Cocker Spaniel FAQs

If you’ve fallen for this lovely, long-eared dog, you’ll probably want to know everything about the breed. Here are some frequently asked questions you might find useful.

What’s the difference between an American Cocker Spaniel and an English Cocker Spaniel?

The English Cocker is the original Cocker Spaniel, which tends to be taller with a longer muzzle and a narrower head and chest, which make him perfect for hunting wildfowl through the undergrowth. When the English Cocker was brought over to America, some breeders started favouring different physical traits over these traditional characteristics, and so the American Cocker was born. This newer variation on the breed was smaller with a shorter back, a shorter muzzle and a domed head. In 1946, the American Kennel Club recognised the English and the American Cockers as two distinct breeds.

What is the Cocker Spaniel temperament like?

The Cocker is gentle, sensitive and very good with children. He is a good family pet and also perfectly suitable for the elderly or frail.

What should I be wary about when it comes to the Cocker?

Cocker Spaniels are so popular that they can sometimes fall prey to back yard breeders who are only breeding to make a profit and don’t really care about the welfare of their dogs or the future of the breed. So, be extra careful when getting a Cocker pup – you’ll need to spend some time seeking out the most ethical, responsible and health conscious breeder you can find. If you choose the wrong kind of breeder you could end up with a Cocker that has health or behavioural problems.

Is it true that the Cocker is prone to problems with the ears?

Yes, to a certain extent the Cocker Spaniel is prone to infections and infestations in the ears. This is largely because the ears droop down and don’t get a lot of air circulation. They can also become dirty and matted if they trail in food or mud. It’s a good idea to take a look inside the ears every day so you can catch any issues early on.

Are Cocker Spaniels easy to train?

Cockers tend to be eager to please, gentle and not overly dominant. This makes them good candidates for training, as long as you use plenty of rewards.

Do Cocker Spaniels come with any behavioural problems?

Behavioural problems tend to be caused by poor ownership skills. So, as long as you get your pup from a good breeder, train and socialise him well from puppy-hood and treat him fairly, you should end up with a well-behaved dog. However, some Cocker owners note that this breed is sensitive, and can be nervous or submissive sometimes. Avoid any form of punishment or harsh treatment such as shouting at your dog, or you could end up with more issues than you bargained for.

How much grooming do Cocker Spaniels need?

The amount of grooming you’ll need to do will depend entirely on whether you choose to clip the fur short or leave it to grow to its full length. Long haired Cockers need daily brushing and regular visits to the grooming salon.

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