The English Cocker Spaniel is an athlete, avid hunter, and tireless adventurer who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. It is with him that you will begin to find charm in walks in any weather, acquire primary grooming skills, and begin to devour bourgeois hazel grouses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (if, of course, you seriously approach the issue of coaching). And it’s just fun with a Cocker Spaniel because this prankster is inexhaustible on all sorts of inventions and will always prefer live communication to passive lying on the couch.
- Breed name: English Cocker Spaniel
- Country of origin: UK
- Time of birth of the breed: XIX century
- Weight: 13-14.5kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 39-41 cm, females 38-39 cm
- Life Expectancy: 13-14 Years
- Barking loudly with or without reason is one of the favorite pastimes of cocker spaniels, so get earplugs or train your own patience and endurance.
- English cockers do not like strangers, but they do not feel strong aggression towards them either, and they certainly will not bite anyone, so for an experienced burglar, it is a matter of several minutes for an experienced burglar to take out valuable things from the apartment in which the “Englishman” lives.
- Properly raised adult animals are very neat in everyday life: they do not spoil furniture and shoes, do not tear wallpaper, do not steal the master’s sweets, and ask to go to the toilet themselves.
- The main defect of the breed is congenital nervousness, therefore, in the course of raising a dog, it is easy to go too far, instilling in it a feeling of insecurity and personal failure.
- Like their American cousins, English Cocker Spaniels cannot stand prolonged loneliness and are very worried if they are deprived of human society.
- The breed has a phenomenal flair and a strong hunting instinct, due to which its representatives are often attracted to the search for drugs and other psychotropic substances.
- It doesn’t matter whether the English Cocker Spaniel lives in an apartment or while away days in a summer cage – walking the dog twice a day, loading it with additional physical exercises, is your direct responsibility. Otherwise, get ready for the “miraculous” transformation of your pet into a lazy, hysterical, and very fat creature.
History of the English Cocker Spaniel
English cockers are descended from spaniels that have lived on the shores of Foggy Albion since time immemorial. Scientists ranked the spaniels themselves among the relatives of the ancient ash dogs that accompanied humans in the Bronze Age. Although some experts still consider the Mediterranean coast to be the homeland of animals, citing the old French name of the breed “espaigneul” as evidence, that is, literally – the Spanish dog. However, be that as it may, the ancestors of the Cocker in England took root and even began to participate in experiments on the crossing, which led to the stratification of this canine tribe.
By nature, all spaniels are good game birds. However, in the 19th century, the hunting qualities of dogs underwent a large-scale “upgrade” by breeders, as a result of which the spaniel genus split into two distinct families. Large individuals, the so-called field spaniels, whose weight exceeded 11 kg, began to compete with their lighter counterparts – the ancestors of today’s cockers. By the way, the British Esquires themselves preferred to go game birds with more massive dogs, leaving the Cocker Spaniels to hunt for woodcocks, which gave the animals a start in life.
1893 is the year of the official recognition of the English Cocker Spaniel breed and its final separation from the Field Spaniel clan. At first, the weight of the dogs was strictly regulated by the standard, which somewhat slowed down their breeding. But when the restrictions were lifted, British nurseries were able to catch up in just a few years.
Although outwardly the English cocker is inferior to his glamorous American “cousin”, he does not look like a poor relative against his background. In general, the “British” are larger than the “Americans” (the average weight of an adult male is 13-14.5 kg) and are one centimeter or two higher at the withers. Moreover, they have a completely harmonious physique. The dog looks especially graceful in movement and it does not matter at all whether it rushes across the field for prey or is simply trying to catch a frisbee disc.
Coat and Color
The coat is tight-fitting, very soft, neither frizzy nor wavy. On the fore and hind legs, belly, and in groin area, the coat is more abundant, with a slight wave. Feathers are present.
The FCI standard for English Cocker Spaniels is granted the right to monochrome, spotted, tricolor, and speckled color types.
Solid (single color):
- the black;
- hepatic with tan;
- black and tan.
- fawn with white;
- red with white;
- hepatic with white;
- black and white.
- black and white and tan;
- hepatic white with tan.
- fawn roan;
- redhead roan;
- blue roan;
- hepatic roan;
- hepatic roan with tan;
- blue roan and tan.
