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The Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel were the same breeds not so long ago.
While breeding these two dogs to create the Sprocker Spaniel would seem to have gone full circle, this loveable dog is a fantastic companion.
Known for excessive amounts of energy, high levels of intelligence, and a gentle personality, this newly developed breed has quickly become a trendy companion.
Sprockers are an absolute pleasure to train, living to please their master. This breed thrives on mastering a range of complex tasks.
As a medium-sized dog, the Sprocker Spaniel has expressive eyes, a glossy, crimped coat, and adorable pendulous ears.
Its fur can come in a wide array of colors and patterns, with white and black and white and brown remaining the most popular color combination.
Sprocker Dog Breed History
One of the better-known crossbreeds, the Sprocker Spaniel is a beautiful combination of the Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel.
These breeds are often considered the same, offering less variation in hybrid breeding than other crossbreeds.
Although many will use the English Cocker Spaniel, it’s possible to use the American Cocker Spaniel too, which shares many of the same genetics.
Both the Cocker Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel share a similar history. They were intentionally bred together approximately 20 to 30 years ago, although the two breeds may have mated before this time.
Many of these dogs would have lived and worked together, but owners may not have bred offspring in hopes of retaining the pedigree.
Experts believe all Spaniels derived initially from Spain.
Although these dogs may have existed for long periods before this, it wasn’t until the 14th century that breeders refined the breed for the sole purpose of hunting.
The Spaniel was traditionally used as a gun dog, comfortably working on land and water. Owners trained these dogs to flush and retrieve prey (such as waterfowl).
Several hundred years later, the dogs were divided into ‘Crouching Spaniels’ and ‘Springing Spaniels.’
Eventually, those within the Springing Spaniel category were further classified into the smaller Cocker Spaniel, and the taller Springer Spaniel breeds.
During the latter half of the 19th century, these gun dogs have declared two distinct and separate breeds. Springers and Cockers were kept as working dogs and participants in pet and show dogs.
Depending on the intended purpose of the breed, these dogs will appear quite different from other similar Spaniels.
For example, the American Cocker Spaniel is distinct from the English Cocker Spaniel, thanks to the redefinition in America during the 1900s.
The Appearance of the Sprocker Spaniel
A Sprocker Spaniel has a relatively uniform appearance for a cross-breed, as both parents closely resemble each other. The Sprocker is notoriously handsome, with noble features and a proportioned body.
Should this dog have American Cocker lineage, the skill is often more dome-shaped. The dog’s muzzle is long and wide, with a sensitive nose that is often black or brown.
This breed has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite. The ears on a Sprocker are one of the most endearing features, hanging sweetly on either side of the face.
This breed is athletically built, with muscular bodies and well-sprung ribs. Although tail docking for this breed was originally the norm, it’s a fading trend going out of fashion (even with working dogs).
The natural tail of a Sprocker is medium in length with a decent plume of fur at the end. These dogs are elegant and quick when moving, exerting minimal effort to cover large distances.
This breed measures 36cm to 51cm and weighs approximately 13.5kg to 20kg.
The Sprocker is noticeably larger than the Cocker Spaniel, although somewhat shorter and lighter than the Springer Spaniel.
The wavy, long coat of the Sprocker adds beauty and sophistication to the breed.
The coat can come in a wide array of colors, including solid colors (black, red, fawn, roan markings), liver and white, black and white, and tricolor.
All dogs should have feathering on the hind legs, tails, and ears.
The Sprocker Temperament
One of the best advantages of the Sprocker Spaniel is its beautiful temperament and personality. These dogs are very affectionate and have hearts of gold.
They adore their family, bonding closely with all members, particularly eager to be in their company whenever possible.
These pups have a docile and gentle nature and will do well with children they have grown up with. Although these dogs are a working breed, they are just as happy to relax at home.
Sprockers are full of life and very high-energy dogs. Unfortunately, this trait is often a double-edged sword.
While this personality makes the dog easy to train and a fantastic athlete, many dogs sitting as pets will be under-stimulated and under-exercised.
Through under stimulation comes frustration and behavioral problems. Barking, chewing, and digging often stem from a lack of mental and physical stimulation.
This breed is often over-represented when looking at destructive behaviors and anxiety.
The Trainability of the Sprocker Spaniel
Training a Sprocker is highly rewarding. This breed holds the ability to be trained to high standards, including Flyball, agility, and canine dancing.
Unfortunately, these pups cannot compete in official Gun Dog Tests or Field Trials (as they are not considered pedigree dogs). They can still participate in similar activities by Kennel Clubs.
As an intelligent and eager breed, the Sprocker will try its best to obey all commands, learning any new task asked of it.
This breed adapts well to positive reinforcement techniques and consistent methods of training.
Sprocker Spaniel Health
As the Sprocker Spaniel is closely related to the Springer Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel, it will typically suffer from the same health issues as its parents. These health conditions usually include the following:
This debilitating disease will negatively impact the animal’s quality of life and sitting, particularly harmful for any dog bred for work.
Currently, there are practical screening tests that can adequately diagnose hip dysplasia. It is highly recommended that any parent to be bred should be proven to be free of hip dysplasia.
Most dogs tend to develop hypothyroidism after the age of six. The symptoms of this condition can include generalized sluggishness, weight gain, symmetrical alopecia, and a swollen face.
