Considering a working cocker spaniel, what other breeds might suit instead?

Art Nouveau

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My sister is considering a worker cocker spaniel as her next dog but is open to other suggestions if there might be something better suited. The wish list is:

1. Small or small to medium sized, but not toy sized
2. Easily trained and loves being with people and 'working' eg retrieving, scent work, agility
3. not yappy/prone to barking
4. a breed she likes the look of (this rules out show-bred cockers as she doesn't like their dome shaped heads or longer hair)
5. Exercise would be 2x 45-60 minutes walk plus training at home/in the garden and occasional longer walks. She doesn't want a tireless dog like a collie though

For context, she last had a standard poodle. While this worked ok, he was hard to train as he got bored easily and preferred to do his own thing and didn't really settle into work. He got better as she got more skilled but she would prefer something more naturally trainable.

Would a working cocker suit? And where could she find one? She was planning on getting on a waiting list after finding a breeder she likes the look of, but her poodle was put to sleep sooner than expected and she is ready for another dog. She did message a breeder at the start of lockdown but understandably got a generic response that he wasn't going to sell to anyone buying on the spur of the moment (I don't think he read her email properly but he was inundated with requests so probably didn't have the time).

Are there any other breeds that might work? Perhaps a small springer?
 

KEK

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Depends how seriously she is into agility but Devongem (Lauren Langham) have some lovely wockers and breed quite regularly.
Borderflys (border collie x papillon) are nice for agility, and a similar size, if you can find them.
 

JennBags

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I wouldn't discount a collie. Mine is from a strong working line, she has high drive and energy but we've taught her to settle from the start so she's pretty good. She gets walked usually for an hour or so a day, and does some play and training on top, and is fine. Don't get me wrong, she would go out all day and then some more if we took her, but she's quite content with this regime. Less than an hour and she gets fidgety however there is the occasional day when she gets less and as long as she has interactive play, she's no bother.
Remember, the more you walk your dog, the fitter they are and the more they need to be walked.
 

Roxylola

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My little hound ticks all those boxes, shes largely beagle, but I know hounds can be vocal although not yappy.
I have a small working springer as well, who is much same - she does bark occasionally but she sounds huge so definitely not yappy.
I like wockers for all the same reasons as your sister. I also like whippets, mini poodles, and petit basset griffon vendeen (peebs) so if shes looking at other breeds they might be worth a look. Peebs are probably the shortest of the breeds I've mentioned, but they're certainly not "little" dogs
 

Errin Paddywack

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All my collies are/have been working bred and none have been on the go all the time. I expect my dogs to settle once they have been out and they do. These are working dogs, sheep and agility. When I had my hip replaced they didn't get walked for three weeks and were fine. From what I have seen of working cockers which is quite a few they seem a lot more energetic and I have said I couldn't live with one. My current two had half an hour running round the field while I fed sheep and poo picked this morning in the rain and are now both fast asleep. A lot depends on what line of breeding I think more than the breed.
 

Thistle

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Have a look at Spaniel Aid UK lots of dogs coming in for rehoming. They're always after dog free fosterers so she could foster and 'try before you buy'

You chose which dog to apply to foster and if the timings suit you. If you fall for the dog you can 'fail foster' and apply to keep it. If the dog isn't really your cup of tea you put it up for adoption after a few weeks when you've assessed it and dealt with any medical problems (lots of dogs come in with a bite history when they've actually had very sore ears eg)
 

deb_l222

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Does she definitely want a puppy? Spaniel rescues are overrun with 'lockdown' slightly older puppies at the moment as everyone goes back to work and the gorgeous floofy poopy is now chewing the house to bits!

Have a look at Spaniel Aid UK, they are expecting a shipment of a huge amount of brittany spaniels at some point.