English Cocker Spaniels are curious, self-worthy hustlers with a friendly, but by no means weak character. They will appreciate and obey the owner by default, but they will not allow the rest of the household to manipulate themselves. Moreover, when trying to force a pet to do something, get ready to observe stubbornness and skillful imitation of misunderstanding. Children in this hierarchical pyramid occupy the penultimate step. Yes, the “Englishmen” are happy to play with them but do not expect angelic patience and iron restraint from the dog when the child starts to cause her serious discomfort or pain.
Most cockers are peaceful, so it is quite acceptable to add cats and other dogs to them. But in the case of the birds, not everything is so smooth. Left alone with canaries, parrots, or chickens, a pet is unlikely to cope with the temptation to hone its hunting techniques on them. The call of the ancestors – nothing can be done. In games, the “Englishmen” is like Nancy Drew in dog form. Possessing an excellent sense of smell (American cockers rest) and excellent eyesight, they love to play detectives and look for seemingly lost items. While walking, most of the individuals turn on the “excavator” mode and begin to excavate on flower beds and sandhills, which looks very amusing from the side.
As for the temperament, inside every English Cocker Spaniel, there is a restless party-goer who despises regularity and imposing. These long-eared zips are sincerely glad to any company. And the more participants there are, the better because the dogs love to play in public. Born tacticians and psychologists, the “Englishmen” will always find a way to squeeze into even the most unfriendly canine collective and gain a foothold in it as a shaggy mass-entertainer.
Recently, more and more breeders have noticed the love of travel by various types of transport among English cockers. So, for example, taking advantage of the absent-mindedness of the owner, during a walk, they can easily jump into a shuttle bus and drive off in an unknown direction. If you have your own car, the cocker spaniel will be happy to test its speed by lounging in the back seat and exposing its face to the wind through an open window.
It’s unrealistic to get an English Cocker Spaniel to learn under pressure, but it’s easy to get them interested in a new, unusual activity. Cockers are simply focused on physical activity, so the best at comprehending lessons associated with reasonable physical activity, presented in a playful way. With the intelligence of this breed, everything is also in order, so it will not take much time to master the basic command techniques, but the classes should not belong and monotonously repetitive – so the dog will quickly lose interest in them.
The upbringing of an English cocker begins with his socialization. At 2-3 months, the baby needs to be taught to observe the subordination and norms of etiquette, as well as to overcome the fear of strangers. An authoritarian parenting style is just as harmful to a puppy as excessive whispering. Train your pet in basic commands in a subtle but persistent and systematic way.
Despite their cute appearance, English Cocker Spaniels are not alien to leadership habits. Usually, a wave of independence covers puppies 3-4 months old. During this period, the dog tries to take the position of the head of the house, displacing the owner from it. If you do not want to be under the thumb of a shaggy dominant, you will have to prove your own worth to him hourly. The methods can be very different. In particular, during walks, it is better to “extinguish” the emotional outbursts of the pet. Use prohibitions more often in your daily life, and also do not let the puppy walking on a leash drag you along with him in tow.
They begin to try on a collar for an English cocker for 3 months. It is better to put on the “accessory” for the first time during the game so that the animal does not notice it. You can do this before feeding: the food will distract the dog from unpleasant sensations. At first, you should choose a longer leash, gradually shortening it in the process of getting used to it. If the puppy is 8 months old, you can proceed to the general training course, which is considered a mandatory program for cocker spaniels. Even if you are not going to drive your pet to hunt, he must obey your requirements.
Maintenance and Care
English Cocker Spaniels feel most comfortable in private country houses, where they will always have the opportunity to chase butterflies and dig in the sand. Keeping in an apartment is also possible, but with regular and long walking. English cockers are not just hunters, but playful and active pranksters who need to evolve, run, and fool around to maintain mental balance.
It is not at all necessary to take part in all the antics of the pet during the walk. Just let him off the leash in an uncrowded and safe place and let him go into circles around the area. However, if you throw a frisbee or a ball to your ward, he will gladly support your initiative and join the game. Walking “Englishman” is supposed to be twice a day, and each of these promenades must last at least an hour. It is a big mistake to take your dog out into the street just for it to relieve itself. After all, the lack of free time is the owner’s problem, not the cocker spaniel’s.
