A miniature Cocker Spaniel is a scaled down miniature version of the pedigree Cocker Spaniel, bred as small as possible and weighing significantly less than the official standard. These tiny breeds are also referred to as teacup dogs or micro dogs, emphasizing their extremely petite sizes. And the miniature Cocker Spaniel is an easy dog to fall in love with. They are small, fluffy, friendly and full of fun. It’s easy to see why a micro Cocker has a great appeal. But these small dogs often have big problems.
The Appeal of Miniature Dogs
The Miniature Cocker Spaniel is not an official breed, so is not recognized or endorsed by the AKC or any other major dog associations. But they have a special appeal all of their own.
It is human nature to want to nurture a puppy. An adult miniature dog breed retains baby-like features, and is why people have a natural tendency to love and protect them.
It’s easy to think of some more advantages to permanently tiny dogs too. They do not require much room, are easy to take anywhere, don’t cost much in food, and have minimal exercise requirements.
But before before committing to a mini Cocker Spaniel it is essential to look at the full-sized version, so you have a better understanding of its physical appearance and behavioral traits.
There are two types – the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel.
The Standard Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel was bred to flush woodcock from dense bush and is how it earned its name. This breed is popular now as a companion dog, favored worldwide.
During the late 1800s, the Cocker Spaniel arrived in the USA. By the 1930s there were two separate breeds – the English and American Cocker Spaniels. Although they look similar, they are both different in size, appearance, and personality.
English vs American Cocker Spaniels
The English Cocker Spaniel is the larger of the two breeds standing at 15 to 17 inches high, weighing between 26 to 34 pounds. The American Cocker Spaniel stands at 12 to 13 inches high and weighs between 24 to 28 pounds.
A miniature English Cocker Spaniel and a mini American Cocker Spaniel will both be smaller and weigh less than the two standard breeds.
The English Cocker has a medium length coat that is either flat or slightly wavy whereas the American Cocker’s is longer and more lustrous. Both come in all colors including particolored. The skull of the American is dome-shaped but the English is flatter with both having long, floppy ears.
Both types are shedders, although the American sheds more, and require regular grooming to remove loose hair, being clipped every 6 to 8 weeks. They require their teeth brushed regularly and their ears cleaned once a week, with their nails trimmed every month.
The English Cocker is still regarded as a sporting breed and loves to chase game. It is more active than the American. The Amercian Cocker Spaniel has lost its hunting instincts but requires vigorous exercise. Long walks and a run in an enclosed area are perfect.
The English Cocker and American Cocker have similar temperaments as affectionate and sweet-natured who love to please. However, both dogs dislike being left alone for extended periods, which can cause destructive behavior.
Lifespan and Health Issues
Both the English and American Cocker Spaniel live on average between 10 and 15 years. They have similar health issues that include
- ear infections
- eye and skin problems
- luxating patella
- dilated cardiomyopathy
- and certain types of cancer.
Breeding A Miniature Cocker Spaniel
There are different ways to create a miniature dog, with each method having potential drawbacks.
Therefore, care must be taken when looking for miniature Cocker Spaniel breeders.
Breeding from undersized dogs
Probably the most usual method is by continually breeding from two undersized dogs, usually the runts of a litter, creating puppies that are abnormally small.
As the mother is so small herself, she can often only produce a couple of puppies at one time, and there is the possibility of birth complications.
Mix breeding with a smaller breed
Another way is to mix with a smaller breed, creating a hybrid “designer” dog. This method is risky as there is no guaranteed outcome.
A puppy can inherit more traits from one parent, and the best or worst characteristics from both breeds. It’s also possible that a mixed breed will only be fractionally smaller than a the averageCocker Spaniel.
Finally, breeders can selectively breed from two sets of parents who carry genes for dwarfism. Achondroplasia is an abnormality of the growth and development of the bone and cartilage causing bone deformities and shorter legs than other dogs of the same breed and age.
Pituitary dwarfism is a problem with the growth hormone which is produced by the pituitary gland. The Cocker Spaniel is predisposed to both causes of dwarfism which can lead to growth abnormalities and severe health issues.
Unethical breeding practices
Some unethical breeders create a miniature dog by purposely not providing the nourishment that puppies require, thus stunting their growth.
Or they mislead potential buyers claiming that a runt is a miniature dog or lie about a puppy’s exact age.
Miniature Cocker Spaniel Controversy
Micro dogs have become extremely marketable commanding high prices, treated as products rather than living creatures with needs.
A mini Cocker Spaniel price can start at around $2000, sometimes even more.
As reputable breeders refuse to breed teacup pups, this has left the door wide open for irresponsible breeders using unacceptable methods in their quest to create smaller and smaller dogs for money.
Animal welfare organizations are now warning people against buying miniature dogs as they are prone to many health issues and genetic defects, often suffering from intolerable pain.
Many of the puppies sold are sick and sometimes die after a few weeks of buying them so it is possible you may not see your miniature Cocker Spaniel full grown.
Health Issues of Miniature Dogs
As a micro dog, mini Cockers are more susceptible to numerous other health issues as well, with a possibility of going blind, and are unlikely to live very long.
Their organs are not adequately developed, with many having breathing problems, digestive issues, and fragile bones.
