As an owner of Cocker spaniels I am more than familiar with this wonderful breed of dog. There are many that comment on the needs of Cocker spaniels, but, reading their views, it is clear that they have had little exposure to the breed.
Cocker spaniels are no more demanding than any other dog. They are a high energy breed that require exercise daily but this is true of most dogs. With thought, consideration and a little effort there is no reason for a Cocker to be demanding. So, no Cocker spaniels are not high maintenance.
Cocker spaniels are not high maintenance
With any dog ownership comes responsibilities. For feeding, cleaning, grooming, housing and exercise.
Cocker spaniels need all of these things as do all dogs. Like other canines, Cockers enjoy going out for exercise and playing, they also enjoy chilling out, sleeping and generally lying around with their owners.
You may consider the prospect of taking a dog out for a walk as being high maintenance, or, feeding, grooming and general care may be something that is too much.
If this is the case then a Cocker, or for that matter any other type of dog should not be your preferred pet of choice.
What is meant by 'high maintenance'?
When people ask things such as ‘are Cocker spaniels high maintenance?’ often, what they really mean is ‘will I have a lot to do if I get a Cocker spaniel?
I suspect that people who use the term ‘high maintenance’ when referring to something such as a Cocker spaniel are using the term as an excuse for them not being prepared or ready to make the effort and commitment to look after the dog properly.
When you think about it properly, it is impossible for a dog to be born ‘high maintenance’. In the dog’s mind he is living life as a dog and the things that bother you ( as the owner ) are simply not even on his radar.
My view is that there are plenty of high maintenance people out there who have dogs of all breeds and blame the dog for their inability or readiness to learn about the dog and make the effort.
Training for high maintenance dog owners
Do Cocker spaniels need more than other dogs?
Cocker spaniels do not have any specific needs that place them away from other types of dog.
They are known as a high energy breed of dog, but you could argue that all dogs have high levels of energy.
Exercise and walks are a high point of a Cocker spaniel’s day and he will enjoy getting out and about, chasing his nose and exploring. This does not make him a high maintenance dog – it is normal for him to want to do this – and the same can be said of all other dogs too.
Cockers get muddy and dirty, but so do other dogs. It is in the nature of dogs to get mucky and with this goes smelly too.
Does this mean that a Cocker spaniel is high maintenance? I doubt it. The issue with your dog getting dirty and smelly is yours, your dog doesn’t care.
Some people say that Cocker spaniels are high maintenance dogs
So, I’ve seen the other websites and articles written about Cocker spaniels and one thought comes to mind, that is I often wonder just what experience the authors have of Cockers.
As someone who spends time with Cocker spaniels and has also owned other spaniels, I can vouch for the behaviour and tendencies of the breed.
Cocker spaniels are intelligent dogs that require stimulation and exercise but, given that this is true of all dogs, their needs are no different and not unusual.
The energy levels of Cocker spaniels could be misinterpreted as being high maintenance, but really this is not about the dog as much as it is about the owner.
'High Maintenance' Cocker spaniels..
What about grooming? Do Cocker spaniels need a lot of work?
Nope. Cocker spaniels are clean living dogs that look after themselves and keep themselves clean and tidy.
Some Cockers do have longer coats with feathering but this should not be a major problem for an owner and certainly does not equate to ‘high maintenance’.
Cockers do not need grooming daily, as some authors claim, and bathing and washing doesn’t need to occur more than a couple of times a year.
This is true of most other dog breeds too, so the claim that Cocker are high maintenance because of their coats and grooming needs, is quite unfounded and not true.
Are Cocker spaniels high maintenance health wise?
Like most dog breeds, Cocker spaniels can have health issues but these are no more commonplace than in most other breeds.
Responsbile dog owners will make sure that their dog is vaccinated annually and regularly wormed. Cocker spaniels are no exception to this and their demands are normal and no greater than other dogs.
One of the main areas of concern with Cocker spaniels can be their ears, which can collect foreign bodies and become infected if not cared for. This is true of all of the spaniel breeds though, and Cockers are no more prone to this problem.
In older dogs arthritis can be a problem, but, again, many active dogs experience this as they grow older.
A well cared for, exercised Cocker spaniel, will be a healty dog and will be no more high maintenance health wise than any other dog breed.
What makes a dog 'high maintenance'?
Dogs can become demanding and this is often as a result of learned behaviour rather than anything specific to the type of dog or breed.
Problems are normally caused by the owners, particularly when the dog is younger, and, of course, mistreated dogs develop problems that can appear to make them high maintenance.
Cocker spaniels are no exception to this and they can become demanding if they are poorly socialised, ill treated or otherwise neglected.
Most issues with dogs and Cocker spaniels can be traced right back to the human owners who have often failed the dog resulting in him becoming, in their minds, high maintenance.
How to avoid turning your Cocker into a high maintenance dog
Learn as much about dogs in general as you can and take the time to try and see the world from the perspective of your Cocker spaniel.
Remember that he is a dog, he is not high maintenance and the things that bother you ( such as him having dirty paws) are not problems for him.
Realise that if there is a hint of high maintenance then it is you that are the issue.
There are lots of online courses that can help you to understand your Cocker spaniel more. One such course that we recommend is by well known dog trainer Dr. Ian Dunbar. His courses are as much about training the owner as the dog.
Conclusion - Are Cocker spaniels high maintenance?
I hope that you’ve seen that many of what people call high maintenance issues when referring to Cocker spaniels, are, in reality problems with the owner and not the dog.
Cocker spaniels are not high maintenance and often the dogs are blamed for failings with the owners, that the owner either does not realise or understand, or refuses to admit.
Most, if not all, dog problems are as a result of the owner not udnerstanding the dog or simply ignoring the dog’s needs.
Cocker spaniels are not high maintenance dogs.