Cocker Spaniels came from one of the oldest breed of dogs, Spaniels, which have been around since the 1300’s. They were originally bred as hunting animals.
In fact, their name “Cocker” is derived from the word ‘woodcock’, which is a type of bird that cocker spaniels used to hunt centuries ago.
It was not until 1878 that the first Cocker Spaniel was registered with the American Kennel Club.
Since that time, Spaniels have been bred to create breeds with different personalities and temperaments.
Which Cocker To Select?
As mentioned, there are two different types of Cocker Spaniel; the American Cocker and the English Cocker.
It was not until 1970 that the Kennel Club in the UK recognised the English type as a separate breed. They have a few basic differences. The American Cocker is a happy breed with average working intelligence but over the years has been bred to a show standard and so is no longer an ideal working dog. In looks it differs to the English Cocker in that it has rounder eyes a shorter muzzle and clearly pronounced eyebrows. It is also slightly larger being between 37 and 39 cms in height.
There are two types of English Cocker Spaniel; the ‘working’ cocker (sometimes known as the field spaniel) and the ‘show’ cocker. It’s important to know the traits of each type before choosing your puppy. Whilst they are very similar in temperament and both make great family pets, there’s one key difference. The ‘working’ cocker has boundless amounts of energy and is almost tireless. He is bred to work and is a natural gun dog so will need a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation.
The ‘show’ cocker is much calmer, needs less exercise and loves to sit on their favourite chair next to the fire! They still need exercise and should be taken out for at least half an hour to an hour each day, but when home, will chill out and relax.
So before buying your forever friend, you need to decide whether you’re the type of household who loves being outdoors, walking in the mountains, or perhaps needs a running buddy – if you are, a ‘working’ cocker could be perfect for you.
However, if you’re more likely to only have time for an hour’s walk every day, or want a dog who’ll happily wander down to the local park and fetch a ball then perhaps you should think about a ‘show’ cocker.
These two types of Cocker Spaniel look different too. The ‘working’ Cocker has shorter ears, a wider, flatter head and less coat.
One-time Expenses to Care For
- Cocker Spaniel Price
Cocker spaniel puppies can cost between $400 to $1,400. Those that come from champion bloodlines tend to go towards the higher end of the spectrum.
As you can see, they can be relatively cheaper than other purebreds. This is due to unethical breeding from illegal puppy mills, backyard breeders, and pet stores that have taken advantage of their popularity. Buy from these types of outlets and your dog could end up with serious problems.
However, if you buy from reputable breeders, the price they charge usually covers veterinary care, initial vaccination and deworming treatments, as well as early socialization training, basic grooming routine (dew clawing, hair clipping, etc), and an AKC registration certificate.
However, it’s always worth considering adopting from the local shelter instead. As previously mentioned, they are largely overbred. So chances are, there are a lot like them in rescue centers.
Adopting a puppy or adult Cocker Spaniel instead of purchasing would only cost you around $200 to $300 depending on the age.
Cocker Spaniels are small enough to live happily in a condo or apartment as well as a regular home.
If you live in the latter, make sure to bring them indoors. Cocker Spaniels love human contact and hate being chained outside and living in a kennel. They would rather be bonding with their human family.
Leaving them outside would only cause them to show destructive behaviour like barking, destroying your well-tended garden, and digging around, just to cure their boredom.
If you bring them indoors, it’s worth investing in a crate that they could consider as a their safe space. With their 15-inch height and 28-pound frame, Cocker Spaniels can fit into a crate made for small to medium sized dogs.
For this, look for 36” dog crates. They are large enough for an adult Cocker Spaniel to move around freely and small enough to fit into any condo or apartment.
Dog crates at this size can push you to shell out around $30 to $90 depending on the brand and materials used.
- Transportation Cost to Bring the Pup Home
Because breeders care about the welfare of their puppies, only a handful of breeders allow their pups to be shipped while in a crate. They commonly charge at least $80 for car travel and at least $460 for air travel.
Air travel prices must include a crate provided by the breeder (reputable breeders do not allow clients to send crates for fear of diseases attached to them), a rabies vaccination shot, and airport delivery fee.
If the breeder you got does not offer shipping services, you can employ a pet travel service yourself. Deliveries within the continental US costs around $300 to $875 while overseas travel may cost around $450 to $3,500 depending on the traveled distance.
