Acquired: Pet store
Posted January 25, 2014
Cockers seem to have a reputation of being 100% children friendly around this site. I am sure this is true for the most part, but I'll have to share a case that, while it might be “the exception that proves the rule”, should nevertheless be worth sharing.
I knew a family that had a beautiful golden Cocker, Pantoufle. They got him mostly for their early-teens son, who to this day is very fond of dogs.
Pantoufle was a friendly guy, and so adorable it was hard not to like him immediately. The owners didn't care to keep his coat trimmed in the “correct way” - the dog show way – and the more casual result was, in my opinion, far cuter. He got along well with the entire family and was good with strangers.
At some point the owners started finding him slightly unpredictable – an odd growl here and there when gnawing a bone, perhaps – but since he never misbehaved except for peeing/pooping in the wrong places, they thought nothing much of it. One day, however, the dog was going around with a toy. He dropped it in a typical taunt, to see if anyone dared to pick it up. The teenage boy obviously did, but this time, instead of growling and playing tug-of-war, the cocker attacked.
I don't use this verb lightly here; there are, of course, cases in which the dog bites with a playful intention and still ends up hurting someone. Here, however, the kid got a deep slash that opened his mouth wider on one side of his face, Batman's Joker style. Apparently the kid tried to pretend he wasn't in pain – he didn't want to lose the dog – but he had to go to the hospital for treatment and stitches. He'll always have that scar, though it is thankfully not too visible.
I have rarely heard of this sort of behavior in Cockers since. I have had other people tell me strange things, like that they were thinking of getting one, but that “since golden cockers were unpredictable, they'd get a black and white one”. That the coat color could affect temperament is, of course, a ridiculous notion, but this sort of statement does hint that this sort of thing has been known to happen before. Maybe there is some unpredictability to the breed, or perhaps these were cases of bad handling; take this review with a pinch of salt.