Golden english cocker spaniel puppy / facts about english cocker spaniels / grooming, ear problems, cockers shed, cocker spaniel smell / puppy advice and tips / first puppy / how to find a cocker spaniel puppy / first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog (C)

Misleading facts about English cocker spaniels you need to know

Confession.  I can’t imagine my life without the internet. But the internet is only good if you either know what to look for or use a source created by educated professionals. Otherwise you end up reading all kinds of nonsense including the “facts” about cockers I’ve come across on several “expert websites” & social media.

Allow me to show you why the statements below are so misleading.

Cockers are bred from Springer spaniels. No. Cockers were originally bred from Field spaniels, the all-black short legged breed that is practically extinct. Springers were sometimes introduced to improve the working qualities of cockers, but they weren’t the only breed used in developing an English cocker spaniel.

Cockers come in all shapes and sizes. No. There’s a breed standard and an English cocker should fit its description. A typical cocker will be a small dog about 38-42 cm in withers and weight 12-15kg depending on gender & height (slight variation in height is possible)

Cockers are one if the breeds with a long list of health issues. Wrong again! Cockers are genetically predisposed to a few illnesses (see previous post), but most can be avoided through DNA testing of dogs used for breeding. Risk of haemolytic anaemia may be potentially reduced through choice of daily diet & correct vaccination programme.

Cockers suffer from ear problems. No. Just like any breed with long floppy ears, cockers can develop ear infections, but the issue can be completely avoided with proper grooming routine & appropriate preventatives.

Cockers smell. Yes & No. All my boys have a wonderful light scent that feels very comforting. But No, they don’t smell unpleasant even when they are wet after a rainy walk. Any dog can develop an unpleasant odour if he’s groomed incorrectly, neutered, suffers from yeast infections, unwell or, truth of life, rolls in something stinky.

Cockers shed a lot. Again, that’s wrong. As a silky double-coated breed, cockers do not really shed. However the silky strands can break and fall off at times. Cockers can leave some hairs here and there, but they will not be dropping piles of hair all over the house. The secret lies in proper diet, grooming and coat maintenance.

Cockers require little grooming & need only be brushed 2-3 times a week. One of the biggest mistakes is to follow this advice! Cockers are high maintenance dogs. They need daily brushing & regular grooming sessions.

Cockers are one of the most aggressive breeds. No. Cockers have been bred to be happy, friendly and mellowy-soft. Just like ANY dog, some CAN BECOME aggressive, but there’s always an underlying reason for it. Poor breeding, unbalanced diet, lack of exercise & mental enrichment, neutering, psychological issues, illness are just a few reasons that can make a cocker “show his teeth”.

What do you think? Is there anything else you’d like to learn about English cocker spaniels? 

Photo source: image by Katrina_S from Pixabay


Cooper, cooper.spaniel, sable cocker spaniel for dog photography, cocker spaniel advice

My perfect cocker spaniel

Last week Coop and I went out to take photos. It was a step out of the comfort zone for both of us and admittedly, I felt a little nervous.

I was worried that Coop would be anxious. I was concerned about leaving Fred home alone. I was not sure how comfortable I’d be prancing around with a camera in a manner of David Bailey…

Well, it went splendidly well.

I took them both out for a walk first. Upon return Fred received a few treats while Coop and I got ready to pop out. At first Coop could not even believe the fact that it was just two of us. For a moment there he looked lost and confused and then, suddenly, a huge grin appeared on my baby’s face! I almost wept. I missed “just us” so much!

And off we went. Coop – strolling next to me, no pulling, no stress – just pure joy. Me – looking for pretty spots to take photos.

Eventually we stopped, got the camera out, I asked Coop to wait and got clicking.

Coop was a perfect model. He stayed, got back to pose this and that way, completely ignored people who stopped by to watch him. I was so proud!

After about 20 minuted we headed back home because I was still worried that Fred would be stressed out.

To my relief (and slight disappointment!) the little one walked out to greet us in the calmest manner imaginable! Sort of  “Ah, that’s you two! Alright then…” Coop went off for a drink and I took my time to give Fred lots of cuddles. In return, Fred looked up, walked straight into the garden and waited there for me to go and photograph him, too! It was hilarious!

As soon as the photos we taken he walked back and headed off to the kitchen for a treat. Coop joined him, of course.

Somehow everything felt into place in such a harmonious way that all my silly and not so silly worries simply varnished. I am now looking forward to more trips like this. Me and my boy, my perfect cocker spaniel.

I know Fred will join us eventually. And I am looking forward to those extra special moments, too.

Molly & Stitch hand made leather dog collar and lead, plaited leather, hand-made dog collars, olive green leather collar and lead

We Love | Molly & Stitch

My relationship with dog accessories is both simple and complicated. I want the best for my boys. As simple as that. Yet it is often a challenge to find the products that meet my rather long check list.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how we lived when the choice was rather scarce. Oscar had very few things. He didn’t care about toys much – my slipper was always the best thing in the whole world. He didn’t really care about his collars and leads either, but I did…

On his first birthday Oscar received a collar and lead set hand-made to order by a company that specialised in leather accessories. The set was beautiful, but in time it started to look tired and most definitely not as special as I’ve always imagined. Even now it makes me feel heartbroken thinking that my wonderful boy did not get what he truly deserved. I know it would be the last thing on his mind (he was a dog, after all!), but I wish, I so wish, we had Molly & Stitch back then.

I’ve discovered them when Cooper was a youngster. Luckily for my bank account, Coop was sorted pretty well from the start having acquired a fabulous collection of collars and leads to suit every need and walk. Besides, I really wanted an all-leather collar, which was not available at the time. So I left things to marinate for a while.

And before we knew, Fred joined us and, in a blink, grew up.