Some breeders only offer a temporary registration certificate for their Cocker Spaniels. In this case, you must get one for your pooch. Registering your Cocker Spaniel in American Kennel Club would cost you $35 per pet.
The process is easy. All you need to do is visit its registration website and answer the questions given. The instructions are clear and pretty straightforward.
Expenses After Receiving the Pooch
Cocker Spaniels are not known to be picky eaters. However, they tend to love their food, so think about portioning their food and controlling treats to help avoid obesity and other health problems.
A bag of dry dog food that can last for a month or even more depending on your dog’s size and prices starts at $14.37 to over $100 for 14 to 30-lb packs.
Cocker Spaniels, especially those that live in a small apartment or condo unit, require at least thirty minutes of exercise a day. This may include walking them around the neighborhood, playing fetch or catch with them, and interacting with toys.
For these activities, they need two things: a sturdy harness you can use while walking your pooch and toys that can stimulate both their body and mind.
In looking for a harness, make sure that it is fit just right or is adjustable to your Cocker Spaniel’s body proportions. A good quality harness can cost you at least $30.
Cocker Spaniels have tremendous energy and tend to get easily bored especially when left alone at home. Leaving some toys can help remedy this problem.
In choosing the right toy, you must remember that they were initially bred to be hunting dogs. Buying toys you can easily hide around the house to be found by your dog is one way of keeping them busy.
Luckily, you do not have to shell out that much money to keep them entertained. Dog toys cost around $1 to $45 depending on the brand, size, and store.
- Grooming Needs
The coat of the Cocker Spaniel can be thick and wavy, making this dog distinct from other breeds. They come in a wide range of colors from solid black or creamy white, to bi-color or even tri-color.
The downside of its luxurious mane is that it is very tedious to maintain. The price of hair clipping by a professional groomer can start at $55 and it may go higher depending on how thick and heavy your dog’s coat is.
Aside from clipping its hair every six to eight weeks, brushing it is a daily endeavor to prevent matting and tangles. You can buy a dog brush for $10.
Despite brushing their hair frequently, Cocker Spaniels can still leave a lot of fur behind; thanks to their above average shedding. Having a lint brush handy during these moments is crucial if you decide to keep one. It only costs about $10 each.
Of course, your grooming supplies are not complete without the dog shampoo and conditioner. For Cocker Spaniels, bathing is a must. You can buy a bottle of each starting at $10.
Their ears are also prone to trapping moisture and, if left unchecked, may lead to ear infections. If you frequently see your dog scratching its ears or shaking its head violently, have your vet check it out.
Also, clean your dog’s outer ears with an ear cleaner at least once a week. You can already buy one at $11.
- Veterinary Care
Cocker Spaniels’ over breeding issues brought a lot of health concerns for today’s generation of pups. Apart from their ears, the most common Cocker problem is cataract, a condition wherein the lens of the eye gets clouded or muddy. It can cause partial to total blindness if left untreated.
To avoid this problem, have a routine checkup with a licensed veterinarian. Each session can cost around $60. Prevention is better than having to pay $3,300 to $4,600 for a cataract surgery.
Fleas love a Cocker’s long, luxurious coat, so inform your vet if you find your dog scratching its fur frequently and ask for a flea treatment. This can cost you around $3 to as much as $70 depending on what type of products your vet would recommend.
Finally, to help ease the problem of overpopulation of this breed, have your Cocker Spaniel neutered. Expect to pay around $245 to $435 for the surgery.
Don’t forget the shots!
If you bought your Cocker Spaniel from a reputable breeder or shelter, your pup may have already received its initial vaccination shots and deworming treatment. Ask for a medical history and hand over a copy to your vet. This will tell the vet when the next vaccine shot should be given. Each vaccine can cost $19 to $35 each.
Things to Consider Before Buying that Cocker
One reason why Cocker Spaniels are abundant in local shelters today is that some families reject them after knowing their true colors. Thus, before choosing this dog breed as a pet, carefully consider these things:
- Can you handle having a clingy dog for a best friend?
- Are you able to support the Cocker Spaniel’s needs once it is under your care?
- Can you shoulder the responsibility of having to groom the Cocker Spaniel every day?
- Are you willing and able to train it to be a friendly and responsible dog both inside and outside your home?
- Is anyone in your family, including you, available to give the Cocker Spaniel the exercise it needs to stay healthy and productive?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then feel free to enjoy the Cocker Spaniel’s energetic, playful, and pleasing personality. When treated right, it can be a true and loyal friend until the end of your lives!