cocker spaniel

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With their history as hunting dogs in the 1400's, the spaniel eventually split into land and water dogs. Cocker Spaniels are primarily used on land hunting trips.

Cocker Spaniels come in a variety of colors, although the breed is fairly small. They took advantage of this small size as hunting dogs or retrievers (as their history since the 1400's will attest). Not to be mistaken for the English Cocker Spaniel, this dog has been a separate breed since the 1940s.

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Noble and well-loved, this breed is often more groomed than most owners realize.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Cocker Spaniel

advantage! shortcoming!
COMPANION-CENTRIC BREED: This bird dog is just as happy when it's relaxing on its owner's lap as it is when it's out hunting season. Many health issues: Even with the best diet and natural longevity, you will still have to spend a lot of money and time on veterinary care to screen for genetic problems.
Small Space Needed: Because you won't be taking this puppy outside for more than 30 minutes a day, they're great for living in close quarters of apartment space. Tremendous Grooming Needs: This Spaniel's beautiful coat can be quite a chore to maintain, an issue most owners don't realize when they first adopt the breed.
Intelligent: Although this breed is a bit sensitive, proper training makes them very pleasant to be around. Potentially Aggressive: Train and treat dog with care. Being too firm or angry with him could lead to barking or even biting.
cocker spaniel 1
Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs.

©iStock.com/Jess Wealleans

size and weight

Known as the smallest breed in the sporting group, the Longhaired Cocker Spaniel measures 14-15 inches in average height from feet to top of shoulders. Males can reach a maximum of 17 inches, while females generally do not exceed 16 inches. Women tend to be slightly smaller, which can help with weight loss. Once fully grown, this breed can weigh up to 24-28 pounds, with males usually being heavier due to their larger size.



While the breed typically lives to be around 15 years old, with ideal care the longest lived are over 22 years old.

Height (male): 15-17 inches tall
Height (female): 14-16 inches tall
Weight (male): 24-28 lbs, fully grown
Weight (female): 24-48 lbs, fully ground

common health problems

Although spaniels have many wonderful attributes, one of the biggest problems with the breed is their health. Every animal has some health issues to consider, but the right breeder can make a big difference.

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Cocker Spaniel Health and Recreation

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The biggest health issues this breed faces are related to their eyes, including progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, luxated patellas, and glaucoma. Just like pit bulls, cherry eye is a major problem, as are allergies and congestive heart failure. An exam with a veterinarian can screen your dog for problems with his hips, knees, thyroid, and eyes. While the dog is at risk for anemia, you can have a DNA test to determine if they are at risk due to a phosphofructokinase deficiency.

Gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia, and seizures are also issues this pup should be screened for. While problems such as hip dysplasia may be a risk, you can check with a breeder to see if it's passed down through the mother. In general, the breed is also at risk for liver problems, urinary stones, cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism. Despite the challenges, a healthy Cocker Spaniel can live up to 15 years.

Ultimately, the major health concerns in this breed are:

  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • cataract
  • Patella luxation
  • glaucoma
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • gastric torsion
  • epilepsy
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • eversion
  • Urinary stones
  • Hypothyroidism
  • cherry eye
  • liver disease
  • congestive heart failure
  • anemia
  • Allergy

Temperament and Behavior

The Cocker Spaniel's lovable and affectionate personality is the main reason it is so famous. While early socialization is easily the best way to protect this instinct, this breed tends to be very sensitive to its surroundings. They love to cuddle with their family, though they can also get very playful and active. Originally bred as a bird dog, taking this dog on a hunting trip can be a positive experience for both of you.

Although the main characteristic of this breed is their adoration of their family, it can be very sensitive. Harsh treatment or scolding will not result in positive behavior. Instead, fear and pain are often communicated by yelling at the person who treated them in this way. The breed tends to be intelligent in general, but proper training in their manners is essential to bring out their good side.

How to Care for a Cocker Spaniel

Caring for a Cocker Spaniel requires special attention to their needs. Even as a puppy, he must be properly groomed and fed a healthy diet in order to thrive. There are many health issues to be aware of with this pet, mostly the result of careless care at their origin. Below are several important factors that affect the health of this dog breed.

Maintenance and Grooming

Moderately shedding, this breed must be cared for properly to maintain its regal appearance. Their thick coat requires regular grooming to bring out the beautiful colors of their red, brown, light cream or black coat. Grooming this breed is labor-intensive and expensive, which is why most owners outsource the job to professionals. Trimming, bathing and brushing of this dog should be done every six to eight weeks, adding to the amount of money you have to spend on the right professional. Even with such care, daily brushing at home is necessary to avoid mats. If you are not ready for the many grooming needs of this dog breed, you may want to look elsewhere.

