The next breed we are going to learn about in our Getting to Know Your Dog Breed is the Cocker Spaniel. The Cocker Spaniel is part of the Sporting Group of the AKC and ranks 29th on their list of the most popular breeds.
Life expectancy: The Cocker Spaniel ’s life span is 10-14 years.
Size: Cocker Spaniels are the smallest breed found in the sporting dog group, weighing in between 20-30lbs and standing about 14-15 inches tall.Color: Cocker Spaniels can be found in a wide range of colors from solids to multi-color and from black to beige to red. They have a longer coat that requires grooming, but sweet soulful eyes that draw you in.
Origins: References to “Spanyells” in Spain dates back to the 14th century. Spaniels were bred to flush game and the Cocker Spaniel in particular was quite adept at flushing woodcocks, which also contributed to their name.
Personality: Cocker Spaniels make sweet, easy-going and loving pets. They are intelligent and family friendly. They can become snappy if not socialized properly at an early age and they are somewhat slow to mature. They can become quite attached, so make sure they have lots of experiences with lots of individuals to avoid separation anxiety. Behind those big soulful eyes is a sensitive soul, so train with positive methods.Health Issues: Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to a number of issues related to their eyes, including a condition called cherry eye, cataracts and glaucoma. Cherry-eye can be corrected with surgery, but cataracts and glaucoma may lead to blindness. It is important to have your Cocker Spaniel’s eyes checked annually to prevent or mitigate these issues.
If your Cocker Spaniels is gaining weight, even with proper diet, it may be a thyroid issue and that should be checked regularly as well.
While their big, soft floppy ears are irresistible, they also create a warm moist atmosphere making them prone to ear infections. Left untreated they could lead to deafness, so add that to your checklist of health issues to be monitored regularly.
Fitness/energy level: Don’t let their small size fool you. As a sporting dog, Cocker Spaniels need a fair amount of exercise everyday to help keep their mind sharp, prevent boredom and keep their shape and health. A walk around the block is not enough. Get them out 2 or 3 times a day for a good healthy walk or even a short run.Native foods for the Cocker Spaniel:
Native foods for Cocker Spaniels are foods found in Spain and would include deer, rabbit, pig, salmon, trout, apples, cherries.
Good foods to feed your Cocker Spaniel:
Based on the Cocker Spaniel’s origin, here are a few foods that contain some of the key ingredients that the original Cocker Spaniels would have likely eaten. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather provide ‘food for thought’.
Fun facts about the Cocker Spaniel:
- The movie Lady and the Tramp featured a beautiful Cocker Spaniel in the lead role and was responsible for a big uptick in their popularity.
- They arrived in the United States on the Mayflower, so they have quite a history here in the U.S..
- Former President Nixon in an appeal to the American people regarding a campaign violation, gave a shout out to his Cocker Spaniel in what became his famous “Checker’s speech”.Sources: