The Cocker Spaniel is generally known by two titles, the English Cocker spaniel and the American Cocker spaniel.
The two breeds are considered as separate breeds although they do originally come from the same place.
Both breeds produce good litters of puppies which will vary in size depending on a number of factors and it’s important to understand these in order to provide your Cocker with the right care while she is pregnant.
Let’s take a look at litter size and the things that can affect this.
How long are Cocker spaniels pregnant?
Pregnancy length for Cocker spaniels is the same as other dogs at 63 days from conception, however accurate identification of the conception date is not always straightforwards.
The date of mating is not always the date of conception and the process of egg fertilisation can occur over a period of 48 hours after mating.
The only way to be reasonably accurate is with the help of a vet.
But 63 days is the general length of pregnancy for a Cocker spaniel.
How many puppies can a Cocker spaniel have the first time?
A spaniel’s first litter is generally smaller than average and a healthy Cocker spaniel bitch may have less puppies in her first litter than at later dates.
To be accurate and get an understanding of how many puppies to expect the only way will be to visit your vet who will be able to estimate the number via palpation or ultrasound.
Can a Cocker spaniel give birth to only one puppy?
The birth of one puppy in any dog breed is rare and, thankfully is uncommon in Cocker spaniels or any of the spaniel breeds.
Known as Single Puppy Syndrome the birth of a single puppy can be problematic for the youngster and any female dog that is likely to give birth to just one pup should be monitored carefully at birthing time by a vet.
Do Cocker spaniels mainly have their puppies at night?
From my experience most dog breeds tend to have their puppies at night rather than during the day.
You should have a reasonable idea of when you spaniel will be due to give birth, giving you the chance to prepare.
You’ll want to provide her with a warm, quiet place where she can have her puppies, with plenty of old newspapers or other bedding that she can use.
She’ll also need a good amount of clean water for drinking.
Make sure that your vet is notified and that you know how to get help if needed. Most bitches are natural mothers and the process of puppy birth is normally complication free.
Overhead heat lamps are an ideal way of keeping your mother and her puppies nice and warm, they are safe, clean and cheap to run.
Looking after the mother
The days up to birth you need to keep a close eye on the mother to be, don’t let her out unaccompanied just in case she gives birth outside, stay with her and keep an eye on her.
When she is due to give birth you’ll notice that mother will become restless and may start to build a nest for her puppies.
Take her to the place that you have set up for her, get some help as you’ll need the assistance, stay calm and let nature take her course.
As the first puppy is born, be there to help to clean up, you should do things calmly and quietly, do not be worried if she picks her puppy up to move it, she won’t want you to touch it.
She will eat the placenta so do not be alarmed at this and she will lick the puppies to clean and stimulate breathing.
How often are Cocker puppies born?
Puppies should arrive at regular intervals of between 30 minutes to two hours, and she should be as comfortable and as quiet as possible.
If, however there is a delay and the bitch begins to become distressed then you must get your vet to look at her.
Most deliveries go well and a healthy litter will snuggle up to mother and feed eagerly.
How do I know if my Cocker spaniel still has puppies inside her?
When whelping has finished your spaniel will seem relaxed and tired, she may get up for a few minutes away from the puppies and may indicate that she needs the toilet.
Generally if, after two hours there are no more puppies, then she has most likely finished.
Can a dog have puppies on different days?
Most litters are born in the same delivery, on the same day. There have been instances of puppies being born on different days from the main litter, but these are rare.
The normal intervals for the birth of puppies are anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
What is the average Cocker spaniel litter size?
The average litter size for Cocker Spaniels, commonly known as English Cocker Spaniels, is typically between 4 to 6 puppies.
However, it’s important to note that litter sizes can vary, and factors such as the health and age of the mother, genetics, and other individual factors can influence the actual number of puppies in a litter.
What should I feed my Cocker after she has given birth?
You should make sure that the new mother has access to good, high quality food that is nutrient dense.
A good puppy food would be an ideal choice.
You can read more about the best puppy foods in our article here.
