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How Smart Are Cocker Spaniels? Vet-Reviewed Facts

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by Dogster Team

Cocker Spaniel giving paw training

How Smart Are Cocker Spaniels? Vet-Reviewed Facts


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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It doesn’t matter if the Cocker Spaniel you’re bringing home is English or American; there’s no denying that these dogs are loving, gentle, friendly, and very intelligent. In fact, the English Cocker Spaniel is considered the 20th smartest dog, and the American Cocker Spaniel is considered the 23rd smartest dog.

That’s pretty high on the intelligence scale, especially since there are so many breeds in the world today. If you’ve wondered just how smart your Cocker Spaniel is, we’ll discuss the dog’s intelligence and more below.


Are Cocker Spaniels Smart, and How Smart?

Yes, Cocker Spaniels are extremely smart animals, but how smart are they exactly? The Cocker isn’t the most intelligent dog out there, but they are very close to the top of the list, as seen by their standings. Since they weigh in at numbers 20 and 23 on the list of 208 dogs, it’s quite an accomplishment.

It’s also said that a Cocker Spaniel can learn a task twice as fast as many breeds. The Intelligence Scale, developed by Dr. Stanley Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, measures the dog’s intelligence with an obedience test rather than a precise test for the dog’s intelligence.

It’s essential to note that just because a breed doesn’t do well on this test doesn’t mean the dog is ignorant or incapable of learning. It’s just that the Cocker Spaniel is intelligent, learns easily, and is much easier to train than some other dogs. If you’re looking for a dog that is easy to train, intelligent, and easy to get along with, a Cocker Spaniel might be the right choice of pet for you and your family.

Although they’re smart, Cocker Spaniels are also known for being mischievous, which can be challenging when training them. However, they’re also eager to please and make excellent training partners.

Cocker Spaniel walking with trainer
Image Credit: Katrina_S, Pixabay

Which Breeds Are Known for Their Intelligence?

The Cocker Spaniel isn’t the only breed known for high intelligence. According to Coren’s intelligence test, here are some of the most intelligent dogs:

While these are certainly not the only intelligent dogs, they are a few of the most common. If you want to adopt one of these dogs or a Cocker Spaniel, it’s also essential to consider the dog’s other traits.

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Other Cocker Spaniel Facts & Info

Although the English and American Cocker Spaniels have similar friendly temperaments, the American Cocker requires more grooming. Their flowing double coats must be brushed daily, and every 6 to 8 weeks, they’ll need their hair cut. Although you can trim your dog at home if you have experience with grooming, some energetic Cockers have a hard time standing still, and you may need to enlist the services of a professional.

Cocker Spaniels need up to an hour of exercise daily, and you should divide their exercise program into two daily walks and a few play sessions. They enjoy exercising with their owners, and some may suffer separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Their floppy ears are vulnerable to infections, and you should clean them weekly and inspect them every day. They’ll also need their nails trimmed and teeth brushed regularly.

Providing high-quality food and the occasional high-protein treat will keep them healthy, but try to avoid giving them human food because it leads to obesity, among other health concerns. It’s best to choose an age-appropriate brand and consult your vet if your pet suffers gastrointestinal distress and needs to switch brands.

English cocker spaniel dog taking a shower with shampoo, soap and water in a bathtub
Image By:, Shutterstock


Wrap Up

Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent animals, as proven by the tests performed to see where they stand on the intelligence and obedience charts. While they aren’t the smartest dogs on the planet, they place in the top 30 out of 208 dog breeds tested, and that’s pretty high up there, in our opinion. If you decide you want a Cocker Spaniel for a pet, you’ll be rewarded with a gentle, friendly, loving, and intelligent animal that will keep you happy for many years.

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Featured Image Credit: O_Lypa, Shutterstock

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