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10 Best Companion Dogs For Cocker Spaniels

Knowing which breeds will naturally get on well with your cocker spaniel is important for many situations…

Whether you’re considering getting a second dog, having a friend over with their dog, or going to your local dog park, it’s worth knowing in advance!

Key Points About Cocker Spaniels

Before thinking about other breeds, we must first consider cocker spaniels themselves! Understanding cockers first will allow us to best match other breeds accordingly.

The reason this is so important is because, in the dog world, opposite characters usually do not pair up well…

In most cases, dogs that have similar temperaments will match up well (regardless of their size).

Of course, not all dogs follow their breed stereotypes, but in most cases, it’s a very good place to start.

1. Cocker spaniels are highly playful and energetic

Any owner knows just how active cocker spaniels are: constantly bouncing off the walls, ready to play and draw plenty of attention.

Cocker spaniels need a lot of daily stimulation both physically and mentally…

1-2 hours of physical exercise is a must, as well as additional time spent training and keeping their minds busy.

Some breeds couldn’t be further from this, and this would likely cause a mismatch in daily routines and simple things like keeping up on walks.

Additionally, a playful cocker spaniel may quickly get on the nerves of a dog that just wants to “chill”. And yes, there are plenty of breeds are like this!

2. Cocker spaniels love to appease their owner

Although cocker spaniels can be difficult to manage if sufficient training isn’t given, they still have a large desire to appease their owner…

It helps to have another breed similar to this.

This will help training sessions be more productive, and the two dogs will encourage each other to behave and obey commands.

One thing, this assumes the owner is consistent and dedicated to daily training. If a cocker spaniel lacks training or senses a lack of authority, they will likely encourage another breed to misbehave as they do.

3. Cocker spaniels can be quite rambunctious

As well as being highly active, cocker spaniels can be rambunctious and quick to play rough.

Although many breeds like a little rough play, cocker spaniels (especially when young) take it to a whole new level…

A breed that suits the cocker spaniel will also enjoy rough play and will be able to hold their own.

If not, it could be a continuous display of dominant play fighting, which will quickly stress the other dog.

Not only will this cause you to intervene all the time, which can get annoying quickly, but it’s also unfair on the other dog.

4. Cocker spaniels love having all the attention

Any spaniel owner knows just how much their curly haired friend loves receiving A LOT of attention…

And this can be an issue for some other breeds.

This doesn’t mean you can’t pair a cocker spaniel with another attention-seeking breed.

But some breeds are known to become aggressive if they aren’t in the limelight.

This behavior will be considered below for our top picks!

Psst. A word on Spaniel training! Brain Training For Dogs could be the best training approach we’ve seen for all spaniels. Results show improvement in obedience and behavior quicker than we thought possible! It’s seriously worth checking out.

10 Most Compatible Breeds That Get On Well With Cocker Spaniels

Below I’ll cover the 10 breeds that get on extremely well with cocker spaniels. These breeds share the necessary personality traits that lead to an easy-going successful relationship.

  1. Poodles
  2. Boxer
  3. Huskies
  4. Beagles
  5. Golden retrievers
  6. Labradors
  7. Pointers
  8. Australian shepherds
  9. Jack russells
  10. Vizslas

1. Poodles

Poodles, particularly miniature and standard poodles, match up nicely with cocker spaniels.

Not only can they hold their own in rough play, but they match their energy levels, desire to play, and just like cockers, love appeasing their owner.

Both breeds are highly intelligent and the poodle will likely help encourage positive behavior from a cocker spaniel.

Toy poodles, on the other hand, may not be a good match as they are extremely small.

A cocker could be “too much” for a toy poodle to handle, causing them excess stress and anxiety.

AKC Poodle Info

2. Boxers

Boxers are extremely friendly, energetic, and playful… Perfect for most cocker spaniels.

One thing we’ve noticed over the years is an increasing amount of boxer/spaniel households. It really does seem like these two breeds are made for each other.

While the boxer does grow to be much bigger than the average cocker spaniel, it doesn’t seem to impact their ability to get along.

Important note: These two breeds could be partners in crime if untrained or left alone too long.

This pair needs a lot of attention and effort on the owners part for good behavior.

AKC Boxer Info

3. Huskies

Siberian huskies aren’t often a popular second choice of dog, but they’re increasing in popularity for good reasons…

Huskies, despite their fierce looks, are surprisingly friendly, kind, and approachable. They get along extremely well with most breeds!

Huskies also love rough play, and would be able to hold their own with a cocker.

Their energy levels and playfulness are similar, but one thing owners should consider are their stimulation requirements…

Huskies and cockers need firm training and an established routine for good behavior.

If this pair is left to their own devices, they will absolutely misbehave.

More Husky Info

4. Beagles

Beagles are a household favorite and remain to be one of the world most popular breeds.

