A Cocker Spaniel can be disarmingly adorable with their long, flowing locks, but buried beneath this glamorous exterior is the heart of a hunter. This pint-sized hunting dog may not look the part, but they’ve been loyal gundogs for hundreds, or possibly thousands of years.
While they have a history as being relentlessly reliable sporting dogs, Cocker Spaniels are also excellent companions. Their merry personalities and affection for humans make them wonderful family pets. Add to that their big, sweet eyes and love of adventure, and it’s easy to see why these sturdy little dogs are so popular.
TemperamentA typical Cocker Spaniel has a lively, happy-go-lucky personality. They tend to get along well with both dogs and humans, but have a special affinity for their owners and family members. This makes them great family dogs for households that have children, the elderly, or even other animals. While most Cocker Spaniels are generally calm and gentle dogs, they’re also not lap dogs or couch potatoes. A happy Cocker Spaniel will want to be next to you and play with you constantly, demanding attention with their puppy dog eyes. They’re eager to please and they love to see you smile. Cocker Spaniels form deep attachments to their owners, and they’re sensitive to the moods and emotions of their family members. Some Cocker Spaniels can actually be trained to be therapy dogs.
The Ultimate Guide to Cocker Spaniel
While the name “Spaniel” immediately conjures up a connection to Spain, the origins of the Cocker Spaniel are not so clear-cut. It’s theorized that Spaniel-type dogs were around as far back as the Romans, who would have used them for much of the same type of work that they do even now. This would have involved hunting birds and other forms of game in conjunction with their masters. For hundreds of years, Spaniels served their masters loyally. However, there was no standardized notion of what a Spaniel actually was – it took until the 19th century for breeders to begin classifying the Spaniel. Eventually, Spaniels that were used to hunt woodcocks came to be named Cocker Spaniels. The late 19th century spawned a number of Spaniel clubs in America, and these remain some of the oldest dog breeder clubs in the country. By the early 20th century, breeders had created a smaller variant of the Cocker Spaniel, and that is the modern Cocker Spaniel we know and love today. The breed’s popularity has been helped by its appearance in movies and popular culture, such as in the Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp”.
Key Characteristics of Cocker Spaniel
A typical Cocker Spaniel has a lively, happy-go-lucky personality. They tend to get along well with both dogs and humans, but have a special affinity for their owners and family members. This makes them great family dogs for households that have children, the elderly, or even other animals.
While most Cocker Spaniels are generally calm and gentle dogs, they’re also not lap dogs or couch potatoes. A happy Cocker Spaniel will want to be next to you and play with you constantly, demanding attention with their puppy dog eyes.
They’re eager to please and they love to see you smile. Cocker Spaniels form deep attachments to their owners, and they’re sensitive to the moods and emotions of their family members. Some Cocker Spaniels can actually be trained to be therapy dogs.
As a hunting dog with a long lineage, Cocker Spaniels are relatively high-energy dogs for their size. While they don’t need vigorous workouts on the level of bigger breeds, they still benefit from regular exercise. Cocker Spaniels are well-built and sturdy dogs underneath their flowing locks.
Daily walks can be enough for a Cocker Spaniel, so long as they get enough time to release all their energy. Around an hour of exercise per day is advisable, or else a Cocker Spaniel may get bored and restless. Some Cocker Spaniels may need additional play and exercise time, depending on their individual energy levels.
Cocker Spaniels are also smart enough to do well in agility, obedience, and other dog sports. This intelligence can mean that your Cocker Spaniel may get bored easily, so dog puzzles and toys are a must to keep them entertained.
|Cocker Spaniel Grooming||
The daily maintenance and grooming required for a Cocker Spaniel is probably the most time-consuming aspect of owning one. They have a long coat of hair that is thick and full. Unlike other dogs that have fur, the Cocker Spaniel’s hair is similar to that of a human.
As a result, their hair needs to be clipped periodically to maintain its length, as when left unattended it may grow all the way down to the floor. Their long, flowing locks can easily get tangled and matted if not brushed out regularly. Expect to have to brush your Cocker Spaniel daily to keep their coat healthy.
