THE COCKER SPANIEL
Happy is one word to describe a cocker spaniel. This dog is active and will happily escort you to the park, play around in the yard, fetch a lost item or even go fishing. These dogs are trainable with a gentle charm that’s inviting to play. Their love for water is equal to wagging their tails which are their signature. The world loves this dog for its big ears, dreamy eyes and intriguing personality.
There are two types of Cocker Spaniels: the English bred Cocker Spaniel and the American one but both descended from Europe, specifically England and Spain. The name Spaniel refers to a large Spaniel family dating back to antiquity. Spaniel itself means Spanish dog. In Spain, this dog was divided into two categories, toys and large hunting dogs. Hunting Spaniels were further divided into two categories, water and land Spaniels. The term Cocker refers to this dog’s excellence in hunting field woodcock.
American Spaniel fanciers began importing this breed in the late 1870s. In 1881, the American Spaniel club, the oldest breed club in America, was formed by James Watson and Clinton Wilmerding. This breed club comprised of many different types of Spaniel breeders. Later on, as the differences in the spaniel breed became refined, breeders split off into separate organizations. With time, Cocker Spaniels grew popular both with the public and with breeders. With this popularity came a much favored smaller type of this breed, which had a different conformation to the English Cocker.
In 1936 a specialty club known as English Cocker Spaniel Club of America was formed by English breeders. This club gained recognition at the American Kennel Club for their special type of English Cocker.
Cocker Spaniels belong to the sporting group and are perhaps the smallest members. They have a refined head, compact and sturdy body. They stand up well at the shoulder with muscular quarters that are moderately bent yet strong.
If a Cocker Spaniel is well bred, it will exhibit a sweet endearing temperament. Its cuddly and affectionate nature makes it fun to be with and it will always participate in family activities willingly without a fuss. Spaniels are sensitive dogs both physically and mentally, they don’t respond well to harsh treatment because of their soft personality and if in pain they often resort to snapping or growling.
Cocker Spaniels don’t respond well to instructive commands, rather if you are training them, do it sensitively and with reassurance. They need to be socialized and trained at an early age to learn proper canine manners.
Possible Health Concerns
These are healthy dogs but like all other dog breeds, they remain susceptible to some diseases and conditions. These conditions and diseases are: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, Hypothyroidism, allergies, Primary seborrhea, eye problems, ear infections, epilepsy, Patellar luxation and canine hip dysplasia.
Due to their high energy levels, Cocker Spaniels need a daily exercise routine preferably 1- 2 hours every day. They are not picky and any fun exercise is ideal for them.
Spaniels have big appetites and are also protective of their food. The best food to feed them is dry food, 1.5 to 2.5 cups every day, though this amount will vary with the dog’s age, build, size, metabolism and activity level. Best to consult with your veterinarian.
The Cocker Spaniel’s coat varies in length being short at the head and back. It grows longer on the ears, belly, chest and legs. The coat may be a solid color: light cream, white, black, red and brown, or parti-color which is two or more of these colors. Due to its varied length, it’s advisable to wash the coat using shampoo at least twice a week. Comb the coat daily and trim if necessary to maintain a certain desired length. Clean their ears and eyes daily and also brush their teeth twice or thrice a week.