Beagles are easy-going, playful, kind, energetic, make great family pets, and always make good companion dogs to most breeds.

A cocker may have slightly more energy and exercise requirements than a beagle, but this pair will still make great exercise partners.

Beagles are known to have a stubborn streak in them, much more than cockers, so it’s crucial that basic command training is given consistently to avoid bad behavior.

AKC Beagle Info

5. Golden retriever

You cant go wrong with Golden retrievers. Unless you like your floors dog-hair free!

Golden retrievers remain to be USA’s favorite dog for many reasons.

They have one of the most desirable temperaments as they are clever, kind, loving, and awesome for families.

Golden retrievers are extremely adaptable and get along well with pretty much any breed.

If you don’t mind a slightly larger second dog and hairy floors, then a Golden retriever is an easy choice.

AKC Golden Retriever Info

6. Labradors

In a similar fashion to Golden retrievers, Labradors also make one of the best second companion dogs to most breeds.

Labradors are playful, kind, loving, and have similar exercise requirements to cocker spaniels.

This is another solid choice for any cocker spaniel, but owners should know that labradors can be rather disobedient if training is consistent or established early.

The labrador/cocker spaniel combination is a very common household pairing we see time and time again.

AKC Labrador Info

7. Pointers

Pointers and cockers often make good companion dogs.

Both breeds are hard workers and require being an active lifestyle with plenty of mental stimulation, so this must be in check is you want obedience and good behavior!

Pointers are loyal, loving, but they can also show their strong mind and stubbornness.

While this pair works out most of the time, some owners may find these two dogs difficult to manage together.

The reason I’ve still included pointers is that under the right circumstances (depending on the owner’s lifestyle) these two dogs will complement each other perfectly.

AKC Pointer Info

8. Australian Shepherds

Australian shepherds are another breed gaining popularity fast across the USA and other countries.

They are very similar to cocker spaniels, just a tad bigger.

Aussies are extremely intelligent, love to appease, are kind, playful, and need the same amount of exercise and stimulation as a cockers.

These two dogs often get along well at the dog parks and are becoming a popular pairing.

AKC Australian Shepherd Info

9. Jack Russells

If you prefer a smaller dog, then a jack russell is another great choice.

Granted, these little dogs can pack a punch and are potentially feisty. But they do make great play buddies and loyal companions once they get to know the other dog.

Assuming training is consistent and the owner is there to nurture this relationship carefully, then a jack russell and cocker spaniel will make excellent friends.

Apart from being a tad smaller, Jack Russells are extremely similar on paper to cocker spaniels.

It’s certainly a great option if you prefer smaller dogs.

AKC Jack Russell Info

10. Vizslas

Vizslas are another great companion breed for cocker spaniels. They are super friendly, playful, engaging, and make awesome family dogs.

These two breeds have a similar working background and will require consistent training to achieve obedience and good behavior.

If left untrained, this pair would likely become very unruly together.

They also do not cope well when left alone too long.

Vizslas are not the most popular breed out there, but we have personally had amazing experiences with all vizslas we’ve trained and cared for.

Similar to Labradors and Golden retrievers, Vizslas usually make excellent companion dogs to most other breeds.

AKC Vizsla Info

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Key Traits That Suit Cocker Spaniels

While the list above only contains 10 breeds, there are many more suitable breeds for cocker spaniels out there.

So let’s summarize the key characteristic and traits that suit cocker spaniels.

This can then be applied and compared to another breed you may have in mind.

Good traits to look for:

  • Intelligent
  • Loves to play
  • Similar exercise requirements
  • Willing to appease
  • Not overly territorial
  • Not overly possessive of their owner
  • Are naturally kind and gentle
  • Enjoys rough play with other dogs
  • Easily friendly with people and other dogs
  • Is not aggressive or nips

If you are searching for a second dog for your cocker spaniel, then those traits are what you should have in mind.

Of course, we must always remember that not all individual dogs live up to their breed stereotypes.

The way a dog is raised can impact their behavior and temperament dramatically.

Do Cocker Spaniels Need Another Dog?

Although not necessary, most cocker spaniels will thrive when having another canine companion living by their side.

Cocker spaniels are naturally social and have a long history of working in packs.

These are not dogs that are usually alone, so yes, having another dog is preferable for cockers.

  • Important note: Many owners often get second dogs to keep one dog company while they are left home alone… In many cases, this is not a good plan. Nearly all dogs dislike being left alone so what we often find is that the problem is just doubled, not resolved, by getting a second dog.

Related: Are cocker spaniels better in pairs? The pros & cons

Do Cocker Spaniels Live Well With Other Dogs?

Cocker spaniels often live well with other dogs assuming they have similar personality and temperments.

It’s not often that we come across cocker spaniels having issues with companion dogs. Cockers are particular, but they are also adaptive and usually get on well with most breeds.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.