First off, consider adopting a cocker spaniel from a rescue.
If you live around the Maryland/Virginia area, check out CockerSpanielRescue.Com. The cockers on that site are so cute!!!
There are many cocker spaniel rescue organizations located around the country, so be sure to check out your local rescue or shelter.
When you are viewing this website, keep in mind that Boomer was rescued from the Northern Virginia Cocker Spaniel Rescue!!!
Beware of Puppy Mills.
A puppy mill is a place where dogs are bred and sold with the only intent being to make money. Some people make successful and reputable careers out of breeding and showing cocker spaniels, but there is a big difference in a reputable breeder and one who runs a puppy mill. A good breeder cares not only about the health and well being of their animals but also about the quality of the breed standards that they are propagating. Puppy mills are commonly run by someone who breeds many different types of dogs and is only interested in selling as many puppies as possible. These mills are filthy and the dogs are unhealthy. Breed specific traits are lost because there is really no care in deciding which dog is bred to another. This environment is not the place where you want your puppy to come from. Health problems and behavioral problems are very common in these animals.
How can you tell if a breeder is running a puppy mill?
The first thing I suggest doing when thinking about buying a cocker spaniel puppy is to visit a breeder in your area and ask to see the premises. When touring a breeder’s site observe the cleanliness of the site and also take note of how many dogs are present. Does it look like the breeder has control of the situation? Or are there simply too many dogs to keep track of? A good breeder will interact with all of the dogs on premises, caring for their health and grooming each of them. If there is one person running a facility of 20-50 dogs then some red flags should come up, chances are you found a puppy mill, or at least a breeder that you shouldn’t be buying a puppy from. If the breeder is hesitant on letting you tour the site then you should walk away immediately and do not buy a puppy because this breeder is trying to hide something from you.
When you are touring a site ask to see the parents of the puppy you are considering buying. The best way to tell what a puppy will be like is to interact with the parents. It’s simple genetics! Your puppy is coming from these parents and their traits are being passed along to your puppy, so get down on the ground and really see what these parents are like.
Are you considering buying a puppy from an online breeder?
I strongly discourage buying a puppy from an online breeder. How can you visit the place, check out the cleanliness, and learn about the breeding program if you never visit the actual premises? An online “breeder” may be a puppy mill in disguise, working under the façade of an attractive and informative website. The truth is that you know nothing about this place other than what they are telling you. Do you think that a puppy mill would really tell the truth about what kind of program they are running? Obviously not all online breeders are running puppy mills; however, don’t you want to get down and interact with the parents of the puppy, or the siblings, so you can see what type of dog you are making a commitment to?
Probably the most unfortunate part of online breeding programs is that they will air mail the puppy to you. I can’t think of a more terrifying experience than a young 8-week old puppy sitting alone in a crate in the bottom of a huge jet liner. Trust me, your puppy isn’t getting first class treatment from the airport!
Where can you find information about quality breeding programs?
There are many resources available to help you find a breeder in your area. The first thing I suggest doing is checking out the open directory project's website, where there is a list of cocker spaniel breeders. Click on your area and see which breeders are close to you. Call anyone that you are interested in. Chances are that the breeder will be happy to talk to you and explain their program in great detail. Make sure to schedule a visit, especially if they have puppies available.
By running Scooter’s website I have been fortunate enough to make friends with many people who are experts in showing and breeding cocker spaniels. Many of these people are open to helping someone who is looking to find a cocker spaniel puppy, even though they may be halfway across the world! Please check out the Zim Family Cockers Forum, an online community of cocker spaniel lovers who are very eager to introduce themselves and try to help you find the perfect puppy.
John, why do you have a link to what appears to be a puppy mill on your website?
This is a good question. A few things must be done in order to run a big website such as ScooterTheCocker.com. In order to get recognized by search engines, I must exchange links with anyone and everyone who has a cocker spaniel website, regardless of the quality of their breeding programs. If I didn't play by these rules, there is a good chance that you wouldn't have found this website today! Also, Scooter’s website is hosted by a company who provides web storage and FTP uploading services. This cost money, which is why you see Google Adsense Advertising on Scooter’s website. By clicking on these links, I get a few pennies. This ads up over time and essentially pays for the entire website. The problem is that these advertising sites know nothing about cocker spaniel breeding programs and anyone can pay to be a part of the program. Clearly there are some great ads on Scooter’s website; I just saw an ad for ID tags and for dog bowls this afternoon, however, every now and then there will be an ad for a puppy mill or an online breeding program. This is just the unfortunate side effect of keeping this website running. Until I find a more profitable alternative, I have to trust that you will stay informed and think about where you buy your puppy. You are the one that will ultimately make the final decision about where you get your puppy. Hopefully, you will take my advice!
The information provided on this website was gathered from various sources on the internet including: www.stoppuppymills.org, www.hsus.org, and www.zimfamilycockers.com.