Cocker Spaniel: Information And Facts

Looking for reliable Cocker Spaniel information? You'll find all you need to know about this adorable breed here, all in the one place, including information about their temperament, their characteristics, and their health concerns...read on!

The History Of Cocker Spaniels

You may be planning to give a home to a Cocker Spaniel, or you may already own one, but how much do you really know about them?

Beautiful orange rowan cocker spaniel with his tongue out

Cockers were originally from Spain and have been with us for many years, either as willing gun-dogs, faithful companions, or as loving family pets.

These sturdy little gun dogs were given the name 'Cocker' because of the woodcock they were bred to catch.

They have a good nose and it’s this great sense of smell that allows Cockers to flush birds from hedgerows, fields and vegetation so that the hunters (following behind the dogs), could shoot the birds as they emerged.

The Spaniels who were trained to retrieve the birds using a ‘soft mouth’, would then trot off merrily to retrieve the game.

You can learn more about the history of Cockers here and if you'd like to understand the differences between the English and the American Cocker Spaniel, just follow this link.

Cocker Spaniel Information: Temperament

Cocker Spaniels are very gentle and loving, and once you've owned one, I guarantee you won't want to own any other breed of dog!

They’re very affectionate and playful and although they can be reserved with strangers, once they get to know you they’re very friendly and loyal.

They love to bark to let you know that there’s someone coming up the garden path, or there's someone at the door, but if you’re looking for a burglar deterrent, forget it, a Cocker is more likely to lick any intruder into submission!

However, they can sometimes be timid which is why it’s especially important to make sure your puppy gets lots of socialization very early on, and that it continues past his first year – early socialization leads to happy, confident dogs. 

They can also be a little stubborn too, but they're inquisitive and intelligent, and so willing to please - all of which make them very easy to train.

Cockers are exceptional hounds, equally happy as working gun-dogs, as affectionate companions, and as they're especially good with children of all ages, which makes them good family pets.

The Cocker Spaniel temperament is definitely a winner for me!


Cocker Spaniel Information: Characteristics

As you can see from this photo, Cockers are very handsome dogs, with their luxuriously glossy, silky coat and typically long, floppy ears - aren't they just adorable?

Black and white cocker spaniel with golden cocker peeking over other dog's shoulder

Their tails, docked or otherwise, are constantly wagging. In fact, Cockers often wag their tails so enthusiastically that their bottoms wiggle from side to side too! You’ve heard the saying, ‘the tail wagging the dog’.....well, I’m just saying!

...And when they look up at you with those beautiful soulful eyes, who could possibly resist them?

Cocker Spaniel characteristics are so very appealing, but one word of caution - they can sometimes be a little greedy and will eat almost anything on offer - ours certainly does.

Only last week, he (accidentally?) munched his way through an entire box of doggie bones!

They can also put on weight as they grow older so it's advisable to manage their diet carefully.

Cocker Spaniel Health Matters

Most dog breeds have health problems that are specific to their breed and the Cocker is no exception.

Whilst most of the hereditary health problems are gradually being bred out by responsible breeders, there are still some problems that do exist - as with all types of dog – for example:

  • Eye and ear problems;
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Hip dysplasia;
  • Patellar luxation;
  • Auto-immune disease;
  • Allergies.

Please don’t think that your pet is going to get every one of the above, it’s not true. These are simply some of the health problems that he could develop at some point in his lifetime.

If you own, or are planning to own this wonderful breed, you can learn more about their health concerns by following this link.

Cocker Spaniel Information: Coat Colors

Cocker Spaniels have medium to long coats which may be straight or wavy and feel very silky to the touch.  They have feathers on their legs, chest, and underbelly.

Six black and tan cocker spaniel puppies in a briefcase

Their coats come in beautiful solid colors such as, golden, red, chocolate (liver), or black, black and tan, liver and tan, and parti-colors for example, orange and white, liver and white, lemon and white, and black and white.

Then there’s the tri-colours, black, white and tan; and liver, white and tan.

