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Cocker Spaniels are understandably a very popular breed but this popularity has meant that some breeders produce large numbers of puppies purely for commercial gain which is not in the best interests of the breed - such breeders often pay little regard to the health or temperament of their puppies & they will sell a pup to whoever wants one, no questions asked. Some of these pups are taken away from their mothers at an early age & are transported long distances to be placed on sale in pet shops & puppy supermarkets - these pups often have health problems & sadly may have poor temperaments. These commercial breeders may be fully licenced & register their pups with the Kennel Club - they also may place enticing adverts in the local press, but this does not mean they are reputable! For more information about the trade in puppies & puppy farming, have a look at these websites:


A REPUTABLE BREEDER ............................

WILL ask potential buyers numerous questions to ensure they can provide a good home for a puppy & understand the needs of a Cocker Spaniel. BEWARE of breeders who ask no questions at all - ask yourself why they don't care enough about their pups to make sure they find the right homes.

WILL NOT have puppies constantly available - most reputable breeders only have a few litters a year. BEWARE of breeders who constantly advertise litters for sale (especially if they offer several other popular breeds) - these are often dealers or large-scale commercial enterprises.

WILL ALWAYS allow potential buyers to see the mother of a litter & often will have other relatives that buyers can meet. BEWARE of breeders who make an excuse for buyers not being able to meet "Mum" or who offer to deliver the pup direct to the buyer, thus preventing the buyer seeing where the litter has been reared (a tactic often used by puppy farmers) Never buy a puppy from a dealer or puppy supermarket - reputable breeders will insist on meeting potential buyers & will NEVER pass pups to third parties to be sold on!

WILL provide after-sales help & advice & will make it clear that they will take back for re-homing a dog of their breeding should this ever be needed.

WILL provide all the necessary paperwork including diet sheet, worming info, pedigree certificate & Kennel Club Registration Certificate. Many breeders also supply extensive information on grooming & training etc. Please remember that KC Registration is not a guarantee that a puppy has come from a reputable breeder - nevertheless all reputable breeders do register their litters with the KC & caution should be exercised if a litter is advertised as unregistered or registered with one of the alternative commercial registries/clubs. NB: KC Registration is the nearest to a guarantee that a puppy is a purebred puppy with an authentic pedigree - puppies registered with other clubs may not be purebred & the accuracy of pedigree information may be doubtful. DLRC Registration is NOT the same as KC Registration - these are 2 entirely separate organisations. If you want a KC reg puppy, don't be persuaded that DLRC registration is just the same - it is NOT!!

WILL usually supply buyers with free insurance to cover the first few weeks of a puppy's life in a new home

WILL be able to advise potential buyers on the various hereditary problems that very occasionally crop up in Cocker Spaniels (as with most other breeds) & will be happy to let you know what health screening tests they carry out on their dogs eg, DNA tests for prcd_PRA and FN, eye-testing and/or hip-scoring. BEWARE the breeder who is unwilling to discuss this subject or seems to have no knowledge of the possible problems or who makes excuses for not participating in health-screening schemes. It is NOT true that breeders who carry out health tests on their dogs do so to enable them to charge more for their puppies - they do so because they care about the breed and the puppies they produce. Also note that ONLY KC registered dogs tested under the KC/BVA hip-scoring & eye-testing schemes will have their results (good or bad) automatically recorded and made publicly available. This means that would-be buyers of a KC registered puppy can research whether the parents of a litter have been health tested under the various schemes using the KC Health Test Search HERE. Test results of KC registered dogs cannot be hidden by the breeder as is the case with unregistered dogs or dogs registered with commercial registries like the DLRC.

WILL often be involved in activities with their Cockers such as showing, agility or field trials (working Cockers). They will usually be members of at least one Breed Club, such as The Cocker Spaniel Club. Of course, there are a few reputable hobby breeders who have no interest in showing/working but in general, most genuine breeders will do something with their dogs besides breeding from them!

More advice can be found in Buying A Puppy and also in "You've Decided to Get a Puppy", a comprehensive article covering all aspects of puppy buying. There is also a very useful page charting the differences between a responsible breeder and a backyard breeder HERE


1 Valuable sources of information on puppy availablilty are the Cocker Spaniel Breed Clubs - there are many regional Clubs as well as the Parent Club (The Cocker Spaniel Club). You will find links to a number of Breed Clubs on our Links page. A full list of Breed Clubs & contact info can be found on the Kennel Club's site & also on The Cocker Club's site

2 There are quite a few internet sites which contain listings for Cocker breeders but many operate no vetting whatsoever and are used by puppy farmers etc. This is one of the few sites which does vet listings to some extent :-

3 The Kennel Club (UK): People interested in buying a puppy can access the Kennel Club's online Puppy Sales Register. Please note that the Kennel Club does not recommend or vet breeders as such, so do NOT assume that because a breeder is listed with the KC that he/she is reputable - do your homework & be prepared to "vet" a breeder yourself. This advice applies of course to breeders found on listings on any other web sites too!!

4 Search Engines like Google can also produce a number of websites belonging to Cocker breeders. Many are reputable but some less reputable kennels/dealers & puppy farmers also have very smart, professional websites so do not assume that because a breeder has a website, they are reputable. Remember to do your homework!

***** Before making a decision to buy a Cocker puppy, remember to read our "The Right Breed For Me?" page to make sure you have made the right choice!*****

A Shenmore Litter
photo © Shenmore Cockers

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