Cocker Spaniel – Dog Breed of The Week

Beautiful to look at (and labor-intensive to groom), the Cocker’s amenable, cheerful disposition also makes him a treat to have in the family

The smallest member of the American Kennel Club Sporting Group, the Cocker Spaniel is the darling of many U.S. pet owners. Remember the female lead in Lady and the Tramp? It’s no accident that the movie’s model of an affectionate and pampered pet was a Cocker Spaniel. From the late 1930s to the 1950s, the Cocker was the number-one breed registered with the AKC. Then his popularity declined for almost 30 years, but he shot to the top of the charts again during the mid-1980s, and only in 1992 was his number-one status taken over by Labrador and Golden Retrievers. Today, the Cocker remains within the top 15 registered breeds.

And no wonder — a well-bred Cocker Spaniel is a pleasure to own. He is known for a merry, sound temperament. His flowing coat is extremely handsome, he’s loving and gentle, and he wants nothing more than to make his family happy.

Compared to other dogs in the Sporting Group, the Cocker is small (20 to 30 pounds), fitting comfortably into an apartment, condo, or a small home. He is primarily a companion but is easily trained for the conformation show ring, obedience and agility competitions, and field work. He is also an excellent therapy dog.

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:Sporting Dogs
Height:1 foot, 2 inches to 1 foot, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:24 to 28 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years

Highlights

 

  • Because Cockers are so popular, it is especially careful to research breeders and find one who is dedicated to improving the breed.
  • The sensitive Cocker Spaniel can be a bit nervous, even when he’s from a good breeder and has been properly socialized. Don’t be surprised if your Cocker exhibits submissive urination (peeing when excited).
  • Cockers can be barkers, so response to a “Quiet” command should always be part of this dog’s repertoire.
  • The Cocker is eager to please and likes to be close to his family. But remember, he was bred to be a hunting dog. Don’t be surprised when he chases birds or other small animals when you’re out on a walk. Keep your Cocker on a leash whenever you aren’t in a fenced area.
  • The Cocker has a “soft” personality. Harsh training methods will make him fearful, so be sure to use gentle, consistent training to get the best results.
  • A Cocker Spaniel’s long ears are both a part of his beauty and a potential health problem. Be sure to check your Cocker’s ears every week for infections.
  • Keeping the Cocker coat beautiful is expensive and a lot of work. Plan on paying a professional groomer and on brushing the coat every day.
  • To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs for genetic health conditions and good temperaments.

 

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