Some working cockers should come with a health warning though. They are definitely more needy than springers.
 

maisie06

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I have a working cocker and a springer - both have been taught to settle, they are currently asleep at my feet! The cocker is the easier house dog, awesome little worker too, will do as much or as little as you want, you have to keep the brain occupied though, having said that 20 mins of training settles him down! The springer is like a Throughbred in comparison, mind you he's been bred for field trialling so is quite highly strung. But I would recommend a WCS all day long!
 

Amymay

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I wouldn't discount a collie. Mine is from a strong working line, she has high drive and energy but we've taught her to settle from the start so she's pretty good. She gets walked usually for an hour or so a day, and does some play and training on top, and is fine. Don't get me wrong, she would go out all day and then some more if we took her, but she's quite content with this regime. Less than an hour and she gets fidgety however there is the occasional day when she gets less and as long as she has interactive play, she's no bother.
Remember, the more you walk your dog, the fitter they are and the more they need to be walked.
This. I walk an ex working bc (he’s three years old), and he’s wonderful. He’s walked twice a day for around two hours in total (but I’ll often walk him for longer). But once he’s walked he’ll settle down quite happily for the rest of the day.
 

Pearlsasinger

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How about a smaller poodle? My aunt and uncle had a series of miniature poodles after having been left one by a friend. They had plenty of dog experience but had never had a poodle before. Each of the poodles was very intelligent and trainable but not 'busy' dogs, one was more nervous than the others but not ridiculously so. They didn't need loads of exercise. Or a smaller Labradoodle might suit.
 

Cinnamontoast

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Uggeshall kennels are saying their waiting list is full til late 2021. Dunno why cockers are more expensive than springers, bit strange. At least their prices aren’t insane!

There’s very little on the Spaniel Aid website, literally a few dogs only.
 

PapaverFollis

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I've always liked Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, lovely looking dogs too.
Knew a family a while ago that had a small pack of these. All mad as fish, high maintenance and reactive in one way or another. I wouldn't have wanted one.

Although given they were all in the same household it was possibly nurture rather than nature!
 

Bellasophia

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what about a lagotto...? I see a lot here...they are much easier to Work / train than a st poodle( I’m on my third standard)..the coat is easier to maintain too.
They are really lovely honest dogs,keen workers yet not manic.
 

Art Nouveau

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My brain has been totally blown by the idea of a border collie x papillon 😳😳😳
Fun name though. I don't actually know anything about Papillons and the only pet home collies I've known have been challenging so I can't comment on the mix.

As an aside, the best named crossbreed I've seen was a westie X poodle, and then the offspring was crossed with another poodle. Puppies were advertised as a 'westie poo poo'. I still giggle about it now
 

Art Nouveau

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Have a look at Spaniel Aid UK lots of dogs coming in for rehoming. They're always after dog free fosterers so she could foster and 'try before you buy'

You chose which dog to apply to foster and if the timings suit you. If you fall for the dog you can 'fail foster' and apply to keep it. If the dog isn't really your cup of tea you put it up for adoption after a few weeks when you've assessed it and dealt with any medical problems (lots of dogs come in with a bite history when they've actually had very sore ears eg)
Does she definitely want a puppy? Spaniel rescues are overrun with 'lockdown' slightly older puppies at the moment as everyone goes back to work and the gorgeous floofy poopy is now chewing the house to bits!

Have a look at Spaniel Aid UK, they are expecting a shipment of a huge amount of brittany spaniels at some point.

Some working cockers should come with a health warning though. They are definitely more needy than springers.
Thankyou Thistle and Deb, she'll contact spaniel aid and ask about fostering to tide her over until she can get to the top of a waiting list for a puppy, or as you say fall in love and keep the foster dog.
Brittanys look like a good option too.

