Opinions on Cocker Spaniels?

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Opinions on Cocker Spaniels?

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Old 10-14-2016, 12:35 PM
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Opinions on Cocker Spaniels?

Right now, Cocker Spaniels are at the top of my list of possibilities for my future dog.

I love everything I've read about their personalities: affectionate, outgoing, merry, playful, loyal, fairly easy to train. I know they can also be sensitive and sometimes develop separation anxiety, but I'm 100% for positive reinforcement training and I've started reading about ways to prevent separation anxiety.

Their size also makes them really portable, which is great for road trips and just being able to take them along. The grooming required doesn't bother me at all, and I love how they look. I think, if I kept my dog in a "puppy cut," he would be fine going on hikes as well as jogs and walks with me (I'd worry about that pretty fur getting caught on things if I left it long).

The main health issues that I'm aware of are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and ear infections, so if I go to a breeder I'll want to make sure the breeder health tests their hips/legs and eyes. I've read that keeping the hair on the inside of their ears shorter and cleaning them regularly can make ear infections less likely.

I live in an apartment, but I live alone and people aren't constantly coming and going. I'll definitely have the time to devote to house and crate training, as well as obedience classes and just playing with the dog. The dog would be alone for 3-5 hours a day, as I'll be home quite a lot and taking the dog with me regularly when I go out.

I haven't decided if I want to go to a breeder and get a puppy, or get a dog from a rescue. I'll admit I want the adventure of raising a puppy, and knowing the puppy came from health tested parents with good temperaments and had the best possible start in life appeals to me too. Would anyone recommend one or the other?

I'm also considering:
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - Their health issues are my biggest concern, especially the heart murmur. I love almost everything I've read about their personalities, but I'm not sure how interested a Cavalier would be in jogging or going on hikes or at long walks daily. They're also kind of small for my taste.
  • Greyhounds - I'll admit that I really don't know much about them, but I've seen them on so many lists of "good apartment dogs" that I feel like I'd be stupid not to at least consider them. And all the ones I've met have been very sweet and gentle. I would definitely want to adopt an adult, though.
  • Miniature Poodles - I feel like what I've read about them and what I've seen in person are two entirely different dogs. Is it just one of the cases where they're a cute, small breed so most owners don't feel the need to train them not to be yappy and aggressive? Again, they're kind of on the small side, though.
I would really like some other opinions, especially from people who know and/or own Cocker Spaniels.
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by puppytales View Post
Right now, Cocker Spaniels are at the top of my list of possibilities for my future dog.

I love everything I've read about their personalities: affectionate, outgoing, merry, playful, loyal, fairly easy to train. I know they can also be sensitive and sometimes develop separation anxiety, but I'm 100% for positive reinforcement training and I've started reading about ways to prevent separation anxiety.

Their size also makes them really portable, which is great for road trips and just being able to take them along. The grooming required doesn't bother me at all, and I love how they look. I think, if I kept my dog in a "puppy cut," he would be fine going on hikes as well as jogs and walks with me (I'd worry about that pretty fur getting caught on things if I left it long).

The main health issues that I'm aware of are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and ear infections, so if I go to a breeder I'll want to make sure the breeder health tests their hips/legs and eyes. I've read that keeping the hair on the inside of their ears shorter and cleaning them regularly can make ear infections less likely.

I live in an apartment, but I live alone and people aren't constantly coming and going. I'll definitely have the time to devote to house and crate training, as well as obedience classes and just playing with the dog. The dog would be alone for 3-5 hours a day, as I'll be home quite a lot and taking the dog with me regularly when I go out.

I haven't decided if I want to go to a breeder and get a puppy, or get a dog from a rescue. I'll admit I want the adventure of raising a puppy, and knowing the puppy came from health tested parents with good temperaments and had the best possible start in life appeals to me too. Would anyone recommend one or the other?

I'm also considering:
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - Their health issues are my biggest concern, especially the heart murmur. I love almost everything I've read about their personalities, but I'm not sure how interested a Cavalier would be in jogging or going on hikes or at long walks daily. They're also kind of small for my taste.
  • Greyhounds - I'll admit that I really don't know much about them, but I've seen them on so many lists of "good apartment dogs" that I feel like I'd be stupid not to at least consider them. And all the ones I've met have been very sweet and gentle. I would definitely want to adopt an adult, though.
  • Miniature Poodles - I feel like what I've read about them and what I've seen in person are two entirely different dogs. Is it just one of the cases where they're a cute, small breed so most owners don't feel the need to train them not to be yappy and aggressive? Again, they're kind of on the small side, though.
I would really like some other opinions, especially from people who know and/or own Cocker Spaniels.
We walk a lot in a big park popular with dog walkers. Various breeds from Yorkies to Great Danes and one St Bernard. Including a few Spaniels.

