What is it?
Cataracts are a common condition in the cocker spaniel breed. They are typically passed down genetically but can also be caused by injury or another disease. Sometimes cataracts even occur without obvious cause.
A cataract is a damaged lens in the eye that inhibits vision. Typically the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, but these signs are not always easy to spot until the condition reaches a late stage.
Clouding eyes, opaqueness of eyes, difficulty seeing (including slow or careful movements, difficulty navigating new places, hesitation)
Surgery or anti-inflammation eye drops
If surgery is not safe or possible for your dog, eye drops can reduce symptoms (although they can not restore vision)
What is it?
A luxating patella is a malaligned (or dislocated) kneecap. This leaves your dog’s joint vulnerable and can cause significant pain and increased risk of further injury (specifically torn cruciate ligaments).
The least severe cases (known as Grade I) of patellar luxation might not require surgery, but more severe cases (Grade II-IV) typically do.
Limping, swaying, hopping, skipping, avoidance of affected limb, shaking or stretching the affected limb, lameness, avoidance of intense activity
Arthritis can complicate the condition. Prompt treatment helps prevent escalation.
The English cocker spaniel and the American cocker spaniel both get along easily with almost everyone they meet – and they love to meet people. A warm smile and floppy ears greet anyone who will show them attention.
As small and intelligent dogs, cocker spaniels approach things gently and with a sweet nature. As such, these dogs are excellent with children or for senior owners.
Cocker spaniels love to play from a young age into seniority. They maintain a good balance between high energy levels and a controlled temperament.
Despite high energy levels, a cocker spaniel is still very predisposed to training thanks to high intelligence and a desire to please. Unlike some breeds, they can respond well to corrections, provided it is not especially harsh because they want to please you.
A love for people seems to drive everything these dogs do. They want to be close to family and meet new friends every chance they get – and on the same token, they hate to be left alone for long.
Cocker spaniels have a long, silky coat. The outer layer is coarser than the inner layer but still soft by most standards.
Colors range widely, and a few roan-colored markings are also accepted. Some frequent color variations include solid colors like solid black or brown and particolor varieties.
No, cocker spaniels are not hypoallergenic.
Regular grooming is necessary for this breed, including brushing and haircuts, due to their luxurious but high-maintenance coats and long, floppy ears. Regular bathing, hair trimming, and ear cleaning are also important.
Cocker spaniels do well in training thanks to their high intelligence and eagerness to please.
Apartment living is a good fit for this breed, but so is home living with a yard. Despite being a sporting breed, they prefer to be home with their owners in general.
Lifetime Care Cost:
Cocker spaniel: Breed Information Guide
Cocker spaniels are a classic breed with plenty of history and a strong reputation to go along with it.
However, there are still plenty of considerations a potential pet parent is responsible for before bringing a cocker spaniel into their home.
Today, our Spot Pet Insurance breed guide is all about what it takes to give high-quality care to a cocker spaniel.
Meet the cocker spaniel
Cocker spaniels are a sporting breed, though the smallest of the bunch, with a well-balanced temperament and beautiful appearance.
Most dogs of this breed are exceptionally friendly, playful, and sweet, finding a good balance between high energy levels and good behavior driven by a need to please.
The cocker spaniel became famous thanks to the Disney classic Lady and the Tramp, but this sporting dog was a favorite among pet owners and reputable breeders long before that film.
If you’re considering adding a cocker spaniel to your family, read on to learn what you need to know.
Where does the cocker spaniel breed come from?
The cocker spaniel’s history dates back a few centuries but is unclear before the 1800s. This is because the name “spaniel” was often used to refer to a wider range of hunting dogs which are now distinguished as separate breeds.
The cocker spaniels we know today, whether American or English, didn’t become distinct until the 19th and 20th centuries. Most agree they originated in Spain (hence “spaniel”), eventually coming to Britain in the 19th century.
The name “cocker” is derived from the breed’s job of hunting woodcock, a specific type of game bird. Today, purebred cocker spaniels are rarely hunting dogs, preferring domestic life close to dog owners.
Other dogs in the spaniel group include the Sussex spaniel, the water spaniel, and the English springer spaniel.
What are the potential health problems for cocker spaniels?
Cocker spaniels generally have a long lifespan, a common boon for small breeds. Still, they are predisposed to certain health conditions that could pass down genetically or develop from later circumstances.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is particularly common, resulting in inhibited vision or loss of vision outright. Cataracts, glaucoma, and patellar luxation are also quite common, as are various other joint issues, eye diseases, and infections.
Whether you buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter, you can request genetic test results to show that your cocker spaniel was bred responsibly without any known hereditary diseases.
Other health conditions include:
Hypothyroidism and other thyroid issues
Excessive weight gain without proper daily exercise
Are cocker spaniels affectionate with family?
Yes, this breed is very affectionate with family! They develop strong bonds with their people and enjoy being around them as much as possible. Your cocker spaniel will want to please you, so it's important you return their affection.
Cocker spaniels do have energy and a certain level of independence, so they may not be content laying around all the time.
Are cocker spaniels intelligent?
Cocker spaniels are highly intelligent. They can pick up new ideas in training quickly, especially with the right bond between dog and trainer.
Thankfully, cocker spaniels are not a breed that uses their intelligence for mischief, such as escaping or seeking attention. They may, however, turn to destructive behaviors if left alone for too long.
Do cocker spaniels do well with children?
Cocker spaniels are excellent family pets, thanks to their gentle demeanor. Always supervise any interactions between a dog and child for the safety of both parties involved.
How are cocker spaniels with strangers?
Strangers are welcomed around cocker spaniels, although socialization is still key to ensure new encounters go as smoothly as possible.
Do cocker spaniels get along with other pets?
Dogs and even cats can be friends with a well-socialized cocker spaniel. You should always make careful introductions, nonetheless. Due to a high prey drive, smaller animals in the home (especially birds) are not a great fit.
How to be the best pet parent for a cocker spaniel
Giving a cocker spaniel a high quality of life requires plenty of research and understanding. We’re happy to provide plenty of pet parenting tips and guides in our Spot Pet Insurance Blog. Check it out to learn more!
How much does a cocker spaniel cost?
Adoption fee: $500-1,500
First year: $2,530
Following years: $1,330
Learn more about the price of a Cocker Spaniel.
Basic training and behavior etiquette for your cocker spaniel
The most important thing to remember when training a cocker spaniel is that they are eager to please. While the breed can be sensitive to harsh punishment, a little bit of correction in the form of disapproving tone or light punishment can be good motivation for them.
Let their intelligence and bond with you do the work, and you’ll have a well-behaved dog in no time!
What types of foods should cocker spaniels never eat?
Owners should be careful to avoid certain foods that are toxic to dogs. Here are some common examples:
In general, it’s best to feed your spaniel dog food rather than feeding them human food.
Exercising tips to keep your cocker spaniel staying fit and healthy
Cocker spaniels have high energy levels but can maintain a balanced temperament throughout the day. Exercise is key to their health and well-being, but not necessarily in the same way that it would be for, say, an Australian shepherd.
Fetch is a favorite form of play for this breed, but walking together or even participating in sports can be other great ways to exercise your dog as well.
Cocker spaniel life stages
Cocker spaniel Puppy: 0 - 2 years
Adult: 2 years - 11 years
Senior: 11 years - end of life
Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information | American Kennel Club (AKC)
American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD
Cataracts In Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals
How Much Does Dog Cataract Surgery Cost? (2022) | Spend on Pet
Patellar Luxations | American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Progressive Retinal Atrophy In Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals
Socializing Your Dog | Animal Humane Society
Potentially Dangerous Items for Your Pet | FDA