I've always liked Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, lovely looking dogs too.
ah they're beautiful!

what about a lagotto...? I see a lot here...they are much easier to Work / train than a st poodle( I’m on my third standard)..the coat is easier to maintain too.
They are really lovely honest dogs,keen workers yet not manic.
They are so cuddly! We'll add them to the list, thank you
 

windand rain

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Hate the stupid names for mongrels but hey ho its a fashion but a working dog of any description would be trainable as thats what they are bred for, Agility would seem to full of yappy dogs from what I have seen of it but again each to their own, Almost any pup can be trained to settle when not asked to work. If you start with miles of walking you will always need to walk miles. My working labrador is very quiet and doesnt need miles of walking because it is not what she is used to
 

Odyssey

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A Springador? Probably too big though, as at least medium sized.

My friend bought an adult working cocker by mistake, she didn't realise there are two strains! He's a lot calmer than I'd have expected, and doesn't need loads of exercise, andI think is often only walked once a day. Unfortunately he's very keen on taking off after deer and disappearing for sometimes a couple of hours! My mum has a show cocker and she's the quietest, easiest dog who doesn't need much exercise, but I'm pretty sure she's not typical of the breed. She's just a food obsessed lapdog type!
 
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SpottyTB

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If it helps...i've got 5 spaniels, 1 sprocker and 4 springers. They all settle, they don't crave exercise - they do have a huge all weather play/outside area and i do train them regularly but they aren't wired (in fact it drives me mad when people say spaniels are).

My two older boys sleep on the end of the bed and the other 3 in their beds down stairs, none of them nag me to get up in the morning, all quite happy to sleep in and all love a netflix and chill day!!

On the other hand, they are easy to train, all love a seasons shooting and work really really well. 2 of my 5 are quite petite too, so would definitely fit the med criteria!

(The sprocker was the easiest to train, but he was the first and i think thats the reason!)
 

Karran

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Mrs Spaniel is working lines and is as good as gold in the house. She's always up for dog sport training but sometimes makes it very clear that she's happy with just the one walk. Currently working from home and she and Miss Collie go for morning walkies, Mrs Spaniel goes back to sleep on the sofa, Miss Collie goes to sleep in the hall outside the room now re-christened as my 'office'. They come to get me about half 12 and we do a little garden flyball/agility and then a quick 20 min walk. Often Mrs Spaniel makes it clear she doesnt want to go out so I take the collie. Then they all go back to bed until about 4.30. (I work until 5.30!) We do our evening activities- walk/ do the horse or one of their training classes, then they go back to sleep until 10pm when they tell me its bedtime!

Both are very settled in the house, and I'm fairly sure its what they did in the before times as well. Its taken a while to settle Miss Collie into the routine but both have high work ethic and live in London so it can be done!
 

Mynstrel

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Working cockers are awesome little dogs, but they are relentless! We have 3 agility collies aged 2-6 and a 9 month old w/c and they give up first every time!

Very very bright little dogs, they have the same work ethic as a collie so exercising the brain properly is the important thing rather than just walking/running.

They are a lovely dog to have in your life and you can never be miserable with a w/c in the house.

They're the same as most working breeds though (collies included) if you teach them active time and downtime from the start they won't be a problem.
 

Michen

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Well my first proper dog of my own is now nearly six months. Springer from working parents and highly strung working lines.

She’s awesome. So trainable. I’m sure we will have a phase where recall etc goes but I literally teach her something once and she knows it- incredibly bright. Can bark a bit but usually it’s a soft woof and I think just a phase.

Crate trained, will sleep in a stable whilst I ride, only jumps on sofa if invited etc etc.. just easy in every way. She’s only young so I don’t even walk her much she comes to the yard and sometimes comes on a short hack with my horse. As long as she has her “outing” both ends of the day she will then sleep all day in between and be no bother whatsoever.
 

twiggy2

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Working cockers can be relentless, they can also be hard headed, I have always found springers to be more biddable and a little 'softer'.
Border collies can also vary a lot and are often what you make them with regards to settling.
We have some border collies here that would make perfect pets and some that wouldn't.
A small lurcher sounds like it would suit.
 

Art Nouveau

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thanks for all the comments everyone. It sounds like my sister should be ok as she will definitely focus on teaching her dog to settle and have downtime.
 
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