The cocker spaniel is undoubtedly one of the most popular breeds out there. Their distinctive body shape, their large, droopy ears, and amazingly friendly disposition have made them extremely popular with a ton of people. It’s really no wonder why Lady from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” was modeled after an American cocker spaniel. Generally speaking, this specific breed of dog is a bit challenging to live with, especially with amateur and inexperienced dog owners. They are, however, exceptional dogs and people who are willing to put in the effort will be generously rewarded.
Cocker spaniels come from western Europe. The “spaniel” refers to its Spanish origin, but this particular breed has found its way to Great Britain. Breeders back in the 1870s would also import these to the UnitedStates. As a result, the American spaniel is not the same as the English variant. They still belong in the same family, but different breeding practices have helped produce dogs with some notable differences between them. Keep in mind that their use, historically speaking, was for hunting. While they have been valued and used for other reasons as well (mainly for their companionship), their natural instinct cannot be overridden so easily. This becomes apparent when they will sometimes hunt birds or small animals when out for a walk.
Training Your Cocker Spaniel (Training Your Dog Series)
Generally speaking, cocker spaniels don’t grow larger than 14-15 inches tall and their weight is approximately 24-28 pounds, with an estimated life expectancy of 12-15 years. While they are indeed very small for a hunting dog, their personality is very amicable and timid. That makes them great for spending time with children, the elderly as well as other dogs and cats. This softness, however, comes with a few negatives as well. They tend to be anxious and psychologically vulnerable. It’s not uncommon to have spaniel urinate when overly excited and they respond very negatively to harsh treatment and scolding. They can also be very loud barkers. It’s crucial, therefore, for the owner to begin their training early on and they need to make it as gentle as possible. Only then can they bring out the best of its playful and caring personality.
Health and Care
As already stated, there is a hunter hidden inside every one of these dogs. As such, cocker spaniels need to exercise quite a lot. A 30-minute walk and some physical activities are all that is required daily. Despite their energetic nature, they are well-suited for life inside an apartment, although they are at their happiest in the backyard.
Grooming them can also be a chore. Their beautiful coat needs trimming every 2 months or so and their ears, one of its cutest attributes, need frequent cleaning to reduce the risk of infections. Last but not least, they tend to be over-eaters despite their small body, making it crucial for the owner to provide only the necessary amount of food. While definitely a challenging breed to work with, investing the time and effort into treating cocker spaniels properly will be infinitely rewarding.