Cocker Spaniel pros and cons

Are you in the process of deciding whether to get a Cocker Spaniel? These sweet natured dogs are a firm favourite both in the UK and abroad. Like all breeds though, they aren’t 100% perfect. Here are some pros and cons you should weigh up before you choose this breed as your canine companion.

Cocker Spaniel pros

Here are some advantages that come with the Cocker:

  • Active but not demanding

    The Cocker Spaniel is well able to keep up with an energetic, active owner. However, he is equally happy to cuddle up in the evenings once he’s been fed and walked. He doesn’t need as much exercise as some of the larger breeds, although he will certainly love as many walks a day as you can fit in. Like all dogs, he loves to be out and about! Bear in mind though that if your Cocker comes from a field line (i.e. if he’s been bred from working dogs) he will need more exercise and will have more energy than usual.

  • Gets on well with strangers

    In general, the Cocker can be trusted to react well to strangers. He isn’t suspicious by nature and will be quite calm and friendly when introduced to new people. So, he’s a good dog to take with you on errands and to friends’ houses. In fact, the more you have him with you the happier he will be.

  • Conveniently sized

    These dogs aren’t too large to be unmanageable, yet they aren’t too small either. In fact, they are a good size dog to have if you have children – they are neither too fragile nor too intimidating. They can live just fine in apartments as long as they get plenty of walks.

  • Trustworthy

    You can usually trust the Cocker Spaniel with other dogs – he is rarely aggressive or dominant. Being a hunting dog, he was originally bred to be able to hunt in groups of dogs and is fairly happy to have other canine friends.

Cocker Spaniel cons

Here are some disadvantages to be aware of with the Cocker Spaniel:

  • A high maintenance coat

    If you choose to let your Cocker’s coat grow to its full length, you will need to groom him daily to keep the coat looking and feeling its best. You might also need to fork out for professional grooming services from time to time, especially if you’re not too confident in this department yourself. Also be aware that the coat sheds quite a bit. This probably isn’t the breed for people who are house proud!

  • Can develop separation anxiety

    The Cocker loves to be wherever you are. This means he may bark and whine when left alone, or start to act up when he sees you’re about to leave the house. In order to combat this, you’ll need to teach your pup from a young age that it’s ok to be left alone. However, bear in mind that dogs aren’t really meant to be left alone for long periods because they are pack animals – your Cocker has every right to be anxious if you leave him for eight hours at a time.

  • Can be nervous or submissive

    Cockers have a bit of a reputation for being nervous and they can sometimes urinate when they get too excited. This is an act of submission on their part. It’s important to fully socialise your Cocker pup so that he grows into a calm and confident adult dog.

  • Prone to barking

    Cocker Spaniel owners also report that this breed can be prone to excessive barking, and might bark to warn you of every little thing. However, this is again something that can be avoided with good breeding and good training from puppy-hood.

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