Fred, 7 week old chocolate and tan English cocker spaniel puppy / how to find a cocker spaniel puppy / cocker spaniel puppy ads / first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog / (C) Natalia Ashton

Q&A | How to find a perfect English cocker spaniel puppy?

WHERE & HOW DO YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR THAT PERFECT COCKER SPANIEL PUPPY? I’ve talked about the subject a lot in my book Perfect cocker spaniel, but since the question is one I get asked a lot, I wanted to cover the basics here, too.

True, these days you can find puppies online easily enough. Social media and websites give you a quick access to dozens of puppy ads.  These, however, can bring a lot of problems, especially if you never had cockers before and this is your first ever experience of finding a pup.

The safest way I recommend is to look via the Kennel Club website. All good breeders & pure-line litters are registered there. If you like a certain breeder, but they don’t have litters at them moment, leave your details with them. Waiting lists are very common!

If you choose to look for a pup elsewhere, always remember a few simple rules.

Good breeder will…
… be KC listed + council licensed if they breed to sell or have more than 3 litters a year;
… have each litter KC registered (note: puppy farms can do it, too, so check for other signs & use common sense);
… ask you questions to ensure that you’re a suitable puppy parent;
… be knowledgeable about cockers;
… introduce you to puppy’s parents (I like to see BOTH dogs of I’ve never met a breeder before);
… have pedigree certificates for both parents;
… have valid health test certificate for both parents;
… take extra precautions when showing you the pup;
… will not let you see a pup in person before the pup is at least 5 weeks old (personally I feel it’s best to wait until a pup is 6-7 weeks old);
… have pups health-checked by a vet;
… never sell you a pup before he’s at least 8 weeks old;
… offer life-time support & advice.

Avoid breeders who…
… do not meet all of the above rules;
… offer pups at an oddly low price;
… have pups that look unwell;
… offer to meet half-way or bring a pup to you;
… sell puppies through shops;
… have too many dogs & breeds;
… have untidy & dirty premises;
… refuse to show you pups mum;
… don’t care about mixing working & show lines;
… sell pups that aren’t KC registered;
… breed from “a family pet” without pedigree or health certificates & are listed as “a private individual”, not a “breeder” or “business”.

Photo source: Fred at 7 weeks old, photographed by me


Cooper, my red sable English cocker spaniel, with lavender / Spring plants that are toxic to dogs / first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog / (C) Natalia Ashton

Spring plants that are toxic to dogs


I’m loving the spring blooms! They put a smile on my face. Naturally, I feel like a guilty witch saying that some of these pretty flowers can be very dangerous for dogs. Puppies are particularly at risk because they love to explore and chew everything in sight. Unfortunately, such a lesson can backfire, so you need to be aware of the plants and signs of poisoning.

Remember that the bulbs are most toxic. Leaves and flowers are also problematic, but to a lesser degree. However, it is important to seek immediate veterinary help if your dog chews or ingest any part of the plant.

Snowdrops - spring plants that are toxic to dogs / Published on Perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog

Snowdrops, especially the bulbs, stems and leaves, contain phenanthridine alkaloids galantamine and lycorine that cause vomiting, salivation, diarrhoea, seizures, low blood pressure and lack of coordination.

Tulips - spring plants that are toxic to dogs / Published on Perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog

Tulips & hyacinths bulbs contain calcium oxalates and lactones. Signs of poisonings include drooling, mouth irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fast heart beat, breathing difficulties. High doses can be fatal.

Crocus - spring plants that are toxic to dogs / Published on Perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog

Crocuses from the Iridacea family usually appear in spring. They are less toxic than the crocus-like flowers from the Liliaceae family that bloom in September but produce the highly toxic leaves in the spring. The spring plants can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. The Liliaceae crocuses lead to intestinal bleeding, bloody diarrhoea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, breathing difficulties and death.

Daffodils - spring plants that are toxic to dogs / Published on Perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog

Daffodil flowers, leaves and bulbs contain lycorine and galantamine that cause irritation of the mouth and digestive tract and leads to vomiting. Other signs are drooling, diarrhoea, stomach ache, breathing difficulties and abnormal heart beat.

If you suspect that your dog chewed or swallowed any of the above – take him to the vet as soon as possible before any signs of poisoning appear. It’s better to be smiled at for being a paranoid puppy mum (and trust me, most vets will not judge you at all!) than wait and wonder.

Photo source: Cooper photographed by me, snowdrops by sunflair, Rob van der Meijden, conger design, Jill Wellington from Pixabay