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Frequently Asked Questions

I get many inquiries about my dogs and pups as well as general inquiries about Cockers, so I thought I would add a FAQ section here to answer some of the questions I have gotten over the years.I'll be adding more as I can.

How often do you have pups for sale?
I breed 1, possibly 2 litters of cockers a year. Sometimes less and sometimes not at all.

Can I pick out the pup I want as soon as I find the one I like?
No. I do not run a "business" selling  cockers, and I breed for myself first. When a litter is born, I do not know what pup I am keeping until later on after I have evaluated the pups for over all conformation, temperment, personality, performance & show prospects, and such.
Once I have made some decisions, then the rest will be available to APPROVED homes where the pup will live as a loved family member.

Can I come out whenever I like to see all your dogs?
No. My dogs live here and and since I do not run a business nor have a kennel, my dogs aren't on display for everyone who wishes to visit them.:-)
This is their home, and like you, they don't appreciate strangers showing up at their door unannounced. There are too many weirdos out there in the world and my family and my dogs safety and happiness comes first. I also do not know where the strangers have been prior to coming out and I don't wish to expose my dogs to any potential disease or illness the visitor may carry in on their shoes.

Do you breed the RARE colors like sable and merle and roan?
The colors you mentioned are NOT rare.
My preferred colors are browns and black/tans. I do enjoy the looks of the colors that are a bit unusual, but I generally do not breed for it.
I do like some of the merle patterns, and sable and roan, although roan is the only pattern I have ever bred.
Personally, any color or pattern is great as long as the cocker underneath the coat is structurally bred for type and soundness and healthy :-)

I have sable in my lines but I've never attempted to produce sable. I think many sables are very lovely. I like the roans too and jstarted an endeavor with them a few years ago. Roans are not a "rare" color as they were one of the main color/pattern of cockers when they broke away from the English cockers. Most breeders preferred to breed the other colors once the cocker became the "American" cocker. Most didn't want to breed for roan as it reminded them of the English cocker. However, the Philsworth kennel back in the 40's continued breeding the roan cocker and they are what are behind the roan cockers of today.
Sable is not "rare" either as it has been traced back to the mahoganys (as many were called back then) by Dr Francis Greer and others. Sable has always been with us, but due to stupid politics within the parent club, sables were disallowed from the show ring several years ago.There are still some very well know show kennels who do breed sables.
Merle is also not "Rare" but GOOD QUALITY Merles are. The merle pattern was  most likely introduced in the late 1970's early 1980's by another breed of dog which was merle. All merle pedigrees have been traced back to this 1 breeding . Recent studies have suggested that the merle may have been a genetic mutation as well, so only time will tell with more studies.
Merle has never been part of the American or English cocker genetic code. Some breeders are breeding merle cockers and some are very unusual and some very pretty but the merle gene has a lethal gene connected with it and it has a lot of potential problems if doubled up on and bred by people who are uneducated about the merle gene. It has the cocker fancy up in arms about this, with mixed feelings on both sides.. The merle is not recognized by the American Spaniel Club nor is it an accepted "color" /"pattern" by AKC. AKC is telling merle breeders to register the dog to the accepted color it comes closest to. Unfortunately, at first, most merle breeders were told by AKC to register them as roans. Which is a big disservice to the roan breeders as well as the merle breeders and could cause some real problems.Merles are NOT roans.
Because of a lot of information now being circulated to merle cocker breeders, most are now registering them as the color they come closest to and not registering them as roan anymore. Hopefully, soon, merles will be able to be registered as merle, but until then, they can only be registered as their color and not their pattern.

Do you have miniature cockers?
I think the concept here is that over the years, many pet cocker breeders and breeders who don't pay attention to the cocker standard have bred way oversized cockers. The normal cocker size as set by the American Spaniel Club is 15 inches tall at the withers for males, and 14 inches tall at the withers for females. The standard says it can vary 1/2 inch over. Anything larger would be a disqualification. Many cockers are smaller than this. Many females are 13 inches tall at the shoulders and males 14.
If you compare them to the larger pet bred cockers, they would appear to be "miniature". But they are not. This is the normal size that cockers are supposed to be.

Do you have shorthaired cockers?
No, only if I cut their hair. The Cocker is supposed to be a moderately coated breed, but over the years, show breeders have bred cockers with way more coat than is necessary. This can become a real nightmare for pet owners when it comes to grooming, if they don't brush the coats a couple of times a week, and have them groomed every 4-6 weeks. There are different hair cuts for cockers and many of these are geared for the pet owner so the coat is much easier to care for.
Most show lines have quite a bit of coat. There are those who breed strictly for field and most of those cockers have much less coat.

