Advice for Buying a Cocker Spaniel Puppy

July 5, 2022

Planning to add a little cocker spaniel puppy to your family? Cocker spaniels can be wonderful pets and good companions. They are relatively small dogs suitable for both apartments and houses. They are well suited for people with active lifestyles while also happy to snuggle on the sofa with you and have a lazy day.

However, before you run to get yourself a little cocker puppy, it is worth thinking about all the responsibilities that come with dog ownership. It is not all fun and games, a cocker spaniel also requires a lot of dedication and time from the owner.

This article will cover all the important steps of becoming a pet parent starting from deciding if cocker spaniel is the right dog breed for you down to what your first weeks with you pup will be like.

Getting your First Dog

If you have never owned a dog before, you will need to ensure you can afford all the expenses related to dog ownership as well as have the time.

Costs Associated with Cocker Spaniels:

  • Puppy essentials (Collar, lead, toys, crate, bed, poo bags, brush)
  • Flee and worming treatment
  • Neutering
  • Pet insurance
  • Vet fees and vaccinations
  • Good quality dog food
  • Boarding kennels/ home boarders
  • Grooming

All these expenses can add up fast and it can cost you anything from around £855 to £1860 to own a first puppy. For example, if your cocker spaniel would get sick tomorrow and needed an operation - could you afford it? As even if you have a good pet insurance you will likely need to pay an excess fee.

Cocker spaniels are known for their long silky hair. Which is very beautiful, but also takes time to maintain. This includes daily brushing as well as regular groomer visits.

Time is another big key point to think of when considering getting your first puppy. A young puppy in an unfamiliar environment will come with sleepless nights and require regular potty routine. This means someone needs to be available every few hours for toilet breaks and training sessions.

Older rescue dogs might require less time than a puppy. So, you can also consider getting an older dog instead of a puppy.

If you feel like you are financially stable to be able to cover all the ongoing costs and also have the time for a dog, then you can consider brining home your new puppy.

Is a Cocker Spaniel the Dog for You?

Cocker spaniels are a long-haired breed and their coats require a lot of care and grooming. You should be brushing your cocker spaniel daily and take your pet to to a professional groomer regularly.

Cocker spaniels are hairy dogs, so if you are clean freak then cocker spaniel might not be the right breed for you as your house will have pet hair all around. Also, they are active and may run in from the garden with their muddy paws.

A cocker spaniel will also require regular exercise. An hour a day is enough to keep them healthy, however this means you need to go out even in rain and snow.

You will also need to set aside time for training and mental exercise to make sure your cocker spaniel is an obedient pup without behavioural problems.

Also, cocker spaniels can have many health problems. They are prone to health issues as eye problems and ear infections. Their long ears are perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

If you are looking for a guard dog, a cocker spaniel might not be the dog for you. They are very affectionate and will likely want to cuddle the intruder instead of scaring them away.

Where to Buy a Cocker Spaniel Puppy From?

When you have made the decision that cocker spaniel is the right dog for you, it is time to find the right place to get your pup from.

Adopting a dog from a rescue centre is always a good idea, as you can give a lucky dog a second chance.

If you decide to go for a breeder, you need to ensure it is a responsible breeder and keep away from puppy mills.

Reputable Breeder

If you have your heart set on owning a young puppy, a responsible breeder is probably the first to look for.

Your national breed club can provide you a list with local cocker spaniel breeders who sell puppies. There is often a high demand for cocker spaniel breed, so you might need to be waitlisted.

American kennel club can provide you with details of puppies for sale who match the breed standard.

A good breeder will want their cocker spaniels to go to a good home, so you need to be knowledgeable of the breed as while you ask them questions, they will want to make sure you can be a responsible owner.

A responsible breeder will have paperwork to show both parents are tested for genetic eye disease, hip dysplasia and have the information on the parents available. They will always show you the mum with the puppies.

The best puppy is the one who comes from a family environment. Puppies cannot leave their mums until eight weeks old, so if they grow with a family and not in a kennel, they have had a chance to socialise.

Good breeders can give you advice setting you up for a successful future. They will advise you on how to feed the dog, training tips and how to keep them healthy.

Rescue Cocker Spaniel

Rescue centres can be places where to get a new dog from. You can even contact a rescue group that specialises in cocker spaniels. However, it can be harder to find puppies and purebred dogs, so if you are planning in taking part of dog shows this might not be the option for you.

Awful lot of dogs are taken to rescue groups because owners have not done enough research and cannot cope with responsibilities of dog ownership. Unfortunately, that means that there are many pups left behind for no fault of their own.

Buying a rescue cocker spaniel means you can save a dog's life, save money (puppies are expensive) and your dog is often past the puppy phase. So, you likely will have a potty trained dog who has done its obedience training already.

Moreover, their temperament has already developed and the rescue centre can advise how the cocker spaniel will get along with kids and other pets. Because, when you get a puppy you never know how the dog will turn out.

