Is a working cocker spaniel right for you?

 

The working cocker spaniel is unbelievably cute.  Big eyes, floppy ears, silky fur.  They are tough to beat on the adorable scales.

This is not a good reason to get a working cocker spaniel.

They grow up!!

And when they grow up they become working dogs with a high drive and they want to work.  They will never be happy with an hour’s walk around the park every day.  They need stimulation and a lot of training.

Before you go for a working cocker, ask yourself these questions (most of which apply to any new puppy, not just the working cocker) These are some of the questions I would want to ask anyone coming for one of my puppies:

- Why do you want a working cocker?  Is it just because they are cute or because the Royals have got one?  If so Monty (sire to Tiegan's first litter)I can guarantee you will want to re-home him after six months! Do you intend working him? (not necessarily on the gun dog field, but agility, advanced obedience, HTM – anything to keep him busy and happy)

- Have you read up on the working cocker (and spaniels in general) properly?  Do you understand their basic psychology, their needs and idiosyncrasies?   Do you know what will be required to give them the best home possible?

- Will there be someone at home with the puppy most of the time, and if not, what sort of care plan do you have in place? (someone popping in once a day is not enough for this busy little breed)

-Do you have a reasonably sized house and garden?

- Are you committed to training and socialising your working cocker puppy in the first place? Have you found a good local training school so your puppy can not just learn to follow commands and work with you, but to work around other dogs calmly and sensibly?  The working cocker is very keen to please and a fast learner, but needs consistent and interesting training from the start.

- Is your family ready?  Do you have young children under the age of five (not always a great combination, and a definite no if it’s your first dog).  Are any of your children scared of dogs?  (It’s amazing how many parents think getting a puppy will cure this.  It often makes it worse for the child and puppy and the working cocker is always bouncy when young) Are you all aware of the commitment you are making for the next 12-15 years?

I do have some concerns, since the ‘Royals’ – Kate and Will – got a working cocker puppy, that it will become the next must-have pet.  But Kate is an outdoor type of person.  She has time and lots of advisors to help her train her working cocker puppy, and he will probably be professionally trained to the gun.  He is likely to then be worked to the gun like the other ‘royal dogs’  and he is suited to their lifestyle.  When they are away they can afford the most suitable care for him.  Added to which, if he came from her parents’ litter, one presumes that she does understand the breed.

So if you are thinking of getting a working cocker spanielbecause she has one, please don’t!  May I respectfully point you inworking cocker the direction of a breed more suited to being a family pet.  Even a show cocker spaniel has much less drive than the working cocker.

However,

If you are looking for an enthusiastic, intelligent dog, who will keep you busy, who will work (or walk) until he drops then bounce up half an hour later wanting more;

If you are prepared to put in the hours of training to help a highly driven but sensitive little creature with a stubborn streak to reach his full potential

If you want a dog who will work tirelessly to please you, once he has decided you are worthy of such devotion and who will leave muddy paw prints across your home and heart,

there is absolutely no breed better than the working cocker.

More on working cocker spaniels here

 

 

 

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