Cocker Spaniels

I’ve been seriously thinking about getting a puppy for awhile now and have recently decided that I would like a cocker spaniel. When I was growing up, we had a cockapoo who was the sweetest dog ever. I’d like to know a little bit more about the breed before I make any final decisions. I know that they are prone to ear infections and you need to keep their ears clean, something else I read said that they might be hard to housebreak. Does anyone else have any little tidbits of information that might be helpful?
Thanks! :slight_smile:

I don’t really know much about them except, supposedly, they can be aggressive…I don’t know about all of them, but one my mom and dad had for a while sure was! Bit a small chunk out of my face when I was a baby and I still have the scar…lol…But, of course, ya can’t lump every dog together based on the actions of one. I think they’re cute as can be, but, if the breed is indeed more prone to aggression, you may want to re-think that if there are any little ones in the house.

It seems they tend to get a little smelly…I read that they have oily skin and that might be part of it. I don’t really have any first hand knowledge…maybe a vet would be a good source. My MIL has one that is still a puppy and she’s cute though cockers aren’t my favorite dog.

These sites have some basic info.

I had a cocker for 14 years, he was a WONDERFUL dog. My kids grew up with him; took naps on the floor with him and chewed on HIS ears. He was even tempered, gentle and a kind old soul. He was exceptionally healthy, didn’t smellat all til he got old (about 12) and then did have an “old dog” smell about him.

Find a breeder that breeds for temeperment, some can be kind of snappy. There are also “English” cockers and “American” cockers, can’t remember which is which but one is smaller with a finer silkier coat, the other larger with a coarse coat.

Fina a Cocker Spanial forum and ask lits of questions.

I second Ginny’s suggestion of finding a Cocker forum and reading up.

Before I adopted Cyrus I joined and benefitted greatly from the info I gathered there…not to mention the friends Cyrus and I made!

Funnily enough I was also bitten by a Cocker Spaniel. My DBF’s mom has one and if you get her on the wrong day…watch out! I have a scar from the bite on my right hand actually. She is very agressive and I wouldn’t ever want her around my (future) children.

They just had a segment about cocker spaniels on Dogs 101 on the Animal Planet channel. You might be able to get a summary at their web site. Just go to According to the program, they are terrific dogs for anyone and are easily trained. They very much want to please. The main problem besides needing to keep their ears cleaned is that they are suseptible to heart disease. I’ve never had one, but have been around a few over the years and they were always friendly and sweet dogs.

I grew up with 2 cocker spaniels and my mom is now on the 3rd. They do have ear problems. Sadie (#2) had to have her ears sewn shut. Apparently it’s pretty common. It makes them deaf, but it’s sometimes better than the chronic ear infections that lead to other things. (Too much antibiotics is not a good thing!) She also had seizures. I’m not sure why. Both of the first 2 lived to around 10. Sierra will be 12 next week and is still pretty healthy. Cockers shed like CRAZY. They are not good dogs for allergy prone people! I was fine growing up with them, but now when we go visit, I have some allergy symptoms if she sleeps in our bed or I pet her without washing my hands right away. We have a cockapoo now. She has no health problems and doesn’t shed. She got all the good things from each parent as most mixed breeds do.


I don’t have a cocker spaniel, (I have a shih tzu), but a close friend of mine has one, and she is wonderful. Her son ended up getting a puppy from the next litter, and it is totally different. Very snappy and noisy, she got kicked out of doggie daycare for being too aggressive.

You might want to think about going through breed rescue. If you adopt a young adult, you’ll know what kind of personality you’re dealing with. Let me see here…these folks should be in charge of your area, or they’ll know who is:

I had a cocker spaniel. My daughter was 3 at the time, and she could literally boss him around and he wouldn’t make a noise. He was gentle and sweet and very loving. He did have ear problems and skin problems. My vet told me that was because at that time they were a very popular breed and the breeding was causing problems.

My friend’s son went up to a cocker spaniel who was with his owners. He asked if he could pet the dog. He was given permission. When he bent down to pet the dog, the dog bit him in the face. The poor kid had to have plastic surgery.

I think if you’re careful about where you get the dog and you train it well, you would be fine. Cockers are my favorite dogs!