Prior to the 19th century, cocker spaniels were used mainly as hunting dogs. However, in 1878, they were named as an official breed. Cocker spaniels have a strong affinity for finding woodcock birds, and they are smaller in size than the traditional spaniel.
In the USA, two varieties of cocker spaniels can be found: the American and the English spaniel. They are both identical, but the English version tends to be slightly taller with a bit of difference in their coat.
In 1940, the English cocker spaniel gained popularity when a cocker spaniel named Brucie won the Westminster Dog Show twice. They might have been bred for hunting purposes, but now they revel in belly rubs and enjoy living and playing with humans!
These are moderately sized dogs; the male cocker spaniel puppies are 15 inches tall, whereas their female counterparts are 14 inches tall. They do not weigh more than 30 pounds, but they will eat more than necessary if you do not supervise their intake.
They have a thick, soft, and wavy coat which can be in black, red, white, and brown color patterns.
They have an extremely affectionate face, and the term puppy-dog eyes was inspired by these cocker spaniels’ big, dreamy, brown eyes. Because of their good looks, these dogs require regular maintenance and grooming to keep their long, flowing coat healthy.
The cocker spaniel is an intelligent breed. They are incredibly loyal; they will follow you all around the room to show their affection at times. They used to be hunting dogs, but now they love being around humans at home.
They enjoy doing whatever they can with their humans, be it snuggling on the couch, running around in the yard, or just lying beside their owners. They might be a bit hesitant at first, but once you develop a bond with them, they become your best friends. If you train these dogs well, they can settle well with other dogs and cats in your home as well.
But do remember, as mentioned earlier, that they love hunting birds. Hence, having a bird in your house with a cocker spaniel is not a wise decision. You will find your cocker spaniel to be ready to play at all times. They are highly treat-motivated and they love to learn new tricks. They can also be mischievous if you do not pay them enough attention.
Due to their nature, these dogs are people-oriented, so they will like to be around you as much as possible. They enjoy being a part of the family and they love it when they are included in joint activities.
They do not like to be left alone for long hours. They will often start barking, breaking things, or chewing on furniture in order to seek attention. If they are left unattended outdoors for a longer period of time, they will probably start to dig in the ground. If you are someone who spends most of their time outdoors or you are not at home very much, this won’t be an ideal breed for you.
Although they love snuggling with their humans, they also need plenty of exercise every day. You will need to take out time from your schedule to take the cocker spaniel puppy for a walk for at least 30 minutes twice a day.
In addition, they will also want free time to play fetch as well. Exercise is vital for your dog as it prevents them from getting overweight and keeps them healthy. You can also enroll your dog in obedience and agility classes to channel their energy correctly.
Before bringing a cocker spaniel dog home, be aware that they will require constant grooming. They need regular haircuts, trimming, and bathing to look their best. Every six to eight weeks, you will need to take your dog for a grooming session.
In between the grooming sessions, they will also require plenty of brushing at home. You can buy a high-quality dog comb to brush them regularly. This is done to prevent their long coat from getting tangled.
Additionally, you also need to wipe their ears weekly to prevent ear infections. If this is a commitment that seems a bit too much for you, then it is better to opt for a low-maintenance breed instead of this one.
These dogs make excellent therapy dogs due to their loving and gentle nature. They are very versatile and can be trained easily. They can follow their owners’ commands and learn tricks as well to please their humans. You need to be patient and consistent in your training methods.
The easiest way to treat them is by using food-based training, as this is a strong motivating factor. Since these dogs are susceptible to tone, if you use a harsh tone to train them, they may not respond favorably. But they love challenges, so teaching them diverse activities can be very stimulating and rewarding for them.
You will also have to potty train them as they might pee or poop inside your house when excited or nervous. If you will use positive reinforcement and train them patiently to poop at the desired place, they will quickly learn and adapt.
The lifespan of a cocker spaniel is between 10 and 15 years, but this can vary depending on health and other factors. There are some health problems that these dogs face, such as allergies and chronic ear infections. They can get allergies from foods such as soy milk and eggs. It’s best to check with your vet about a proper diet for your dog.
They might also gain a lot of weight as they tend to eat more than they should. Due to an increase in their weight, they will probably become lazy, demotivated and their health is likely to decline over time. These dogs are also prone to heart, liver, or even kidney failure. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your dog, immediately take them to the vet without delay.
Whether you adopt a puppy or buy them from a breeder is a personal choice that requires research. There are many resources available online through which you can search for reputable breeders.
Getting a cocker spaniel puppy can be extremely rewarding for you, and they will remain loyal to you all their life if you treat them right. The most important factor before getting a dog is knowing that you are in it for the long haul. Once you’ve made the decision, whether you choose to adopt or buy, you will be responsible for their health and upkeep. They will reward you with endless amounts of love!