Go to any park in the UK and you are likely to see at least one spaniel. For the last 5 years, cocker and springer spaniels have ranked in the top 5 most popular dog breeds in the UK. It's not hard to see why - hugely entertaining, clever, loving and energetic dogs, spaniels are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
There are 26 recognised spaniel breeds worldwide, but within the UK there are 8 breeds. In this post I will look at the three you are most likely to see when out on your walks.
Cavalier King Charles - one of the smallest spaniel breeds and classed as a toy dog, King Charles are available in four colour types: ruby, black and tan, Blenheim, and tricolour. They grow to just 33cm tall at maximum, and can weigh up to just over 8kg. They are popular as companion dogs and love to sit on your lap! Unfortunately they can suffer from inherited health problems, the three most common being mitral valve disease (often picked up as a heart murmur in younger dogs), syringomyelia (a condition where fluid filled cavities (syrinxes) develop within the spinal cord. While some dogs show no or only mild symptoms, unfortunately, in some cases the condition progresses and deteriorates causing the dog pain and neurological problems), and eye problems such as cataracts and retinal dysplasia. It is therefore vital that you use a breeder who is screening the parents of their puppies for these diseases. You can find a list of Kennel Club assured breeders here. Of course, your new puppy will need its own Ear Free Bowl which you can find here!
Cocker Spaniel - highly popular, the "merry cocker" is known for its happy, inquisitive disposition and constantly waggling tail and bum. Cockers can be "working" (shown on the left above, and bred specifically to work as gundogs) or "show" (RH picture above, bred as companions). Show Cockers come in a wide variety of colours - blue, orange and chocolate roan, sable, black and tan, as well as solid colours. They generally weigh between 10 to 14kg and grow to up to 41cm high. Cockers can be very busy little dogs, so need plenty of exercise but, just as important, plenty of games to occupy their brains. They are very clever dogs and love to search for toys or treats. Health wise, they should be screened for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy which can lead to blindness) and Familial Nephropathy (a fatal kidney disease - thankfully now rare thanks to screening). Always get your cocker puppy from a recognised breeder who carries out these health screens on the parents.
Cocker Spaniel Ear Free Bowls are how Chow Bella started (Bella was a cocker) and you can order yours here!
Springer Spaniel - another very popular dog, and as with cockers, springer spaniels come as working (left) or show (right). The most common colour is liver and white. They are used widely on shoots and are very energetic dogs. They weigh around 25kg and grow to 51cm high. Springers should be health screened for PRA (see cockers) and hip dysplasia. See here for a list of reputable breeders.
And of course, you can order your Ear Free Bowl to keep those gorgeous, Springer ears clean, here.
In my next blog, we'll look at some of the more unusual spaniel breeds including Clumber, Field and Welsh Springers.