The Cocker Spaniel is such a pretty, graceful dog in the show ring that it is hard to imagine that this breed was developed to be a working dog. However, before Cocker Spaniels were bred for their long, flowing coats, these bouncy little dogs were developed to be able to work tirelessly alongside hunters and sportsmen. Today, the spunky little Cocker has few of its former hunting instincts. Instead, this breed has become popular as a family pet.
Cocker Spaniels are small dogs and weigh in at twenty four to twenty nine pounds. They stand fifteen to sixteen inches tall. This breed is known for its feathery, long leg hair, its floppy ears, and its soulful dark eyes. The Cocker comes in a wide range of colors, including black, cream, roan, black and white, orange and white, tan tricolor, and black with tan points.
For several years, Cocker Spaniels were so popular that some breeders allowed dogs with bad temperaments to reproduce. The resulting puppies with bad traits were bred back to other dogs with bad traits. Suddenly, the Cocker Spaniel breed was filled with dogs who suffered from inexplicable episodes of rage or were extremely high strung. Luckily, breed enthusiasts stepped in to rescue the breed and have been breeding dogs with sound temperaments. Now, most Cockers are once again wonderful family pets and are good with children and other animals. To be sure you buy a Cocker Spaniel with a good temperament, only buy from a reputable breeder and make certain you meet both parents.
Since Cocker Spaniels are not high energy dogs, they do well in apartments, town houses, or single homes. However, your dog will still need to be exercised daily. If you have a child who likes to throw balls or sticks, your Cocker will be blissfully happy, since these dogs love to play fetch.
Although Cocker Spaniels are small enough to be easily controlled when they are full grown, it is still a good idea to train your dog. Puppy classes will help him learn to get along well with other dogs and people. These classes are also a good idea for new dog owners, since owners are actually learning alongside their dogs.
The Cocker Spaniel’s coat requires a fair amount of grooming, especially if you want your dog to have that beautiful feathery leg hair. If you do not keep your Cocker’s coat clipped short, be prepared to brush his coat at least three times a week. Keep a close eye on your dog’s ears, since those hairy floppy ears don’t always get enough air circulating to keep them healthy.
Cocker Spaniels have a bit of a reputation for being gluttonous. When feeding your dog, be sure you use proper portion sizes. You may also want to consider avoiding the use of treats as training rewards. The charming Cocker can suffer from other health problems besides obesity. They include hip dysplasia, bad knees, epilepsy, eye problems, heart disease and allergy problems.
If you want a small family dog with a playful spirit, then a Cocker Spaniel just may be the right breed for you.