Looking at affectionate Cocker Spaniels

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, September 4, 2010

The first written reference to the Spaniel in Britain dates all the way back to 1368. Hunters used their prized spaniels for their proficiency at flushing out birds and other small game.

They named the smaller of the spaniels Cockers, because they excelled at flushing out woodcocks.

Cocker Spaniels were first shown in the United States in the1880’s. Over a period of time the American Cocker Spaniel evolved and became a somewhat different type from his larger cousin, the English Cocker Spaniel.

Email newsletter signup

Within the American Kennel Club (AKC) the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the Sporting Group.

Even though the Cocker was once used for mostly hunting purposes, today’s Cocker is mostly kept as a companion.

They still have a hunting instinct and can work as a capable gun dog when properly trained. Anyone who makes a Cocker part of their family must remember that first and foremost they are a sporting breed.

The Cocker’s size, family devotion, and its cute appearance have made it an immensely popular breed.

Being popular also has its down side. Because they are high in demand, their popularity has fueled breeders to mass produce this breed without regard for health or temperament. A good Cocker breeder will test and certify hips and eyes and will discuss with buyers any other health problems they may occur.

Male Cockers should be around 15 inches in height and weigh between 25-30 pounds and a female Cocker is slightly smaller at 14 inches in height and 20-25 pounds. The same goes with temperament. Cockers that are bred from unsound parents are usually skittish, nervous, and can be fear bitters.

It is important to only buy puppies with parents that are stable and good-natured. There is a huge difference between a well bred Cocker that was raised in the kitchen with grandkids and the kennel bred Cocker that was raised only to sell with little or no socialization.

A well bred and well socialized Cocker gets along with everything and everyone.

If you are considering a Cocker Spaniel, realize that they require a lot of maintenance.

They should be professionally groomed every 5-6 weeks and they need upkeep at home between appointments. At home they should be bathed weekly, and combed out to the skin 3-4 times per week to stay mat free.

Because grooming will be a big part of a Cocker’s life it is necessary to start them early. If a puppy is not taught early to accept toenail clipping, bathing, and brushing, behavioral problems will most definitely arise.

The Cocker Spaniel loves people and will always want to be around you.

The idea Cocker owner is someone who wants to spend time training and exercising the dog, doesn’t mind being followed from room to room, and who doesn’t mind lots of grooming.

For more information on the Cocker Spaniel visit the American Spaniel Club at www.asc-cockerspaniel.org.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker

The BARKer Shop