A Cocker Spaniel is a companion dog that was originally bred for hunting birds. There are two strains of Cockers, the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. But the two share origin and both are referred to as Cocker Spaniels.
The breed was originally developed in the United Kingdom for the purpose of hunting the Eurasian woodcock. Later it was transferred to America where it was developed for hunting different kinds of birds and was a bit altered then. That is why we have two subgroups of the dog today. But the dog is a valuable family pet these days and has been used as such for a long time now.
History & Origins
The origin of the Cocker Spaniel dogs is not completely clear to everyone. In fact, what people mostly know is that its early most ancestor originates from 14th century Spain, according to certain documents. The breed was got to England and there they started developing it for catching woodcock birds. They served as gun dogs and their major purpose was to flush out its prey in the open. After a while, the breed also made its way to America and marked the separation of the Cocker Spaniel dogs.
Modern Cocker Spaniel dogs are speared into the English and American versions. The English one is, of course, the first to come about and their purpose is pretty much the same in both cases. The American version was actually adapted specifically for hunting different types of birds that are found there. The biggest difference is that the American version is smaller and has a shorter back, while the English are taller but with a narrower head and chest.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Cocker Spaniel is a very loveable dog. They are kind and affectionate and like spending time with their human hosts. Due to their background in hunting, they can be nosy and like to run around, it keeps the dogs alert and joyful at the same time. As they are very cuddly, they will enjoy spending time with your kids and will play with them.
The Cocker Spaniel is a very sensitive dog both physically and mentally. If you mistreat it will react in an aggressive way as it will try to protect itself. So training should be done carefully and softly. Try introducing positive influences and do not yell at or hit the dog. As with any other dog, eagerly socialization is very important. If you introduce the dog to other people and other dogs and give it many experiences early on, you will end up with a pretty balanced dog.
Cocker Spaniel Appearance, Colors, Size
A Corker Spaniel is a small to medium-sized dog. They have a specific look which makes them highly recognizable. The most unique part of them is their coat which is long and fury. They also have long ears that fall on the side of their heads.
Both versions of the Cocker Spaniel have the same established coat colors. They came in black, liver, red and golden in solids. Also possible are black and tan, and sometimes liver and tan. Probably the rarest ones are a mixture of all of the solid colors called roans.
The size of the Cocker Spaniel will also depend on the version. The English ones are bigger and can grow to be 15.5–16 inches for males and 15–15.5 inches for females. Weight spans from 28–32 pounds for both males and females. The size of the American version is between 14.5–15.5 inches for makes and the females are 13.5–14.5 inches. The weight will be 24–30 pounds.
According to the research conducted, the average lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel dog is 10 years. This is an expected lifespan of a dog of this size and based on its health. But actually, the English version of the dog has a bit of higher longevity as their life expectancy is 11 years.
The most common cause of death is still cancer which affects a great deal of the dogs. But luckily the second most probable cause of death is still old age. There are several diseases that the dogs are susceptible to which include eye problems, hip dysplasia, and Otitis externa.
Grooming & Shedding
Picturing a Cocker Spaniel a lot of people immediately think for a well-groomed dog. Well, that image has stuck with the breed and they are dogs that are particularly hard to maintain. They have short-haired on their heads but long hair on their body and ears. You have to comb and brush it each day and give it regular baths to take care of the dog as well.
But most people who like showcasing their dog turn to professional grooming. Most Cocker Spaniels are kept this way. But in either case, you will have to introduce it to grooming as early on so it gets used to it. The dog will not shed this much and will not cause havoc around your apartments. They do like exercise and going for a walk, but do not mind staying in an apartment or a condo.
Cocker Spaniel Price and Breeders
These days, breeders of Cocker Spaniels have spread all over. The greatest offer is still present in the UK and America, where the modern version of the breed originates from. But the popularity is still growing as there are more and more people interested in having this dog. If you are one of them, you will have to pay a sum between 600 and 800 dollars per puppy. But they are well worth their price.
If you are an individual who would like to adopt a Cocker Spaniel, rescue groups have also been established all over. There are various organizations that have made it their aim to provide shelter for dogs and find people who would give them more. Thus organizations like Cocker Spaniel Rescue are here to allow you to adopt a Cocker Spaniel for your home.
Are Cocker Spaniels Good Family Pets?
A Cocker Spaniel makes for an excellent family pet. They are among the top breeds when it comes to being family dogs. They are playful and gentle. These dogs are generally happy and enjoy the company of people. They are trustworthy and can be left around kids, even the small ones. The Cocker Spaniel is also great around other animals and pets and will serve as a very good dog to have in various kinds of situations.
Do Cocker Spaniels Bark a Lot?
A Cocker Spaniel may bark a lot when being faced with a stressful situation. They are dogs that enjoy the company of people or other pets, so they don’t prefer spending long hours on their own. They may develop destructive behavior and start to chew things and destroy furniture. Some of the behavior that they display in those situations may also be barking. They will tend to bark to show that they are frustrated.
Are Cocker Spaniels Smart?
A Cocker Spaniel is considered as one of the world’s smartest dogs. It is highly intelligent and ranks in the top 20 in both obedience and intelligence. A Cocker Spaniel excels really fast with their training and listens to commands really well. It is very obedient and highly trainable. They also thrive in working intelligence and can be trained to do all sorts of things. A Cocker Spaniel is an adaptive type of dog and possesses great instinctive intelligence.
Are They good Dogs?
A Cocker Spaniel is a very good dog to own. They are adaptive and obedient and make for great pets to have around the house. They are perfect family dogs and are gentle and good with kids. They are well-behaved and well-mannered and can adapt to any situation in front of them.
Do Cocker Spaniels Bite?
Generally speaking, a Cocker Spaniel breed is not used to biting. But they can develop a habit through improper development. When they are puppies they will tend to bite, nip and chew. If you allow them to get away with it they will develop an unhealthy habit of doing so in adulthood. Adult dog bites can be dangerous so it is not good to allow your puppy to develop this kind of a habit. In order to prevent this, you will need to train your dog from early on and not allow it to learn this sort of behavior when they are young.
Do These Dogs Smell?
A Cocker Spaniel is definitely a dog that smells more than other dog breeds. It belongs to a group of dogs that display these sorts of characteristics. Their sebaceous gland secretion is higher than with other dogs and will lead to a bad doggy smell. In order to prevent this from happening you should groom and bathe your dog from time to time. But do not do it too much or it might deter the dog’s health. Don’t use strong shampoos so the dogs don’t lose their natural smell.
Can Cocker Spaniels be Aggressive?
As a rule, a Cocker Spaniel is not an aggressive type of dog. However, they do have certain onsets of rage which some people call Cocker Rage or even Sudden Onset Aggression. Unfortunately, you don’t really know when this is going to happen and it depends on the dog to dog as it can manifest on its own without specific warning. Also, it does not happen to older dogs as it is a characteristic of younger ones.
Do cocker spaniels Swim?
A Cocker Spaniel was originally a hunting dog. They are used to hunting smaller game and animals. As such they are also good swimmers. In fact, they like jumping into the water and swimming around a lot.