care makes a huge difference in your dog’s lifespan. Many medical conditions are treatable, especially if you catch them early. Vet care can also help your dog recover from minor illnesses and injuries.

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The 4 Life Stages of a Cocker Spaniel

1. Puppy

For the first year or so of your Cocker Spaniel’s life, they’re a puppy. Puppies grow quickly and are full of energy. A formula made for growing puppies is best for them—it will have extra protein and other nutrients to help your puppy grow and develop. Puppies will reach sexual maturity as early as six months old, but they won’t stop growing until a little over a year old.

2. Young Adult

Once your dog has reached their full size, they will be a young adult. Young adult puppies are fully grown, but they’ll still have some puppyish characteristics. They tend to be playful, with high energy and fast metabolism.

cocker spaniel dog sitting on the grass
Image Credit: Kyryk Ivan, Shutterstock

3. Mature Adult

By the time your Cocker Spaniel is three or four years old, you’ll see them settling comfortably into their long mature adult life. At this point, their personality and energy levels should be stable, and they’ll likely be calmer than they were a few years ago. These are some of the best years of your dog’s life, so enjoy them!

4. Senior

The signs of aging hit every dog differently, but Cocker Spaniels often don’t reach the senior stage until around ten years of age. Signs of aging include a slowing metabolism, stiffness of movement, graying hair, and increased health problems. As your dog ages, it’s more important than ever to keep healthy habits up. However, your dog may need smaller food portions and less intense exercise, so be flexible.

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How to Tell Your Cocker Spaniel’s Age

If you adopt an adult Cocker Spaniel, there’s no way to determine their exact age. Your vet can estimate their age after a physical examination by looking at how worn down your Spaniel’s teeth are.

lemon and white cocker spaniel
Image Credit: JessicaMcGovern, Shutterstock

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The average lifespan of most Cocker Spaniels is 10 – 14 years. If you want your Cocker Spaniel to live a long, happy life, there are lots of things you can do. The most important factors that you can control are nutrition and exercise. By keeping your dog fit and healthy, you’ll add years to their life.

Featured Image Credit: rebeccaashworthearle, Shutterstock

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