Everything you need to know to buy or adopt an American Cocker Spaniel puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

American Cocker Spaniel!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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American Cocker Spaniel dog breed

Buying or Adopting an American Cocker Spaniel

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is an American Cocker Spaniel the right breed for you?

Cocker Spaniels: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Cocker Spaniel Health Problems


Are YOU right for an American Cocker Spaniel?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your American Cocker Spaniel stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, flyball, musical freestyle); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing – a lot
  • Trimming/clipping – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems American Cocker Spaniels are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with heavy shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your American Cocker Spaniel to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Cocker Spaniel, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female American Cocker Spaniel?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new American Cocker Spaniel be?


Where can you buy or adopt an American Cocker Spaniel?

American Cocker Spaniels are one of the most common breeds in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, American Cocker Spaniels rank 29th. The breed is very easy to find.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Cocker Spaniels (and Cocker crosses and mixes) are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Cocker Spaniels may be turned over to Rescue because they shed too much or need too much grooming, or because the dog was "snippy" with their kids. Other Cocker Spaniels are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
American Cocker Spaniels are found here regularly, although Cocker Spaniel Rescue groups do try to move Cockers out of shelters and into their rescue network.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an American Cocker Spaniel from a show breeder, who breeds Cockers to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy a Cocker Spaniel from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an American Cocker Spaniel puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Cocker Spaniel ends up with cataracts and hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
American Cocker Spaniels are commonly found in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good American Cocker Spaniel Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of American Cocker Spaniel puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered American Cocker Spaniel puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.