Cocker Spaniels are also prone to tear stains as a result of their large eyes, so cleaning around your Cocker Spaniel’s face and eyes will need to be done regularly. You can either use a damp towel or pet wipe, or a tear stain formula to get rid of the tear stains. A veterinarian may have specific recommendations if your Cocker Spaniel has tear stains that don’t wipe away.
Bathing your Cocker Spaniel doesn’t need to happen too often, and most owners find that a bath every two to three months is enough. If you do bathe your Cocker Spaniel, use dog-specific shampoo to prevent the skin from losing its natural oils. Drying your Cocker Spaniel must also be done carefully, as their ears must be dried properly to prevent bacterial infections.
You should also brush your Cocker Spaniel’s teeth daily, or at least every other day, to prevent tooth and gum diseases. Nail trimming can be done around once a month, depending on how much your Cocker Spaniel wears down their nails.
|Cocker Spaniel Training||
Cocker Spaniels are smart dogs, and can catch on to training very quickly. They’re people pleasers and love to receive praise and treats. However, they are also sensitive to their trainer’s emotions and do not respond well to harsh punishment. Some Cocker Spaniels may shut down or become uncooperative when their trainer gets frustrated or angry.
As a result, the best approach is to adopt positive reinforcement for your training. Training your Cocker Spaniel is easier when they’re excited and happy to engage in your training sessions. Treats, praise, play, or some other form of positive cue is usually all that’s needed to get your Cocker Spaniel ready to learn.
Because Cocker Spaniels are born to hunt, they’re able to perform complicated or complex commands with a little bit of patience. This type of advanced training also serves as mental stimulation for your dog, keeping them entertained and challenged.
|Cocker Spaniel Lifespan And Health Issues||
Cocker Spaniels are generally healthy, with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. Cocker Spaniels may be prone to:
|Cocker Spaniel Size and space Requirements||
Cocker Spaniels are a small breed, with males weighing in 25 to 30 pounds, and females weighing 20 to 25 pounds. Most Cocker Spaniel males will stand between 14.5 and 15.5 inches at the shoulder, while females will be 13.5 to 14.5 inches tall.
The Cocker Spaniel is an adaptable dog that can thrive in homes of almost any size. They aren’t so energetic that they need a dedicated outdoor space of their own, but they will appreciate being able to go to dog parks or forest trails to run.
Most Cocker Spaniels are small enough to be able to live indoors, and that’s generally where they should be. Cocker Spaniels do not do well when left alone for long periods of time, and they need to be involved in most family activities. They are also not hardy enough to live outdoors, as their coat does not give them a great deal of protection against the elements.
- As a hunting dog, Cocker Spaniels may chase smaller prey animals without warning, so keep your Cocker Spaniel on a leash when going outdoors.
- Even well-bred Cocker Spaniels may exhibit submissive urination.
- Cocker Spaniels may be vocal when strangers approach their property, but are not suited to being guard dogs due to their lack of aggression.
How can I take good care of my Cocker Spaniel or Puppy?
Cocker Spaniels tend to have a very soft and gentle personality, which may turn into being timid or withdrawn. Socializing your Cocker Spaniel puppy is important to prevent them from becoming too sensitive to external stimuli. The period between 8 to 12 weeks is a critical time when your Cocker Spaniel will be especially receptive to new experiences, so it’s a good time to start.
Because Cocker Spaniels are a small breed, it’s important to get them high-quality, premium dog food. Small breed specific dog food is usually a good choice for a Cocker Spaniel. Alternatively, you can get Cocker Spaniel-specific dog food, which is specially formulated for their needs. Your veterinarian may have more specific recommendations for your Cocker Spaniel depending on their health and activity level.
Upon bringing home your Cocker Spaniel puppy, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian and ask for their advice regarding when to bring the dog in for vaccinations. Cocker Spaniel puppies will have a couple of rounds of vaccinations in the first few weeks or months with you. Following the vaccine schedule your veterinarian gives you will ensure that your puppy is protected and resistant to common dog illnesses.
Most Asked Cocker Spaniel Questions
+How Much do Cocker Spaniel Puppies Cost
Most Cocker Spaniel puppies for sale will cost between $800 and $2000. Cocker Spaniels must go through a number of health checks and genetic tests before an ethical breeder releases the puppies to their new owners. Only get Cocker Spaniel puppies from responsible breeders to give your Cocker Spaniel the best chance of success in life.