I would like to buy one of your cockers to breed to my male. Do you have one available?
No. I generally do not sell any of my adults or pups for strictly breeding purposes. Any pups I place if not going to an approved show home or a very responsible person who has the same ethics as I do about cockers,will all be sold on AKC limited registration and spay/neuter. I have spent many years studying pedigrees and genetics and put a lot of thought, time and a huge part of my life in attempting to produce a good all around cocker, in health, conformation to the standard and temperment.
I cannot let my pups be sold to someone who may not be as dedicated in preserving the cocker in function and structure and especially health. Not that there aren't others who also feel this way, but I don't want to sell a pup to somebody who just wants to produce cute pups.This breed has enough potential health problems as it is without someone just breeding 2 cockers together without knowing what kind of problems are in the background. ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU THERE ARE NO HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THEIR LINES ARE EITHER LYING OR VERY UNKNOWLEDGABLE.
Because there are no sure genetic tests in cockers, it is a gamble breeding them as it is, even after intense genetic research behind the lines to attempt to breed away from anything that could possibly be bad.

How much are your cocker puppies?
It depends. Pet prices generally start around 700.00. Show/ breeding/performance pups vary.Retired or older dogs are less.

How come all of your dogs aren't Champions?
We'd all like to have all our dogs titled, but due to my husband's disability a few years ago, and my own health problems, personal constraints and such I am not able to show currently.
I feel a Championship should be earned and not "bought", and I feel that a dog should not get it's Championship until it is older and matured. This gives the dog time to show what he is going to be at maturity and it also gives any potential health problems time to show up by the time the dog is 2 or 3 years old. I have seen and heard of several champions who finished their title as pups, only to fall apart when they are grown. I've also seen and heard of many cockers who developed hip dysplasia, slipped stifles, cataracts, epilepsy, and other genetic problems by the time they are 3.
 AKC dog shows were originally devised to showcase potential breeding stock. What is the sense to show a dog that doesn't turn out later or had health problems and is unavailable to breed, or is bred anyway because it has it's Championship.
I am more concerned about health, temperment and proper construction, than a title. This is also why you won't see a lot of well known current top dogs in my pedigrees, as I believe in breeding for the aforementioned than just wins. I also prefer to work with the older established lines where if any problems occured it would be known. I am seeing many breeders breed themselves into a corner,and more and more genetic problems crop up because some do not take the time to research lines and health issues. Although breeding cockers health-wise is almost always a crap-shoot, I feel it is best to really do your homework before attempting to breed. I care much more for the breed than to see if I can produce the top winning dog or top producing bitch.It does not bother me to breed to a non titled dog if the health and quality is there and in that dogs lines.It also keeps the gene pool more open this way. There are several ethical breeders out there who do, do their homework and their dogs are very deserving of their wins. But there are some who do not. There are Champions who should never have been used for breeding, and many who have passed on detrimental problems to the gene pool. Some by accident and some were bred knowingly.

If I buy a puppy from you will I be able to contact you later on if I need to?
Of course. You are stuck with me if you buy a pup from me.LOL
I love to get letters and pictures of  how you and your dog are doing. I am there for the life of your dog and will try to help you in any way I can. If for some reason you cannot keep your dog I will take it back. 
One of the problems pet owners have with new cockers is allowing the pup to rule the roost because they are so cute with their antics. Unless you want your spoiled rotten pup to be a domineering adult, you have to teach some obedience to the pup. You are the boss at all times and the sooner your puppy knows this the happier you all will be. Dogs are pack animals and you and your family are it's pack. Each pack has it's leader and you and the other 2-legged pack members need to all be the leader over this pup. I have told many people to watch The Dog Whisperer that comes on the National Geographic channel on TV. He has a very good way of teaching leadership and it's fairly simple and easy to do.It makes for a much better behaved dog and happier for all concerned.