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To get your dog more comfortable with grooming, you should start the process relatively early. With this access, he will stand confidently and calmly during all cutting, brushing, cleaning and other processes related to his coat.

train

These dogs tend to be easy to train, which makes them very attractive among novice dog owners. They are especially adept at show field training, executing obedience and agility challenges flawlessly. However, this is part of the reason you need gentle training – this breed can become fearful of its owner if harsher methods are used. Be consistent and train with kind hands.

exercise

Since spaniels tend to be quite active, the breed will enjoy almost any physical activity, even if you're just taking them on a short, brisk walk. 30 minutes outside should be enough for this breed. With minimal exercise needs, Cocker Spaniels tend to be good dogs for apartment living. They don't need a lot of space, and the space they do need is easy for a walk or a trip to the dog area.

puppy

The main issue with adopting a puppy is the pet's socialization and grooming adjustments. Puppies need to be groomed early on to get them used to the extensive maintenance required to keep their coat healthy. Because these dogs are so sensitive, it's important to train the puppy to obey certain commands to avoid confusion. Always train gently and kindly to enhance the breed's lovable temperament.

If you choose to purchase a puppy from your local breeder, ask for proof that the parents were tested for hip dysplasia and other problems. With proper research, these concerns can usually be avoided. Given their long lifespan, addressing health issues while they are young is a positive way to keep this breed healthy.

Cocker Spaniels make great apartment dogs.

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Best Dog Food for Cocker Spaniels

These dogs need to have a diet that includes at least 1.5 cups of high-quality dog food per day, although they may eat as much as 2.5 cups. Therefore, ROYAL CANIN Cocker Spaniel Adult Dry Dog Food is highly recommended.
They have large appetites but a high likelihood of obesity. To avoid being on a diet, don't give in to their doting stares for more food.

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The exact amount your dog eats depends on their age, activity level, and other factors. If your pup likes to spend more time with physical activity, they're probably on the higher end of the range.

cocker spaniel and kids

If you choose this breed, part of the appeal is the way they bond with family members, especially children. However, if the dog was raised with young children from puppyhood, you stand a better chance of developing a positive relationship with the children in your family. Because Cocker Spaniels are very sensitive, it is necessary to teach your children to handle and interact with puppies properly. They won't take kindly to any family member who is lazy with them.

Cocker Spaniel Similar Dog Breeds

Several similar breeds have copied many of the Cocker Spaniel's beloved characteristics, including the American Water Spaniel, King Charles Cavalier, and English Cocker Spaniel.

  • American Water Spaniel: The American Water Spaniel originally came from Wisconsin and Minnesota as a breed that could catch waterfowl during hunting season.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: This breed has been in Europe for at least 600 years.
  • English Cocker Spaniel: Part of the sporting breed, this variety was originally bred to hunt woodcock.

famous cocker spaniel

Cocker Spaniels have a beautiful, dignified and friendly demeanor that makes them ideal for movies and celebrities in movies. Some of the most famous Cocker Spaniels in history include:

  • President Nixon and his family had a cocker spaniel named Checkers who lived to be 13 years old.
  • George Clooney adopted a cocker spaniel named Einstein from the shelter when he was five, leading the actor and wife to adopt more shelter animals.
  • Elton John's dog Arthur has joined the musician on numerous red carpet appearances.
  • Perhaps the most famous cocker spaniel of all time isn't actually real. The lady from the Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp" is one of them too!

Here are some popular names for the beloved Cocker Spaniel:

  • Miss
  • Duchess
  • lucky
  • king
  • penny

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This breed comes from the sporting group, although they are often used as bird dogs. They are great in families, although they are slightly less patient with children. Their colors are mainly gold and white, giving people a noble and friendly feeling. Even though they're small, they're incredibly loud.

Most males reach 28 lbs. in their 15" tall frame. Women, on the other hand, are usually about 14 inches tall and weigh only 25 pounds.

The Cocker Spaniel has a round head with wavy fur on the ears. It is usually at least a foot tall and sports long, soft golden fur.

Mostly right. They love children, other pets, and elderly companions.

While this dog sheds hair, the amount varies from dog to dog.

Yes. Due to its intelligence, this breed is easy to train.

Yes. These dogs like to be very affectionate with their family members.

The typical cost for a breeder to adopt a purebred Cocker Spaniel is between $800 and $2,000, but it depends on their pedigree and proof of purebred genetics. Adopting from a rescue costs much less, between $200 and $350. While this breed isn't common in shelters, you can get one for rock-bottom prices at one of these facilities, usually under $100. In addition to the initial price, your first year of vaccinations, veterinary feed, food, etc. will cost approximately $2,530. The monthly fee is usually at least $100.

Yes. This breed is very loving, but especially young children who are still learning how to behave properly around dogs should be supervised.

The average lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel is 12-15 years.

The average weight for this breed is 11 to 13 kilograms, or 24 to 28 pounds. Females are usually a little lighter than males due to their smaller size.