London Cocker Spaniel Society

About The Breed

Spaniels have been known for centuries, but by 1893 the Cocker Spaniel itself was recognised by the Kennel Club as a separate breed. It has been bred over the years to a particular specification – the Breed Standard. This enables us to know the size, shape and characteristics we can expect when we buy a Cocker puppy. There are many different colours known within the breed. (See the Colours page for examples)

Cockers are loveable and loving and loyal to their owners. They are active and merry by nature and happy to join in family fun. A Cocker should weigh between 28 and 32 lbs (13 and 14.5kg), with dogs reaching a maximum of 16 inches (41cm), bitches slightly less. They are often greedy and feeding should be controlled and tit-bits restricted.

If you wish to become a Cocker owner you must be prepared to care for its coat. While the glamorous, silky show dog looks attractive, its preparation requires a lot of effort. You will need to brush and comb your dog regularly (preferably daily) and if you are unable to cope with the trimming – particularly of feet and ears – you will need to take it to a professional groomer four or more times a year.

Working Cocker Regular exercise is important for the health of the dog and can benefit the owner too. Cockers can be self-willed, but with patience can be trained for a variety of activities such as obedience and agility, and their particular qualities have made them useful as “assistance” or “sniffer” dogs. Many can be satisfactorily trained to the gun, but there is a divide between the show and working strains. Those of working parentage may differ considerably in appearance from your expectations. The emphasis in breeding them will have been more on ability than looks. It is important to ascertain prior to purchase whether the strain has the attributes likely to fulfil your requirements. Much then will depend on the future rearing, training and general upbringing of the dog, which are all your responsibility.

Showing a Cocker at Crufts Possibilities for showing Cocker Spaniels are numerous and there is a high standard in the ring. If you are attracted to showing you should consult someone well-versed in exhibiting and breeding before attempting it. Ring training classes for both you and the dog can be very helpful, and also provide socialisation for both. The Kennel Club can supply you with details of your nearest training classes either for ringcraft or for general obedience. (Tel: 0870 6066750).

Health Awareness
Sensible breeders will have weighed up the pros and cons before undertaking a mating, particularly with regard to inherited diseases and temperament. It is not usually acceptable to use a pet dog at stud, but if you are tempted to breed a litter from your bitch, please talk to an experienced person beforehand.  It is necessary to be aware of the health issues affecting the breed before attempting to breed a litter in order to produce as healthy puppies as possible.  Most responsible breeders have their stock annually eye tested as part of the KC/BVA eye testing scheme or Optigen tested. Optigen testing is DNA profiling in order to identify clear/carrier and affected animals. With this in mind, the websites listed below provide an overview of  diseases affecting the breed.  Please bear in mind, to produce puppies without knowledge or guidance can do harm to a breed.