There are records of the cocker spaniel dating as far back as the 14th Century. However, it is thought that these gorgeous pups originated in Spain, with “spaniel” coming from the word “Hispania”, which we now know as Spain.
A Brief History of the Cocker Spaniel
Throughout history, cocker spaniel breeds have been used mainly for hunting, such as retrieving game and sniffing out rabbits, due to their small size that could fit through bushes and warrens that larger breeds could not.
Even now, cocker spaniels are still one of most-loved breeds in the UK, as their even temperament is ideal for first time pet owners, and their ability to adapt to apartment living is handy. However, they also love the sound of their own voice, so teaching them the “quiet” command’ is absolutely necessary when young!
Cocker Spaniel Size and Life Expectancy
Cockers, when fully grown, should be around 38 - 41 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh around 13 - 14.5 kg. They a small in size with a silky coat and long and lobular ears. Cockers carry their tails level with their body and, due to their breeding as a hunting dog, are fast and have a strong jaw.
The life expectancy of a cocker spaniel is 11 - 13 years, though they can live longer - dependent on their living conditions and any illnesses that may occur.
Celebrity Cocker Spaniels
An inherently British pet, it’s no wonder that Prince William and Kate Middleton have steered away from the Queen’s corgis and adopted their cocker spaniel pup Lupo into their family.
Other celebs who shared their love with cockers include Oprah (with Sophie), George Clooney (and Einstein) and former US Presidents; John F. Kennedy (and Shannon) and Richard Nixon (with his pup Checkers).
The Cocker Spaniels Diet
Cocker spaniels are known to enjoy their food quite a lot, so a properly portioned meal is key to prevent obesity and weight related illnesses. It is best to feed them a hypoallergenic diet so as to remove any allergens your dog may have. This also means that your pet shouldn’t be fed any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
The best food for a cocker spaniel is an adult dog food that has an optimal level of protein at around 25% and contains the necessary nutrients to keep your dog looking and feeling good. On the other hand, working cocker spaniels need a higher amount of protein in their diet in order to replenish the energy they use on hunts.
Cocker Spaniel: Feeding guide for Adults and Puppies
The best dog food for cocker spaniel puppies is one that supports healthy bone growth and strong teeth development, as well as something for energy, healthy skin and a glossy coat. Feeding your cocker spaniel puppy is marginally different from the adults, as you will have to get them used to the food. Specialised puppy food is formulated for their delicate tummies and for their growing frame. Between 2 to 6 months, an amount of around 150 - 250g per day is best, and then gradually reducing over the next 5 months to about 130 - 190g per day. At a year old, your dog is then classified as an adult so can then eat the adult dog food required.
How many grams of food for a cocker spaniel all depends on the weight of your pet. On average, a healthy cocker spaniel weighs in the range of 13 - 14.5 kg, the ideal amount is 175 - 260g each day. If feeding twice a day, one third is recommended in the morning and the rest at night, but not too late so not to have a walk before bed.
Even dogs can have allergies! Common triggers are their diet, environment, parasites, pollen and some chemicals found in house cleaning products. Some symptoms include itching or watery eyes, sore patches on their skin and bouts of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
In order to limit the number of allergic reactions, your cocker may have, feed them hypoallergenic food, which purposely removes any allergens that may be in the food. The earlier you introduce this food to your dog, the easier it will be to identify any other allergies they may have.
You should also try not to feed your spaniel scraps from your plate, as they can do more harm than good.
Keep Your Pup Active
Cocker spaniels are very lively and playful, so an active lifestyle is highly recommended for this breed. They need regular brisk walks as well as mental stimulation in order to be well-balanced. Cocker spaniel puppies need a lot of sleep (can be up to 21 hours per day in between play) in order to grow and develop properly, so letting them out to play in the garden when they’re young is essential.
Around 6 months is a good time to start taking them on longer walks, as by then their bones are developed enough to not get damaged.
Obesity is common with Cocker Spaniels, as they have a habit of enjoying their food a bit too much! Limiting the number of treats you give (that means resisting the puppy eyes!), regular exercise and feeding the correct amount to your dog each time helps combat this.
If you notice your pooch looking pudgy, sluggish or unhappy, increasing their exercise regime and not overfeeding them helps. It is recommended to visit your local vet regularly to keep on top of any health issues, but for more tips, get in touch with the experts at Lovejoys to see how our hypoallergenic dog food can get your Cocker Spaniel off to the right start.