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Are Cocker Spaniels Good With Kids? Important Facts & Tips

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

cocker spaniel dog sitting on the grass

Few breeds are as beloved as the Cocker Spaniel. They’re bright, happy, and lovable, with their long floppy ears and big, soul-searching eyes. If you’re planning to adopt a Cocker Spaniel and have kids, you might wonder if they’re good with children. You’ll be pleased to know that Cockers are exceedingly good with kids and make fine pets and companions. Read on to discover more details about the extraordinary Cocker Spaniel so that you can make a confident, informed choice when adopting one.

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What Makes the Cocker Spaniel Good with Kids?

It’s easy to say that the Cocker Spaniel is good with kids, but where is the evidence? A few traits and factors make Cockers a good breed to adopt if you have children. First, Cockers are known to be gentle dogs that don’t get angry easily. This non-aggressive nature is preferred when kids are involved, but it also makes Cocker Spaniels a bad watchdog choice.

Cocker Spaniels are also a people-pleaser breed, meaning they do everything they can to make their owners happy. Being tolerant and gentle with children are ways Cocker Spaniels please their owners

One thing you must note when adopting a Cocker Spaniel is that you need to locate a conscientious and caring breeder. For several decades the Cocker Spaniel was overbred, often to the extreme, and it resulted in some bloodlines that are prone to anxiety and being “high-strung” dogs. A top breeder will help you avoid these issues.

little girl with cocker spaniel on the grass
Image Credit: Roger costa morera, Shutterstock

Are Cocker Spaniels Good Family Dogs?

The Cocker Spaniel has long been known as a fantastic family pet and was once one of the most popular dogs in the United States. In 2022, they were #29, which isn’t bad. Cockers were, and still are, so popular because they’re gentle, affectionate, and, as we’ve seen, wonderful with kids.

Cocker Spaniels get along well with other dogs and pets, and they’re also open to strangers and love to play. Cockers are quite intelligent, which makes them easier than most to train, and are highly adaptable to different situations, settings, and family dynamics. They can just as easily live with a single person in an apartment as a big family in a sprawling home.

Lastly, although they will bark when excited or someone comes to the door, Cockers don’t go overboard with barking. They’re moderate shedders, but their fur requires daily brushing and monthly trimming. However, the Cocker Spaniel is an excellent choice for 1st-time dog owners.

Are Cocker Spaniels a Cuddly Dog Breed?

Anecdotal evidence from pet owners points to Cocker Spaniels being fond of cuddling, hugging, and other types of affection. Most Cockers are incredibly sweet dogs and will gladly pull in for a short hug (or even a longer one if they truly love you). Of course, all dogs have unique personalities, and your particular Cocker Spaniel might not be fond of cuddling. One method of ensuring they like it, however, is socialization.

cocker spaniel dog getting treat
Image Credit: Natalia Bostan, Shutterstock

When Should You Start Socializing Your Cocker Spaniel?

You should start socializing your Cocker Spaniel immediately after you bring them home. In the wild, dogs aren’t big huggers and don’t show many outward signs of affection. They also don’t get along well with cats and most other animals. To counter this innate trait, you need to socialize a dog, which also goes for Cocker Spaniels.

Socialization involves exposing your Cocker to new and different situations from an early age. That includes hugging and cuddling, touching and handling (gently) by different people, and being around other pets and animals. The more you socialize your Cocker Spaniel as a puppy, the better adapted it will be to different situations as an adult.

Which Cocker Spaniel is Better with Kids, Male or Female?

Although it’s difficult to say exactly which Cocker Spaniels will be affectionate, some females are more loving than males, who are more aloof. Again, however, all dogs are unique, and you never know how affectionate any animal will be. It’s a sure bet that if well socialized, males and females will get along great with most kids.

cocker spaniel having treat
Image Credit: O_Lypa, Shutterstock

Are Cocker Spaniels Clingy Dogs?

Some Cocker Spaniels have a problem with separation anxiety. They don’t like being alone, and some will make a huge fuss when you leave. When you’re at home, Cockers tend to be “Velcro dogs,” which means they stick to you when you’re doing things around the house. Whether working, doing laundry, cooking, or cleaning, your Cocker companion will follow you to every room. If you have a child, they will follow your child around also.

Many Cocker owners hire dog sitters and walkers to care for their dogs when they’re gone for more than a few hours. Veterinarians recommend not leaving a Cocker Spaniel alone for more than 4 hours at a time.

Why Should You Get a Cocker Spaniel for a Child?

There are several excellent reasons to get a Cocker Spaniel for your child as a gift for their birthday or on a special holiday. Of course, you must show your child how to handle a dog, especially if they’re younger or this is their first pet.

  • Cocker Spaniels make wonderful companion pets that are loyal and fun.
  • A Cocker Spaniel will encourage your child to stay active.
  • Owning a Cocker will teach your child responsibility, leadership, and social skills.
  • A Cocker Spaniel will be protective of your child.
happy cocker spaniel in backpack
Image Credit: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The friendly, playful, and delightfully energetic Cocker Spaniel is a fantastic family dog and is very good with kids. Even around small kids, the average Cocker has plenty of patience and will endure the tugging, pulling, and rough handling (as long as it’s not too rough).

When socialized well, the Cocker Spaniel will get along perfectly with most children and other dogs, cats, and pets. Yes, they tend to be clingy and don’t like it when you’re away, but that’s part of what makes this breed so endearing. They love to be around their people, which is why Cocker Spaniels have always been popular pups and will likely stay that way for many years.

Featured Image Credit: Kyryk Ivan, Shutterstock

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