Cocker Spaniel Glossary: Leathers

What are Leathers?

In the context of Cocker Spaniel ear characteristics, “leathers” refer to the actual ear flap or the pendulous part of the ear. It’s the skin and cartilage part that hangs down from the side of the head, to which the distinct feathering is attached. The term is often used to describe the thickness, length, and overall feel of the ear flap. For Cocker Spaniels, the leathers are usually long, broad, and velvety to touch, making them one of the breed’s distinctive features.


  • Refers to the actual ear flap or pendulous part of the ear.
  • Used to describe the ear’s thickness, length, and texture.
  • Cocker Spaniels have long, broad, and velvety leathers.
  • The base for the breed’s iconic feathering.

A Deeper Look: Leathers

The term “leathers” hails from a time when the texture and feel of a Cocker Spaniel’s ear were likened to well-worn leather. The leathers play a significant role in giving the Cocker Spaniel its distinctive appearance, especially when combined with the luxurious feathering that grows from them.

Historically, the length and thickness of the leathers might have had functional purposes. The broad and long leathers could have aided in channeling sound, helping these dogs pinpoint the location of game during hunting sessions. This would have been especially beneficial for a breed primarily used as gun dogs.

However, the size and shape of the leathers can also predispose Cocker Spaniels to certain ear issues, mainly because the ear canal gets covered, leading to reduced air circulation. This can create a warm, moist environment conducive to infections. Regular cleaning and airing out of the leathers can help in preventing such complications.

Spotlight on Leathers

  • Leathers have a historical connection to the breed’s hunting background, possibly aiding in sound channeling.
  • Their size and shape can predispose the breed to ear-related issues.
  • Regular cleaning and airing are vital to maintain ear health.
  • The velvety texture of the leathers is a distinctive trait of Cocker Spaniels.

Cocker Spaniel Guide is your ultimate resource for everything related to these charming canine companions. Explore breed insights, training tips, health & wellness tips, heartwarming stories, and more, tailored exclusively for cocker spaniel enthusiasts.


    Subscribe to Mailing List
    The best Cocker Spaniel content delivered fresh to your inbox weekly.