Cocker Spaniels are the smallest of spaniel dogs. They have a compact but sturdy body and a silky coat that is flat or wavy. The coat comes in black or black with tan points, but it can also be parti-colored or any solid color other than black. It is short and fine on the head, and medium-length on the body. This breed has a lot of feathering on its legs, abdomen, and chest. Cocker Spaniels have chiseled heads and intelligent and soft expressions. Their eyes are dark and slightly almond shaped, and their ears are long and feathered. These dogs measure 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 20 to 30 pounds.
A merry and intelligent breed, Cocker Spaniels are the perfect mix of sporty and cuddly.
A merry and intelligent breed, Cocker Spaniels are the perfect mix of sporty and cuddly. They are a good match for families in home or apartments, and they also make great companions for seniors and active singles who want a playful companion. These dogs love being around humans.
When Cocker Spaniel puppies are just a few days old, their tails are cut short, or docked. This procedure has become a very heated point of controversy to some people who consider it an unnecessary cosmetic procedure. Other people, however, believe docking is necessary because it protects the tail from injury while out in the field.
Intelligent and gentle dogs, Cocker Spaniels love being part of a family and enjoy being around people and other animals. They appreciate attention, are very playful and social, and are generally great with children and other pets. These dogs are very adaptable and do well in apartments as well as larger homes.
These dogs are known for their very sweet and trusting nature, and they are generally good with strangers. However, they will not hesitate to stand up and protect their home if they feel it is being threatened. Cocker Spaniels that experienced little or no socialization early in life may be more wary and unwelcoming of strange people and animals.
Cocker Spaniels need daily exercise. They are an active breed and like to keep busy by playing with toys or hiking and exploring outdoors. However, these dogs also make happy couch potatoes if that is what their favorite human likes to do. About 30 minutes of low or moderate-intensity exercise is usually enough to keep these dogs healthy, and they benefit from mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to certain health conditions that are less common in other dog breeds. Glaucoma, cataracts, skin problems, spinal problems, hypothyroidism, heart disease, liver disease, and epilepsy are all known to affect this breed. Disc disease is one concern in Cocker Spaniels that can cause pain upon moving and severely limit the breed's ability to run and play.
Other conditions known to affect Cocker Spaniels include cherry eye, progressive retinal atrophy, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, also known as dry eye. These dogs are also at risk for congenital deafness, and this problem is associated with white hair and blue eyes. Cocker Spaniels also suffer from a greater frequency of autoimmune diseases than many other breeds, but the reasons behind this are not clear.
Timely vaccinations, routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and attention to hereditary concerns ensure these dogs live a full life of 15 years.
Cocker Spaniels are quick to learn, obey easily, and are easily trained. However, even well-bred Cocker Spaniels are very sensitive to harsh criticism, so it's important to use positive reinforcement, gentleness, and praise during training.
Overbreeding for several decades has led to certain personality issues, such as shyness, aggressiveness, and roaming, that are not typically seen in the breed. Early training and socialization can help minimize these issues and ensure these dogs are able to get along with children and other pets. Purchasing from a puppy mill or abusive or neglectful breeder increases the risk that these dogs will grow up noisy, unstable, nervous, and aggressive.
Because these dogs are extremely people-oriented, they tend to become unhappy, bored, and even depressed when left alone. In more severe cases, this can result in separation anxiety, a condition that cause crying, barking, destructive behavior, and other symptoms. To help prevent this from developing, it's essential to socialize Cocker Spaniels early and to accustom them to time alone from early in life.
To maintain the health and appearance of their coat, Cocker Spaniels need regular brushing and trimming. These dogs are moderate shedders, and their coats must be brushed several times each week to keep loose hair under control and off furniture and clothing. Clipping should be done by a professional or at home every month or so.
Because grooming the Cocker Spaniel can be complicated and time consuming, most people choose to take their dog in for regular professional grooming session. However, with the right equipment and a bit of experience, most people can easily do the job at home. Plus, grooming is a strong bonding experience that can bring dog and human family members closer.
Cocker Spaniels need their ears cleaned regularly to prevent infection and keep wax accumulation under control. Moisture tends to become trapped inside their long, warm ears, and this creates the perfect environment for the growth of yeast and bacteria. Ear care is a crucial part of grooming a Cocker Spaniel dog. Additionally, the toenails should be trimmed every few weeks, or at least often enough to keep them off the floor, and the teeth must be brushed regularly to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Cocker Spaniels date as far back as the 1300s in origin. In the 14th century, there's a mention of a Spanyell, a breed that was later divided into water and land spaniels. Since that time, the American Cocker Spaniel has evolved a bit differently in appearance from the breed now known as the English Cocker Spaniel.
Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to hunt throughout the English countryside. The name "cocker" comes from their impressive ability to hunt woodcocks. These dogs display great endurance and high speeds, and their considerable desire to hunt makes them very capable and reliable. Cocker Spaniels can cover territory very quickly, and will flush and retrieve game under command. These dogs also take readily to water. Cocker Spaniels are now primarily bred to be companion animals.
American breeders developed a smaller version of the Cocker Spaniel during the mid-1800s, and this new dog differed enough from the original that it is now considered a different breed. The breed's popularity skyrocketed in the United States following Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" movie in 1955. These dogs have been exhibited in the United States since the 1880s, and they remain one of the most popular dog breeds in America according to AKC registration statistics.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cocker Spaniel in 1878.