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If you live out in the country and love to spend time in the great outdoors, you would not go far wrong if you decide to share your home with a spaniel. However, there are so many different breeds of spaniel that you may end up getting a bit confused as to which dog would suit your lifestyle the best.
There are the very well known breeds like the Springer and the Cocker, but the lesser known breeds should never be forgotten or ignored. This includes the lovely Welsh Springer, the Sussex, Field and the Clumber and although their retrieving and hunting skills may not be as keen as other breeds, they still make wonderful companions.
If you are looking for a working dog because you hope to take them hunting with you, then either a Cocker or an English Springer spaniel might fit the bill perfectly. They are two of the best retrieving dogs on the planet but this does rather depend on where you source your dogs from. The bloodlines of show dogs are rather different to those of hunting and working dogs and as such, their natural and instinctive ability to retrieve will not be as acute as a dog that has been specifically bred to do the job.
When it comes to temperament, both the Cocker and Springer can vary quite a bit when it comes to their natural ability or their trainability which is all down to their individual pedigrees. You would need to seriously look through their lineage and check out a dog's bloodlines to determine how good they are, but it's still a bit of a gamble because where breeding is concerned, no matter how well bred a dog may be, it still doesn't guarantee they will be mega at the jobs they may be asked to do.
With this said, good breeding is of paramount importance whether you are looking for a working spaniel or one that will be more of a companion and it also reduces the chances of the dogs developing any genetically inherited disorders.
There are a few differences that are worth making a note of if you are still undecided as to whether you would like to get a Springer or a Cocker spaniel.
Springer Spaniels are quite different characters to Cockers because they tend to be far more independent by nature. They absolutely adore hunting and retrieving which makes them very good at their jobs. They are also a lot more powerful than a Cocker and they stand that much taller too.
The other thing to bear in mind is that a Springer is more receptive when being trained and not quite as sensitive as the Cocker tends to be. The two most popular colours are black and white or liver and white, although on the odd occasion you might come across a tricolour Springer Spaniel.
Cocker Spaniels tend to be a lot more affectionate by nature and are typically that much smaller than their Springer cousins. They boast loads of personality and character which means they are a lot of fun to have around. Although this is a lovely trait, it does tend to make them that much harder to train with the other thing being that these clever little dogs have an aptitude to twist their owners around their little paws!
Many people in the know think that Cocker Spaniels are far too intelligent for their own good and that they adore getting up to a little mischief whenever they can which is why they make better house pets than hunting and retrieving dogs.
If on the other hand you just want to share your life and home with a great spaniel and are not really that interested in training them to retrieve, the Clumber spaniel could be the perfect choice. These lovely natured dogs are quick to adapt to a more sedentary life although they still prefer to be more outside than in, which means they are not the perfect choice for people who live in towns and who don't have a garden.
Cocker Spaniels with a working line lineage don't tend to suffer from many health issues whereas Springers do. These include the following:
Having said this, if their breeding is good, these health issues are not something that merits great concern and screening for the disorders is not generally considered to be necessary.
There are many breeds of spaniels around, but if you are looking to share your home with a dog that you can train to retrieve, there are really only two main breeds which are the Cocker and the Springer Spaniel. Both of these dogs have a proven track record, although the Springer tends to be easier to train as a gun-dog. Cocker Spaniels on the other hand, have a tendency to play the clown, which is why they have become such a popular choice as family pets.
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