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Cocker Spaniel breed information

2 minutes

Own a Cocker Spaniel, or welcoming one into the family? Here's everything you need to know about your furry friend, from grooming and exercise to common health problems.

  • Size: Medium
  • Life span: 12-15 years
  • Coat: Medium with a daily groom and regular trips to the groomers
  • Exercise: Up to an hour a day for adults

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel personality

The Cocker Spaniel is a member of the gundog group of dog breeds; a hunter at heart, full of life and eager to please. This particular breed has a love of food, so you will need to try to ignore their soulful eyes or you risk over-feeding them!

Known to be quite high energy dogs, cocker spaniels will love getting out and about and are great in sports or obedience training. Although, they're just as happy indoors, running around with a slobber-covered slipper.

Cocker Spaniels are known to be sensitive dogs, mentally and physically. Socialising and training your dog from an early age is essential to teach proper doggy manners. But be careful; they have a "soft" personality and don't respond well to harsh treatment, sometimes turning to growling or snapping when afraid – so be mindful of how you discipline your dog. A cocker spaniel needs to be handled carefully and kindly to bring out the best in their personality.

Broadly, a well-bred Cocker Spaniel is a pleasure to own, with a cheerful, loving temperament. Their flowing coats are extremely beautiful and want nothing more than to make their family happy.

Remember the female lead in the Disney classic, Lady and the Tramp? It's no accident that the movie's model of an affectionate and pampered pet was a Cocker Spaniel.

Common health problems and illness

Eye problems

Eye problems can affect the Cocker in a number of ways, including progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative disease of the retinal cells that progresses to blindness. Cataracts, a cloudy film that forms over the eye, can also be a problem, as well as glaucoma, a condition in which pressure builds up inside of the eyeball. If you notice any redness in your Cocker's eyes, or if he starts rubbing his face a lot, take him to the vet for a check-up.

 

Ear conditions

Most dogs are susceptible to various common ear diseases – but particularly Cocker Spaniels with their oversized ears. These diseases can affect the external ear flap (such as haematoma), the middle/inner ear (vestibular disease, for example) or the ear canal (otitis). A haematoma is a blood-filled swelling that occurs in the ear flap, while the ear canal can become irritated by grass seeds, parasites, allergies or infections. Irritation can lead to a condition called otitis, which simply means 'inflammation of the ear canal’. It causes an intense itch, leading the dog to shake its head, flap its ears and scratch them using its back paws. If the otitis is due to an allergy, treatment is required for the dog's lifetime.

 

Slipped discs

Like several other breeds, Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to slipped discs, also known as ‘intervertebral disc disease’. This occurs when the discs between the vertebrae (backbones) become damaged and brittle with age or general wear and tear. This makes the discs prone to rupturing, moving (‘slipping’) and pressing against the spinal cord itself. Treatment depends on the cause and location of the problem but may include medication, rest and possibly even surgery to help the dog live a comfortable life.



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