Cocker Spaniel Glossary: Parti-color (Coat Color)

In the realm of Cocker Spaniels, “Parti-color” refers to a coat that boasts two or more solid colors, where one is always white. This multi-colored pattern gives the Cocker Spaniel a distinctive and vibrant appearance, often making each parti-color individual unique in their color distribution.


  • Parti-color represents a coat with two or more colors in Cocker Spaniels.
  • White is always one of the colors in the combination.
  • Patterns can vary widely, making each parti-color Cocker Spaniel unique.
  • Common combinations include black and white, liver and white, or tri-color (black, white, and tan or liver, white, and tan).
parti-colour cocker spaniel
Common combinations include black and white, liver and white, or tri-color.

A Deeper Look at the Parti-color Coat Colour

The parti-color coat is a delightful display of the diverse genetic palette of the Cocker Spaniel breed. Originating from the interplay of various genes, the parti-color pattern can be as unpredictable as it is beautiful. While the base white color remains consistent, the distribution, size, and shape of the colored patches can vary significantly from one dog to another.

In breed standards, parti-color Cocker Spaniels are just as recognized and cherished as their solid-colored counterparts. However, the variability in their patterns can sometimes make them particularly sought-after, especially for those looking for unique coat markings.

Distinguishing Parti-color from Other Coat Colors

While solid colors, as the name suggests, present a uniform hue across the coat, parti-colors show a stark contrast between white and the other colors present. This contrast, coupled with the unpredictable nature of the patterns, makes parti-color Cocker Spaniels easily distinguishable from solid or even roan-colored ones.

Examples of Parti-color Variations in Cocker Spaniels

  • Black and White: White base with black patches distributed across the body. The size, shape, and location of black patches can vary.
  • Liver and White: White base adorned with liver-colored (deep brown) patches.
  • Tri-color: Typically a white base with patches of black and liver or black and tan. Another variation includes white, liver, and tan.
  • Sable and White: White base with patches showing the multi-tonal sable pattern, where hairs have different shades along their length.

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