Why do Cocker spaniels steal socks?

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Cocker spaniels are one of the most beloved animals on earth and have been among us for many years. They come in different shapes and sizes but there is something that all Cockers have in common: their love for socks!

Cocker spaniels usually steal socks because they want to play with them or chew them. Some people believe that spaniels love socks because it gives them a sense of comfort while others say it’s because they smell like their owners. Cocker spaniels are also notorious hoarders and will take things back to their bed and dens and this includes the socks that you leave lying around.

why do cocker spaniels steal sock

Have you ever wondered why Cocker spaniels steal socks? There are many different reasons that your Cocker might take one of your socks.

The most common reason is that they love the smell.

Dogs can pick up on scents that we cannot even detect, and when you wear a particular pair of shoes or socks for a long period of time it will develop an aroma that only your spaniel will have the ability to recognize.

Many people believe this to be just because they like the fabric, but there are several explanations behind this behaviour.

The main reasons why Cocker spaniels steal socks

1. They like peoples’ socks

Cocker spaniels enjoy being around people. Socks are a symbol of human presence and without them, the dog is left feeling alone and unfulfilled.

2. Socks are fun to spaniels

Spaniels are just as likely to enjoy a good game of tug-o-war with a sock filled with balled up newspaper or tasty treats.

The fact that they love socks is not without merit, it’s because Spaniels have been bred for centuries in pursuit of the perfect hunting dog.

They were originally used to hunt waterfowl and then later switched over to hunting other animals like rabbits and other game.

To this day, spaniels still retain their strong natural instinct for hunting which carries over into their playtime activities as well and your socks are often seen, by your Cocker, as a replacement for wildlife.

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why do cocker spaniels steal socks
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3. Stealing socks is instinctive

Spaniels are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs and were bred and trained for hunting game.

When a dog retrieves an object such as a ball or stick, he will often shake it wildly – this represents killing of wild prey.

Socks are just another form of that kind of toy because they won’t come off unless pulled from your feet (or taken by hand).

4. They have learned that stealing socks is fun

In the 18th century, England’s King James II was not fond of hunting. He preferred to be at court and would often invite his friends over for large parties.

Guests were known to leave their shoes outside the door before going in, as they could get dirty from all the mud on London streets. As a result, many dogs found themselves with new playmates and would often steal shoes and socks from outside while the owners were in the house having fun.

why do cocker spaniels steal socks

5. Socks are soft and cuddly

Cocker spaniels love socks because they are soft and cuddly.

Some people believe that slippers were invented due to a spaniel‘s love of socks and that wearing slippers would stop Cockers from pulling socks off their owners feet.

This suggestion, although reasonable, does not appear to have widespread backing.

6. Cocker spaniels find socks tasty

Socks are one of the most common items for Cocker spaniels to chew on, and it turns out that they’re tantalizingly tasty.

Dogs have a love-hate relationship with socks–they want them around because it’s cozy and there’s something about chewing on fabric that makes their teeth feel clean, but when they have had enough of the sock, they try to rip it up.

It might be time to get your pup some toys!

7. Socks stink

Let’s face it, socks can stink.  If you think that your socks are smelly then try being a Cocker spaniel.

Your Cocker has a sense of smell that can be 1,000 to 10 million times more sensitive than yours.

When you take your socks off you might smell the odour when the socks are nearby but your spaniel can probably smell them from a considerable distance away.

As your Cocker’s world is governed by his nose and the smells that he picks up, it’s hardly surprising that he shows such an interest in your socks.


The origins of the long-lasting love spaniels have for socks are still a mystery. Some say it’s because we put our paws up to their nose and they smell like us, while others believe they just use them as toys to play with.

But what is true is that no matter how old or round your canine friend may be, he’ll always want to see if there’s something in those sock drawers.

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Last update on 2022-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API