Looking for advise

We are a family with 2 children (that are older than 10 years) and have been exploring online which breed would be a good fit. My husband and I have both grown up with dogs (not cocker spaniels) and would love to add a dog to the family.It looks like the English Cocker Spaniel could be great and I would love to get your feedback on whether you think cocker spaniels could be a good fit for our needs. It's important to us that the dog feel happy and comfortable, and this works for our lifestyle.
These are some of the aspects we wanted to confirm:
- Family friendly, good with kids
- Medium-low shedding
- Does not bark too much (neighbours)
- We both work and could be away from home on weekdays from 8am-5pm. The dog would get good attention in the evenings with walks and playtime, but I want to make sure they are content with being left at home during the day when we are out at work. We have a small yard.
- Enjoys going out for walks and being active (in the evenings, weekends)
- Is good with car travel as we like to get out and drive/hike during the weekends
- If we do long distance trips (e.g. fly once a year to a far away destination), would the breed be ok with being boarded at a good dog care center.
- Is fine with going out/being outdoors in the snow during the winter
- we are mostly vegetarian and don't cook a lot of meat at home, but I'm assuming we can buy dog food to handle that. Are there any diet needs for the breed?
- Are there any major health conditions to look out for?
Thanks for any insights, appreciate it!
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Well-Known Member
I have an English Cocker and don't see a problem so far as family goes. Callie hasn't met a person she doesn't like I don't think she sheds a lot, but i could just not be seeing it since her hair is black. They do need to be groomed regularly because they can get mats.

Normally, Callie isn't a big barker, but we live next to the woods. If there is something in there, she will bark.

She loves going on walks and meeting new people. We have several places around here where we can walk in the woods, etc.

Personally, I don't like to leave a dog home for that amount of time, especially if you get a young one. Any chance you could do doggie day care? I put Callie in one for a day when we were on vacation. She loved it.

When we came back from vacation, hubby decided he wanted to do the drive in one day instead of 2. Never again. It took us 13 hours to get home. Callie was good the whole time.

If the dog is out in the snow, you might want to think about boots. We've had some early snow here and I will be getting them for Callie. She had ice balls between her pads and frozen to her legs.

As far as health problems, there are various things that cockers are prone to. However, a reputable breeder will do what they can to minimize the chance of the dog developing problems. There are others that are better able to say what the problems are, what to steer away from and what to look for. But, I know both of Callie's parents had various test done.
Thank you! Appreciate the advise, this was helpful.
I've been exploring websites and and some advise against cocker spaniels for working families who might be gone all day. I'm not entirely sure if this is a matter of training, specific cocker spaniel breed or if that's a breed attribute. I think it would be hard to arrange for daily dog care while we are out in our case. It's a pity as so much else about the breed sounds like such a great fit for us..
I'm researching more if we need to consider a different breed. If anyone has a similar situation as ours but where the cocker spaniels are managing fine, please do me know. Also, I'd love to know what sort of problems come up with leaving a cocker spaniel at home during the day (if this is an issue) e.g. are they deeply affected even if given sufficient attention in the evenings, do they bark a lot when alone, do they tend to chew things up etc.


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Here’s the thing, I don’t think that anyone would recommend leaving a puppy of any breed alone from 8:00am to 5:00pm. That’s way, way too long to expect a puppy not go to the bathroom. Plus would it only be from 8-5? Isn’t there some travel time invited lived also so it might actually be more like 7:30am to 5:30pm? Adult dogs can do very well on that schedule but it’s way too much to expect from any puppy.

As for the rest of it, just like any breed it depends on the individual dog and their training.

My cocker spaniels are great with kids. They don’t bark much, mainly at the doorbell or if amazon tosses a package at our front door. I kind of appreciate that.

They love to go for walks and adore hiking. I’ve had cocker spaniels for years and everyone loved car rides but one of my current dogs, Farley, gets car sick. Consequently he disliked riding in the car for many years. He seems to have grown out of the problem and now likes to ride in the car. So I’ve had six cocker spaniels over the years that loved the car and one that didn’t. Overall most dogs like car rides.

I started my dogs put being boarded when they were young. They love their boarding facility and are excited to go. Since both our kids live an airline flight away I’m glad the dogs like to be boarded.

As for health, all dogs are prone to certain health issues. Choose a good breeder who does health and temperament testing. Find a good vet. Practice good healthcare. Feed a good food and do your best.

No dog of any breed comes with any kind of guarantee of exactly what their temperament and behavior will be. Choose a good breeder and do the proper training and chances are that you will end up with a dog to fit your lifestyle.
Thanks a lot for all this great information!
I think a 1-2 yr old who is already house trained might work better for us. And as you say, we may need to carefully look at the breeder and temperament, and then work on training. I've been checking around but getting a 1-2 yr old seems much harder to come by as well but we'll try.
It suspect this is more of a US forum, but if anyone has contacts in Central or Western Europe (that's where we live currently) for cockers please do drop me a response.
Btw I had initially considered rescue dogs when I started looking (who might be older as well) but it's been hard to get good information/resources in Europe to go about that.

Thank you!


Well-Known Member
I was just going to suggest looking into a rescue.

You might also consider contacting a breeder to see if they know anyone that has a slightly older dog. Even if they don't, they may have people that they can contact that would be willing to keep an eye out for you.


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Owned by
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Do the kids come home before 5p and are able to let the dog out? that can be a long day for a younger dog to hold its bladder.

I did work FT and had a cocker that was fine but it needed long walks and playtime as soon as I got home. And he was 5yr old when I got him.
I think English cockers tend to be calmer than Americans but my ACS have all been fairly barky. Well, except for Teddy who howls and screams as soon as he realizes he's been left alone. I honestly don't know if I'd have one in an apt type setting.

Be sure you factor in the grooming time/cost/effort when you're considering the breed. Again less intensive in an ECS than an ACS but still a major factor. Go to some shows and meet some in person and hang out - clearly we all love them and think they're great but only you know what will work for your family.


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Another way to get to know breeders seems to be Facebook. A lot of ECS breeders from Europe are very active there. And yes, going to shows will help. It's a matter of the breeders getting to know you. Many rehome dogs that they retire from the ring and their breeding program, I adopted a
retired show dog at 5 years old. He was perfect.


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I was going to also suggest getting to know the breeders by going to shows or looking on Facebook. Ask them about the dog you’re looking to add to your family. Even if that particular breeder doesn’t have anything they might know someone who knows someone. That’s how I acquired one of my dogs. My friend introduced me to a breeder. She didn’t have a dog for me but her friend did.

Sometimes the breeders will have a returned dog, not because of any problems with the dog but someone’s life circumstances changed. They will often retire show dogs and want to make room for the next generation. Sometimes they want a hunting dog and that perfectly wonderful dog just won’t hunt.

I’m sure that if you reach out someone will find you a wonderful dog!
If grooming and comb outs are going to be an issue you might considera field bred English Cocker. From what I have read, they need brushing and combing and only very occasional trims. My English Cocker needs combouts 3x a week because her coat is getting longer now. I agree with the forum members here that an older dog might be worth considering and cannot stress enough how important a reputable breeder is. Retired show dogs are often wonderful pets and have been really well socialized.