So you think you would like an American Cocker?
If you are thinking of owning a member of this breed as
a pet, it would be an idea to analyze exactly what draws
you to to them. Most fanciers would say that their outward
appearance, beautiful coat, long ears, elegant neck and
of course that gorgeous melting, almost soulful expression
would be the no. 1 factors in their decision. Then would
come the lovely even temperaments and their intelligence
and eagerness to work.
So before making that important purchase, lets take each
of the above and delve a little deeper into what an American
Cocker is really about.
That beautiful well groomed dog seen at the shows or on
the internet sites, in reality only looks like that for
about 2 or 3 days if you are lucky. Once the dog has been
out in rain or damp weather or taken for a run on the beach
or in the woods, the dog you then see is quite different.
Most pet owners will have their cockers trimmed down to
a more manageable length which can then help to keep them
looking reasonably good, until the next grooming session.
It must be stated however that when clipped short their
overall appearance will differ from those left with their
coats long. If like us you want to keep the coat long, be
prepared to put some work in. When in adult coat, they need
to bathed at the very least once a week, and thoroughly
brushed, blow dried and any knots removed. In between baths,
just remove any debris they have picked up by using fingers
to unravell. Those long ears will get into everything they
eat, drink and sniff. Thats why you will see show dogs wearing
snoods covering their ears. Cockers do tend to have ear
problems as well, and will need regular checking. The long
elegant necks allow them to reach where they shouldn't,
like on the dining table and work tops. As for that soulful
expression, they seem to be able to use that to their advantage,
to get what they want and make you feel so guilty when refusing
Although a well bred American Cocker should have that wonderful
temperament, they do have another side to them. They can
be very stubborn and if not trained, will rule the roost.
They seem to really enjoy training. They are very intelligent
and once in work mode are not easily distracted. With strong
gundog instincts, they work well with man.
This does have its down falls when kept as a pet. An American
Cocker does not do well if not mentally and physically stimulated.
Ours can do a 3 mile run, 8 runs of the agility course along
with another 2 long walks all in one day and still want
to run around and play with their squeaky toys. So if you
want a couch potato dog, that is quite happy to chill all
day, don't get an American Cocker Spaniel. Nothing is worse
than a bored, under exercised American Cocker, it destroys
an American Cocker live with me?
read the first part, if you still fancy this breed then
its time to look at your life style and determine if an
American Cocker would actually like living with you.
Although we think that a dog of any breed would tend to
mould into a new owners
way of life, there are always the exceptions to this. If
you are a genuine dog lover, you must think about the dogs
health and welfare, which includes its state of mind. We
find that American Cockers have a need to be mentally stimulated,
as well as physically. So ask yourself - can I, and am I
able to give this dog all that it requires to keep it healthy
in body and mind?
We have had the odd puppy that has been happier in a quiet
household as the only dog, with its owners 100% attention.
On the whole though, we would look to place a young puppy
in a home where there is a lot of activity and interaction.
A home with children is good for American Cockers, providing
the breeders have socialised their puppies with children
of course. Always ask them what type of socialising their
pups have had in order to make the right choice of puppy
for your home.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing an American
Is your home is full of activity, where their may be another
dog to play with, children, or teenagers coming and going,
bringing their friends in, that are quite likely to enjoy
throwing a ball or frisby. Or is your home made up of just
1 or 2 adults , that like plenty of walking, and maybe running
or cycling, where you could take your American Cocker with
you. Perhaps you would be interested in trying agility,
flyball or obedience classes. Or maybe you just love to
walk through fields and woods where your American could
rummage through the hedges and bushes to see what he can
find for you. If you can say yes to any of these, and have
a lot of patience and time to share and are prepared to
groom a dog, or take him to a groomers regularly, then an
American Cocker Spaniel would like living with you.