Golden Cocker Retriever

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Golden Cocker Retriever
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

While it is true that the Golden Cocker Retriever was only developed in the last few decades, this Cocker Spaniel cross Golden Retriever is already making a name for itself as a much-loved family pet. Medium in size with a wide body and long limbs, the Golden Cocker Retriever has the densely furred ears of the Spaniel with the imploring brown eyes of both parents.

With activity levels that lean towards hyperactivity, owners must be willing to provide plenty of exercise and training to this dog, who can develop nuisance behaviours if overlooked. Sweet-natured and willing to make friends with just about anyone, this breed would make a terrible guard dog!

About & History

A cross between the much-loved, gentle Golden Retriever and either the loopy, athletic English Cocker Spaniel or the happy (if sometimes sensitive) American Cocker Spaniel, the Golden Cocker Retriever is also sometimes known as the Cogol. Worth mentioning, is the specific line of Golden Cocker Retrievers called Dakota Sport Retrievers, which must be 50% Golden Retriever and, ideally, 25% American Cocker Spaniel and 25% English Cocker Spaniel.

It is likely that the Golden Cocker Retriever was first developed twenty to thirty years ago, when the very first 'designer dogs' were being created. The purpose of creating these non-pedigree pets was often to reduce a disease incidence within a population or to create a hypoallergenic or physically different version of a well-established breed.

Though the Golden Cocker Retriever is too recently established to have any substantial history worth mentioning, both its parents have a colourful background. Spaniels in general have existed for over 500 years. It was not until the early 1900s that the English and American Cocker Spaniels became breeds within their own rights, with both dogs having developed distinctive personalities and looks over time.

The American Cocker tends to be smaller, with a shorter muzzle. A multi-purpose breed, the Spaniel has historically excelled as a companion dog, as well as a hunter and a show dog. In fact, the Cocker Spaniel has won Best in Show at Crufts more times than any other breed. The Golden Retriever is a Scottish dog, developed in the 1800s. They were purposely bred to be able to hunt on land and water and to have a soft mouth. Though a breed that is relatively new, the Golden Retriever often features in the 'top ten' lists of registered dog breeds internationally thanks to its gentle disposition and story-book good looks.


Usually a good mix of Spaniel and Retriever, the Golden Cocker Retriever tends to look like a smaller Golden Retriever with a face more resembling a Cocker Spaniel. Their ears hang closely to their face and may be covered in straight or crimped fur. Their brown eyes are often a prominent feature of their face and portray a kind and gentle expression. Their snout is quite long, ending in a dark nose. Their straight limbs end in sturdy paws, which are very furry. Their curved tail is robust and often densely furred.

While coat length and type can be variable, most will have medium-length fur that is thick and straight. Fur tends to be golden in colour, though can also be black, fawn or red. Measuring from 51cm to 61cm, this is a medium to large sized breed. Once matured, most will reach weights of 13.5 to 25kg.

Character & Temperament

While both parents are social and loving, it can be difficult to predict which breed the Golden Cocker Retriever will take after more and so there can be a range of temperaments even within the same litter. Certainly, the Golden Cocker Retriever relishes human companionship and loves to be surrounded by family whenever possible. Outgoing and brave when outdoors, the Golden Cocker Retriever has the ability to act calmly when inside the home. A big goof ball, this dog especially likes to be surrounded by the children of the family. In fact, they can become so reliant on their owners that they have been known to develop separation anxiety.

A good sport with other animals, most Golden Cocker Retriever will integrate well with other pets, particularly dogs. As both parents have a history of hunting, it would be wise to keep these guys away from prey animals, such as rabbits.

Seemingly always on the go, the Golden Cocker Retriever has lots of energy and loves to be involved with everything. Smart and active, it is not uncommon for this breed to become under-stimulated in the wrong home, which can lead to problem behaviours. They require almost constant interaction and would not suit a household that is frequently left empty.


As with many breeds, early training is the key to a balanced and settled Golden Cocker Retriever. This is a dog that loves to be challenged and should receive thorough and wide-ranging training from a young age. As this breed is always keen to please, especially its owners, they will always try their best to complete any task asked of them. This feature, along with their undeniable intelligence, makes them highly trainable pets.

Best results can be achieved with training that is consistent though never boring. Trainers need to be firm and should continue to reward desired behaviour throughout the life of the Golden Cocker Retriever. With an instinct to chase, hunt and retrieve, owners should be aware of the potential issues that can arise when training off lead in a public place.


In a breed as recently developed as the Golden Cocker Retriever, we cannot say with any certainty which diseases they are prone to. We can, however, look to their parents for some clues. It is generally accepted that the Golden Cocker Retriever enjoys relatively good health.

Hip Dysplasia

While hip dysplasia can be genetically passed on, it is also affected by a dog’s environment and lifestyle. 'Hip scoring' is a system whereby dogs over one year of age are X-rayed and assigned a score. Those with poor scores should not be bred from, ensuring only those with healthy hips remain in the breeding pool. This is so vital because hip dysplasia can be a debilitating condition that causes lifelong mobility issues and discomfort.

Ear Infections

Possibly the most notorious patient within a veterinary clinic for developing chronic ear infections is the Cocker Spaniel, so it is no surprise that the Golden Cocker Retriever can also be affected. Dogs who have ear infections will tend to rub their faces on the ground, shake their heads and scratch vigorously at their ears. On turning the ear flap over, owners will be greeted with a bright red ear canal, a terrible smell and a large accumulation of debris within the ear.

Ear infections are treated with antibiotics, anti-fungals and anti-inflammatories and more severe infections will require prolonged courses of treatment. Ideally, a swab is taken to culture, which can determine which bugs are growing within the canal, allowing the treatment to be tailored.

Entropion & Ectropion

Entropion is the abnormal inward folding of the eyelids, while ectropion is when the eyelids fold out. For some, this defect will be so minor that it will not affect them, while others may suffer from chronic infections, ulcers and runny eyes. For many, a simple surgical procedure can permanently solve the issue.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A high energy dog, the Golden Cocker Retriever would benefit from at least a one hour walk or hike each day, as well as other physical interactions, such as games of fetch or football. This breed loves to swim and will happily jump from land to water and water to land at a whim when outdoors.

On top of keeping the Golden Cocker Retriever physically active, it is essential that their brains are stimulated and they participate in activities, such as obedience trials and agility courses. Not suited to apartment living, the ideal home for this breed would be within rural settings so they have ample space to run about and burn off their energy.


Due to the density of their coat, the Golden Cocker Retriever should be brushed daily or at least every other day. Their fur is prone to tangles and matting and most will benefit from professional grooming a few times a year. Owners should focus particularly on grooming the fur in between their toes, which can become clumped and cause discomfort.

The furry, floppy ears of the Golden Cocker Retriever should be cleaned out around once a week. If this task is neglected, many dogs will develop infections throughout their lifetime, particularly those that swim on a regular basis.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.