I'd have never shown dogs before but I would like to buy one from you so I can start showing.
 A lot of people go to a dog show or watch a dog show on TV and get excited about showing. Once they get a dog for show, they don't have a clue on grooming, the standard, showing, or anything else, and often the show prospect never gets shown or is just used to breed instead.
If you are serious about showing, join some email lists on learning to show. Read books on showing. Join your local all breed kennel club or breed club if there is one close by. Get to know other show people, go to some shows and hang around and watch. If you are still interested, try and find someone close by who can be your mentor. Go to the parent club for the breed you like and read up on the standard, and then learn it. Once you are known to other breeders, and see what is going on and if you still feel you are serious about the long haul, then possible the person who mentors you will help you with a dog.
Many people inquire about getting a dog for showing when actually all they want to do is breed it. If you are not known to other show people,
very few will sell you an intact dog, especially a female for show right off. Males do much better as show prospects as they are more focused, trainable and don't have seasons nor blow coat or generally pattern out.
Many breeders have gotten burned by others who wanted a dog for show, and never did anything with it but breed it. These breeders put a lot of hard work into perfecting their lines to be disheartened to have it end up behind some  breeder's pedigree on a website somewhere.
It's pretty hard nowaday for new people to get a show dog because so many breeders have been burned.It's a shame, as there are some people who are really earnest about getting into showing and not many show breeders are left who are willing to take the chance to help them.
Also a word or warning to new people who are excited by the "show game"
As there are unscrupulous people in this world, there are also some show breeders who are like vultures who thrive on getting newbies into their fold. They will give you a dog with many strings attached, force you to show and finish a possible inferior dog and expect you to breed it as well perpetuating problems. Some of these breeders are like being caught in a spider web and will draw you in and attempt to control every aspect of your breeding program. They will slam other show show breeders and their dogs, insist you only do things their way, and generally attempt to completely control you. Almost like brain-washing. Be very careful of these people. They are only concerned about their own agenda and really do not want you to succeed. They are more interested in satellite breeding and wins, not you nor the dogs.YOU need to study the standard, speak with many breeders, find lines and dogs YOU like and and go with your show and breeding program with what makes YOU happy. You can learn from many breeders along the way but don't lose YOUR common sense in the process :-)

I can't understand why I can't just send you the money and you sell me a puppy. Why do I have to jump through all these hoops to get a pet from you and not even be able to breed it? It should be my dog to do what I want with when I want to.
Some people will sell a dog like this to anyone with cash in hand. I won't. I care too much about my dogs, and I want to know who I am selling to. I also want to know that this pup will be loved and cared for and will be in a forever home.
Society is a very throwaway society now. If the pup pees on the rug or chews up those new athletic shoes, off it goes to the pound.I want my buyers to be dedicated to the life of the dog and willling to learn as well as teach the dog the right behavior. Rescues are full of purebred dogs that somebody didn't want. I don't want that to happen with any of mine.

What health testing do you do on your dogs and can you give me a lifetime guarantee that my dog won't have any health problems?
LOL-ALL dogs have potential health problems behind them. NO ONE can give a guarantee that it will never have a health problem. If they do, run as far away from them as you can!
People have no guarantee they will never get sick or have genetic problems, why would people expect a dog not to ever become ill or develop a health problem? Nothing is perfect:-)
I know it is heartbreaking to have or lose a much loved companion to a disease, and when we look for another dog we want so much to be sure we don't have that problem again.
Unfortunately, every breed of dog has some problems associated with it. Cockers are no exception. The best we can do is try and breed away from known problems, not breed any afflicted dogs and not breed to any afflicted dogs or to dogs that have produced a lot of problems.
Some milder problems like yeasty ears can be remedied by feeding food without corn or wheat in it. Keeping the ears trimmed close around the canals and keeping them clean and dry. Other problems in cockers can be caused by a weaker than normal immune system. So, cocker owners should be cautious and be careful about over vaccinating. Studies have shown that overvaccination can cause weakened immune systems and can cause autoimmune disease, low thyroid and some other problems that cockers can have.
I have the eyes tested on my dogs for cataracts, Some are being DNA PRCD-PRA tested, and I have their patella's checked for slips. Hip dysplasia can be a problem in some cockers but it is a problem that is low in frequency according to OFA (The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). However, Cockers rank #4 for the breeds most affected by luxating patellas (also known as slips).Which can be quite painful and can render a dog lame. I have had all of my dogs checked for luxating patellas and am now in the process of  getting the paperwork sent to OFA for certification. I work closely with my vet on my dogs and if I feel or he feels we need to do any other testing we do.We also check hips, thyroid, and heart.