Caring for an English Cocker Spaniel is not the most difficult, but the animal will need to pay some attention. Obligatory: clipping, cleaning eyes and teeth (all according to the same scheme as for other breeds). Breeders were divided on the issue of bathing. Someone recommends washing cockers as little as possible because too frequent splashing in the bathroom provokes dandruff in pets. Opponents of this method are in favor of regular “bath days” (once every 7-10 days) and the use of veterinary shampoos that maintain the stability of the coat and stimulate its growth.
Brushing is a daily ritual in the life of the English Cocker Spaniel, so make sure to check out the must-haves for soft and hard brushes, a slicker, a collar cutter, and a long-toothed metal comb. For owners planning to save money on professional grooming, add a trimming glove and comb, as well as hairdressing scissors.
The drooping ears of the English Cocker Spaniel require increased attention. For example, when the animal eats, it is advisable to pull them off with an elastic band at the back of the head. This will help the ears become less dirty and distract the dog. Bad ear odor, which inexperienced Cocker Spaniel owners often complain about, is the result of insufficient care. In the ear funnel of spaniels, there are a lot of hairs that block the flow of air inward, as well as magnetize pollution and sulfur secretions, which are the source of the characteristic “amber”. The problem is solved by plucking wool in the ear canal and removing the accumulated dirt in it with the help of veterinary lotion and sponge.
There are several basic techniques for handling English Cocker Spaniels, which can be combined if necessary:
- stripping (plucking fur with a special knife; an ideal technique for processing the head and body of a pet);
- plucking (plucking hair with your fingers);
- clip-art (ultra-short haircut with a clipper);
- flatbed (regular haircut with a typewriter);
- blending (haircut with scissors).
When trimming the English Cocker Spaniel yourself, avoid drastic changes in the animal’s image. In the homeland of the breed, its representatives are cut very carefully, therefore, the inhabitant of Foggy Albion, who came out of the groomer’s office, looks as if he never entered it at all. The best haircut option is to walk over the dog’s head with a trimming knife, strip the body and slightly shorten the feathering on the legs. The hair between the toes must also be clipped.
Most “Englishmen” are not prone to spontaneous gluttony, but they are quite capable of sinking into food addiction. And all because cockers are notorious gourmets with their own taste preferences that the owner needs to control. In addition, dogs have few and unproductive walking, but from the heart stuffing their stomachs with sweets, obesity develops rapidly, which significantly reduces their life expectancy. If you do not set a goal to send your pet “beyond the rainbow”, do not fall for his begging glances and do not feed the pet with delicacies.
Now about the daily menu. Meat is given to English Cocker Spaniels in boiled or raw form at the rate of 50 g of product per kilogram of animal body weight. Wiry lamb, beef, poultry (no bones) are best. By-products can only be introduced into the diet thoroughly frozen. So the risk of infecting the dog with worms and intestinal parasites is minimized.
- pasta, as well as any confectionery and bakery products;
- sausage products;
- tomato sauce and dishes with it.
You can supplement the menu of the English spaniel with rice or buckwheat porridge, sour-milk products, sea fish, and vegetables in the form of slices dressed with vegetable oil. Eggs for dogs are given boiled soft-boiled or in the form of an omelet. And cockers also have a real passion for fruits, but since most of them can provoke digestive upset in an animal, treating it with such tasty treats is less worthwhile. Alternatively, use dried fruit and raisins as a reward treat.
The average life span of the English Cocker Spaniel is 10-14 years, but the animal does not always pass this time period in good health.
Typical diseases of the breed:
- urolithiasis disease;
- dysplasia of the hip joint;
- food allergy;
- eye diseases (conjunctivitis, volvulus/eversion of the eyelid, cataract);
- perianal adenocarcinoma.
The mental health of the breed is also not always the standard. For example, many Cocker Spaniels are prone to hysterical seizures, which are treated with physical activity in combination with regular walking.
How to Choose a Puppy
- Visit dog shows frequently to meet reputable breeders and their pets.
- If the puppy is being bought as a prospective hunter, make sure that both his mom and dad have diplomas in wild game and swamp game. In most cases, offspring inherit parental talents.
- English Cocker Spaniel bitches are easier to train than males, but both are good at work. Consider this fact if you are going to instill in the animal hunting skills on your own.
- Better to choose vigorous, curious, and playful babies. But it is better to refuse to constantly give voice to English cockers. Excessive “talkativeness” is useless for the future hunter.
- Those who are looking for a friendly pet in an apartment, on the contrary, should look at more phlegmatic puppies.