Finding a Breeder
are numerous ways to find a reputable breeder:
Contact the Kennel Club
for a puppy list. This is a list which breeders pay to be on when they
register a litter, They are not recommended or approved as such, but the
pups will be Kennel Club registered.
Ask the Kennel Club for a
list of breed club secretaries local to you. They are usually very
helpful and will know of pups available in the area you require.
Buy the weekly dog papers, make a note of breed shows to be held and
visit the shows to speak to owners, breeders and exhibitors. This also
gives you the opportunity to see the dogs and helps you decide which
colour, if any, you prefer.
Word of mouth - you may have a friend who has recently bought a puppy or
you may see someone regularly exercising a cocker.
Internet - AVOID
kennels which sell numerous 'TOP 10' breeds such as Westie's, Cavaliers,
Yorkie's, Golden Retrievers etc. These are not breed specialists, merely
business people who usually buy in litters from unlicensed
breeders in order to resell them. In this case it is unlikely you will
see the sire or dam of the litter. Also these pups are mixed together
and the pedigree you receive will not necessarily be the right one for
the pup. It is possible that you will pay as much, if not more, for a
puppy from this type of outlet, as from a reputable specialist breeder.
Visiting The Breeder
you have located a breeder who has pups arrange to go and view at their
convenience. Remember the following points:
every breeder allows pups to be viewed before 4 or 5 weeks old.
Respect this decision as it is not always beneficial to the
prospective purchaser or the bitch/pups.
not visit more than one breeder in any one day. You could inadvertently
spread bacteria/disease from one premises to another on your hands,
clothes or shoes. Dogs kept in the cleanest conditions still carry
bacteria which the are tolerant to, but which may affect another
not handle the pups without the breeders permission.
the dam of the litter, and if possible, the sire. Respect that when
the bitch is with the pups she may view strangers with suspicion.
You do not realise it, but you smell very different to the next
person. My bitches generally love visitors, but a young bitch with
her first litter may be adamant to leave them to fuss you and may
even bark. This is her instinct to protect her pups and you should
about feeding, insurance and worming. The pups should have been
wormed at least 2 times before 8 weeks of age. Mine are wormed every
2 weeks from 3 weeks of age. Make provision to have the food the
pups have been weaned onto, so that you don't have too change their
the breeders advice and confirm that they are happy for you to
contact them after you take the pup. 'After Sales Service' is
if the parents have been eye-tested in the last 12 months
under the KC/BVA scheme for hereditary eye disease. This is a very
important. If the parents are clinically clear you have a better
idea of the health of your pups eyes. However, a clear certificate
only confirms that there are no signs of any problems - clinically
clear can still mean the dog is a carrier; two carriers mated
together can produce an affected dog. However, if you at least ask
if the breeder eye tests their dogs you get an idea as to their
seriousness in their breeding programme. Good breeders invest in
their breeding dogs and only want to produce healthy dogs.
breeders will also help and advise you on all aspect of 'puppy
management', such as house-training and socialisation.
techniques should also be discussed. I issue a simple explanatory
sheet at the time of sale. This is a vast subject, so get good
advice. Sometimes the breeder does trim/groom as well so ask about
this, or if they recommend anyone. I DO NOT trim for anyone else.
all, the quality of the pups should show in their coats, eyes and demeanour.
They should look healthy and lively and should crave
attention, unless they are tired. Do not disregard a small puppy if
it is equal in every other respect to its litter mates. These pups
usually catch-up with, and often overtake, the others.
Cocker suitable for you and are you ready for the commitment ?
you answer 'Yes' to the following questions?
there someone at home during the day to amuse, house-train and feed
you prepared for sleepless nights in the first week while the pup
gets used to its new surroundings and being by itself?
your garden dog-proof?
you prepared for the upheaval to your life, and your furniture,
which a young puppy may cause?
every member of your family convinced that a new puppy will be
welcomed with open arms?
you willing to groom your Cocker Spaniel on a regular basis, and
either learn to trim or be prepared to pay someone else to do it?
you realise how much it costs to feed and vaccinate a puppy?
you willing to spend time socialising your pup and maybe attending
training classes to learn to be a responsible owner ?
you realise that a young puppy can be very demanding on your time,
especially as is in the early days he/she cannot be walked long
distances and has to be amused at home?
I could go
on and on, but may be this gives you an idea of the commitment involved. A
cocker spaniel makes a wonderful pet, and will return your love a hundred-fold,
but you must not abuse your dogs trust or take it for granted.
Note : The information on this page is my opinion only.