Breed review: Cocker Spaniel puppies and dogs
When you first clap eyes on Cocker Spaniel puppies you will be hard pressed not to fall in love. Those melting, slightly too large eyes draw you in. The almost comical paws, the soft lips, sleek domed head and lustrous coat all make the Cocker Spaniel one of the most appealing breeds around.
As the dog matures it becomes a more noble and handsome animal, blessed with a muscular yet not overly powerful physique and a proud bearing. The breed’s history is interlinked with that of the aristocracy and with those attributes it is not hard to see why.
However, a Cocker’s greatest virtue is without doubt its personality.
Cockers are a tremendously warm and affectionate breed, with that desire to please their owners that is so common amongst gundogs. No sooner do you get in the front door than you are greeted with a gift of some sort – perhaps a chewed slipper, rolled up newspaper or an old tennis ball.
It is the Cocker’s nature and that makes it the ideal family dog.
Although Cockers enjoy a bit of rough and tumble, especially when it comes to rooting around in the undergrowth (again, a legacy of their breeding), they are as cuddly as any teddy bear and just about small enough to curl up on your lap in front of the television.
This means that they are energetic enough to have fun with but not so in need of exercise that it takes over your life. A morning walk feels substantial enough to wake you up, yet not so long that it tires you out.
Any Cocker Spaniel owner will happily tell you that their dog is the sweetest, most good-natured and pleasant dog they have ever encountered, it is true to say that these characteristics are found in the breed in general.
Admittedly, maintaining that gorgeous coat can take some doing, and given the breed’s penchant for scuttling off under bushes and diving into long grass, you may find yourself spending a fair amount of time grooming.
However, Cockers are on the whole very docile dogs and the act of grooming will not represent the challenge that it would do for a much larger or boisterous breed.
While they may suffer from the same problems that affect humans in old age (deafness and loss of sight, for example) they are free from some of the respiratory and skeletal issues that plague other breeds.
However, in some cases they may suffer from an eye problem, specific to the breed, called Progressive Retinal Atrophy which can strike 2-5 year olds with glaucoma, cataracts and in the worst cases, blindness.
They do still, however, have a relatively good lifespan with their later years almost as happy as their first.