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Cocker Spaniels

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever owned a cocker spaniel? I am thinking of getting one when I get a house. I don't plan on adopting one anytime soon, I am just doing research. I've checked out websites, but I want to know from personal experience how they are. Are they friendly, good with children and other pets, and are they easy to train? I want a small dog for my first. I am doing all the research I can find.
post #2 of 12
Cockers are prone to epilepsy Nena and are likely to have to be on medication their entire life. They are also susceptible to cataracts and eye infections and ear infections. I am talking about the purebred cockers, not the :censor::censor::censor::censor:-a-poo mix. Although Cockers are friendly dogs, they do have their problems. I grew up with Cockers and watched them all go through their epileptic fits. It was not pretty and not something a child should really see.
post #3 of 12
Cocker spaniels are among the top 2 or 3 most popular dogs, according to numbers of AKC registries. This has caused them to be overbred by unscrupulous breeders. It was a pedigreed cocker spaniel, that badly bit my son, when he was three years old. These were unprovoked bites. Mark was petting the dog, gently.

For the most part, my family has had mixed-breed dogs and done very well with them. My mother has had several purebreds and ALL of them have had major health problems.

I've been lucky, with my two Dalmatians but, in general, they have problems, too.

Check out your local animal shelter. Mom got a small beagle, at ours and has had very good luck, with him. He's good natured and loves everybody.

Good luck, with the doggie search.
post #4 of 12
I'm assuming you're talking about the American Cocker right and not the English? Their both similar sizes(American is a little smaller) and both are sporting dogs but the American has become more of a family dog than the English.

Anyhow, you have to figure in the grooming end of it. Cockers have A LOT of hair and need frequent trips to the groomers to be clipped. If you'd rather not deal with that then you might want to consider a small dog with shorter hair.

Most Cockers are nice dogs but in the past they earned a reputation as being nippy and aggressive. It's all in how you raise them though and socialize them and if you decide to buy from a breeder make sure you see the parents to get an idea of their temperament. Please make sure it is a reputable breeder because of their popularity you have anyone and everyone breeding them and poor breeding results in major health problems and temperment problems.

Cockers tend to be easily trained in obedience, hence the fact that they once and sometimes still are meant to work in the field flushing and retrieving.

Aside from eye, ear and epilepsy problems Cockers also are prone to bladder stones, hypothyroidism and back troubles.
post #5 of 12
I've always been told that Cocker Spaniels don't normally do well around children because they can get "nippy". I for one would not get one, I would prefer more of a family dog perhaps like a golden retriever, etc.

My husbands family used to breed German Shephards, and he wants us to get one of them someday. But for now, I am happy w/ my 2 kitties. I don't know if I'd do well w/ a dog or not, I've never really been a "doggie" person.
post #6 of 12
Isn't breeding German Shephards illegal? I heard they tend to try and herd sheep and eat lots of sausages................um hang on, you mean the dogs, NOT actual Germans. :tounge2:

Sorry I'm in a good mood today and someone has to put up with it
post #7 of 12
NO, breeding German Shephards is not illegal.
And my husband was born and raised in Germany and he doesn't even eat sausages!!
post #8 of 12
Bang goes my imagination again, you spoil sport You see those signs on peoples windows saying 'Beware The German Shephard' and can imagine this large German bloke with his crook
post #9 of 12
I know a man who had a pure bred cocker spaniel. The dog was in the back yard with the family and all of a sudden (unprovoked) jumped on the man and tore into his arm - he required 150 stitches. The vet feels that it came from over breeding - it can make for a bad temperment.
post #10 of 12
There has been an increasing occurance of Rage Syndrome in Cocker spaniels (and also Springer Spaniels). This is a very scary thing. The dog will be fine for a long time and then will attack completely unprovoked. They will be in such a state that they don't even recognize their family, and it's hard to stop them.

Growing up, I had a springer spaniel. I got him when I was 13 and he was 13 when I finally put him down. Near the end, he developed a problem very similar to this rage syndrome. Thankfully my other dog was the trigger, not me or my husband. He would attack my other dog and tear him to shreds (my other dog was a Shar Pei). One one occassion, he actually knocked the canine tooth out of Obie (the Shar Pei). This was when I decided it wasn't safe anymore to keep my Springer Spaniel. It was a very hard decision, but I had to make it. When he was in these rages, he didn't know me and I could not get him to stop. It was very scary and very dangerous.

I absolutely LOVE springer spaniels, but I' won't get one because I have small children, and this problem is getting worse and worse with the overbreeding situations. I think it's very similar with Cocker spaniels.
post #11 of 12
I don't have anything to say on the breed, since I have never met a Cocker Spaniel, but I would like to say that there are no guarantees, which I'm sure you know. Even though breeds differ in terms of temperament etc, the individuals within a breed vary a whole lot, too, and you can only hope that you will get a dog that has a sound temperament, good genes and of course then it's up to you to train and socialize. I have two dogs, Australian Terriers, and while the older one is a perfect example of the breed, confident, independent but friendly to all people (including kids), energetic but fairly easy to train, the younger one seems to have inherited a bad temperament, even though he comes from a reputable breeder, one of the best in my country, actually. He is fearful of strangers (and other things), which is not typical of terriers at all, they are supposed to be confident and fearless, and this means he is very difficult to live with, despite good socialization, constant training and of course management.

On the other hand, my sister has a German Shepard, who is such a joy to be around. He came from bad circumstances (that you would have thought to have caused serious behavior problems), but is the perfect dog. He is gentle, very patient and friendly, and is perfect for my sister and her husband and their two very small children.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that of course everyone should get to know the breed before getting a dog, and buy from good breeders only (or from shelters and rescues), but that you should always be prepared that the dog might not be like what you thought they would be, despite everything you do. This is something I didn't fully realize before I got my second dog. I had somehow figured that since I knew the breed, knew how to socialize and train a dog (I managed to train my first one to be a well-behaved dog, despite some problems we had at first), got him from a good breeder, that there would be no huge problems. I mean I knew those things are no guarantee, but I just didn't think that I (or my dog) would actually be one of the exceptions.

Anyhow, just something to think about. Luckily most dogs are forgiving enough to come out alright even if we make mistakes. Good luck!
post #12 of 12
Nena: You should try this site (and several others like it). It's actually a good guideline as to what breeds you would be most compatible with. You and your lifestyle/family.

It's not 100% set, cause every dog can be that one exception to the rule, but it seems to work pretty well.

My father owned a cocker spaniel as I was a small child for a short period of time, I don't remember much about her, but since then I have been around several other cocker spaniels. They don't need to go for long walks, they don't for the most part get easily bored as some other breeds, they will mostly follow you around and plop down at your feet when you stop somewhere.

Here's the link for the dog matcher quiz. http://www.petnet.com.au/selectapet/dogselectapet.html
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