More than likely, you are familiar with the American and English Cocker Spaniel. Splitting into a separate breed in 1946, the American Cocker Spaniel was the most popular dog in the US through the 1940s and 1950s.
While Cocker Spaniels have fallen in popularity since the mid-1980s, French Bulldogs have skyrocketed to the No. 5 spot as of 2018.
In the hybrid or designer dog world, the term Cocker Spaniel takes on a whole new meaning. The American Cocker is a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and an American Bulldog; the English Cocker is a blend of the Cocker Spaniel and English Bulldog; the rare French Cocker Spaniel is a mixed breed between a Cocker Spaniel and a French bulldog.
Cocker Spaniels appear commonly in mixed breeds because of desired spaniel traits like a sweet expression, sporting qualities, loyalty, and friendliness.
The French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel is no exception, embodying a docile and kind nature and combining it with a small size, moderate exercise requirements, and compatibility with other animals and family members. French Cocker Spaniels make excellent companion dogs, both affectionate and loyal.
What is the history of the French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel mix?
Recognized by the AKC in 1898, the French Bulldog originated with the bull-baiting dogs of England around 1835. Bulldogs descended from Molossian dogs of Greek heritage that also gave rise to the Mastiff.
The shorter dogs comprised a branch of dogs that would eventually split into three groups once baiting bulls became illegal.
One of these groups was the miniature version of the English Bulldog, popularized among the lace workers of Nottingham, England.
Toy Bulldogs had already seen outcrossing with rattiers, and more rat terrier-type dogs were sought when enthusiasts took their miniatures to Normandy France.
French breeders refined the French Bulldog, and many believe they introduced the Pug for a flatter face and more prominent eyes. Americans finalized the breed standard, insisting on what has become the signature bat ears.
The AKC recognized Cocker Spaniels in 1878. Spaniels are one of the oldest breed-types, used to flush game.
The Spaniel arrived in England as early as 55 BC, presumably from Spain. Land spaniels would eventually divide further into springers and setters, according to Mycockerspaniel.com.
Springing spaniels produced three size variations of prized gundogs from the large Springer Spaniel to the Cocker Spaniel with the Sussex in between. Cocker Spaniels developed a specialty for hunting Woodcock.
American Cocker Spaniels, similarly to German shepherds, were developed mainly as show dogs but had differences specific for hunting American Woodcocks in contrast to the Eurasian Woodcock.
What is the possible appearance of a Frenchie Cocker Spaniel mix?
French Bulldogs are 12 inches tall and weigh up to 28 pounds. They look like miniature Bulldogs but have erect bat ears and a rounder head.
Their bodies are low-slung but compact with dwarfed legs, a greatly shortened and broad muzzle, and a short sometimes screw tail.
French Bulldogs have a wide range of colors, both standard and rare. Although breeders may charge high prices for unusual colors, they are often not recognized by the AKC.
Standard colors for a French Bulldog include brindle, fawn, white, cream, and fawn. Unusual and highly-sought colors are black and tan, solid black, black and white, blue, and lilac.
Cocker Spaniel colors are almost too numerous to name. Standard colors include black, brown, black and white, black and tan, buff, red, brown and tan, brown, white, and tan, and brown roan, among others. The AKC sites as nonstandard colors such as cream, blue roan, red roan, sable, and blue roan and tan.
The Cocker Spaniel is in stark contrast with the French Bulldog, similar in size but with a refined head and proportionately-built, muscular but slender body. Many Cocker owners dock their dogs' tail to stay true to tradition.
Your French Cocker Spaniel will likely be gray or black with tufts of white hair, brown, brindle, black, and tan, or fawn. He may have a bobtail or one that does not quite reach the hocks.
Expect more refinement in your mixed dog's head and a longer muzzle than a purebred Frenchie's. He may have large bat ears, but more likely will have medium ears that drop along his face.
Your French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel mix will have shortened legs, a powerful neck, and a relatively deep chest for his size. He will likely stand about 13 inches tall and weigh 25 to 30 pounds.
This video illustrates that unlike some other hybrid dogs, French Bulldog Cocker Spaniels do not have a particularly distinctive appearance
This mix has a refined head that retains the furrows in the brow characteristic of a Frenchie. Note the relatively short legs, brown color with a black mask, square-shaped ears, smooth coat, and rather long tail.
Will you have to groom your dog like a Cocker Spaniel?
French Bulldogs have a short coat with a minimal undercoat most of the time. Some Frenchies do not have any underfur.
Cocker Spaniels have medium to long silky hair with a soft undercoat. A show dog is popular for her luxurious flowing hair. However, people who have pet Cockers often shave them short all over, sometimes leaving long hair on the ears and legs.
Your French Cocker Spaniel may inherit a short or long-medium coat. More than likely, your hybrid's coat will be longer than a French Bulldogs with slight waves.
You should brush your French Bulldog mix's coat twice or three times a week. Her hair likely will not mat like a Cocker's but may collect dirt.
Bathe your dog every six to eight weeks, taking advantage of that time to clip her nails. You should check your dog's ears every week for any signs of infection, especially if they hang.
Will your dog have specific health issues?
While mixes do not typically struggle with quite as many health problems as their parent breeds, they inherit the more common maladies.
