Spaniels are hugely popular dogs. According to the UK Kennel Club, in 2021 there were nearly 39,000 registrations of Cocker Spaniels (making them the 3rd most popular breed in the UK), with Springers in 6th position with around 14,500 registered.
Why do spaniels need special bowls?
One of the gorgeous things about spaniels is those beautiful, silky ears. But keeping them that way takes a bit of work.
If you use traditional, straight sided food and water bowls, their ears are highly likely to fall into them whilst they eat and drink. This leads to soggy ears, more grooming, and those damp ear ends can help harbour bacteria as well and quickly become a bit stinky.
Specialised spaniel bowls are designed so that the opening is narrower than the base of the bowl, meaning that the ears stay outside the bowl while your dog eats and drinks. But with lots of options out there, where do you start?
Plastic vs Ceramic bowls - which is best?
Plastic spaniel bowls are of course a good option if your budget is limited, as you can buy them for around £5. They will be dishwasher proof (but possibly not microwave proof).
There are a few downsides to plastic dog bowls:
- They are lightweight and so easy for your dog to push them around, and also pick up and carry them.
- They aren't all that robust, so may crack easily (especially if chewed!).
- They are easy for your dog to chew on (especially puppies). If they are chewed or scratched, this can leave spaces for bacteria to build up, leaving them less hygienic.
- Some dogs can develop allergies to plastic leaving them with a rash around their mouth. One of the bigger concerns with plastic bowls is that they can contain Bisphenol A (BPA). This is a chemical added to plastic to help harden it. It can leach into your dog's food or water, and if ingested can cause brain and behavioural problems, hormone disruption, cancer and heart problems.
Ceramic spaniel bowls are a bit more costly, but also much heavier (so less moving them around) and not chewable. On the whole they are much harder wearing and most ceramic bowls can go in your dishwasher and microwave (always check with the manufacturer). This makes for much easier cleaning, and because your dog can't chew a ceramic bowl, it will be more hygienic (assuming you wash it between meals!) than a plastic version.
The drawback with ceramic dog bowls is that if you drop them, they will likely break, and they may develop chips over time which can then harbour bacteria and also leave sharp edges. If you are buying a handmade ceramic bowl, be sure to check that the glazes used on it are food safe (as some glazes contain lead).
Without further ado, here are a few of the top options, from budget to high end.
1. Moderna Spaniel Bowl (Amazon, £4.75)
This is great if you're on a budget & available in red, blue or grey. Made from BPA plastic, the Moderna bowl comes in 3 colours (red, blue & grey) and holds 600ml. It's lightweight (116g) but has rubber feet which reviewers say does stop it slipping around. Drawbacks are that it scratches easily (eg if using a fork to mix food), and also that if your dog goes in at the wrong angle, his ears may still go in. The bowls are oval shaped at the top with the diameter being 10cm x 12.2cm. They are dishwasher safe but may not be able to go in the microwave.
Conclusion: A good starter or travel bowl, but not particularly robust.
2. Mason Cash Spaniel Bowl (Amazon, £10.00)
When I first had Bella (back in 2005) these were the only commercially available spaniel bowls. It was way too big for her (she was 12kg) and was actually the reason I started making my own! Weighing in at 1130g, the Mason Cash Spaniel Bowl holds almost three times as much as the Moderna. The opening is 13cm which in my experience is too big for a cocker, but would be great for a springer. It is dishwasher & microwave safe.
Conclusion: good for a Springer, too big for a Cocker.
3. Navaris Spaniel Bowl (Amazon, £24.99)
The Navaris bowls are ceramic but have a band of goldish looking metal around the bottom, so wouldn't be able to go in the microwave. As you can see in the photo, these are fairly big bowls. Capacity is even more than the Mason Cash, at 1900ml, but they are lighter at 950g. The opening is 12cm, slightly smaller than the Mason Cash, but again I think these would be too big for a Cocker, and more suited to a Springer spaniel. I like the pattern but a lot of reviewers weren't keen on the gold at the bottom.
Conclusion: A nice looking bowl but again, too big for a cocker.
4. Chow Bella Cocker Spaniel Bowl (from £31.99)
The first of the handmade bowls, these come in a range of 9 colours (you can have up to 3 colours per bowl) & can also have patterns. They are made specifically for Cockers (several other sizes also available, catering for Mini Dachs right up to Setter/Basset size). The opening is 10.5cm but because the bowls are made to order, this can be adjusted up or down to suit your own dog.
Capacity is 750ml, and weight is 850g. So your dog may be able to push the bowl around, but Chow Bella does also sell non-slip mats to prevent this. They are dishwasher & microwave safe, and unlike the other bowls so far, can be personalised with your dog's name. Matching treat jars are also available.
Conclusion: Slightly pricier but can be personalised. A great fit for a cocker spaniel.
5. Caractus Pots Spaniel Bowl (Etsy, £37.99)
Next up we have the Caractus Pots Spaniel Bowls. Again these are handmade to order. The outside is white & you have a choice of 10 different colours for the inside. The opening is 9cm so great for smaller cockers. Capacity is 750ml & weight is 620g, so you may want to buy a non-slip mat to stop the bowl being pushed around. They have great reviews on Etsy and are nice looking bowls. They do make bigger versions as well.
Conclusion: Lovely looking bowls, perfect for smaller cockers.
5. HKA Ceramics Spaniel Bowls (Etsy, £50.00)
At the higher end of the budget are these handmade, personalised spaniel bowls from HKA Ceramics. At £50 per bowl they are on the expensive side, but are nice looking bowls with great reviews on Etsy. The glaze comes in 14 different colours so there is plenty of choice. They are the larger of the handmade bowls, at 11cm high with a 12cm opening, so would probably be better for a larger Cocker or a Springer spaniel. Capacity isn't stated but I'd imagine they hold a little over 1 litre.
Conclusion: Smart bowls for larger cockers.
The table below breaks down all the details for each bowl featured.
I hope that you're now armed with a bit more information on what to look for in a Cocker Spaniel Bowl. Now which one will you pick?