So you are determined to make a cocker spaniel puppy the newest member of your family.
You have decided you can handle the grooming, ear cleaning, and nervous â€śdribblingâ€ť that cockers are known for. You canâ€™t resist the sad eyes, beautiful coat, and devoted heart of a cocker spaniel. Now you simply need to find the right puppy for your household.
The most important qualities to seek out in a breeder are conscientiousness and knowledge about the breed. Virtually anyone can mate a male and female dog, produce a litter, and turn a profit. Be sure to ask the breeder the following questions.
Have you performed genetic testing on the parents?
Cockers are prone to myriad ailments including skin disorders, hypothyroidism, ear problems, deafness, cataracts, joint problems, and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. A scrupulous breeder will be aware of any and all possible health issues with both parents. Cocker spaniels with certain physical conditions, such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, should never be bred.
Do you have references?
A reputable breeder will be able to provide you with a list of not only families who have adopted pups from them, but other dog breeders as well. Respectable breeders are concerned that puppies are being bred only in the best of conditions.
Where are your dogs kept?
Dogs belonging to a breeder with a heart for their animals will live alongside the breederâ€™s family. If there are several kennels and dog runs on the property, be cautious. Also, look to see that the dog's â€™ area appears sanitary and whether the breederâ€™s pets have toys or treats on hand.
What kind of dog food do you recommend?
A responsible breeder will feed their pets a high-end dog chow. A breeder who states that they provide a raw food diet for their animals is indeed dedicated to them. Raw food diets are recommended for cockers by many veterinarians. They are time-consuming to prepare and can be expensive, but help combat common food allergies and skin disorders.
What clubs or competitions are you active in?
Quality breeders are often involved with clubs in their region-specific to the breed. They may also engage their pets in competitive trials to be judged on appearance or agility. Dogs active in such contests must be fit, well-groomed, and meet breed standards.
Have you ever sold puppies to a pet store?
A choice breeder would never sell or consign their puppies to a pet shop or broker. Period.
What are the parentsâ€™ temperaments like? You want a pup whose parents have good personalities. Be concerned if either parent is nervous, hostile, or hyper. Donâ€™t be overly anxious if a parent piddles when you approach. This is an extremely common cocker characteristic.
How old is the litter?
A good breeder will never separate pups from their mother until they are at least eight weeks old. They will also provide a written guarantee of health, and advise you that they will gladly accept the dog should you ever become unable to care for it.
Have the puppies been seen by a vet?
All the dogs in the home should be current on check-ups, shots, and worming, and a respectable breeder will gladly provide proof of this.
Do you have any questions for me?
A caring breeder will query you as to why you desire a cocker spaniel; whether you have other pets; whether you have an established relationship with a veterinarian; whether you have a yard; where the pup will be kept; whether you are aware of the grooming cockers require; whether you will spay or neuter, or plan to breed the dog; and how often the dog will be left alone. If a breederâ€™s only concern is the payment, go elsewhere.
Once you are satisfied that you are dealing with a top-notch cocker spaniel breeder, ask for their assistance in finding the right puppy for your family. A good breeder will know the puppiesâ€™ individual personalities and will happily play matchmaker. Then take your new â€śbabyâ€ť home and enjoy many happy years together.