Colours and Markings

Coat colours in English Cocker Spaniels are either one of a variety of base colours termed Solid or a mixture of a solid colour and White - called Particolour.

Markings are usually limited to Roaning or Ticking but further variations have been recorded.

The naming of the colours themselves depends on the local fashion of the era and purpose, for example, a Working dogs "Liver" colour may be a Show dogs "Chocolate" and a European "Golden" will be an American "Buff".

The current FCI Standard diplomatically describes the coat colour as Various.

Solid (or Self):

Black, Liver, Red, Golden, Sable or White* coloured dogs. In consideration of the gundog based evolution of the breed, the Breed Standard allows for a small show of white colour, but only on the chest of the non white varieties of solid colours.

* Whites have an association with deafness and therefore rarely bred.

Black Dark Golden Light Golden

Skin pigmentation variation (Black or Brown) will affect areas including the nose, eye rims, lips and foot pads. Variations are Black, Liver with brown pigmentation, Red with black pigmentation, Red with brown pigmentation (unusual), Golden with black pigmentation and Golden with brown pigmentation (rare).

Solid and Tan:

A variation where a tan mask and trim are displayed in the coat. So you can have a Black and Tan, Liver and Tan, Red and Tan, Golden and Tan, White and Tan.

Black and Tan Liver and Tan


Here we more variation in the coat colouring. The Particolour varieties are Roan, Particolour and White and Particolour and White with Ticking.

Dogs with roaning or ticking are born with clear, open white markings which fill in with flecking in the subsequent weeks and continue to darken with age. The soles of newly born particolour pups tend to look similar; however after ten days to a few weeks they gradually develop pigmentation patterns which are characteristic of roaning or ticking. The adult soles of the feet of roans are always fully pigmented, while a ticked dog will have definite areas of black/brown and white/pink. Usually in adult roans, the roof of the mouth will tend to be wholly pigmented.


Is defined generally as an even mixture of white and pigmented hairs that do not fade as the animal ages. In dogs, roan manifests itself only in unpigmented areas, the presence and shape of which are determined by other genes.

Varieties of Roan are Blue Roan, Liver Roan, Orange Roan and Lemon Roan and there are Darker and Lighter versions of this colouring effect.

Dark Blue Roan Light Blue Roan Orange Roan
Dark Liver Roan Light Liver Roan  

Particolour and White:

A mixture of most solid colours and White, so the varieties are Black and White, Liver and White, Orange and White and Lemon and White.

Particolour and White with Ticking:

Usually defined as clearly-defined flecks on a white background where as in roaning the flecks are so closely-spaced that the mixture appears even. Variations are Black & White (ticked with flecks of black), Liver & White (ticked with flecks of brown), Orange & White (ticked with flecks of orange) and Lemon & White (ticked with flecks of lemon).

Particolour and Tan (Tricolour):

A tan mask and trim added to the above Particolour varieties.

Black, White and Tan

A plea to Members! - Please submit pictures of your coloured Cockers so we may display the full range of colour variation of the breed. If abroad at a show and taking pictures, please ask the owners of the rarer colours if our Club may display their dogs picture as an example. If you have pictures to submit please click here marking the email subject as "Breed Colour Example". Pictures should be side on display if possible. This page is only as good as we make it, so please take those "snaps"! Thank you.


Founded in 1929. The parent Club of the English Cocker Spaniel breed in Ireland.

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