The ‘Cocker’ in their name comes from their days of hunting woodcock in England, although English Cockers have been used to hunt many other types of birds as well. The English Cocker Spaniel is described as merry and affectionate with a calm and even-tempered disposition. They are playful, trainable, and friendly towards people and other dogs. When well socialized, the English Cocker Spaniel has a merry tail-wagging nature and is sweet and gentle with everyone. Unless taught to be independent, some of them are so persistently affectionate that they become clingy and demanding of attention.
While they are merry Cockers, they are also a breed that can be manipulative due to their intelligence and the fact that they are ‘in tune’ with their owners. They need firm (clear rules and boundaries) but kind and gentle handling. Their soulful eyes and sweet demeanour can mean that they look sad and owners may be tempted to excuse any unacceptable behaviour that occasionally arises, which can result in an unruly and disobedient dog.
Here is a basic outline of my understanding of the appearance of this Breed as taught to me by many experienced and successful breeders and breed judges from India and around the world.
An English Cocker is never described as an elegant dog (oh, they are beautiful for sure). A well conformed English Cocker Spaniel is a cobby dog that is of a square appearance and also thick set throughout.
Cocker puppies are often described as Chunky (in a casual parlance), meaning they are dense and thick-bodied, and sometimes quite muscular. A puppy who is chunky is strong and built solidly. This is more like how you would define a true to type English Cocker Spaniel puppy. Chubby is plump/fat and rounded - implicating to be soft, while Chunky is heavy and well boned.
As the English Cocker puppy grows up, cobby (means shortish, thickset, stocky) becomes a better description while Chunky describes a Clumber or Sussex Spaniel better. Chunky describes mass and weight in a puppy, while cobby describes conformation in an adult Cocker Spaniel. An English Cocker Spaniel shall never be bony, at any age.
Their description could be best summarised as a Big dog in a small body.
HYGIENE, EXERCISE AND NUTRITION (H.E.N)
The three important aspects of raising any dog are Hygiene, Exercise, and Nutrition (H.E.N). In the following paragraphs, I would discuss Hygiene as represented by Grooming.
The first lesson I was taught by one of my teachers, Nina Kauhanen of Kennel Northworth of Finland is that ‘Grooming is Healthcare’. Let us keep that in mind as we proceed with the rest of this article.
Nose: The nose of a dog should be moist to touch but not too wet or too dry.
Mouth: The lower jaws of these dogshave foldsright below lips on either side. All their drool with possibly some remains of food that they ate and some dirt that stuck to the sticky slobber can make it quite messy. This becomes even more intense when you have unruly and unkept hair around there.
So please always make sure you clip all that hair on the jaw absolutely short. This would make it easier for cleaning around that area daily. If left unattended, moisture collects there along with remains of food and everything else and would become a good breeding ground for bacteria leading to infections and foul smell.
Teeth: There are many products available in market to clean a dog’s teeth. Teeth wipes may be the easiest to use at home. It would be important to keep a close watch on the teeth of your dogs. The teeth should be scaled in case if there is excessive plaque formation on them. It is advisable to seek help from your Veterinary Doctor in case scaling is necessary.
Bad breath is a result of bad oral hygiene, gum disease or a less than perfect gut condition. It is important to keep a regular check on the teeth and gum condition and carry on with scaling process if there is a tartar buildup on your dog's teeth.
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