--Written By Tiami Coleburg
English Cocker Spaniel
Suitable for first time owners, willing to train and be involved with their dog.
Average Life Span:
Male and Females 28 to 32 pounds
Color And Coat:
Various colors are: black, black/white, blue roan, liver, liver/white, liver roan, golden, red, red/white, red roan, orange/white, orange roan, lemon/white, lemon roan, sable and sable/white. Tan marking occur on most of these color combinations. Blue roan is generally the most popular color.
Correct coat should be medium long, silky and flat; feathered on legs, chest and ears.
On a sliding scale of 1 to 10 the coat care on these dogs varies from 6 to 8. The breed should have a Retriever type coat that requires: normal brushing , grooming, partial clipping and stripping. Some lines have bred their dogs for more coat and the care of some English Cocker Spaniel now rivals the high maintenance coat of the American Cocker Spaniel. These dog all require regular coat care which can be costly and time consuming and is a factor one should consider.
Typical Health Problems:
English Cockers are generally healthy. The more frequent health problems are: retinal atrophy, cataracts, kidney disease, ear problems. Some Reds can have a condition called Cocker madness.
English Cocker Spaniels are the original Cocker. They were originally bred for Snipe hunting in England but have joyfully taken on the roll of companion dog. There has been a trend in breeding that separates the English Cocker into show type and field type. Because the field type are mostly used in hunting, they generally have the retriever coat are often allowed to keep their natural tail as it is used as a flag marker when the dogs are at work in tall grasses. Confirmation/Obedience type English Cockers sometimes have more coat and generally have docked tails. They are generally bred for show confirmation and are used in both obedience and agility work. They also possess the ability and desire to hunt. Both types are the same breed.
All English Cockers are active sporting dogs that like a job. They were bred to accompany their human for many miles while on the hunt. Most English Cockers are now house companions so we need to keep the breeds: origin, instincts and activity levels in mind when considering ownership. The ideal English Cocker is even tempered, obedient, easy to train, and have a desire to please. This breed is joyful, happy, can even be considered clownish. They are active and require exercise and love, structured activities. Obedience, agility, fly ball, field work are all good stuff to the English Cocker. They also love companionship and affection. Boredom and loneliness for a English Cocker can lead to behavior problems, like excessive barking. These dogs have a strong desire to carry and retrieve objects so they adore games of ball and frisbee. These same urges if not channeled can result in chewing and kidnapping of the owners belongings. The English Cocker personality and activity levels vary from dog to dog. Genetics, training, socializing, and the care they receive are a large part of the what determines each dogs personality. For a owner looking for a partner in fun the English Cocker could be just the dog.
Why are these dogs typically in animal shelters?
TThe English Cocker is currently not seen in shelters in large numbers. The Breed is also currently supported by many good breed rescue groups and good breeders generally will take them back if placements do not work. English Cockers that do show up in shelters are often strays as their noses can get them in trouble. Owner turn-ins of English Cockers to shelters can be for a variety of reasons. These are some of the most common we see: Owners moving, new human baby, grooming requirements, behavior problems. Improper behaviors which develop usually out of frustration, lack of proper training, and exercise. The lack of time for this breeds emotional needs, socializing, and training requirements. Behavior problems can range from simple: House breaking, activity levels, digging, excessive barking, chewing. Occasionally, lack of socialization, abuse, or bad breeding some exhibit human or stranger aggression but this is rare
How do these dogs handle rescue or shelter life?
Typically, they fare pretty well. Some will show needy and anxious behaviors like: Barking jumping, crying. Others will be happy and greet everyone. This breed generally does very well in a home foster care situation, they tend to bond more quickly with new people in a less stressful environment. How well they tolerate a rescue or shelter depends heavily on the amount of human attention, contact, and exercise they receive, as well as on the individual dog's temperament, training levels and past life experience. These dogs adore their owners but are resilient and will re-bond readily with a new loving human companion.
Who should own this breed?
English Cockers fit into many situations but they are active and intelligent and need to have those needs met. Obedience and socialization are a must. These dogs generally like company and if left alone to much can become destructive. Owners a should be prepared for the cost and time for: grooming, clipping, ear care and eye check ups are a must. Keeping a English Cocker safe and happy is generally best done from a fenced yard. They can track and follow owners that have left them out. They also love to simply put that nose to work and can become lost. English Cockers are house companion dogs and should be included in the every day life of their humans.
Is this breed good with children?
Children and dogs should never be left alone and unattended even for a moment. Young children do not have proper dog etiquette and dogs do not understand a child's behavior, this can result in tragedy with any breed of dog. This breed tends to love and be dedicated to their human family and can be especially fond of children. They are like most dogs best off with older children. Like children, each dog is also different in personality, energy and patience levels. So each dog and child relationship should be considered as an individual.
Is this breed good with other dogs in general?
English Cockers in general do well with other dogs if they have been socialized and trained properly. Spaying/neutering is one of the big keys to having a dog friendly animal. Pack position is important and will affect and vary each dogs acceptance of other dogs.
How easy is training and house training with this breed?
English Cockers are very bright and generally if in tune with their trainer can learn many tasks quickly. Like humans each dogs abilities, likes and dislikes will vary. English Cockers love structured learning and are very adept in obedience and agility work. They should be taught with gentle persistent and patience. Good training gives English Cockers and all dogs the ability to speak the same language with us. The time required to house train a English Cocker will vary depending on each dog and on the method used. They tend to get the idea pretty quickly if positive methods and consistency in training are used with this breed. Crate training seems to be of great assistance for most dogs in house breaking.
Socializing this breed?
Socialization is one of the necessary requirements to successful dog ownership. They should be given the social skills and taught manners early on and on a ongoing basis.This breed enjoys outings of all types and loves to see the world. English Cockers should be exhibit a friendly personality with strangers. They should not be aggressive. A professional trainer and behaviorist should evaluate an English Cocker that shows aggression immediately.