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The German Cocker spaniel a rare spaniel breed

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There are many spaniel breeds that are less well known and rarer than the more common Springer and Cocker spaniels, and the German Cocker spaniel is one of these dogs.

Like the Boykin spaniel which is only really known in the USA, the German Cocker spaniel is not normally seen outside of Germany.

The German Cocker Spaniel is a hunting dog that became common in Germany towards the end of the 19th century. Known as the Deutscher Wachtelhund, this spaniel breed is similar in size to the English Springer Spaniel and has typical spaniel looks with long ears, wavy, feathered coat and a burly build with powerful shoulders.

The breed is well known in Germany and Sweden, where it is used for hunting wild boar, but is very uncommon and relatively unknown elsewhere.

german cocker spaniel

History of the German Cocker Spaniel

The breed became popular towards the end of the 19th century and was the product of a breeding programme which used a variety of breeds, producing a hunting dog that was exceptional at working in the worst weather conditions.

A key breed used in the development of the German spaniel was a now extinct breed called the Stoeberer – this was a breed that had exceptional scenting abilities ( of a level similar to a Bloodhound ) – this breed was crossed with sporting spaniels of the time, along with water dogs – producing the German Cocker Spaniel of today.

What is a German Spaniel_

What do German spaniels look like?

The German Cocker spaniel is a similar size to the English Springer spaniel, weighing between 20 to 30 Kgs.

The breed has typical working spaniel features with strong powerful shoulders and short legs, with a medium spaniel sized body and height.

As for colour, this can be anywhere from a red/brown colour through to a yellow colour similar to a retriever. The breed can often be roan and most dogs have areas of white markings on their chests, legs, muzzles and tails.

They are an attractive dog.

German Cocker spaniels are friendly dogs

The German spaniel is known for it’s versatility and intelligence, both as a working gundog, companion and family pet.

Typical of most spaniel breeds, the German cocker loves to hunt and chase after his nose, training and similar activities will bring out the best in this breed.

They possess an excellent sense of smell which makes them ideal for gundog work, but the novice owner may find this tricky due to the breed’s insatiable desire to hunt.

As with all of the other spaniels, they have a great personality and love to play. They are an ideal dog for an active family that can provide the training and exercise that they require. 


As a working dog the German Cocker spaniel needs to be provided with plenty of daily opportunities to burn off calories and stretch their minds.

A typical spaniel needs at least two 30 minute exercise sessions every day, where he can run free, hunt and explore the ground. Games such as fetch or gundog training are great activities for him to do.

Swimming is something that the German Cocker enjoys and every opportunity should be taken to let him swim, whether in the sea or elsewhere, provided it is safe for him – they are excellent swimmers.

Training the German Cocker spaniel

With some information and practice, along with consistency, training a German Cocker spaniel is no more demanding than training other spaniel breeds.

There are various options open to the potential owner for training but, at the very least, some basic spaniel training should be undertaken to encourage and develop good behaviour, which will include coming when called or whistled, sitting down and walking properly on the lead.

Training is important and, as well as working the dog physically, will also tire him mentally – an untrained dog will quickly become bored and potentially disruptive. This is true of all spaniel breeds.

Spaniels enjoy training, are quick to learn and they love the interaction with their owners that training provides.

Training Spaniels
Arguably the best spaniel training book ever produced. Deals with finding a puppy, housetraining and all aspects of spaniel training, whether as pet or working dog.

Do German spaniels shed?

They do shed hair but this is no more or less than any of the other spaniels. 

German Cocker spaniels have a double coat which provides good protection against the elements necessary for a working dog.

They shed all year round as old hair is replaced by new but, the majority of moulting takes place at the end of the colder, winter months, as warmer weather begins and a thick coat is no longer needed.

The effects of shedding can be reduced through regular brushing to remove dead hair.


There are no specific needs to consider when feeding a German Spaniel. Simply provide a good quality, well balanced dog food and you will meet his dietary requirements.

Twice daily is the normal schedule for feeding most spaniels, unless puppies who need different food more often.

To sum up

The German Cocker spaniel is a typical spaniel breed, developed for game hunting, possessing an excellent nose, a strong love and desire to hunt and retrieve.

With a build similar to that of an English Springer Spaniel and a very similar temperament, they make great working dogs and family pets – if you can provide the training and daily exercise that they need.

Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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