Please can you tell me everything about cocker spaniels?!

(14 Posts)
Greengreentree Thu 03-Jan-19 16:23:42

We are hoping to get a family pup. I don't work and we have plenty of time for training. We have children and have narrowed it down to a labrador or cocker spaniel. Temperament is most important to us and being good around children. Lab seems the obvious choice but just love the happy waggy cocker spaniel. Also they are quite a lot smaller so less likely to plough down our kids! Any advice? We are taking it slowly to make the right decision. We don't want to rescue as all our local ones won't home to a house with children under 6. We also have cats which adds further difficulties. Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Thu 03-Jan-19 16:33:12

I have a working cocker who is now 2 years old.

The good bits; affectionate, small enough for me to pick him up, lovely temperament (but that can be down to individual dog rather than breed), can go for as long a walk as you want.

I am reluctant to say 'the bad bits' because they aren't bad but they may not be something you want to put up with.

Even if you get a show type rather than a working type they love to hunt. I don't have a stroll through the forest chatting to my DH because we always have to manage that hunting urge (playing chase and hunt with him) because if they are bored and get a scent they are off.

Look on the thread on here about living with a spaniel. We have ours clipped otherwise he would be a huge mud magnet with his fur. You get used to the muddy paw prints and cocker smell.

Can be a pain in the arse for loose lead walking more than other breeds. They tend to pull and zig zag about in front of you with their nose to the floor. We are still working on that.

Fairly intelligent. I can't tire mine out with long walks as he is so fit further walking just makes him fitter. I therefore have to tire him out with agility, tricks and other forms of mental stimulation.

Would I get one again? Absolutely but then I love mine so am biased grin

CraftyYankee Thu 03-Jan-19 16:33:53

Sweet, affectionate, need to be in the middle of everything. Very food oriented and motivated, for better or worse! High energy when pups until age 3 or so. After that happy to go out but doesn't need it in the same way.

Can get pudgy due to love of food! Prone to ear problems like all floppy ear breeds. Need to be screened for ears, eyes, hips at birth, which any reputable breeder should do.

We love ours and couldn't do without them!

needsleepzzz Thu 03-Jan-19 16:39:47

Can't help a great deal but my in laws have a working cocker, she is gorgeous! Good sized dog, fantastic temperament, my toddler can follow her round hugging her all day. She's been pretty easy to train but you need to keep at it.
As per PP she does pull on the lead a lot at the start of a walk, and will also go after pheasants/rabbits that she see's as her nature (thankfully very rarely catches them)
She does go to the groomers every couple of months i think for a fur trim, if her ear fluff gets too long she gets sticky buds in them.
As and when i get a dog it will be either a working cocker or a cockapoo (for the hypoallergenic)

waterplease Thu 03-Jan-19 16:45:39

I have one, he's 11 months old now, still hasn't calmed down, needs 2 45min to an hour run arounds a day at the park or some woods to function like a presentable dog at home grin

They wag their whole bodies a lot and it's incredibly cute! I've met a lot of people who don't like him though as he is just so full on.

They're very very mouthy in the first few months w/ puppy teeth, more so than any other pup I've had in my life. Make sure you have loads of Kong toys and invest in deer antlers or buffalo horns instead of rawhide as they're better for dogs and last longer.

As long as you can commit to large amounts of exercise a day for them or provide a dog walker, go for it! I study from home and my partner works from home so there's always one of us here to take him out.

Here's a few pics!

sulee Thu 03-Jan-19 19:29:29

I rescued a show type cocker a few years ago. She had dreadful separation anxiety when left even briefly, and was very, very needy and wanted constant fuss and attention bless her. Her coat required lots of grooming or would get terribly matted. She was hyper and full of energy right till the end of her life aged 14. I think it depends on the type of dog you like, but sorry to say I wouldn’t choose one again, although I know I’m in a minority. I had more people stop me to say how lovely she was and that they had owned/loved/wanted spaniels, when out walking with her than any other dog I’ve owned before.

