Cocker Spaniel




The Cocker Spaniel was all the rage back in the early 1980’s. The most common type back than was the buff colored version. A lot of those animals were fear biters.  They would wag their tail and bite at the same time! This was caused by massive inbreeding of the animal to meet the demand of the public. Because of THAT the breed was out of favor for a long time. Cocker Spaniel dogs are now very popular and due to their relative small size of between 25-35 pounds, they can be maintained in home environments that would be inadequate for the bigger sporting breeds.


Well groomed, the breed is a beautiful dog to admire. They are much smaller than others in the group.  This makes them extremely fast in the field and able to dart to get a hold of their “prize bird”! Cocker Spaniel dogs can be submissive at times leading to embarrassing urine production!!  Both sexes, when scared or threatened, will urinate out of nerves!  All owners of Cocker Spaniel dogs are aware of this trait!




Cocker Spaniel dogs are right up there with Labrador Retrievers when it comes to the frequency of developing external ear infections.  With those floppy ears, plenty of ear hair and excess wax production the breed can be seen frequently shaking their heads; one of the first initial signs of an ear infection.


In my years of experience, it is the only breed that I diagnosed a case of a true hermaphrodite.  This is an embryological disorder where an individual has reproductive disorders of both sexes present. Most common is the female with clitoral elongation (analogous to the male penis) and in place of ovaries, testes are present! This condition is normal in less complex creatures such as the earthworms and tapeworms.  This happened one day in my medical practice.  The client initially called to make an appointment to have her Cocker Spaniel examined claiming she saw something hanging out of “you know what”. Intrigued, I looked at the animal and saw the clitoris looking more like the male os penis. She wanted the dog spayed and I told her I would try! I was successful but it was one of the strangest spays I had ever performed!




Cocker Spaniel dogs come in numerous colors. Most common are the buff, black and white speckled and the jet black Cocker Spaniel. The latter is prone to the development of oral and skin melanomas. ANY dark looking mass seen on any dog but particularly the black Cocker Spaniel should be seen as soon as possible for a medical evaluation. The spayed female tends to be prone to excessive weight gain so owners have to limit calories and or exercise the animal more. Regardless of the medical issues, Cocker Spaniel dogs are small compact animals and make great family pets.  Learn more about the breed at Animal Planet’s® Dog Breed Selector.

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