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Show or working cocker?(12 Posts)
So we've decided to expand our family with a new dog. Would be interested in a rescue so we are looking at spaniel specific rescues,
However; which would you go for? A show or a working cocker?
I'd be interested in agility or scent work and gundog trials, maybe not actual game but definitely dummies. It'd be walked by my DH for an hour on lead before work, have a dog walker to walk it for an hour+ off lead each day as I work from home and the days I am in Work I'll be putting it in doggy day care (2 days).
If you’re looking at rescues then really you don’t need to pick a strain as it’ll be actual dogs rather than hoping traits come through in the breeding...
I have a working cocker and I would pick one again over a show one as I prefer the look in that they aren't bred for the looks so a mix of sizes etc.
I have done gun dog training in the past and now do agility.
Your set up sounds similar to mine. We use daycare as well on some days. On lead though he is a nightmare to walk as he zig zags about with his nose to the floor. Off lead he is great but we worked on recall for months. You do need to ensure recall is good with cockers as they are a hunting dog and will pick up a scent and follow it so we can't take our eyes off him on a walk and have to engage him all the time doing ball chasing or ball hunting (at daycare he stays with the pack so it isn't as much or an issue).
Its more that the rescue I got in touch with is asking.
@BiteyShark thank you! Can I ask why you would go for another working cocker and not show? Are they very different?
The show ones are bred to the standard so height etc and looks whereas the working are bred for their characteristics rather than looks. Typically I found them to be a bit smaller, finer coat and shorter ears than the show type.
If you google for pictures you can sometimes find the two shown side by side and I just find the general look much nicer but that is a personal preference.
As to temperament I have seen people say their show cocker is hyper. I have had my challenges with my dog (mostly his hunting nose outside in the forest) but generally he is a calm dog.
Everyone says that working cockers need large amounts of exercise compared to show types and that is where I went wrong at first following that advice. Actually when I went to gundog training they said the more you walk them the fitter they get and the further you need to keep walking to tire them out. What tires them out is a job. For mine that involves running around after a ball or hunting one out. As you plan to go gundog training then you will obviously learn all about how to 'work' them.
I know three working cockers and they are all nuts! Totally hyper. Are they all like that?!
I have had both and currently have a worker. I adored/adore both kinds so here is my take:
very cuddly and loving
liked exercise but could miss a day and be fine
incredibly loyal and clingy
not interested in other dogs - very human focused
little working instinct
very cuddly and loving
likes exercise and cannot miss it or he goes a bit nutty
incredibly loyal and clingy
loves to play with other dogs
has working instinct but we are not training him that way so its there but underdeveloped if that makes sense
not lazy at all
My own feeling is that working bred dogs are likely to be healthier as they are bred to be fit to work.You sound like you want to work with his natural instincts so a worker could be a good option. If you are getting a pup though you need to be careful of the lines as some are very flighty and obsessive. Get a solid chunky working line.
Agree with the PP who said that over exercising is pointless - brain work is what they need and it wears my boy out very quickly!
Both of my cockers would hate day care as but maybe if you introduced it from being a pup it could work.
A show cocker is still a gundog and will still love using its natural drive to hunt, flush, retrieve, etc. I've had a show cocker and we went to gundog training for fun. She had fantastic drive and absolutely thrived on the training which we incorporated into everyday life and walks.
If you chose a worker that had been bred from strong working lines (and of course you may not get a history with a rescue dog), you may have to work hard to channel their natural instinct and ability. It's likely, but not guaranteed, that a show Cocker's working instinct will be less so. But either would adore training of any kind - scent work, agility, gun dog especially.
There is a great forum called Cockers Online where you could get loads more info - highly recommend joining!
My old boy was a working cocker and was a fabulous little dog. He was trained to the gun and made a fantastic picker upper, he could mark any bird and find it every time. He was brilliant. I also did obedience with him. He was a dream to train. So steady and so clever. Build wise he looked a bit like a small springer, which is essentially what they used to be. He was a bit easier to keep clean than a show cocker, his fur was a bit shorter. I know people say they can be manic but you tend to hear that about any spaniel and quite honestly they’re the dog you train them to be.
Former working cocker owner here. Our boy was big, just a little smaller than a springer. Less feathered on his coat and was very healthy . No illness until his last six months.
Very loyal and obsessed with my husband. Used to run with his nose on the ground, ears flapping!
I have a show, my daughter has a worker. My show has much more drive and energy than the worker, although my show has an off switch, it’s faulty at times, the workers is broken.
Both dogs do sport, I do Agility and compete, the worker does flyball and again competes. The worker is far more biddable and a lot easier to train than my show.
Coat wise the worker has a lot less coat but still needs grooming and trimming etc, my show has a lot of coat!
I think that all cockers are active dogs and agree with the PP who said that they are the dog you train them to be.