Hairyfairy01 Thu 03-Jan-19 22:53:13

We have a 6 month show cocker who is fantastic! Great with the kids (9&12), loves people and other dogs and is literally always happy! Enjoys a walk but also likes to chill. She’s a people pleaser but unlike most isn’t food motivated. She is the most friendly, non aggressive dog I have ever known. She’s also the perfect sized dog for us, Labradors are pretty big and powerful imo. Like others she’s not great on the lead, nose to the floor but we are working on it and she’s only young. She’s also over friendly with people and dogs, which they don’t all appreciate! That’s about the only negatives I can think of though. I would recommend you do a lot of research in the differences between a working cockers and a show cocker. For us a working cocker would have needed more physical and mental stimulation than we could provide. Our show cocker is much better suited to our family, although I guess as with any dog a lot is down to breeding, luck, socialisation and training.


Judashascomeintosomemoney Thu 03-Jan-19 23:05:04

We have ours clipped otherwise he would be a huge mud magnet with his fur. You get used to the muddy paw prints and cocker smell
OMG this in spades! If you’re comparing Labradors and Spaniels this is the thing that might give me pause. After years of Labradors (own and fostering) even three plus at a time are (mess wise) cope-able, Labradors are self-cleaning dogs! Spaniels really aren’t! Looking after friends two at the moment......I’m going insane shock

Whisky2014 Thu 03-Jan-19 23:07:54

Ours likes to be treated like a human. Needs a place on the sofa. Will paw at the door incessantly to get out.
Food orientated. But fucking awesome. Such a happy dog. Doesn't have a bad bone in her body very cute. Stinks! Will walk far..They need loads of walking. Ours doesn't like playing fetch. She just likes food :D

DressingGownPlease Thu 03-Jan-19 23:11:33

I personally do not like spaniels. Most spaniels I've known have been crazy and just dash around aimlessly. They don't seem child-friendly to me.

On the other hand, labradors are gorgeous. But of course need lots of intense training.

Regarding your cats, I have a terrier who we got as a puppy when we already had two cats. He chased the cats a few times at first but now, they're all amazing together. They really love each other. Getting cats and then a dog is definitely the way to do it (rather than the other way round).

Also OP, a big part of getting a dog when you have children is teaching the children how to behave around a dog. I.e. don't put their faces near the dog, no pulling etc., respect the dog.

Spudlet Thu 03-Jan-19 23:11:46

I shall never forget reading a list of requirements for a gundog certificate of some kind or another, about what your dog should do. It came with this qualification: 'spaniel heel work is not expected to be precise'.

This tells you a great deal about spaniels grin

waterplease Thu 03-Jan-19 23:20:23

@Spudlet haha! Heel work? Precise? Never going to happen with oursgrin

CalamityJane10 Thu 03-Jan-19 23:33:43

9 month working cocker here.

Plus side she’s very affectionate, friendly, clever, easy to train, utterly beautiful and I love her inquisitive lively nature. We take her to agility classes to keep her mind occupied. Happy to be left alone for up to 2 hours. I am a SAHM and have time to train and entertain her and she is fantastic company.

Downside: stubborn, deaf to recall when has a scent, very excitable around DC and will still sometimes nip my 6 year old when he runs around despite extensive training. Must be walked for 2 x 45 minutes minimum every day plus training and playtime or she destroys the house. Loves rolling in poo and eating everything in sight (already spent £180 in vet bills because of stealing food).

Think carefully and meet a few working cockers before taking the plunge. We love ours to bits but she is a lot of work.

Spudlet Fri 04-Jan-19 08:29:37

Another telling spaniel snippet - should you ever be on a shoot, make friends with the people with spaniels. This is because spaniels will work themselves to the point of literal collapse, so we often have a pocket full of sweeties ready to revive them! Mine is more a show type and paces himself fairly well, but there is still a picture of me carrying him home after he got to the end of the day and was too pooped to make it back. My friend takes hers home at lunchtime now as she (the dog) ran herself into he ground last time she did a full day.

They do not stop!

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