Treatment for this condition is highly effective, although the animal will require lifelong medication.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Unfortunately, both Cockers and Springers are known to inherit DCM. Heart disease will cause the heart muscle to enlarge over time, significantly reducing the ability to pump effectively.
Ultimately, heart failure results. There are medications available (ACE Inhibitors) that will slow the progression of the disease.
With hanging ears, the Sprocker may suffer from bouts of otitis externa throughout their life. Additionally, Spaniels tend to have hairs growing in the ear canal, which offers a warmer environment (also blocking good airflow).
The Cocker Spaniel is prone to a nasty ear infection called ‘Pseudomonas.’ This condition is difficult to clear with a bacterium. Due to the genetic components, Sprockers are likely to inherit this condition too.
With this predisposition, vets should swab the ear when infected to assess the contents. The swab will reveal the infection type, making treatment more accessible.
If Pseudomonas is detected, prolonged antibiotics are required. Additionally, most dogs will need their ears to be flushed under anesthetic.
Exercise and Activity Levels of Sprocker Crossbreeds
The Sprocker holds an unparalleled zest for life and never seems willing to pause the fun. This breed loves to be active, with high exercise requirements.
These exercise requirements aren’t well suited for owners living a sedentary lifestyle. Several long walks, jogs, or runs on the lead are essential for physical and mental satisfaction.
Ideally, owners would live in a rural setting, with plenty of room to roam. This breed loves roaming their environment and should be allowed to, provided it’s a safe environment.
The Sprocker is a working dog, needing activities to mentally stimulate throughout the day.
Experts recommend puzzles, interactive dog toys, or games to satisfy the dog. They’re more content when given tasks to do or working within various canine activities.
Top Activities for the Sprocker Dog Breed
Check out these activities and toys your pooch will surely enjoy!
Food Puzzle Toy
A food puzzle activity requires a well-made container (most often made of hard rubber or plastic) that an owner puts treats or food inside. The food doesn’t quickly leave the object, leading the dog to work to get it out.
Occasionally, the toy will have holes on the side, allowing the Sprocker to shake, paw, or roll the toy to get the food out.
Getting the food out will keep the pup occupied, offering the mental stimulation they desperately crave.
Most Sprockers enjoy working, especially when implementing this physical activity. Bikejoring involves riding your bike while your dog is attached and pulling you.
This activity allows your dog to set the pace, which is likely faster than you can comfortably keep up with.
For high-energy breeds like Sprockers, this is a great activity to include them in. After putting in a lot of effort bikejoring, the pup will tire out and calm down for a while.
Look Into Search and Rescue
Search and rescue is an excellent activity for working dogs, which focuses on locating someone who is lost.
Start preparing your dog as young as possible, focusing on scent training initially. Once the pup is trained, it can aid search efforts.
Search and rescue training is the perfect combination of mental stimulation and physical outlet.
You’ll want to look for various search and rescue groups in the area while simultaneously walking through the woods to acclimate the dog.
Fetch in Water
As the Sprocker is agile on land and water, playing games in the water is an excellent outlet for working dogs.
While “fetch” is a great activity for your dog, adding water is a fabulous way to burn extra energy. Start by getting your Sprocker used to the water, with shallow areas first.
As the dog becomes used to the water, start incorporating the ball or rope. The dog can run, jump, and grab hold of the item in the water (even if it’s deep).
Additionally, they can swim and run with the item back to shore.
Agility is an excellent option for working dog breeds. These games will give your dog a job to focus on while keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.
These activities also offer you and your pup time to interact, further strengthening the relationship. Always start small and build out from there.
A small PVC pipe set as a low jump is a great place to start. Once your dog masters the jump, begin raising the height of the bar. You can also include a hula hoop, rope, or kiddie tunnel with agility training.
Hide and Seek
As the Sprocker is massively connected with their family, incorporating a game of hide and seek into your daily routine is a great way to stimulate your dog mentally.
Start by having a friend or family member hold the dog while you hide somewhere in the house (or on the property).
When in position, have the friend let go of the pup and encourage the dog to find you.
Start with simple spots initially, building to more complicated hiding places as the dog becomes comfortable with the game.
If you’d like to increase the difficulty, have multiple people hide throughout the environment.
This game is perfect for working dogs wanting mental and physical activity while promoting quality time together.
Sprocker Grooming Requirements
The Sprocker has a long, fine coat that needs to be brushed daily. Owners should always focus on areas prone to matting, like the groin, armpits, tail, and ears.
Always pay close attention to the ears (inside and out), as the Sprocker is prone to infections and will require regular cleaning.
Most owners will bring their pet to a professional groomer several times a year to keep the coat in optimal condition. Regular grooming will prevent significant health issues from occurring long-term.
Sprocker Dog Breed: Final Thoughts
The Sprocker dog breed is a delight canine addition to your home! And if you’re already excited about adopting one soon, you need to know certain things before actually getting one.
Just like any dog breed, you need to know more about its health background. That’s why it’s important to adopt or buy from a reputable breeder.
Aside from that, you need to be ready for a lot of energy and attention. Sprockers require extensive care to make sure they don’t easily get any illnesses.
You also need to allot a certain time to play with your pooch to make sure they stay happy. Otherwise, you might end up having a bored and mischievous pooch.
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