Is a Cocker Spaniel puppy right for you?
Have you always dreamed about getting a Cocker Spaniel puppy? Why wouldn't you? They are adorable, but are they the perfect pet for your lifestyle?
The answer is yes! Providing you have time to spend with a dog that needs to constantly be with people, and the time to care for its luscious coat and delightfully floppy ears.
Cocker Spaniels are lively, happy and loving dogs and a beautiful looking breed. However, as with all purebred dogs, be aware of their particular health needs and personality traits before making your final choice of pet.
Whether this is your first dog or your tenth, there are basic considerations when buying any new puppy. Remember, a puppy is a long-term commitment. Sadly, thousands of dogs a year are abandoned or surrendered because of owner and dog mismatch. So, let's make sure you and your chosen puppy are a great match.
Before taking the plunge, here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding if a Cocker Spaniel is the right dog for you.
Is a Cocker Spaniel the breed that suit you best?
A dog's breed (and breeding) determines its personality. Before losing your heart to the liquid brown eyes and adorable long ears of a Cocker Spaniel, research
the breed thoroughly to decide whether it's likely to fit with your home. Avoid falling in love with any breed just for its looks (hard, in this case, I know), because any cute gentle puppy can become a handful when it gets older.
How do you live?
Understanding your lifestyle will also help you decide on the personality you’ll prefer in a dog. If you work long hours and there's no one at home, then a Cocker may not suit you. Cocker Spaniels thrive when they are with people and have company. Otherwise, you may think about budgeting for regular doggy day-care where they get the companionship and stimulation they need. Or perhaps there’s the option of a second dog?
Do you have a budget for the ongoing care costs?
Depending on the breed, purebred puppies can cost anywhere from $3000 - $8000 to purchase. Beyond the cost of the puppy itself there are:
- set-up costs to settle your pup into their new home, like a crate, beds, bowls, food and toys.
- Initial vet costs for a puppy health check and any veterinary you need, and
- ongoing regular vet visits for routine examinations, vaccinations and possible medications. Ear issues are common in Cocker Spaniels and their ears will need monitoring and medication for infections.
Do you have the time to look after a puppy?
Any puppy will need your undivided attention for the first few months in your home. You’ll need time to toilet train your pup, start basic obedience training, and manage the teething phase when they transform into a chewing and biting terror.
All this will need your patience and consistency in caring for your Cocker Spaniel pup to set them up for well-behaved adulthood.
Is your home pet-friendly, or will it need to be modified?
Of course, you’ll want to make sure your home is safe for your precious pup. You might need to:
- fence or enclose your yard. Puppies, especially Cockers don't have any road sense so it's best to keep them in a fully enclosed yard
- install baby gates at stairs or doorways of rooms you want to protect from your pup
- remove electrical cords that may look like a fun toy and can get chewed
- remove any plants that can be poisonous to dogs. The Australian Animal Poisons Helpline is an excellent resource for information, and
- check the strata by-laws around pet ownership if you live in an apartment or townhouse. An apartment will mean planning the best way to toilet train your pup without easy access to grass or a garden.
Before you get your puppy, review your home with these things in mind to make sure you’re well prepared.
Do you have the time to exercise and train your new dog regularly?
While Cockers are a pretty adaptable breed; they can be energetic, especially when young. It’s best to incorporate exercise and mental stimulation into their daily routine. This avoids your dog becoming restless and looking for something mischievous to do, like chewing shoes, barking at neighbours or digging in your garden,
Is the Cocker Spaniel breeder reputable?
This is crucial to the ongoing well-being of your dog. Dogs purchased from pet stores, back yard breeders may not have the DNA checks and careful breeding needed for a healthy pure-breed dog. This Smart Puppies Buyers Guide from the RSPCA guides you in selecting a responsible dog breeder. Social media and Gumtree are probably not the best places to find a well-bred Cocker Spaniel.
Look for a registered breeder if you want a purebred pup. Each State has a list of registered breeders on these sites where members support responsible dog
A puppy brings so much joy into your home. When you've done your homework and know that you've selected the best dog for your family and lifestyle, it's a match made in heaven.
And when you're finally expecting your new puppy, download and read our free handbook called "Preparing For Your Puppy". You’ll find helpful checklists of things you’ll need and also what to expect when bringing a new puppy home.