The American Cocker Spaniel

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The American Cocker Spaniel

Cocker SpanielThe American Cocker Spaniel is a beloved pet and good companion for many people. A well groomed Cocker is often a beautiful sight to behold. A number of different breeds are adorable as puppies, in fact most puppies are adorable, but they often become less so as they mature. Not so with the Cocker. It remains cute and lovable even up into old age.

At Its Best When Around People

The American Cocker makes a devoted pet. This is a breed that loves people. A Cocker can easily become unhappy when it’s not near its owner, or it’s not being treated as a regular member of the family. This is a breed that enjoys life to the fullest when given a chance to do so. It’s a merry little dog, and a playful one as well.

The fact that the Cocker is so devoted to people can have a bad side of course. If left alone for any period of time, such as during an adult’s working hours during weekdays, it can pick up some bad habits. When left alone for too long or too often, a Cocker Spaniel can quickly develop behavioral problems. If it is kept indoors, it might start chewing on whatever it finds is chewable. If it is kept outdoors, it may well take up a habit of digging, either to vent its frustration of being alone, or out of boredom since it has no one to play with or to be around. A Cocker that is left alone too often can become a hyper Cocker. Spaniels have a reputation in some quarters for being high-strung, but that is not a natural characteristic of the breed. It is something that is mostly a result of the environment the dog finds itself in.

There’s Luxurious Hair, and There’s Too Much Luxurious Hair

If there is another ‘bad’ side to the breed, it has nothing to do with behavior. It has to do with hair. When you think of dogs and haircuts poodles usually come to mind. There are other breeds as well that seem to benefit, at least in the eyes of their owners, from an occasional haircut. A Cocker is not given a haircut to make it appear beautiful. It’s a beautiful little dog to begin with. It needs an occasional haircut to keep it from becoming less beautiful. Its hair is usually long, curly, and wavy, especially on its ears and on the feathers of its legs. Occasional brushing is necessary, but if its hair is allowed to grow too long, the dog will have to be brushed constantly or you’ll end up with a messy ball of fur with four legs. Scissors of clippers is just something that comes with the breed. Despite all the hair, the Cocker is about average when it comes to shedding. Many popular breeds shed as much or more.

Cockers Love Other Dogs, Children, and Strangers – Cats, Maybe

Aside from a more or less constant need for companionship, the American Cocker Spaniel is a very adaptable little dog. It is well suited for apartment living. A daily walk will usually provide it with a sufficient amount of exercise. Cockers are normally friendly towards other dogs, children, and strangers. They make good watchdogs. They have a tendency towards barking, but when one of these dogs is properly trained that tendency can usually be kept under control. As far as training is concerned, the Cocker is an intelligent breed, which combined with its general temperament makes it highly trainable.

As far as cats are concerned, the Cocker is first and foremost a dog. It can co-exist peacefully with a cat, but it may have to be trained to do so unless it is introduced to a future feline friend when it is still a puppy. One potential problem with this is that a Cocker puppy enjoys playing even more than does an adult; something the family cat may not fully appreciate.

Cocker Spaniel Health Issues

Like most breeds, the Cocker has a few health issues. Even if you purchase a healthy puppy, this is a breed that needs to be closely watched should problems being to arise. One of the problems Cockers often are confronted is an ear infection. This should come as no surprise given the copious amount of hair that grows in and around the dog’s ears. A Cocker’s ears need to constantly be checked and occasionally cleaned to prevent infections. This breed is also somewhat susceptible to cataracts and glaucoma. Cataract treatment is available, but it can be somewhat expensive. Glaucoma treatment is expensive as well and sometimes has to be given over the lifetime of the dog. Autoimmune diseases can become a problem with some Cockers, and at times can be quite serious.

If you want a pet that can be left alone quite often without problems occurring, does not have to be carefully monitored for health issues, and does not need an occasional brushing and haircut, the American Cocker Spaniel is probably not for you. If you are looking for a friendly, playful and affectionate little dog you can spend a great deal of time with, it probably is.

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