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Anyone got advice on sprockers? Interested in hearing what yours is like temperament-wise and how you found a reputable breeder (I'm scared of inadvertently supporting a backstreet breeder).
Our previous, much-loved, dog was a beagle and, while I would love another, I know it wouldn't be the same, so I'm thinking another breed is fairer.
Needs to be a breed that will grow into good family dog that gets on with children, other dogs, likes long walks and short runs, and doesn't yap. Ability to reliably come when called a bonus!
I have a rescue sprocker. Good points: really loving and cuddly and very affectionate with the whole family although kids are 10 and 16 so a bit older, loves walks and gets on really well with our other dog. Very intelligent, doesnt mind being left for a few hours every now and again, brilliant at scent work; a game of hide and seek keeps her going ages!
Not so good points: greedy, very intelligent so needs a lot of stimulation and exercise (around 2 hours a day), likes to raid the bin and can climb onto the kitchen countertop if we leave her unsupervised, recall isn't great although is improving slowly, we are busy training as she had no recall training in her previous home and once she came to us she discovered her love of chasing things. We have realised that she needs something to occupy her on a walk, like a ball or something to fetch.
Shes an amazing dog but not what I'd call easy.
We have a 18 month old sprocker and she is just gorgeous. She is a big dopey softie, loves the kids an has always been so gentle with them, loves a run and a play but also chilled in the house, really clever and food oriented so training has been fairly easy. She's very eager to please an just wants a cuddle and a fuss!! She doesn't yap, occasional bark if we're playing an she gets excited or randomly if she hears someone on the drive but that doesn't happen often.
The only 'negatives' I can think of is no matter where we walk she is guaranteed to find water haha and the fact she acts like she's the same size as our JRT and thinks shes a lapdog!
She's is very human attached and definitely knows who her family are. It's not been an issue at all for us, as she has no problems when I leave her home to goto work or when I drop her at the groomers etc but I left her outside a shop with my brother in law and she cried the whole time.
My parents have her brother and he's pretty similar in temperament.
We found her through a friend of a family friend who had a accidental litter so no advice for breeders. Obviously as cross breeds there won't be papers etc but I'd make sure both mum and dad have relevant heath checks for their breed. In our case mum an dad were both KC registered. Dad cocker/Mum springer.
Ooh forgot to add... Her recall is virtually perfect but it's constant work, we still work on it every walk.
I'd recommend puppy classes, we went to a dog school who specialised in working/gun dog an it was so beneficial that the understood the specifics of her breed/s.
I don't have a Sprocker but I do have a Sproodle (springer/Labradoodle) he is the most wonderful dog!
Such a lovely nature, great with kids and other dogs. Fairly easy to train although quite excitable! Obviously high energy and loves lots of walks, chasing balls etc.
I would highly recommend them as a breed.
Thanks all, really helpful!
We're not against a springer or any medium-size breed at the moment) . To keep an open mind, my strategy was to ask people out walking what their dog was when we saw one that looked good size / temperament. And sprockers keep coming up so I was curious to know more.
Just re-read your OP, our Sproodle ticks every box in your last paragraph, doesn't shed either!
How did you find yours Tokyo? Really interesting you mention that combination as I'm quite drawn to poodles based on lovely standard poodle a friend has.
Non-shedding after a beagle in the house sounds amazing
We were really fortunate that one of my very old friends brother is a breeder, my friends Labradoodle is our dogs dad which is a nice connection too!
May I be the first to say - poodles are amazing. Why not a poodle?
I only asked as we have a working springer who is smaller than a lot of sprockers. Working dogs tend to be smaller but are higher energy. Although as long as she gets at least 30 mins off lead per day chasing a ball she just crashes the rest of the time. We try to aim for an hour a day though.
Great with kids, other dogs, very clever, extremely affectionate, no separation anxiety so can be left for 4 hours while I work.
If you want a dog that doesn't shed then a cross isn't your best bet. I work with dogs and know lots of poodle crosses that shed like crazy!
Although as long as she gets at least 30 mins off lead per day chasing a ball she just crashes the rest of the time. We try to aim for an hour a day though
This is really not enough for many springers and springer crosses.
Not saying it's not enough for your dog (they vary) but not many springer or springer crosses would do well on 30 mins ball chasing unless their home life was very stimulating to make up for it.
Just making the point as OP is considering these breeds so should be prepared to do something like 1.5-2 hours a day.
The advantage of choosing a breed is that you have a better chance of ending up with a dog with the characteristics you want. It's not a guarantee but as a trend, dogs of a specific breed tend to have the characteristics of that breed (especially if their parents are a good example of the breed). This is the essence of breeding.
By going for a mongrel you don't get that anymore. I have nothing against mongrels, I currently have two mongrels and one breed dog, but it's important to understand that if certain characteristics are significant to you then you lower the chances of your dog having them when you mix two or more breeds.
As for breeders, by choosing a fashionable mongrel you are already in more dangerous territory as you are more likely to get breeders who are in it for the money. My mongrels are all rescues, but when I choose a breeder I start with a list of KC approved breeders (this is a starting point, not a guarantee), then I check out their websites looking for breeders who breed few litters of only one breed, then I talk to them on the phone about health screening (with proof), breeding program, choice of bitch and dog, early socialization etc., then I arrange a visit - all well before the bitch is even pregnant. From the visit you get a better idea about the breeder and the bitch. The dog I tend to research online.
Ps springer and cockers are not known for great recall tbh. They are often nose led which makes recall tricky unless a specific focus right from the early weeks.
