Cocker Spaniels make excellent pets for anyone looking for an obedient, good-natured and loyal breed of dog. As with any breed, Cocker Spaniel puppies are playful, full of energy and great fun to be with and they grow into quite small dogs that are just as friendly and affectionate if not quite so energetic.

Given their solid reputation as a good family pet you might find it surprising that there are many Cocker Spaniel puppies and dogs currently being cared for in animal shelters awaiting adoption. Why would anyone search for Spaniel puppies for sale when there are so many in desperate need of a permanent home?

With any pedigree there are people who prefer to buy Spaniel puppies from a breeder, believing that they will somehow be ‘safer’ or healthier pets.

It is understandable that people with young children will be cautious about introducing a dog into the family home, but actually choosing a pedigree from a breeder is not a guarantee that it will be any safer or more predictable than adopting a Cocker Spaniel from a rescue.

Indeed, disreputable breeders offer Spaniel puppies for sale that have been bred for appearance and maximum profit but that have not been bred with any regard to temperament or health. Such breeders often advertise that they can offer any breed to order and are actually operating or supporting ‘puppy farms’ where the mother is kept in a confined space and her puppies are quickly removed and inadequately socialised.

Good breeders do exist, of course, and they care very much about the dogs and puppies in their care. They take measures to ensure that the puppies are socialised and that breeding takes place with dogs carefully selected for their personality and temperament as well as for their physical features. The fact remains, though, that they are breeding more dogs and puppies than there are homes available for them in the UK. Coupled with irresponsible owners who fail to have their dog neutered or spayed and who cannot sell or give away all of the resultant puppies, these breeders are contributing to the ever increasing number of puppies in rescue centres.

Cocker Spaniels, like any purebred dog, can suffer from hereditary disorders brought about by excessive historic inbreeding. If possible, trace your puppy’s heritage to deduce the likelihood that your puppy will develop any hereditary conditions but remember that without genetic decoding done in a lab this is little more than guesswork. Be prepared to pay for medical treatment for the rest of your dog’s life by taking out adequate pet insurance (check that it covers lifelong conditions as some policies only cover illness for a maximum of 12 months).

Finally, remember that you cannot rely on the breed of dog to determine what sort of character and temperament it will have. Every dog is a unique individual. Staff at an RSPCA centre will be able to point you towards dogs or puppies that have been monitored and assessed as being potentially suitable for adoption by adults or families and under what conditions.

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