One of the most versatile dogs around today, Cocker Spaniels are an absolute treasure as family dogs. They will do well in both apartment as well as a large bungalow, and will follow you joyfully to all the places you are going.
Filled with great enthusiasm and joy, Cocker Spaniels never falls in pleasing their owners. Initially bred for hunting, the Cocker Spaniels have now managed to become one of the world’s best family dogs. Initially, the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel were considered one breed. It was not until 1946 that they were separated, when their physical and personality differences were finally recognized.
The English Cocker Spaniel has long hair, mainly on the ears and part under the belly. where a kind of "skirt" is left by the grooming of the breed. The breed comes in different colors such as black, blue roan, orange roan, liver roan, black and cinnamon, sable, black and white, tricolor etc. Cocker owners should note that these dogs have a hair style which is quite exposed to hair problems like tangling and matting. Hence, daily brushing is essential to keep these issues at bay. If you feel daily grooming would be tough for you, this dog may not be the ideal one for you to own. It is a common sight to see Cocker owners clipping their dog's coat short for making the skin care easier. Even so, it doesn't reduce the grooming and you would need to trim and bathe them once in six to eight weeks.
Being an active sport breed, Cocker Spaniels require a well-balanced diet comprising of the finest of ingredients. Some of the important nutrients they require are protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins and essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus etc. Cocker pups grow quickly during their first few months and hence need a diet loaded with protein. They need to be fed in smaller amounts throughout the day so as not to burden their little tummies. Adult Cocker Spaniels on the other hand, need a balanced diet that fulfils all their nutritional demands. Organic fibres are also essential to keep a healthy digestion in grown up Spaniels. When it comes to Senior Spaniels, they generally require low calorie foods as they might have slowed their activity down a little bit. Essential fatty acids like Omega fatty acids are suggested in their diet, as they maintain the strength of bones and joints.
Due to their long hair, Cocker Spaniel dogs require extensive sessions of grooming. Spaniels are among those dogs for whom, you cannot avoid combing at any cost no matter how busy you are. Even if you have just missed a combing session, you will see their hair either getting entangled or matted. It would be best if you use a dog-friendly metal comb with medium spacing for teeth, as it would glide down your Spaniel's hair with ease. Also, one of the distinct features of Cocker Spaniel is their ears and the hair around this area grows thicker over time. Be careful while you brush the hairs around their ears as the skin in this part is quite thin, especially at the edges. Another important aspect of these dog's grooming is regular bathing. As they have a luxurious coat, you need to use a high-quality dog shampoo for maintaining the health and sheen of their hair.
The English Cocker dog's big ear requires cleaning every week. Problems such as ear infections cause great pain and discomfort for the puppy, also making him irritable and even aggressive in some cases. Also, it's important for Spaniels to get outside every day and move around a lot. A minimum of 1 hour exercise is recommended for this pet daily.
The Cocker Spaniels have a history that dates back to 500 years. The early spaniels who had their traces in England, were divided among land and water spaniels. The water spaniels played a tremendous role in helping the hunters to retrieve water fowls that were shot down by arrows. As for land spaniels, they were essentially of two types, setting spaniels and springing spaniels. Setting spaniels used to creep down and point their game which allowed the hunters to trap them with nets. Springing spaniels, on the other hand, used to sprang on partridges and pheasants for hunting alongside with the falcons. They also teamed up with the greyhounds to hunt rabbits. The modern Cocker Spaniels we see were bred from these springing spaniels.