View Full Version : Anyone have a cocker spaniel?

Zach England
04-14-2010, 12:51 PM
I am thinking about getting a dog and a local shelter has a male cocker spaniel puppy I have my eye on. I was originally looking for a smaller dog, like a shi tzu or bichon, but some of those little dogs are really frenetic and I am wondering if my kitty might have an issue. I know she is not going to love any dog right away, but I'd like to minimize the friction.

But I don't know much about cocker spaniels. Does anyone have one? I would have to leave him alone for 8 hours most days and am willing to box/paper train. I am also willing to walk him vigorously twice a day or more. My concerns are that I live in a small house (about 700 SF) and have no grass and no fenced yard, so he might not have room to run outside of going to the park, which is why I have been leaning more towards a typical apartment-dwelling dog. I also keep chickens, but they are in an enclosed run. I know cocker spaniels are bird dogs, so can they be taught to not harass the chickens too much? How are they with cats? How about spending time alone?

Doug Shepard
04-14-2010, 1:26 PM
I've never had one but know a few folks that do and I'm not sure this would be the right dog for you. They've got a bit of a rep for being nervous pee-ers even when the owners are there to let them out, so if you have plans of leaving it unattended for 8 hours a day, I think I'd pass. I doubt the cat would be much of a problem though. Any puppy raised around cats should be fine. It's only once they start getting a bit older (maybe 4 months or so) that problems can arise if they're not used to cats. Cats will usually accept a cat friendly dog within a few weeks and can even be the one initiating play.

Rich Stewart
04-14-2010, 10:03 PM
They shed like nobody's business. Be ready to spend lots of time vacuuming. Also need lots of grooming to keep fur from matting.

Lee Schierer
04-15-2010, 2:02 PM
We have had three Cockers and they don't shed any more than any other dog, but their fur can get long. I groomed ours my self to keep them cool in the summer and to save costs. All of our Cockers got along well with the cat we had at the same time we had the dog. In fact the most recent one (about 6 years ago now) actually played with the cat and the cat played with the dog. The peeing thing is more a function of the owner allowing the dog to get too excited. None of ours ever had this problem.

Leaving the dog alone for an 8 hour stretch will best be accomplished with a dog crate. Electronic fence training is easy and keeps your pet safe.

Zach England
04-15-2010, 2:08 PM
Thanks for the input. I'm not too worried about shedding--I can keep up with grooming. I am willing and able to spend lots of time with it in training and care, but I cannot supervise 24/7 and cannot let it roam in the yard unattended. I know those are concerns with any new dog, but to me cocker spaniels don't seem like "apartment" dogs like, say, a maltese. Maybe my suburban upbringing is getting the best of me.

David Weaver
04-15-2010, 3:19 PM
I think you would be better off with a bichon. I've known 4 cocker spaniels, all of them had some sort of issue. One snapped at people and the other three were big on peeing everywhere. They're high strung.

Bichons are kind of annoying looking little dogs but they really do have a great disposition, they don't shed and they don't have much dander or stink.

I think a bichon is a lot more suited to apartment life in general, too. They'll be well enough exercised with some walks. A cocker will probably get obese more easily if it's kept to that lifestyle, and I think your house is more likely to stink like dog with one.

(also, look at the list of health problems on dogbreedinfo.com between the two. The list is long for cockers and very short for a bichon).

Greg Portland
04-15-2010, 4:49 PM
I would have to leave him alone for 8 hours most days and am willing to box/paper train. I am also willing to walk him vigorously twice a day or more.I would not leave a Cocker Spaniel alone for that length of time. Poodles do well when left by themselves for long periods of time. Yahoo Pets! is another website with a lot of breed information.

Paul Atkins
04-16-2010, 2:30 AM
We got a rescue Havanese/Bichon and think he is the bees knees. (Of course, everybody's own dog is the best.) We got him at 5 months and wondered what was wrong because he was so perfect. Housebroken in one day, loves to travel, loves to play by himself, easy on the cats, will learn new tricks at a snap (with treats) and does not shed. Not a yapper and gets along with all dogs from a giant schnauzer to a 'weener dog'. A stubborn streak makes him a leash dog while around streets and will go for a walk with anybody. He gets his 1-2 miles a day which has improved my cardio too. After having him 6 months he has filled his duty as a puppy and terrible 2's. You might say he is a 'Sonny' part of our life. My wife's brother has a couple of cockers, and I would not have one for lots of reasons, and I would not leave this fellow for 8 hours even though he will stay in a crate for a couple of hours.

Zach England
04-19-2010, 8:50 AM
I am on the lookout for a bichon or a lhasa apso I think. I really want to rescue, but it is hard when I know there are breeders who have exactly the dog I want. I think adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment not dissimilar from adopting a child, so I want to make sure I find a dog I can work with for mutual benefit, and it is hard when looking at shelter dogs when I might not have the same opportunities to build good habits at a young age.

Zach England
04-19-2010, 8:51 AM
Paul, that's an adorable dog. How tall is he?

Paul Atkins
04-19-2010, 12:25 PM
He's about 12" tall and about 14 lbs. Just got a haircut so he looks a bit smaller now.

Doug Shepard
04-19-2010, 1:00 PM
Back before his owner died and he went to live with the daughter, one of China's best play buds was a Bichon. They are pretty cool dogs. This one was a bit of a scoundrel and definitely acted like a terrier but he was one of my neighborhood favorites and lots of fun. Getting snow out of that tight kinky weave they wear can be a challenge.

James Carmichael
04-19-2010, 2:38 PM
Why, you want one:D

LOML is on her third. I've found them to be very brat-like in that they're demanding, and don't get along well with other dogs. I'm sure in part due to LOML's spoiling, but the only time I have ever been bitten by my own dog was separating the cocker from our lab/? mix.