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Charming, regal, and beautiful. These are only a few words to describe the Cocker Spaniel. They are known for their round, graceful head and their broad, square muzzle. Their backs smoothly slope towards their tail which gives the Cocker Spaniel their majestic appearance as it runs and walks.
If you’ve seen the Lady and the Tramp movie, the gorgeous female dog is depicted by a Cocker Spaniel. Indeed, the film showed how charming and loving the dog looks. But these are not the only traits that make these dogs special.
The Cocker Spaniel is believed to originate from England in the 1800s. Sir James Farrow of the Obo Kennel, prides himself for breeding the very first Spaniels. It wasn’t until the 1870s that Americans took an interest in the breed and brought it into the United States. Since then, breeders and enthusiasts wanted to create a smaller version of the England Cocker Spaniel but retain the sporty and agile nature of the original breed. Finally, Sir James Watson and Clinton Wilmerding founded the American Spaniel Club in 1881 to continue perfecting the breed.
Because of their beauty and agility, these dogs captured the hearts of US citizens. Shortly after World War II, Cocker Spaniels were the number one designer breeds. They were the darlings of the crowd. And in 1984, they were recognized as the most popular dogs registered by the American Kennel Club.
Unfortunately, there are no archives that pinpoint the roots of the Cocker Spaniel. All they know is their name “Cocker” came from their ability to hunt Woodcock birds. And “Spaniel” indicates their primary roots came from Spain.
The Cocker Spaniels we have today are known to originate from Britain which they called English Cocker Spaniel. As breeders recreated the breed in the United States, they were eventually known as the American Cocker Spaniel or as natives like to call Cockers.
If you’re looking for the best companion breeds with a long lifespan, the Spaniel is for you. On average, it can live up to 16 years. Can you imagine the adventures you can partake in together?
Male Cocker Spaniels can grow from 38 to 43 cm and can weigh up to 16 kg. Females, on the other hand, can grow from 36 to 41 cm and can weigh up to 15 kg. Small as they are, this does not stop them to be effective hunters and retrievers. Until now, not only are they bred as designer dogs for companionship and dog shows, people also utilize their skills for hunting and bird flushing activities.
Because of their size and nature, people assume these dogs to be playful, friendly, quiet, and affectionate. However, they are also known for their intelligence, trainability, obedience, and agility.
These dogs garner countless awards from dog shows. However, people should not limit their capabilities because of their charm. They can do more than just please judges by their looks. The Cocker Spaniel can also be trained for agility and obedience competitions such as tracking, hunting, and fly ball. Believe it or not, they can top these competitions because of their talents. With that said, never underestimate this dog despite its size.
Cocker Spaniels have an innate nature to be friendly to other animals. When they are properly socialized, these dogs treat others like their friends and family. But here’s a quick precaution if you have small animals in your yard.
Spaniels have a high prey drive. It’s in their nature to hunt birds, cats, mice, and rabbits. If you plan to have this dog with a house full of these creatures, be sure to keep them out of sight.
Think of it more positively. If you have a Cocker Spaniel around, you can utilize their prey drive to ward off rodents. This, to pest control professionals, is an effective method to keep your home safe from pests.
While these creatures are agile and intelligent, there are times when they get stubborn. During which case, it’s almost impossible to train them. It’s for this reason that experts recommend socializing and training the Cocker Spaniel as early as possible. This way, they can easily accustom themselves to family living and suppress their stubborn and aggressive tendencies.
Despite their calm nature, these dogs are rather sensitive to noise, violence, and rowdy behavior. They don’t thrive in environments where they are treated harshly. If this happens, the owner will not unleash the positive traits of his pooch. He will awaken the dog’s aggressive tendencies which can be displayed through biting, snapping, digging, and chewing.
With proper training, the Cocker Spaniel can grow up to be affectionate and easygoing family members. If you were to own one, prepare to be amazed by their loving personality. Not a day goes by that they won’t strive to put a smile on your face. It’s one of the reasons they make outstanding therapy dogs. If you are prone to anxiety and depression, having a Cocker Spaniel at home can give you the relief and emotional security you need daily.
Other than that, they also make outstanding service dogs. Because of their active lifestyle, they will rely on you to give them purpose. As early as possible, train them to do basic family chores such as fetching clothes or towels. Give them treats as they do an outstanding job. This way, they will never feel left out or bored. You will be enjoying a healthy relationship built on trust, care, and love.
While these dogs are innately loving, they are fragile and sensitive, especially to rough play. Before you leave your child to care for a Cocker Spaniel, proper socialization is necessary. Instruct them never to irritate the dog by tugging its ear, hair, or tail. Also, be gentle while playing with these dogs. The rough play could lead to accidents and injury. This is why monitoring is still needed until they finally get to know each other well enough to know how to care for each other.
Owning A Cocker Spaniel
If you plan to have one, prepare for its high grooming needs. Believe it or not, owners hire professional groomers to ensure the health of the dog’s coat. Not only are they focused on their hair but also their ears, nails, and skin. Without maintenance, the Cocker Spaniel is prone to tangles, ticks, fleas, and skin diseases.
Aside from that, these dogs are prone to eye problems such as retinal atrophy, cataract, and glaucoma. They are also prone to hypothyroidism, allergies, and seborrhea.
One way to prevent these illnesses is to consult the vet on a regular basis. This way, they can prescribe and suggest activities you can do to keep your pooch healthy. This includes their diet, grooming needs, and exercise needs.
If you plan to have a Cocker Spaniel, prepare at least 500 to 700 dollars for their expenses. This includes food, vaccinations, consultations, grooming needs, and other supplies. Costly as it seems, it does not amount to the affection and joy they offer you. Who knows? With proper and regular training, your pooch might just win medals and become an international sensation. Remember, not only are they sweet and charming but they are also talented and skillful more than people anticipated.