Your options vary in terms of feeding and, rather than giving big meals, you should provide her with more smaller meals, or you can leave food for her so that she can ‘free feed’ taking as much food as she needs, when she needs it.
Will my Cocker let me touch her puppies?
You should not really need to handle new born puppies unless there is a problem.
Most female dogs are tolerant of their humans and will be glad to see you.
They may let their favourite human touch the puppies but you should not make a habit of this and only do it if absolutely necessary.
If you need to move the puppies and their mother then you need to do this carefully and quickly. The biggest risk to newborn puppies is getting cold.
Ideally you should not move puppies until they are at least three weeks old and they shouldn’t be handled or played with until at least this age when they are walking and their eyes have opened.
In all cases, if you do need to move the puppies you must keep them warm, do it as carefully, quietly and quickly as possible and get them back to their mother as fast as you can.
How do you travel with newborn puppies?
Ideally you don’t. You should really plan ahead and avoid any form of travel with a newborn litter of puppies.
However, sometimes circumstances dictate a need to travel so you’ll need a good travel crate or cage that you can pad out to make it safe and warm.
You can read more about suitable crates in our crate article here.
This will be for the pups, mom will need to travel separately so she doesn’t sit or lie on them.
Keep the puppies warm inside the car and keep the mother near to them.
You must stop regularly, at least every 90 minutes and put her with the puppies so that they can feed and she can nurse them.
Your journey will take longer but you will need to take your time, drive gently and quietly, and keep the car warm.
Good Travel Crates for Puppies
When should I move Cocker spaniel puppies out of the whelping box?
By the time your Cocker spaniel puppies are two weeks old they should be alert and trying to stand up and, by the time they are three weeks old they should be trying to climb out of the box.
Once the puppies are two weeks old, their mother should be spending some time away from them.
By the time they are four weeks they should be playing, running and doing what puppies do, such as wrestling with each other.
At this point they will be adventurous and will try to climb out of the whelping box to explore. You should make sure that their surroundings are secure and safe.
When should a Cocker spaniel puppy leave for it’s new home?
Your puppies should not really leave before they are eight weeks old. By this time the puppy will be strong enough and be growing in independence.
However before your puppies can go to new homes and families, there are other things that, as a responsible breeder, you will need to do.
The puppies will need weaning onto solid food.
They will need worming.
You may need to register them.
You will probably want to get them checked over by your vet.
If you are in the UK then you will need your vet to microchip them.
You may want to prepare owner’s packs or even owner’s contracts before they go to their new homes.
Puppy starter packs
Frequently asked questions
Can you feel puppies in a dog’s stomach?
It’s one way to figure out how many puppies will be in your dog’s litter.
As more time passes, your dog’s pregnant belly will become larger, and it may sway gently beneath her as she walks.
During the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, you may see and feel the growing puppies moving inside your dog’s belly
How do you know if dog still has puppies inside?
When is the mother finished? The best way to know when she has finished is to look at her behaviour.
When whelping is over, your bitch will be very relaxed and just resting while taking care of her puppies.
If there have been no more pups after two hours, she has probably finished.
Do Cocker spaniels get pregnant every time they tie?
Although the tie is considered to be important it is not totally necessary for pregnancy to occur.
You will not know for sure until your dog has been examined by your vet.
What should I do after my spaniel has puppies?
When your dog has finished giving birth your main task is to clean up mother as much as possible without upsetting her.
You should only use warm water and a soft cloth to do this.
Do not use any soaps or other products unless your vet has told you. Carefully remove any dirty bedding from her bed.
Can I leave my dog alone with her puppies?
As soon as mum is settled with her puppies and you have cleaned up then, yes you can leave her.
She will need to nurse the pups and rest.
Make sure that the area is warm and free from damp and draughts and also that they are secure and safe from intruders.
Should I keep one of my dog’s puppies?
This is purely up to you. While you should be looking for good homes for your pups there is no reason why you cannot keep a puppy, as long as you are able to look after the pup properly.
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API