There really isn't a problem with any of them. Spaniels seem particularly affable, get along with other dogs and people. And biddable. And beautiful.
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:49 PM
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Thanks! In my experience, all the ones I've met seem really good-natured too. And of course I absolutely love how they look!
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:59 PM
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Thanks! In my experience, all the ones I've met seem really good-natured too. And of course I absolutely love how they look!
You're welcome.
This is my happy chappie:

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Old 10-14-2016, 04:12 PM
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If you decide to go with a Cocker Spaniel be sure that the breeder breeds for sound temperament as well as health. Due to becoming popular and therefore over bred a lot of Cockers are on the neurotic side. If you get a well bred one, then he or she will be a terrific dog and should be a great hiking buddy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great dogs, but some of the health problems that are in the breed can be deadly. I'd have a large vet fund if I got one, just in case. I'm not sure how well they'd do hiking in warmer weather.

Greyhounds are great dogs, and as far as I know overall they are healthy, and have good temperaments. The one draw back is that they love to chase things, and will be a mile away before you could blink, so taking them on an off leash hike might not be so good.

Mini Poodles are also great dogs, and have great temperaments. The ones I've known would be fine going on a hike, but you might want to keep the dog in a short clip so that the dog's coat would be easier to maintain, unless you like picking debris out of a coat LOL.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:28 PM
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@Besoeker Oh my goodness, he's gorgeous! I love his markings.

@Rain I haven't gotten in touch with any breeders yet, but I have found a few that seem promising based on their websites. What questions would I ask regarding temperament, exactly? I haven't really seen a lot of questions about temperament on the online lists of questions to ask breeders, but I definitely don't want to end up with a neurotic pup. I'm guessing I should ask about the parents' temperaments and the line's temperament overall? Based on what I've read, "Cocker rage" is really rare, but should I bring that up as well? I'm not sure how to toe the line between asking everything I should and accidentally offending the breeder, but I guess good breeders want people to ask lots of questions?
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:48 PM
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I don't know if this is typical but I lived over a Cocker Spaniel in an apartment recently....he barked and cried all. day. long. Made me mental. Thank goodness it was a short term stay while we were house hunting. I tried to talk to the owners but they were at a loss so I left it alone.

I like this website for the quick scoop on different breeds

American Cocker Spaniels: What's Good and Bad About Cockers
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:02 PM
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@Besoeker Oh my goodness, he's gorgeous! I love his markings.

@Rain I haven't gotten in touch with any breeders yet, but I have found a few that seem promising based on their websites. What questions would I ask regarding temperament, exactly? I haven't really seen a lot of questions about temperament on the online lists of questions to ask breeders, but I definitely don't want to end up with a neurotic pup. I'm guessing I should ask about the parents' temperaments and the line's temperament overall? Based on what I've read, "Cocker rage" is really rare, but should I bring that up as well? I'm not sure how to toe the line between asking everything I should and accidentally offending the breeder, but I guess good breeders want people to ask lots of questions?

A good breeder shouldn't mind you asking questions. They should be happy to answer any that you have, most will welcome them since it shows you've done your homework about the breed.

Ask if the breeders dogs are friendly, if they are outgoing, if any are timid, or shy. Ask to meet the dogs so you can see exactly how they are, or you can go to dog shows and get a look at different breeders and their dogs.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by KateBren View Post
I don't know if this is typical but I lived over a Cocker Spaniel in an apartment recently....he barked and cried all. day. long. Made me mental. Thank goodness it was a short term stay while we were house hunting. I tried to talk to the owners but they were at a loss so I left it alone.

I like this website for the quick scoop on different breeds

American Cocker Spaniels: What's Good and Bad About Cockers

My uncle's last one must have either come from a backyard breeder, or a kennel that was not breeding for temperament. She had a lot of health problems, and her temperament was bad. She was very fearful, and did not like strange people, given a few days I can get most dogs to warm up to me, but not her. She was one of the few dogs I can honestly say I did not care for.
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:57 PM
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My cocker (mix?) came from a rescue where he was pulled from a bad breeder/puppy mill.

He's very sweet and very smart but he has massive anxiety issues and is very fearful of new people. He's not mean, but is reactive.

My mother had a Cocker that she got from working parents that she adored and was generally good around other people but there were some people she just absolutely hated. She was a biter in those situation.

That said, my cousin had a Cocker that was super sweet but died early due to a heart defect.

Have you looked into the other, maybe lesser known Spaniels? They're not as overbred so it may be easier to find a stable one. Field spaniels came to mind, but there are others of course.
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