Sprocker, like springers and cockers are great dogs.
I have 2 working cockers. I also Foster soaniels and have had lots of sprockers through my house.
With sprockers, they can come in a range of size. We have had huge ones and small ones.
Whilst they are great, they do need alot of work. They are excitable and (generally) intelligent. You can exercise them all day, but if you don't stimulate their brain then they become difficult.
The rescue I work with, think they get so many in because of the current popularity or cross breeds. Often sprockets are a mix of show cocker and springer. The thinking being that as show cockers are generally considered calmer, it will calm the srpinger side. They are rising in popularity. And often by people who are unprepared. Though this happens with all breeds.
It usually doesn't. I have also had show cockers in the past. One of my working cockers is really lazy. More lazy than any of my show type, ones. Theres general breed traits. But not all dogs conform.
The ones I foster are usually between 7 and 18 months. When people realise they just cant cope. They are big, bouncy and often untrained when they arrive.
The majority tend to shed like nobodies business.
But, if looked after well. Physically and mentally stimulated, they are wonderful.
Recall is often easy to teach them. Its keeping up to it that can be hard. We manage it by keeping them focused on us during walks. Letting them wander and run, but keep calling back for treats. Playing games with the kids. On walks the kids would often hide and then the dogs have to find them. We start this game in the house.
Also, when it comes to picking a breeder, flow all the usual guidelines. Sprockers were often farm dogs. They arent a pedigree (even though cockers and springers come from the same line) and it may be more difficult to find breeders that health test both parents.
I agree that 30 minutes isn’t ideal for most springers. I think it’s just because she sprints at full pelt for a full 30 minutes after a ball that it probably wears her out more than a gentle hour and a half potter around the woods.
She actually lies down in the field after 30 minutes as she’s shattered.
We do try to take her on the beach, through the woods, and she usually gets 20 mins on lead around the block first thing so not just constant ball throwing every day as she is ball obsessed.
Her recall is crap, even at almost 2. We have periods where she has to go back on a longline for a few weeks at a time to train her up again!
Cockers and springers were the same breed until the 1890s. This may explain why working springers and cockers are both so similar, including in the batshit department. Lovely - really great dogs - but batshit, high drive and work focused.
If you are after a family pet there are several things I'd consider:
Health tests. These two breeds share several of the same recessive genetic nasties, so it's worth ensuring that at least one parent has been tested for e.g. PRA.
What sort of dog do you want? Would a show or working Springer/ cocker/ sprocker suit you better? IME (over a decade of owning working-bred gundogs) the field lines of any gundog breed are harder work than the show lines. They are intelligent, ambitious, will go self-employed if you don't give them something to do and will be a pain in the arse if bored. They compensate by being very trainable and a lot of fun. They will take any amount of exercise that you throw at them (I've had one run >20 miles with a marathon-training DH in the morning and be raring to go again by early afternoon). On the other hand, if you build a good bond, engage their brains and spend time on each walking doing brain-tiring stuff with them (sit stays, off-lead heel, random stop and recalls, sending them back for dropped items) they can be chilled and happy on between an hour ten and an hour and a half each day
I've got a springer and he's absolutely wonderful. He's working breed but not done a days work in his life! Although I did get him as a running partner and he would keep up with marathon training. He's Middle Aged now and calmed down lots, spends most of the day asleep or scrounging for food. He's been brilliant with the kids who were young when we got him and loves company so is quite enjoying lockdown! I was careful to pick one of the calmest of the litter as springer/ sprocker/ cockers have a rep of being hyper and many people warned me against getting him, I'm pleased I didn't listen.
This so helpful, thank you all! To answer a couple of points raised
1) Nothing against poodles, tell me more!
2) The reason we're looking for a breed rather than a mongrel is, as someone said, because of the predictability of size and temperamen as our youngest is 2. I do keep an eye on the local Rspca though.
3) Really interesting (and sad) to hear why they get given up - sounds very similar to beagles.
4) I had vaguely assumed that working lines of springers and cockers would be healthier than show lines given the qualities they are selected for. But I realise I have no basis for this, so I'll read around some more!
5) We'll definitely be going to training classes, I found them very helpful before.
This is entirely my opinion and won’t go for every dog, but I know around 10 springers/cockers. I’d say half are field bred and half show bred.
I’m my experience the field bred are more hyper, but mentally a bit steadier.
The show type are calmer, but in the 5 that I know I would say they are more likely to be a bit more temperamental with resource guarding, growling etc.
This won’t go for every dog but just my observations.
@BekindStayhome - I feel like I'm always on here 'selling' poodles
We have a mini poodle. He's our first dog. He's amazing. He has been easy the whole of his (almost) 2 years. He is very much people focussed. Loves us all being together and follows us around wherever we are in the house/garden.
On walks his recall is great because he wants to be with us (unless there is a squirrel - even then he only goes so far away from us).
He isn't a big barker.
Poodles are intelligent and want to please their people so are regarded as easy to train. Ours loves his food so extra motivation there!
Some poodles can be fussy eaters though.
He doesn't shed. At all. Which is great. But he does need us to keep on top of his coat. To be honest it's not tricky with him as he's an apricot and I think their coats are less tightly curled. He's more soft and wavy. So a brush every couple of days is good. And I like to keep him shortish all over so he goes to the groomer normally around every 6 weeks.
OP, anecdotally the workers are healthier but PRA is still an issue. Less prone to ear infections, iirc.
They tend to have less coat which is probably a good thing too - less grooming and less shedding. They are still prone to picking up grass seeds and brambles, though.