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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
@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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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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@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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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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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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@KateBren Thanks, it's definitely good to hear the negatives too. That sounds like it was separation anxiety? You don't happen to know where they got the dog or if they were doing anything to help/train him out of it, do you? I'm really hoping that by going to a reputable breeder and taking precautions from the beginning, I can head off behaviors like that before they start. And if not, there are always ways to at least partially soundproof whatever room he's in until we have the problem sorted out.

@Rain Okay, good to know! Meeting the dogs is definitely near the top of my list.
 

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@PoppyKenna I have looked at a few other spaniels, but I keep getting drawn back to Cockers. The other spaniels I've looked at (not extensively) seem like they're more difficult to train and I worry about how they would do in an apartment. I'll look into the Field Spaniel more, though, thank you!
 

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@KateBren Thanks, it's definitely good to hear the negatives too. That sounds like it was separation anxiety? You don't happen to know where they got the dog or if they were doing anything to help/train him out of it, do you? I'm really hoping that by going to a reputable breeder and taking precautions from the beginning, I can head off behaviors like that before they start. And if not, there are always ways to at least partially soundproof whatever room he's in until we have the problem sorted out.
It did seem like separation anxiety to me because it alternated with the crying and it never stopped. Poor dog. He was a beautiful looking dog but I don't know where they got him. The owners seemed overwhelmed when I talked to them about it so I left it alone because we had a move-out date. I should say he was very good when they were home. I remember they would sit on their deck with him and he was very friendly and seemed happy and you could pet him and everything.
 

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@KateBren Oh, poor guy. It's good to know he was friendly, though. I think I'm going to get in touch with a few breeders and if I like them, I'll visit and meet their dogs before making any decisions.
 

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@Besoeker Oh my goodness, he's gorgeous! I love his markings.
Thank you kindly. He really is a lovely boy.

But we are discussing a dog for you. I posted his picture so that you might give the breed at least a passing thought.
They are regularly top of the list for intelligence, they take instructions and are usually very friendly. And maybe not as high maintenance as a Spaniel.
 

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English or American? Those are two different breeds! Also, if English, field line or show line?

All of the American cocker spaniels I've met have been very sweet, friendly, happy dogs. They seem to have more health issues particularly with the eyes and need more grooming (they're very fluffy!) They can get pretty gross if not groomed regularly. My last dog was part American cocker.

English- haven't met a show English cocker, but I've met several field line English cockers which have also been very nice dogs but much higher energy than the American breed ime. I think it's the English ones that can suffer from rage syndrome. English cockers and English springers.

Due to the health and temperament issues these guys can have, it's important to find a good breeder- but all of the cockers I've met have all been very nice, well adjusted dogs. I love spaniels- would love to own a cocker spaniel, springer spaniel, or another cockapoo someday.
 

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@Besoeker He's a collie, right? I honestly haven't even looked into them. I don't think I've even met one, actually, but I'll add them to the list to check out as well.

@revolutionrocknroll Oops, I should have mentioned that! I'm definitely looking for an American Cocker. I've done a lot of research on both and I think the American definitely matches what I'm looking for more closely in terms of personality. And it's great to know you've had good experiences with them!
 

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He's a collie, right? I honestly haven't even looked into them. I don't think I've even met one, actually, but I'll add them to the list to check out as well.
Good idea in my opinion. Even it you don't go that route.

Ours seems to understand and do things that still surprise me.
As an example, he'll lead other local dogs home when they don't heed the owners recall.

But it isn't about him. It's just one example of collie behaviour in our case.
OK. No more sitting on the fence.
Get a collie!!!
 

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This thread hasn't been responded to in awhile so I know you may have already gotten a dog but thought I'd weigh in on the Greyhound aspect. Greyhounds are great dogs but if you are looking for a hiking partner they probably aren't the right fit. They don't have much in the way of endurance.

Have you considered a whippet?

I would steer away from Cavaliers unless you find a great breeder. So many health issues. Same with the Cocker, and the Cocker has temperament issues that cavaliers do not.

Miniature poodles are another dog that I think it really depends on the breeder and obviously training. A lot of the ones you meet are not treated like dogs, but like purses so you aren't seeing the true potential of the breed. Also, a lot of them are so poorly bred, they all look very different to me due to this. But I have met two miniature poodles that were very well bred that were amazing. They were both SO smart and their owners let them be dogs. Very similar to the standard they were.

Good luck with whatever you decide!
 
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