Selecting a Cocker Spaniel Puppy

What to Consider When Choosing from a Responsible Breeder Volunteer Staff

1/17/20242 min read

Reputation and References

  • Breed-Specific Expertise: Look for breeders with a reputation for specializing in cocker spaniels. Seek recommendations from cocker spaniel clubs, local veterinarians, or other cocker spaniel owners.

  • Previous Buyers: Connect with individuals who have previously purchased cocker spaniels from the breeder to gain insights into their experiences.

Health Screening and Genetic Testing

  • Health Records: Request comprehensive health records for the cocker spaniel puppy and its parents, including vaccinations, deworming, and other health-related details.

  • Genetic Testing: Inquire about genetic testing specific to cocker spaniel health issues to ensure the breeder is actively addressing potential genetic risks.

  • Some tests done by responsible breeders include testing for:

    • DNA testing for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

    • DNA testing for Familial Nephropathy (FN)

    • DNA testing for Adult Onset Neuropathy (AON)

    • X-Ray scoring for hip and elbow dysplasia

Visit the Breeder's Facility

  • Cleanliness: A clean and well-maintained facility is indicative of a breeder's commitment to the health and welfare of their dogs.

  • Living Conditions: Ensure that the puppies are raised in a clean and comfortable environment.

  • Socialization Efforts: Ensure the puppies are raised in an environment that promotes proper socialization with humans and other dogs.

Meet the Puppy's Parents

  • Temperament Assessment: Meeting the cocker spaniel puppy's parents allows you to observe their temperament, offering insights into the potential disposition of your new puppy.

Ask Questions

  • Cocker Spaniel-Specific Breeding Practices: Inquire about the breeder's practices related to cocker spaniels, including socialization efforts, grooming routines, and general care.

  • Contractual Agreements: Clarify details about health guarantees, return policies, and any specific requirements related to spaying or neutering.

Ethical Treatment of Cocker Spaniels

  • No Association with Puppy Mills: Ensure the breeder has no affiliations with puppy mills, emphasizing their commitment to the ethical treatment of cocker spaniels.

  • Breeding Age Practices: Ask about the breeder's approach to breeding age and time between litters, ensuring it aligns with ethical standards for cocker spaniels. While dogs may be bred earlier, testing for hip dysplasia is normally done around 24 months of age. Thus, it is ideal to wait until the dogs are at least 2 years old. Cocker spaniels often retire around 5-8 years of age depending on how many litters they’ve had.

Communication and Transparency

  • Open Dialogue: A trustworthy breeder will be open to communication, providing clear and honest answers to your questions.

  • Provision of Documentation: Request and review essential documentation, including a written contract, health records, and any registration papers applicable to cocker spaniels.

Microchipping and Identification

  • Microchipping Standard: Inquire about the breeder's practice of microchipping cocker spaniel puppies before they leave for their new homes, aiding in identification if needed.


Selecting a cocker spaniel puppy from a reputable breeder is a pivotal decision that influences your new companion's well-being. By focusing on breed-specific considerations and thoroughly researching potential breeders, you contribute to the ethical breeding of cocker spaniels and ensure a joyful and healthy addition to your family.


Bringing a cocker spaniel puppy into your home is a delightful experience, and finding a responsible breeder is the first step in ensuring a happy and healthy life for your new furry friend. In this guide, we'll explore key factors specific to Cocker Spaniels and what to look for when purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder.