Group of English Cocker Spaniels of different colours

Cocker Spaniel Pros and Cons

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If you’re thinking about getting a family dog, then a Cocker Spaniel might be the right breed for you. Beautiful coats, pleasant natures, and sweet personalities are all hallmarks of this highly popular breed. But like all dog breeds, there are both benefits and drawbacks. Here are the Cocker Spaniel pros and cons. 

A big “pro” of having a Cocker Spaniel as a family pet is their friendliness and loving nature. Cocker Spaniels are preferred by many as family dogs for two reasons:  

  1. They are usually very gentle and kid-friendly
  2. They are easily trained and very smart. 

These dogs are a great choice for family pets, especially first-time dog families. But, Cocker Spaniels need a lot of grooming to keep their beautiful coats….well….beautiful. Also, they are often afflicted with low-grade ear infections, eye problems and hair mats. It’s necessary for the family to stay on top of their dog’s grooming and healthcare needs.

A big “con” of the Cocker Spaniel is their propensity for separation anxiety. Cocker Spaniels are very loyal to their family or owner.  This can cause the “home-alone” Cocker Spaniel to be destructive and act out when left alone for any extended time. 

They also bark a lot, which is another “con” for some owners and their neighbours. But, with behaviour training and lots of exercise, these annoyances often go away.

As a breed, the Cocker Spaniel is an exceptional and beautiful breed with many first-time owner benefits. But, you should always carefully weigh the “pros” and “cons” before bringing one home.

Cocker Spaniel Pros and Cons

cocker spaniel sitting on a wooden floor

Cocker Spaniel Pros

Cocker Spaniels are a great and very popular dog breed.  The fact is, they are a great pet choice, especially for first-time pet parents. Here are some “pros” of bringing home a Cocker Spaniel.

Loyal and Loving Companions

Cocker Spaniels are renowned for their loyalty and loving attachment to their owners. They seemingly adore their owners and they love attention. For this reason, Cocker Spaniels typically form strong bonds with their humans and will always be loving companions.

Excellent Family Pets

Cocker Spaniels are exceptional family pets. They really enjoy playing with children and these dogs are very good at roughhousing with kids. They also enjoy good playtime with other family pets.

Apartment Living

Cocker Spaniels adapt easily to apartment living. They are a small breed of dog and don’t need a lot of space to roam around. They are typically quiet house dogs so they usually won’t bother your neighbours. However, they do need exercising every day to avoid getting obese and having separation anxiety issues. So, take yours out for walks and play with them often.

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Trainable and Obedient

Cocker Spaniels are easy to teach because they are very command obedient. This is because they naturally love to please their humans and truly enjoy learning new things. They pay attention. This means they are fast learners that can be easily trained with a little positive reinforcement like praise and small, healthy treats.

Active and Playful

Cocker Spaniels are active and playful. They love to play with people and other house pets, and they love to run around outside or inside. They are exceptional at fetching but love teasing anyone that plays with them. They are also very good at entertaining themselves for hours by playing with toys.

Good with Kids

Cocker Spaniels are kid friendly too. They are gentle and patient with kids and can handle a bit of rough play without getting mad or growling. They are also empathetic and comforting when a child is upset. Cocker Spaniels also make excellent therapy dogs and are often used in hospitals to help kids with emotional problems.

cocker spaniel being groomed

Cocker Spaniel Cons

If you’re thinking about getting a family dog, then a Cocker Spaniel might be the right breed for you — Or Not. Before choosing this breed it would be wise to carefully consider the pros and cons of Cocker Spaniels.  

Okay, so you’re thinking about getting a new family dog. A Cocker Spaniel might just be the right breed for you and yours.  But,  while there are definite advantages to a Cocker Spaniel, there are also some disadvantages you need to be aware of.

Separation Anxiety

Cocker Spaniels are popular for their fun and loving personalities. In fact, they are renowned for their dependency on — and love for — human companionship. But, what this doesn’t tell you is they often have separation anxiety as a result of that dependency. In fact, Cockers may become anxious and destructive if you’re gone for a while. Destructive things like furniture chewing, digging, vomiting, etc. could happen.

Health Issues

Like all breeds, Cocker Spaniels can come down with certain illnesses. Common problems in Cocker Spaniels include ear infections, eye problems, and skin allergies. They could also be more likely to get certain cancers and other serious health disorders. Be sure to acquire your Cocker Spaniel from a knowledgeable and reputable breeder — not a fly-by-night or someone with a box of puppies!  And, always take your Cocker Spaniel to the vet for regular checkups and vaccinations.  

Grooming Needs

Cocker Spaniels are noted for their beautiful coats. This should tell you that they will need grooming often. Without regular grooming their hair will mat and they will shed all over your home. Frequent brushing and grooming are key and mandatory for your Cocker Spaniel’s coat health and beauty.

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Barking Tendencies

Cocker Spaniels may bark excessively, especially at delivery people, visitors, and other dogs.  Serious training begun at a young age will curb this but you must train the dog specifically not to bark. If not trained properly then he or she will bark a lot. This can cause problems with neighbours and visitors.  Plenty of healthy exercise and mental stimulation will curtail your dog’s excessive barking.

Sensitive to Aggression

Usually, Cocker Spaniels are people and pet friendly as well as very adaptable dogs. But, they can be very protective and reactive to sudden aggressive behaviour. If you or someone you know yells or becomes suddenly aggressive towards you, your family, or your Cocker Spaniel, the dog may be frightened, fearful, or anxious. Positive reinforcement training will help prevent sudden aggressive behaviour.

Cocker Spaniel Pros and Cons: Is This the Right Breed for You?

Cocker Spaniels are great family dogs and the ideal dog for active first-dog families. This small breed is really playful and very kid friendly. Cocker Spaniels are also really good dogs for apartment dwellers. The breed is extremely loyal, loving, trainable, and active. So, they are the ideal choice for anyone looking for a trainable and compatible companion dog. 

These are really beautiful dogs with friendly temperaments. As a breed, they are highly trainable and a lot of fun. But, there are some “cons” or drawbacks that you must be aware of and train the dog accordingly. With proper training, care, and attention, a Cocker Spaniel can be a wonderful family pet.

So we have examined cocker spaniel pros and cons, do you think they might be the right breed for you? If so, check out The Happy Cocker Spaniel: Raise Your Puppy to a Happy, Well-Mannered Dog. If you aren’t sure which breed to cocker spaniel is right for you, then check out our English Vs American Cocker Spaniel guide.

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