I've inherited a four-year-old cocker spaniel bitch from a friend and have decided to get her a kennel mate. Is there much difference in spaniel breeds?

Q: “I am torn between buying another cocker or getting a springer, just for a change. What advice would you be able to give me on the different spaniel breeds?”

Mark Whitehouse says:
Whether springer or cocker, both spaniel breeds are well capable of doing a good day’s work in the field. Both are very biddable; springers have a size advantage over cockers, but cockers have a better engine and more staying power.

Before you decide to buy a puppy or a part-trained dog, you need to do some research. For example, make sure they are from decent working blood lines and have good trainability with a kind, manageable temperament.

With an older, part-trained dog you will be able to assess its temperament and capabilities. There are no guarantees with puppies, although an excellent starting point is if both parents come from good working stock.

With time and effort you could soon have a useful shooting companion. In the trialing world many people suggest you should have as many field trial champions as possible in the pedigree.

Once again, it does help but still carries no guarantees if you don’t put the work in.

Your own temperament is also an important factor when choosing a puppy or dog, as there are breeding lines that are soft and sensitive and others that are outgoing and headstrong.

If you have a bold personality you may suit the outgoing type, while if you are quiet and patient you may be more at home with the sensitive type.

Good luck and choose wisely.

MW