French Bulldog Cocker Spaniels most often fight patellar luxation, eye problems, hip dysplasia, autoimmune disorders, seborrhea, breathing abnormalities, and hypothyroidism.
French Bulldogs live 10 to 12 years while Cocker Spaniels live 11 to 14 years. Your French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel mix could reasonably live 12 or 13 years.
Common in the toy and miniature breeds, a luxating patella means the knee cap easily pops out of place rather than glide seamlessly in its groove.
It is common in Frenchies who have a malformation of their joint connections due to dwarfism. Cocker Spaniels are often born with the condition. Luxating patellas can be hereditary in your French Bulldog hybrid.
Unfortunately, hip dysplasia is common in Frenchies and Cockers, making it a possible hereditary problem of your mixed-breed dog.
Your French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel mix could inherit protruding eyes from either parent, leaving these structures vulnerable to scratches and other injuries.
As Petcarex reports, Cocker Spaniels are prone to cataracts and glaucoma and can pass these to any offspring.
Mostly affecting American Cocker Spaniels, primary seborrhea affects the skin to produce excess scaling and greasiness, leading to longterm inflammation.
French Bulldogs can inherit congenital hypothyroidism as a recessive trait, but it is rare. Hypothyroidism is more common in Cocker Spaniels.
If your mix inherits adult-onset hypothyroidism, she will need thyroid supplementation to avoid skin problems and other health issues.
Hopefully, your mixed dog will not inherit the entire complex of respiratory difficulties from his French Bulldog parent. Still, you may notice slight snoring, snuffling, and exercise intolerance if your dog's face has moderate shortening.
What is your dog's guarding potential?
French Bulldogs are very friendly to everyone but may make good watchdogs if they warn you of the approach of strangers. Many Frenchies, however, are not alarmists, seeking affection indiscriminately.
Cocker Spaniels, as opposed to Frenchies, are excellent watchdogs. Some Cockers may bark excessively.
A few family lines of Spaniels display a phenomenon known as Cocker Rage Syndrome, whereby the dog attacks unexpectedly.
Although the syndrome gained Cocker Spaniels a reputation for unprovoked aggression and perhaps affected their popularity, Cocker Rage appears in other breeds and could be a seizure disorder according to Doglistener.co.uk.
Your French Bulldog Cocker mix should be an effective watchdog, warning you of guests and unwelcome visitors alike.
However, French Cocker Spaniels are friendly and not afraid to seek affection from anyone. You must be vigilant about socialization, so your puppy does not develop timidity and fear-biting.
Do French Cocker mixes do well with other animals?
French Bulldogs naturally get along with other animals. You must supervise them with large dogs, so they do not become victims of bullying or serious injury.
If you socialize them well and introduce them slowly, Cocker Spaniels are amiable around other animals, especially dogs. They are also small and need monitoring around big dogs, even Labradors, and German Shepherds.
The French Bulldog Cocker Spaniel mix is a friendly dog and when socialized enjoys the company of other animals. They like their people best, though, and prefer being the center of attention.
You should watch your Frenchie Cocker mix around tiny animals and birds as their ancestors do have a background in flushing and ratting.
How much exercise does your dog need?
French Bulldogs are exercise intolerant because of their extremely shortened muzzles and dwarfed limbs, but they still require low to moderate daily exercise to avoid obesity. Thirty to 45 minutes a day is a good rule of thumb divided into multiple sessions.
Cocker Spaniels do best with moderate exercise, usually about 45 to 60 minutes a day. They do not require the strenuous workouts that some other breeds do but should receive plenty of socialization and mental stimulation.
French Bulldog Cocker mixes should receive 35 to 50 minutes of exercise daily. You will have to gauge how many sessions your dog needs and how much you need to restrict him based on how short his muzzle is.
Make sure to supply sufficient mental stimulation and physical activities to prevent boredom and provide appropriate socialization.
How smart will your dog be?
French Bulldogs are not ranked very high in working intelligence or obedience, but most owners appreciate how adaptive they are. French Bulldogs also tend to react positively and appropriately to their environment.
According to Dogbreedslist.info, Cocker Spaniels are excellent working dogs, ranking No. 20 in intelligence out of 137 breeds.
How trainable and obedient your French Bulldog-Cocker Spaniel is depended on which traits she most inherits from her parents.
Frenchies are renowned performers, but they also can have quite a stubborn streak. Cocker Spaniels are eager to please but can have dominant issues or become oversensitive if training does not occur during the critical socialization period between 10 and 16 weeks old.
Will your dog be a good family pet?
Cocker Spaniels make great family companions, especially if you work on socializing them and avoid potential psychoses in certain family lines.
As the smallest members of the sporting group, Cocker Spaniels have a steady temperament and a friendly nature. They bond with all household members.
Frenchies, bred mainly as companion dogs, are enthusiastic and friendly. They bond to all members of your family, showing a loving and clownish personality.
Your Frenchie Cocker mix will be affectionate and steadfast, requiring almost constant attention.
French Bulldogs do well with children as they do with everyone else, but they can become vulnerable if kids hang or lay on them.
Cocker Spaniels can be nippy around children if they come from unreputable breeding practices. Otherwise, Cockers are gentle with kids.
Keep your Frenchie-Cocker away from toddlers unsupervised, but otherwise, she will be a great playmate for your children.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.