The name "cocker" hails from the woodcock, a bird this spaniel was initially bred to hunt. Excellent retrievers with sensitive mouths, er Spaniels are great at hunting all sorts of birds in difficult terrain. Because they are originally hunting/water dogs, their skin tends to be super oily. Though the English er is regarded as a companion dog because of his good nature, the intrinsic talents of this breed fall in the realm of hunting, retrieving, competitive obedience and agility.
A compactly crafted, medium-sized dog with long floppy ears that reach to the nose when pulled forward, this breed is strong, well-balanced, and solid with medium length hair. Their inky oval eyes have an unyielding intelligence about them--enough to make you melt.
These companion dogs are energetic, merry, and easy to love. Naturally affectionate, they are wonderful with children--to a point. Though gentle and playful, they do not tolerate teasing and taunting very well. With strangers, this dog is a socialite and will chat it up with the best of them. A great watch dog, the English er Spaniel barks if anyone knocks on the door and they obey orders respectfully.
Though this breed is generally outgoing, some individuals in the breed can be quite reserved. In fact, temperament varies widely in this breed. Some er Spaniels suddenly become enraged and bite their owners for no apparent cause--this is known as "Cocker rage." Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an effective way to treat this. Some female ers can be fairly nt and should not be placed with passive owners. Because of their long ears and their love for outdoor exercise, this breed is prone to ear problems due to heat and/or bacteria. During the summer, the ears should be checked for grass seeds and signs of infection and cleaned often to remove wax buildup. HealthyPetNet Ear Care will help this kind of debris to rise to the surface, allowing you to clean it out with ease. Hanging so close to the ground, the ears become quite vulnerable to ticks and dirt. It is highly possible for this breed to go deaf if the ears are left unchecked.
Grooming is also a must. These dogs are also known for their skin challenges. Because of their oily skin and various allergies, itching, lesions and sores can occur often. Board certified dermatologists suggest that these dogs should be washed 8-10 times a week!
Make sure you give this breed plenty of exercise because a low thyroid, which these dogs are known for getting, can result in obesity.
If you plan to trim down this summer, this dog is the perfect companion. This breed loves exercise and has plenty of stamina. You'll find yourself struggling to keep up.
The Cocker Spaniel
by Aaron Wilmont
This article initially appeared in the June 06' issue of the Healthy Pet Net Newsletter. More dog information at www.dog-food-nutrition.info.