What You Need to Know About Miniature Cocker Spaniel
Cocker spaniels are gentle and energetic dogs, ideal to be playmates for children. Also referred to as teacup cocker spaniels, the breed is miniaturized by the breeding of runts, introducing the dwarfism gene, and cross-breeding with another smaller dog breed. This may cause some health issues in some spaniels.
The mini cocker spaniel is the smallest member of the American Kennel Club’s sporting dogs group. Highly trainable and companionable, this group includes some of the most common breeds of dogs adopted by families in the United States.
Cocker spaniels tend to be adaptable, active, and have many different coat colors and coat color combinations. However, their affable and affectionate nature makes them poor watchdogs.
Before you decide to include a teacup cocker spaniel in your family, here are some things you should know about this dog breed.
What is A Miniature Cocker Spaniel?
Cocker spaniels are gun dogs that were used for their excellent hunting instincts. Teacup cocker spaniels are just smaller-sized dogs of their parent breeds.
Generally in a litter, there are a few puppies smaller than the others. These are known as runt puppies. While some of these may have underlying health conditions, usually a runt will grow up to be as healthy as other dogs with proper care from their breeder. Fur colors range from black and tan to red, golden, and more.
Kinds of Cocker Spaniels
A cocker spaniel may be one of two types: American cocker spaniel or English cocker spaniel. Both these breeds share fur colors.
The main difference between the American and English cocker variety is that the American cocker spaniel is smaller in size and has a shorter back and muzzle with a domed head. In contrast, the English toy spaniel is taller in height with a narrow head and chest. Both breeds have long, floppy ears.
One of the most popular breeds of American purebred dogs, this cocker spaniel breed’s standard size is between 14.5 and 15.5 inches (males) and 13.5–14.5 inches (females). Their average weight tends to be around 24 to 30 pounds.
This type of mini cocker spaniel has long, silky fur on the body and ears known as feathering, which hangs down its legs. Its head has an upturned nose and squarish lips.
The breed prefers to be around people and should not be left alone for long.
The English miniature cocker spaniels are known for producing some of the most diverse numbers of pups amongst all dog breeds. The breed can have anywhere from three to a dozen puppies.
The males of the standard breed are on average between 15.5 and 16 inches and the females are between 15 and 15.5 inches. The weight of the breed ranges from 29 to 32 pounds.
Active and amicable, this teacup cocker spaniel breed is sturdy and compact in appearance. They have a characteristic intelligent and alert expression.
Cocker Spaniel Health Issues
The mini cocker spaniel dog breed is susceptible to have a few health issues, like low blood sugar. The American mini cocker spaniel is more likely to develop an ear infection. However, the average lifespan for a teacup cocker spaniel is 10 to 15 years.
Hip dysplasia can be another issue in a cocker spaniel- this condition causes the hip joints to develop improperly and can lead to arthritis. Though not a severe condition, your canine companion may need extra care.
Other common health problems affecting mini cocker spaniel puppies are listed below.
Teacup cocker spaniel puppies are prone to develop an ear infection because of their two predisposing factors: decreased airflow to ears due to their floppy structure and hairy ear canals.
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Repetitive head shaking
- Reddened ear canal
- An unpleasant smell
- Excessive ear wax
The infection may be due to bacteria or yeast. Taking your teacup spaniel to a veterinarian can help you understand more.
Early detection and treatment can prevent the problem from becoming chronic and resurfacing again.
As with other ear conditions, miniature cocker spaniel puppies tend to suffer from hearing difficulties due to the hairy ear canals. The excess hair may shed and cause a blockage within the ears, causing curable deafness.
- Not responding to verbal commands
- Constant barking
- Pawing at the ear
- Rubbing the head
- Getting startled when touched
Regularly grooming and trimming the hair around the ears of your miniature spaniel may help avoid this issue.
Patella luxation is the dislocation of the patella or kneecap. It may be congenital, due to other deformities, or due to trauma to the tissues in the area .
- Difficulty in straightening the knees
- Limping while walking
- Joint tip points outward when toes point inward
In miniature cocker spaniels, the condition is generally caused by weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles. In case you suspect your mini spaniel suffers from luxating patella, a vet can confirm the diagnosis.
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of cardiac muscle. It results in a decreased ability of the heart to pump blood through the vascular system. Your mini cocker spaniel puppy may suffer from DCM if they seem weak, have difficulty breathing, or cough often.
Diagnosis is generally based on checking for characteristic signs like a poorly contracting heart and ventricular wall thinning.
Treatment aims to:
- Improve the pumping function of the heart
- Dilate the peripheral blood vessels
- Eliminate pulmonary congestion
- Control heart rate
Taking Care of Your Miniature Cocker Spaniel
A teacup cocker spaniel can be a high-maintenance dog. Watching its diet, making sure it gets plenty of exercises, regularly brushing teeth and coat, and regular check-ups by vets can ensure a healthy and happy life for your dog.
Keeping vaccinations up to date and watching for symptoms of common diseases is sure to help you detect and prevent any conditions. Pet insurance might also be a good idea, as it can assist you in covering any costs for tests and medications your dog may need.
Since the cocker spaniel is a dog having long, silky fur, regular grooming is a must. Brushing your dog every other day is essential. This breed also tends to shed as mentioned above, and routine grooming can help protect your upholstery from being covered in dog hair.
The spaniel’s coat tends to hang down its legs. If frequent upkeep and maintenance prove to be too much of a hassle, you can opt to trim your pet’s fur instead.
A healthy diet can go a long way. Feeding your puppy healthy dog food has many benefits:
- Healthy, strong bones
- Strong teeth
- Shiny fur
- Fewer chances of behavioral issues
- Lower risk of food allergies
Avoid brands with ingredient lists containing filler foods like corn or soy. High protein foods are the most beneficial for your canine friend.
Training your cocker spaniel is vital as this breed is active and energetic. As they are hunting dogs, they may be inclined to hunt birds and small animals if they are not trained otherwise.
According to the dog training experts at DogAcademy.org, it is a good idea to commence training at an early age. This gives the puppy more time to adjust and get used to the habits you may be trying to ingrain.
Training and behavior go hand in hand. Obedience training is especially important to control constant barking, separation anxiety, and destructive behaviors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Miniature Cocker Spaniels shed?
Yes. Owing to their double coats with long hairs, your teacup cocker spaniel will shed at least a moderate amount of fur. Many people choose to trim their dogs.
In Spring and Autumn, a cocker spaniel can shed relatively more. This, however, can be managed by regular brushing and grooming.
Is a Miniature Cocker Spaniel a good family dog?
Yes. A miniature cocker spaniel will usually have a good-natured, gentle and lively personality. They bond easily with kids due to their energetic and non-aggressive nature, making for great playmates.
They like attention and are loving, friendly dogs.
When socialized with properly, your dog can be a great family pet with minimal temperament problems.
How much does a Miniature Cocker Spaniel cost?
A miniature cocker spaniel can cost $700 up to $1800, sometimes even more. Owing to their appearance, there is a high demand for this breed.
Buying from a reputed breeder is recommended to avoid encouraging practices such as illegal breeding farms or repeated breeding.
Dog lovers looking for a small dog can consider adopting a cocker spaniel. Especially if you have children- the dogs from this breed are popular for being wonderful family pets.
While a tiny cocker spaniel can require more attention and care than regular dog breeds, they are well worth it. Lively, easygoing, and affectionate, they can adapt anywhere and make incredible companions for kids and adults alike.