I have several friends who are passionate Cocker Spaniel lovers, especially Carol Bryant. I have to say that her boy Dexter is absolutely adorable so I thought I’d find out a bit more about the breed. See comments from Carol below.
With their flowing, lustrous wavy or flat locks, Cocker Spaniels are elegant and intelligent retrievers. They are usually affectionate, loving dogs noted for their intelligence and cheery disposition.
The AKC describes them as “Gentle, Smart, Happy”.
The well-balanced body is sturdy and solid. These dogs bred for hunting and retrieving move with a smooth, easy gait. They can show bursts of speed and endurance.
Two types of Cocker Spaniels: English and American
There are two types of Cocker Spaniels: English and American, which each adhere to their own respective breed standards. The American Cocker Spaniel is typified by its shorter muzzle, and smaller stature to that of its UK cousin. It is recognized as the smallest of all the sporting dogs. The English Cocker Spaniel is larger, with long ears and a longer sloping nose than the American variety.
The Cocker Spaniel is believed to have originated in Spain. For centuries, European and British spaniels were informally grouped as simply land spaniels and water spaniels. In the nineteenth century they were separated into different breed names. The Cocker Spaniel got its classification as it was originally developed in Wales and southwestern parts of England to retrieve woodcock, a popular game bird, according to our research.
In 1878, the Cocker Spaniel was one of the first nine breeds registered with the AKC even before the Club was offcially founded in 1884. According to the AKC : “A black Cocker named Brucie helped popularize the breed by twice winning Westminster’s Best in Show, in 1940 and ’41, but the Cocker’s American heyday came in the 1950s. The Cocker was the AKC’s most popular breed of the decade. It was the era of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” and Vice President Richard Nixon’s Cocker, named Checkers, who helped change the course of U.S. political history.”
Coat and Grooming
There are many different varieties of Cocker Spaniel coat color, but the ones you will see in the ring and which conform to breed standard are:
- Solid colours especially Black
- Black with Tan Points or White
- Brown and brown and white
- Parti-Color and many other combinations
Check out the AKC page for more colours and descriptions https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cocker-spaniel/
Cocker Spaniels require regular grooming. Their hair grows fast and can easily tangle and mat.
Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Yes – Cocker Spaniels are moderate shedders. They are not hypoallergenic.
They need exercise and a good diet to keep trim as they can gain weight easily. The gorgeous floppy ears of the Cocker Spaniel can be prone to unique challenges and infections. Cockers can also have skin issues.
Cocker Spaniels are eager to please their owners and an active sporting breed. They love games and running around as well as snuggling. They are usually reasonably easy to train using positive, reward based methods. Barnaby, Kaia and Yardley showed us their many tricks when we were filming the Talent Hounds documentaries.
Do Cocker Spaniels Bark A Lot?
Cocker Spaniels have a reputation for sounding the alarm and barking a lot so training your dog when to and when not to bark may be a good idea.
Information from an Expert Cocker Mom Carol Bryant
We spoke to our good friend Carol at Fidose of Reality who is a 25-year veteran to the Cocker Spaniel world and Mom to gorgeous “Wigglebutt” Dexter.
A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. She is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA), the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog, and the co-author of Pet Blogging for Love & Money.
She told us “A Cocker is a wonderful, wiggly, merry breed and a perfect companion for the right person or family.”
To find out more about Cocker Spaniels and see if they could be the right breed for you, read her super informative post here.
She notes that Cocker (like Kilo the Pug) can be Velcro dogs and usually really love their people. She recommends “because the Cocker is a nosy, social, and “what’s next on our agenda” kind of dog, it’s best not to leave them home alone for hours at a time, especially during the work day.”
She gives reasons why she is such a loyal Cocker Mom here: “Here are 12 reasons a Cocker Spaniel owns me. I am a bit obsessed with the breed in a really good way: They wrap themselves around my heart in a way that other Cocker parents can understand, and I am ever the better person for it. If you do get a Cocker, be loving, loyal, patient, kind, and simply be there. They will repay you a thousand wigglebutt times over for it.”
Are cocker spaniels good family pets?
As they have a nice temperament, they generally make good family pets.
Personality: Even Tempered, Joyful, Merry, Sociable, Trusting
Kid Friendly (1-5): 4 (but can be snappy if not socialized well early)
Activity Level (1-5): 4
Trainability (1-5): 4
Hair lengths: long
Shedding (1-5): 3
Jobs: city living, family pet, hunting, lap dog, show dog
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