Why do you breed dogs when there are so many dogs in rescue needing homes?!?
I personally don't like to get in this conversation, because I have been and am still on both sides of the fence.
I have done rescue most of my life and was very involved in Cocker rescue for a few years. Some dogs, through no fault of their own are placed in shelters or with rescue and it is easy, after some evaluation and rehabilitation, to find them new homes. Some dogs however, were beyond saving, and did have problems that could not be fixed. No matter how much you love and try and help a rescue dog, sometimes it just simply cannot get rid of the baggage it brought along with it. A lot of dogs in rescue have been returned when they reverted back to their old ways, or some got worse and had to be be put to sleep. Some dogs were old dogs and simply could not adapt to a new home. Some had horrible temperments that could not be changed or not be changed for very long. Others had many health problems that potential adopters simply didn't want to have to deal with. Nowaday, there are some rescue people that are not in this for the dog but to make money or to satisfy an inner need they themselves have for saving a life. Not all rescue dogs can nor should be saved. 
Some rescue organizations are caring hardworking people who carefully screen and evaluate the dogs they take in and attempt to adopt them to compatible approved homes. Others are people who "save" a dog to turn around and make a few bucks and sell them to whoever will pay for it. Some rescues don't get the dog's health in order nor spay/neuter, nor evaluate the dog for a few weeks before trying to place it. Adopters need to be very careful and selective about what rescue they get a dog from.  Rescue and adopting rescue dogs can be a wonderful way to get and help a companion. But some people prefer not to get a rescue dog.
Because of the uncertainty of some rescue dogs, some people prefer to buy a pup or dog that has no learned bad behavior, ongoing health problems, or baggage. Society has the right to pick how they want to acquire a dog. And because of this, some will want to buy from a breeder, while others prefer to adopt a rescue dog.

Are your dogs AKC registered? I used to have a cocker that was AKC registered but it didn't look like a show cocker when it was grown. I thought AKC meant quality dogs.
Yes my dogs are registered with AKC. AKC does not mean quality, good health or any other guarantee.It is simply a registry that keeps track of the lineage (pedigrees) of dogs. It does try to ensure the pedigrees are correct by doing random DNA testing if needed, and requiring all stud dogs that are used for breeding more than 7 times in it's life or more than 3 times in one year be DNAed and on file with AKC.
AKC does not guarantee the quality or health of any dog. 

Are Cockers good with kids? I was told by my vet that Cockers had horrible temperments and to never have them around kids.
Cockers years ago had very nice temperments when they weren't too popular.When the movie, Lady and the Tramp came out, EVERYONE wanted a cocker spaniel.  (Including me)LOL Unfortunately, breeders got on the bandwagon and everyone was breeding cute cocker spaniels for the public to buy. Unfortunately, breeders weren't selecting dogs for temperment and personality and other things and we ended up with pretty dogs with a temperment like Cujo.
Once the popularity died down some, ethical breeders started selectively trying to breed back the merry disposition and trying to clean up the huge mess that that the fad breeders created. Temperments have improved since but there are still cockers around who are cranky and snappy. Some has to do with hypothyroisim which can be fairly common in some cockers.Low thyroid can bring on a nasty disposition in a dog. Other reasons could be lack of socialization, or owners allowing their dog to become the ruler of the roost and the alpha dog, instead of the owners taking charge and training their dog to be a good citizen.:-) Most cockers bred by ethical breeders are socialized with the siblings dam and people but it is ALSO up to the new owner to CONTINUE socialization and introducing the pup to new things, if the new owner does not do this, their pups could turn into a fearful dog  and one that is very hard to deal with. This isn't the breeders fault, it's lack of effort or lack of understanding on the owners part.

Because of the overbreeding years ago, cockers have gotten a bad rap for it and some vets and other people say cockers are not a very pleasant dog. If the cocker is trained and has been bred for a good temperment and kids learn to respect the dog and treat it right without poking eyes and yanking ears and kicking and teasing it etc, the cocker should be a wonderful family dog and good with kids.

I heard Cockers are very hard to housebreak, Is this true?
Cockers can be stubborn little snits.LOL Unfortunately, some can be hard to housetrain. The best way to house train a new pup is to purchase a crate for them. Keep the dog in the crate when you cannot keep an eye on it. They are sneaky and will piddle as soon as your back is turned if you're not careful.LOL Feed the dog on a regular schedule, and take it outdoors to do it's business within 15 minutes after it eats, after it wakes up and while playing. Praise the dog for going outside. If they piddle in the house, ignore the dog and clean it up. Dogs often don't realize whether you are upset or not,. only that you are talking to them. Griping at them because they made a mess, is giving them attention and it can confuse them.
Cockers are also known for submissive urination, especially females. Often if they feel you are the alpha they will piddle, or if they are excited especially, they will. It's best to ignore this too.
Stay calm and assertive but not appear to be overbearing to them. When you come in or want to get the dog to play or go for a walk, do not talk to them all excitedly and squeal at them. Be calm and use slower movements towards them.Dogs are remarkable about reading body language, so appear relaxed. This will often stop the submissive peeing. remember dogs don't think like humans they mainly react to situations.And they live in the moment, so trying to punish or discipline after the fact is useless and confusing for the dog, unless you actually catch them in the act of doing something wrong, say nothing.

Some people are curious about roans, sables and merles, so I have put up pages I have written about them. Just click on the link to go to each one.