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