Roan markings are probably one of my favorites, especially the blue roan. Other colors include, orange roan, liver roan, lemon roan, blue roan and tan, liver roan and tan.

Patterns and markings may be present, and a little white at the chest and throat, or tan markings, for example, on the eyebrows, throat or feet.

Thankfully, their coats don’t shed too much, but they do need a little care and maintenance.

Grooming and On-going Maintenance

Cocker's coats need to be brushed every day after they’ve been romping in fields and shrubbery, but if they’re only walked in the park or around town, you’ll probably get away with brushing them once a week.

Their ears however, will probably need to be brushed twice or more each week to keep them silky and tat-free. Extra care should be taken to brush under the ears as that's where it tends to mat the most.

There are other 'routine checks' that I'd recommend you add into their grooming sessions, such as nail clipping and checking their teeth, and if you'd like more information about grooming Cocker Spaniels, follow this link.

Bath-Time

You can bath your dog once a month or every three months, depending on what he gets up to and so long as he doesn’t roll in anything nasty.

I give Max the sniff test – if he smells bad, I bath him. If he just smells of warm ‘doggie’ I’m happy to leave him for a little while longer.

Cocker Spaniel Information: Ears

Their ears should be cleaned once a week to ensure bacteria is kept to a minimum and infection is avoided.

I keep the hair around the entrance to the ear canal trimmed very short to allow air to circulate and because bacteria thrives in warm damp places, this helps to keep bacteria in check.

Cocker Spaniel Information: Eyes

Their eyes needs to be cleaned regularly too.

I check Max’s eyes most days and if there’s any ‘gunk’ in the corners, I remove it with a damp soft tissue to prevent irritation or infection.

When cleaning your dog's eyes, always remember to use a separate tissue for each eye to prevent cross infection.

Cocker Spaniel Information: Exercise

Cockers are energetic dogs and love nothing more than a long brisk walk or a run in the park. Keep him well-exercised and you’ll have a calm, contented dog. An hour each day should be enough, but if you’re prepared to do more, go for it!

Other Spaniel Breeds

There are many other Spaniel breeds to learn about, including the American Cocker, the Clumber Spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Field Cocker, and so on.

Clumber spaniel surrounded by ferns

Some are some more pleasing on the eye than others, and some more suited to a certain terrain, and a few make better hunting dogs than household pets.

The photo to the right shows a Clumber Spaniel. It's quite a 'chunky' dog and often has a very 'sorrowful' look. It's the heaviest of the breeds, but I have to say, I think they look wonderful! We had a Clumber living near us when we lived in the UK (his name was Rocks!) - he was such a lovely looking, good-natured dog - he was such a character too!

Although some of these breeds look very different from what we've come to love as the more 'typical' Spaniel, all have a very special place in my heart.

Follow the link for a brief description and photograph of a range of Spaniel breeds.


Cocker Spaniel Information: Summary

I hope the Cocker Spaniel information outlined on this page has given you a better understanding of this wonderful breed and you're feeling a little more confident.

If you’ve not found your puppy yet, you’ll find the related articles below very useful:

Black cocker spaniel with her chocolate cocker puppy

Buying And Choosing Your Puppy

There's lots to understand about buying a puppy, and this article is packed full of helpful tips about what to look for when buying puppies.

For example, did you know that there are puppy tests that you can do to help understand how the pup is going to turn out? (Cocker Spaniel information such as this is vital to the uninitiated!)

And did you know that if you've never owned a dog before, it's best to choose a less dominant puppy? Plump for a slightly subservient pup and you'll have a much easier time all round.

Who knew that picking a puppy could be so involved?

Finding A Reliable Breeder

Once you know what to look for, where do you find a good breeder, and how will you know that you've found a reliable breeder and not one who's just in it for the money?

Don't know where to begin? Our directory of Cocker Spaniel breeders will help you find a breeder local to you, give you tips and ideas on what to look for in a breeder and what questions to ask.

Well, it’s over to you now - I wish you lots of luck and success in finding your perfect puppy!

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