Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: Attended conferences / shows, Books
Posted June 29, 2013
I owned a loving, loyal English Cocker Spaniel for around 10 years-originally bred as hunting dogs, I can safely say that, based on my own experience, Cocker Spaniels have slowly also turned into what probably is the best pet one I can have, especially if contact with young children is involved.
I got Alma, my sable-coloured Spaniel when she was 3 years old. Her name means "soul", or "life" in Spanish-and there'd be no other name more appropriate for this dog! She was a happy, gentle, affectionate dog, with an incessant desire to play, athletic and extremely obedient,and lived to be 13-which is just a bit above the average lifespan for its breed.
Solid coloured Spaniels have been showed to be prone to the so-called "Rage syndrome"-sudden and savage attacks. This syndrome can potentially affect all breeds of dogs; however, my own Spaniel never showed any sign of aggresion, not even in unfamiliar situations: she was extremely sociable, interacted well with other breeds of dogs, and with people, especially with children, as previously mentioned.
Some of the few drawbacks of being the proud owner of a Cocker Spaniel are the fact that properly breeding and caring for one can be quite expensive-I can attest to that. They need to be groomed regularly, and veterinary costs can get a little high, as they are susceptible to frequent inflammations of the ear canal.
That being said, none of these minor inconveniences should keep you from getting a Spaniel-they are problems that are typical of all breeds of dogs, and are fairly easy to solve. Alma was the best pet anyone could've asked for, and I can guarantee that, when you get a Spaniel, you're not just getting a dog, but a lifelong friend and companion, with an intelligence and compassion that is rarely found in other breeds of dogs!