As his first birthday approached, I knew I wanted him to have a Molly & Stitch collar as the only option. The collar that would be known as  “Fred’s collar”, worn day to day, age beautifully and remain soft to the touch regardless of its wear. Somehow I feel connected to my boys through their accessories – and it would hurts me visually and emotionally if they did not have the very best I could afford. I ordered a classic leather Butter collar and a gift box to put it in (which I now use as a keepsake box for Fred’s puppy things)

I confess, when the collar arrived I spent a few days taking it out of the box to hold and smell. I was smitten. The scent took me back to my childhood and the smell of leather shoes found in a traditional shoe shop where I’d happily camp for hours. The softness of the leather was addictive. It was definitely the right present for my spoilt boy.

And it was definitely a kind of collar I also wanted to Cooper. So I’ve got one for him, too. In olive. To compliment his eyes.


Plus the extra long leather dog leashes, which turned out to be so, so soft, it was orgasmic to touch them!

Perhaps, it’s a little silly to wax lyrical about dog collars and leads paragraph after paragraph, but if the love for a dog could be put into a product, I’d say it’s Molly&Stitch.

Everything my boys have is special, from the product and the box to the little label that bears a name of a person who made that particular piece. The experience is very tactile. The quality is wonderful. And it’s not only about the leather. Regardless of how much we paid for a collar and lead in the past, it’s only the brass hardware of Molly&Stitch that remained shiny and golden even though Fred’s collar was exposed to heavy rain, mud, dirt and daily use.

I really do love everything these guys do. I know that in time our collection will grow because I now dream of rope leads and dog beds, too. I think, I am addicted – and it’s an addiction I don’t want to be cured from.

Molly & Stitch hand made leather dog collar and lead, plaited leather, hand-made dog collars, olive green leather collar and lead

Photo credit: Molly & Stitch olive green and classic “Butter” collar and leads photographed by me

Questions to ask the breeder before getting a cocker spaniel puppy / how to avoid puppy farms / how to find a cocker spaniel reputable breeder / health tests for English cocker spaniel / puppy advice and tips / via Perfect cocker spaniel blog (C)

Q&A | Why is it important to ask a breeder about health tests before getting a puppy?

Lets get straight to the point… A “YES” or “NO” answer to these questions can map the entire course of life with your cocker spaniel. And these are the questions you really need to ask the breeder even before you meet a puppy. Because once you see him, the answer may not seem important anymore.

So if you come across an ad for a litter and are eager to run and choose a puppy, ask the breeder if BOTH PUPPY PARENTS ARE HEALTH TESTED.

Health testing doesn’t simply mean that the dam and sire saw a vet for vaccinations & health check. Any dog used for breeding must also undergo specific tests to determine whether or not they carry genes for certain conditions that can affect English cockers.

The mandatory list includes…

…PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), a condition that leads to blindness if the dog carries a defective gene;

…FN (Familial Nephropathy), a disease that affects structure of the kidneys and causes kidney failure;

Plus four more conditions that breeders can test for are…

… AMS (Acral Mutilation Syndrome) characterised to localised insensitivity to pain, which causes dog lick or bite his legs and paws until lesions and ulcers appear. Amputation is the outcome;

… AON (Adult Onset Neuropathy), a neurological disease that causes inability to control limbs movement resulting in full disability by the age of 7.5-9.

… Hip Dysplasia, an abnormal development of the hip socket;

… Gonioscopy to screen for glaucoma.

According to test results, the dogs can be “clear”, “carrier”, or “affected”. The affected dogs must not be bred for. The carrier mixed with a clear dog will not develop a disease, but will pass an affected gene to half of the puppies.

Personally, I prefer parents who are both tested “clear”. Unless a breeder can confirm that his puppies are from tested dogs AND show you original certificates as a proof, do not commit to getting a pup from him. You may be lucky and the puppy will live a long happy life, but you’re running a risk of heart aches, seeing your dog deteriorating, and paying out huge sums to cover vet bills.

Ask for certificates, check the record against the Mate Select register available via The Kennel Club, and if everything is good, get ready to meet that scrumptious puppy!

Photo source: image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Cooper, 3 months old red gold sable english cocker spaniel puppy, good reasons to have a puppy / first published on perfect cocker spaniel blog / story and photo (c) Natalia Ashton

5 good reasons to have a puppy

Why did you decide to have a puppy?

Last night I was lying in bed – Netflix on, boys piled up next to me, dreaming of something… possibly their favourite walk and biscuits… who knows… It was a moment of pure bliss. A kind of moment that makes every effort that goes into raising a pup totally worthwhile.

It got me thinking… Why do we decide to have a puppy in the first place? What are the best things about having a dog – and cocker, in particular?

Here are my personal top 5:

1. Puppies make us happy. Cuddling them triggers release of oxytocin – the “love hormone”. Newborn babies have the same effect on their mums to create a bond between them.

2. Puppies make us active and fit. Running after a little cocker is way harder than having a workout in the gym. Plus, you use your entire body (and feel like a corpse by 9pm…)

3. Puppies are the best weight watchers! Remember that cup of coffee you made in the morning? You were hoping to drink it before the pup is awake… Well, it’s lunch time now – and that coffee is still there waiting for you. Food? Don’t even think about it! Pointless!

4. Puppies make us feel young again. You cannot build a real bond with a pup unless you let yourself be YOURSELF! Run, play, roll in a grass together, laugh, cuddle, act like a kid!

5. Puppies improve our social life & skills. Just think how many people you suddenly get to chat with during your walks! The only problem is most of them will never recognise you without your dog or remember your name (you are destined to be known as “[insert your dog’s name here] mum/dad”


Photo source: Cooper photographed by me