Are you lucky enough to share your life with a Cocker Spaniel? Then you’ll already know that Cocker Spaniels have those large dreamy eyes that melt your heart! And, with a tail that’s nearly always wagging – it’s no wonder they are also known as ‘happy dogs’!
With all dog breeds, there are so many things to learn! So read on for these 22 fun facts about our special Cocker Spaniels. They belong to the Sporting group of dogs and although they were originally bred as gun dogs, they are just as happy living in the city as in the countryside, as long as they have access to long walks where they can run and exercise their natural skills, like chasing and retrieving.
Did you know?
- There are over 20 Cocker Spaniel colours and combinations! Yes, this friendly pooch comes in many different colourways:
Solid colours: Black, Golden, Liver, Red
- Parti-coloured: These Cocker Spaniels’ coats have a large portion of white: they are two-tone, with either the white or their base colour showing as their main colour. You can therefore get black & white, liver & white, orange & white, lemon & white or red & white
- Roan patterns: This is when the main colour is diluted with white hairs, making for a lighter and very unique look. These variations are called:
• The Blue Roan – which is not blue at all, but a mixture of black & white, giving the coat a bluish appearance.
• The Lemon Roan
• The Chocolate Roan
• The Orange Roan
- Tan marked Cockers: Tan marks can appear with any other colours, and mostly appear on the muzzle, eyes, legs, tail, and even the chest. They may show up in all or only some of these areas.
- Sable Cocker Spaniels: In these beautiful dogs, each hair is actually two distinct colours. The base of each hair will be the dog’s main colour, while the tips are all black. Sable Cocker Spaniel colouring can show up in particular with white or alternatively, with tan markings – producing the sable & tan cocker, or the white & sable cocker.
- Finally, we have the Ticking Pattern Cocker Spaniel and the Open Marked Cocker Spaniel: Ticked patterns are small coloured flecks in a Spaniel with white fur that can develop weeks after birth, while open-marked means that the white in the dog is completely white with no ticking.
- The American and English Cocker Spaniels are separate breeds, even though they are very similar – American Cockers have rounder heads and more pronounced eyebrows, whereas English Cockers have longer snouts.
- Captain, a liver & white Spaniel, was registered in the first studbook of the National American Kennel Club.
- The earliest spaniels are thought to have originated in Spain, hence the name, but most of the modern breeds were developed in Britain.
A Cocker’s nature
- Cocker Spaniels are intelligent dogs that love to please; they are easy to train but can become over-excited or distracted, so make your training sessions short and fun to keep their attention!
- They love mental stimulation and to be kept busy, so playing games like agility or flyball will keep them well occupied and use up some of that energy!
- If you’re looking for a friendly dog, the Cocker Spaniel is for you! They are typically easy going dogs - and as long as you approach them in a calm manner and wait for them to come to you before you pet them - they will likely be happy to say hello!
- They love company, so they may need extra support if you need to leave them home alone. Make sure you help them adapt with training, and give them plenty of resources and activities to do while you are away.
- As excellent trackers, Cocker Spaniels can be tempted to chase things when out on a walk – recall is an important skill for a Cocker to learn for times when they are off the lead.
Cocker Spaniels with famous connections
- Probably the most famous Cocker Spaniel is Lady, from the movie ‘Lady and the Tramp’.
- Two dogs were passengers on the Mayflower which landed in New England in 1620. One was a Mastiff and the other was a Spaniel. We’re not quite sure what type of Spaniel it was, as at this point in history the different types of Spaniel (the Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel and the Field Spaniel) had not been distinguished from each other.
- A Cocker Spaniel named Tangle, was the first cancer detecting dog – confirmed in a 2004 study where Tangle had a 56% success rate; after more training, this success rate increased to a whopping 80%!
- President Nixon had a Spaniel called Checkers – he mentioned Checkers in his now-famous ‘Checkers speech’. Checkers never actually lived in the White House but he lived with the family until he died in 1964 at the age of 13.
- William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, had a Cocker called Lupo, who sadly passed away last year, but their newest family member is another Cocker Spaniel called Orla.
- Arthur holds a special place in Elton John’s heart. As well as being “best man/dog” at Sir Elton's wedding, he even received credit on the album “The Captain and the Kid,” apparently supplying “woof-bells.”
- George Clooney’s Cocker Spaniel was adopted from a shelter when the dog was 5 years old and within days of being put down. Einstein became something of a celebrity himself when he featured in the book, “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.”
- Butch, the pet of well-known animal illustrator Albert Staehle. Staehle used the black and white Cocker Spaniel as his cover model for 25 editions of the magazine ‘Saturday Evening Post’. Butch was loved by the magazine's readership.
- A Cocker Spaniel was the inspiration for Sperry boat shoes – Paul Sperry watched his Cocker Spaniel, Prince, running on ice without slipping and decided to emulate the wave-like grooves on Prince’s feet, on the soles of his shoes.
Caring and health tips
- As energetic and intelligent pets, give Cocker Spaniels plenty of exercise, and training to keep them stimulated. And of course, lots of love and rewards when they respond well!
- Cockers have long hair, so daily grooming is recommended to prevent their fur from tangling. Their thick coat often needs a professional groomer every couple of months.
- As grooming is a normal part of a Cocker’s life, it’s important to groom-train your puppy from an early age. Training with positive reinforcement will help to develop positive associations of the handling, the feel of brushes and combs as well as sound of clippers.
- Regular health checks are important for Cockers, as some can have hereditary health problems (e.g. dysplasia, eye disorders). A good breeder should be able to give you information about the screening carried out on a puppy’s parents before you adopt them.
Like all different dog breeds, Cocker Spaniels may need extra support through everyday life. Using ADAPTIL can help in many different ways:
- ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser can help your dog stay calm and adapt at home, in situations like staying alone, when they hear loud noises, get visitors or to help them cope with their fears.
- ADAPTIL Calm Collar can give the same protection as Calm Diffuser when you are out and about with your dog.
- ADAPTIL Junior Collar helps puppies to feel as appeased and secure with their new family as they did with their mother. It promotes better socialisation and learning to help puppies develop into confident, well-balanced adults.
- ADAPTIL Transport Spray makes travel and visits to the vet less stressful – and reduces panting, trembling and restlessness during travel.
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