ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL
Life span: 12 to 14 years
Height: 28 – 36 inches (male), 26 – 33 inches (female)
Weight: 29 – 36 lbs. (male), 26 – 33 lbs. (female)
The English Cocker Spaniel is well known for its exceptional abilities as a gun dog and this bodes well for hunters. In addition to its capabilities in the field, the Spaniel’s level of trainability makes it one of the top show dog breeds. The Spaniel is a moderately active breed that is happy flushing birds from thick cover or lounging around the house. Its hair color can vary considerably, ranging from solid colors to spots.
This small dog has large ears that flop down and a naturally small tail that stands erect. Its eyes are usually brown with a black or brown nose. Their coat is medium length, dense, and silky and may have a slight wave to it. Coat colors can be black, grey, brown, red, and white.
Spaniels have existed since long ago, being used to flush out game and later on as gun dogs. They were first divided into two groups, the water Spaniels and the land Spaniels, but in the 17th century, the land Spaniels began being classified into either Springer or Cocker Spaniels based on their size. Springers were larger and used to spring game, while Cockers were smaller and used to flush out small birds (such as the woodcock). Despite the classifications, they were all born in the same litters and in 1902 the Cocker Spaniel Club was formed in England. Once these were brought to the United States, they began changing greatly until in 1935 fanatics began forming into two groups, those who preferred the now called English Cocker Spaniels, and those who preferred the newer version, which was named the American Cocker Spaniel in 1946.
This loving breed is known to be cheerful and attentive with their owners. They get along well with children and other household pets, but are wary of strangers. They tend to be noisy when someone is around their territory, but once they have announced that someone is near, they will usually return to minding their own business. When going outside to exercise or play, they must be kept on a leash due to their hunting instincts and they must have a fenced yard to burn excess energy.
This breed tends to suffer from many eye problems, among other diseases. Some of these are:
Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscles become thin and weak through an enlargement of the heart chambers, causing an abnormally big heart and eventually leading to heart failure. It can be treated.
Glaucoma, which causes pressure to build up in the eye and may lead to blindness or cause severe harm in just a few hours. Symptoms can include squinting, red eyes, tearing, eye rubbing, etc. It must be treated as soon as possible.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
Renal Failure, which is failure of the kidneys. It can be inherited and appear as early as when the dog is nine months old.
Congenital Sensorineural Deafness, which is present since birth and causes the dog to progressively lose its hearing until it becomes completely deaf by 4 weeks of age.
This breed needs to be brushed weekly and have the hair around its feet, neck, face, tail and ears trimmed monthly. Their ears need to be checked regularly for any dirt to prevent infections, as well as their teeth brushed and nails trimmed. They are highly active and therefore require plenty of daily exercise done alongside its owner, whether it is in a fenced yard or on a walk outside on a leash. Training is easy since they attempt to please their owners, but they must always be trained with positive reinforcement. Early socialization must also be done with this breed.