About the breed

Where and when did Cocker Spaniels originate?

Spaniels have been around for several centuries but Cocker Spaniels were first recognised as a separate breed in England in 1893, differentiated from other spaniels by size and named for their function of flushing Woodcock.
The breed is very common and popular in Australia. Remember in Australia we follow England’s lead and call them Cocker Spaniels.
In the USA they are referred to as English Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels (as we know them here) are referred to as just Cocker Spaniels in the USA.

How long do they live?
Cocker Spaniels have an average lifespan of 12- 14 years

What is the temperament like?
The temperament of a well-bred cocker is typically delightful. They live up to their "merry' tag extremely well. They are generally full of love and life, very eager to please and devoted to their owner/family.
They thrive on companionship and need to be included in family activities. Even just a car ride to the shop will make their day!
Cockers are renowned for the ability to wag from the waist down. Some basic obedience training will enable you to better communicate with your cocker and turn this happy and inquisitive breed into an enjoyable and socially acceptable companion.

"Cocker Rage" is a very rare condition that is sometimes wrongly attributed to Cocker Spaniels, which have been poorly bred and/or badly raised.
Cocker rage is a medical condition, characterised by a sudden, dramatic, and complete change of personality and associated aggression. If you buy from an ethical and responsible breeder (as with any breed) you will have no problems.

Do they need much exercise?
Adult Cocker Spaniels thrive on a good off lead run of up to an hour a day. After all, they are sporting dog, and are happiest when doing what they were bred to do. If that is not possible, a decent on lead walk or a good session with a strong arm and a ball in the yard should suffice.
They love to swim and any exercise involving water, birds, and exploring exciting off-lead areas will keep the average cocker very content and happy. Cocker Spaniels, like all dogs, need to explore their world and they take great delight in new smells and experiences.

Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?
The Cocker Spaniel is a long coated breed that requires regular grooming. Assistance with grooming from either the breeder or a professional groomer will be of great help to the new owner, and you will find that many breeders offer assistance with the first groom at no cost when the pup starts to grow a coat, and will always be there for you to assist when needed.
Pups need to be started with grooming early to get them used to it as grooming will be a life long and regular practice. Cockers can matt quickly and become uncomfortable if not groomed regularly and properly and grass seeds can go undetected in heavy coats.
Many owners have their dogs clipped in a show clip, which leaves the feathers (fringes) on the dog and preserves the traditional look of the Cocker Spaniel.
A Cocker Spaniel requires a clip every 10-12 weeks.

They are not a breed that can occupy themselves for alone for long periods of time and do best with company.

What grooming is needed?
Regular grooming involving a brush and comb all over the body is needed at least once every two days. As the puppy coat comes down from about 7-8 months onwards the coat will need stripping to remove the fluff, and a general tidying up. Feet should be trimmed to remove excess hair, especially from beneath the paw pads, and the foot should be trimmed around to look tidy and give the impression of a cat's paw. Ears need to be free from hair and fur around the base of the ear should be clipped with a number ten blade to allow air to circulate and prevent ears getting moist and mucky which is how ear infections begin. Once the adult coat comes in, the dog will need regular clipping or stripping with a stripping tool such as the Coat King. Some coats can get quite woolly after the dog is desexed.
Mouths need to have the hair clipped closely to prevent food trapping and possible lip fold infections.
You will find if you brush your dog every day that they there will be very little shedding. The coat, being long and silky, is not one that is prone to much shedding.
As with all dogs, nails need attention, including dewclaws if they are left on.
If you don't own clippers, perhaps consider investing in a set and learning to keep your Cocker Spaniel tidy yourself. You will need at the very least, basic grooming tools such as a slicker brush, a metal comb, and scissors.
For a baby puppy, although they will not need serious grooming before 6 months or so, it is a good idea to start brushing them from day one with a soft bristle brush.
Don’t forget the feet – trim the nails and teach them to lie/stand still while this is being done. Eventually they will need their feet trimmed with scissors and any groomer will love you, if you bring them a well behaved and compliant cocker puppy for grooming!

Is the breed too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people?
It would depend on the child, and how well trained the dog is. Cockers can be very boisterous and excitable by nature, and love to jump up on people. They also have the tendency of being right where you are planning to put your foot down as you walk, or weave between your legs as you walk.

********************Do your research carefully, and choose a responsible breeder!!********************

What to ask when puppy shopping?
Ensure that the breeder you choose is registered with the appropriate state controlling body. They will have a "prefix" or kennel name, and all the puppies they breed will have this prefix at the beginning of their official name (you will choose their everyday name).
Buying from a registered breeder ensures your pup is a purebred cocker and will typically grow to possess the characteristics of the breed, and you will be provided with a registered pedigree listing several generations of the pup's family tree.
Registered breeders are bound by a code of ethics that has the improvement, welfare, and health of the breed foremost, and they are someone you can always refer to for assistance with your pup as it grows, including grooming advice and general care issues such as nutrition.
You should be able to ask the breeder any questions about care, exercise, temperament, DNA testing and so on, and receive a considered answer. All puppies should come with detailed “Puppy Notes” which explain what their breeder has been feeding them, provide an outline of general care for the puppy.
Responsible breeders will always be available to answer questions about your puppy’s health and care throughout it’s lifetime if necessary.
Ask the breeder if there are older dogs of the same lines and if you can meet them. Make sure you are happy with the way dogs are treated and kept by the breeder, and whether the dogs are happy, healthy, and typical examples of the breed.
Hereditary and Health issues - please see health page
DNA testing - ask the breeder if the parents are tested. If the breeder says no or refuses to answer, find another breeder. As already stated, one carrier parent is acceptable. If parents are untested, or one is tested a carrier and the other untested, find another breeder.
Be sure to ask the breeder about the temperaments of their, dogs, and if there are any other health issues in the lines.
Ask your breeder what activities they participate in with their cockers. Those who show usually demonstrate an interest in improving the breed by learning amongst peers, and having their dogs assessed by judges, and by doing so they are ensuring their stock best meets the breed standard.
Others may participate in other endeavours such as obedience, agility and tracking.
If you have questions about the breed that have not been answered here, please feel free to use the contact form and a breeder will be in touch with you as soon as possible.


Contact Details

Website: kalleo@iprimus.com.au

Club secretary: robmond1@bigpond.com