Beware of A Puppy Mill

Puppy mills also known as puppy farms are places only focusing on profit almost like a production line in a factory.

They do not care of puppy welfare, meaning dogs are often not taken care of properly, malnourished, irresponsibly bred and not socialised.

The puppies bred from puppy mills are not properly health tested and this can lead to high vet bills.

Puppy mill signs are that the breeder will not show you both parents, does not let you visit or walk around the premises, is willing to give you the dog before 8 weeks, cannot provide registration papers, dogs have more than one litter a year and do not have a returns policy.

Another sign of a puppy mills is that the mother looks unkempt and does not seem very comfortable around the breeder.

The breeder is likely selling many types of other dogs and is not very knowledgeable of cocker spaniels.

Pet Store

We recommend avoiding a pet store for same reason as puppy mills.

It is likely that the cocker puppies in pet shops are from puppy factories or bad breeders who have not done health testing.

This means you can pick up puppies from a litter with genetic defects and other health problems.

Choosing Your Cocker Puppy

Now, you have decided to pick a cocker spaniel and you have found a good breeder. How to know which cocker is the best puppy?

  • Check the health tests of parents and look at the pedigree (if same names reappear on the line, it can be a sign of inbreeding).
  • Observe the parents as this can give you an idea what your puppy will grow to be like.
  • Try to not pick the alpha of the litter if you want a dog with a calm temperament or if you are a first time puppy parent.
  • Pick a happy puppy- look at the puppies interacting with each other, you want to ensure your puppy is energetic and curious.
  • Check that they look healthy- ensure their eyes are free of discharge, coat is smooth and ears are clean.
  • If you are looking for a show cocker let the breeder know, they can advise you which one is the best.
  • Do not buy two puppies at the same time, this can lead to behavioural issues and make it harder for you to train them.

Essentials To Get Your Home Puppy Ready

Before you bring your puppy home you need to make sure your home is safe and free of any hazards.

Check that your garden is enclosed and the puppy doesn't have any ways to escape.

A cocker spaniel puppy is curious so you need to make sure there are no dangerous items around that the puppy can chew on (wires for example).

Living with a dog means you will need to be more careful what is left lying around. Many foods can be toxic for dogs, like chocolate and grapes. So, you will need to ensure nothing like this is ever left lying around.

Checklist of items to buy:

  • A crate and a dog bed
  • Water and food bowls
  • Poo bags
  • Puppy food (Your breeder will let you know what they are currently feeding, it is best to continue with this)
  • Toothpaste and brush for puppies
  • Dog shampoo
  • Collar and lead (you will want your phone number to be on the collar)
  • Puppy pads
  • Toys (Only buy dog toys)
  • Blanket
  • A brush

Bringing Your Cocker Spaniel Puppy Home

The first day at home can be confusing and scary for the little pup.

She is likely missing her mum and litter and you need to help her settle into her new home. Ask the breeder if you can take a toy or her blanket to keep couple of familiar smells around.

If your car journey is long, make sure you have newspapers in hand for the puppy to pee on. Your puppy might get tired and sleep through the journey in a cosy blanket by your side.

As soon as you get home you should give the cocker puppy a chance to pee in the garden.

Then, take the pup inside, let her get to know the family and show where to sleep and get a drink.

If you have children, teach them how to behave around a puppy as too much excitement can make the new puppy frightened.

Your new puppy will certainly cry though the first night missing her mum. While it can be heart breaking, she will get over it within a few days. A warm blanket with familiar smells can help and so can sleeping in the same room as you.

Be careful of creating habits you do not want to keep in the long run. For example, if you take your puppy to your bed once, it will be hard to train her to not come there again.

First Weeks With Cocker Spaniel Puppies

You will need to work on creating routines for the puppy. Feeding should be done same times each day as well as the puppy should be taken to toilet frequently to start the potty training.

Socialising starts from day one. This will consist of getting the dog comfortable with different people, animals as well as sounds and places.

Make sure you set boundaries for your dog and keep them.

You also need to keep a consistent training schedule. Ensure the training sessions are positive, with rewards and praise. Cocker spaniels do not take well to harsh treatment.

It is important to schedule a vet visit as soon as you bring your puppy home. The vet will need to ensure the you cocker is vaccinated, microchipped and free of any serious health issues.


Becoming a cocker spaniel owner will be a life changing experience. The cocker spaniel is a very loyal companion who will want to be by your side at all times.

However, before making this decision it is important to be fully aware what commitment the ownership comes with. There is a lot of time, money and training required to be able to provide the dog a long and healthy life.

It is necessary to not only pick the right dog, but also ensure the dog comes from a good breeder to avoid unnecessary vet bills. You also need to get your house ready to be a home for a puppy who will certainly be nervous after abruptly leaving the litter.

When you do all the required research and ensure you have created a cosy and safe home for your pup, you can have a rewarding life with your new best buddy.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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