Hypoglycemia (low blood levels) is extremely common in miniature breeds, especially if they miss just one meal, causing seizures and possible death. It is therefore wise to feed minis several small meals throughout the day.
Other risks include liver shunt which affects the liver’s ability to flush out toxins, water on the brain, and heart defects.
A micro dog can also suffer from psychological issues. A miniature Cocker Spaniel does not handle stress well as they have weak hearts and should never be left alone for long.
Their small bladders can often cause incontinence and create learning difficulties. Early socialization is vital for miniature breeds especially when around bigger dogs.
Owners of a miniature Cocker need to stay vigilant as it is easy to tread on one of these dogs or drop them, making sure they don’t jump from furniture. Small children could accidentally hurt them.
A mini has trouble keeping warm so may need a sweater in the winter. Due to their low body temperature and sugar levels, operating on a miniature dog is extremely difficult and risky.
I have a stunted American Cocker that was born with 5 normal and 1 runt to champion show parients. He was too small to nurse and couldn’t be with siblings as they would have squished and killed him. I got him from breeder at 14 months old. He is in excellent proportion, just really small at 18 lbs. No heath problems thus far coming up on 4ys. Wish I could find another as a companion for him.
ROYCE SMTIH says
I & MY WIFE HAD A MINIATURE COCKER. OUR DAUGHTER PICKED HER OUT AT 6 WEEKS OLD. MY WIFE TRAINED HER. THEN SHE TRANSFERRED HER LOYALTY TO ME. SHE WAS MY 2nd DAUGHTER. FOLLOWED ME EVERYWHERE. BLONDE, WITH 2 WHITE PATCHES ON HER SHOULDER BLADES ( OUR DAUGHTER SAID THAT WAS WHERE HER WINGS WHERE, SHE WAS AN ANGEL ), SHE LACKED ABOUT 4 MONTHS MAKING IT TO 18 YEARS. THE NIGHT SHE PASSED ( MY WIFE HAD PASSED A LITTLE OVER A YEAR EARLIER ) I HAD COME HOME FROM WORK, SHE WOULD ALWAYS COME UP TO ME ( GOING BLIND ) AND SNIFF ME ALL OVER, TO MAKE SURE IT WAS ME. WHEN I WOKE THE NEXT MORNING, SHE WAS GONE. I CRIED FOR DAYS. SHE WAS THE LAST PET I WOULD HAVE. MY DAUGHTER TRIES TO GET ME TO GET ANOTHER, BUT I WON’T. LOSING MY WIFE WAS HARD AND THEN LOSING SUGAR ( OUR DAUGHTER NAMED HER ), WAS TOO MUCH. SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT ANOTHER PET. BUT, IF I WERE TO GET ONE, IT WOULD PROBABLY OUT LIVE ME. I HAVE TONS OF PICTURES FROM WHEN SHE GREW UP WITH OUT DAUGHTER. THOSE ARE THE BEST AND SWEETEST MEMORIES. OUR DAUGHTER ONCE, PUT A HARNESS ON HER AND HAD HER TO PULL HER ON HER SKATES. THAT DOG BEGIN TO LOOK LIKE A PIT BULL UP FRONT FROM THE PULLING EXERCISES. AND SHE GOT BETWEEN ME AND A BLACK BEAR ONCE TO HOLD IT OFF TILL I COULD GET MY GUN OUT AND KILL IT. SHE STOOD BETWEEN ME AND THAT BEAR AND HELD HER AT BAY FOR THOSE FEW SECONDS. SHE DIDN’T GIVE AN INCH
Hey Royce. Know just how much heartbreak the death of a beloved pet can bring. Lost my beautiful beagle, Trixie Marie a few years ago and then I lost my beloved Jack Russel, ZsaZsa Gabor, then the love of my life my mom. It’ll get better. God is the perfect healer.
I go with the regular size one a female
God bless you good morning how much does a cocker spaniel cost all the miniature size when I was interested in a female
We took in a miniature cocker spaniel. She was adorable and sweet but soon developed multiple health issues. She quickly started losing her sight, had digestive issues, and seemed to be under our feet with every step. She had been rehomed several times, we did our best to give her a good life for the few years we had her but the vet bills were costly. I wish I had read this article earlier. I was guilted by a few vets into keeping her alive after her quality of life decreased. The emotions I feel are hard to describe because we loved her but she was a hard breed to understand and care for.
Hi, Anna: You are being WAY too hard on yourself! And SHAME on those vets who made you feel guilty!! A good veterinarian would have done the opposite and at least suggested euthanasia as the most humane thing for your little gal; it sounds like she was miserable, the poor darling!
I am not a vet but a previous owner of 3 dogs during different stages of my life. It’s been 20 years since I had to euthanize my last dog (a mixed breed, 10-1/2 yrs. old, with metastatic scent gland cancer) and, as much as I’d like to get another dog, I don’t know if I could (emotionally) take another loss like that.
I’ve considered a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel in the past, but they are expensive to buy and have their own genetic health issues, including possible heart valve problems. A former neighbor had a rather petite female cocker; I asked if it was a miniature but she said, no, it was just on the small side. Maybe if I could find a smaller cocker like that, I’d go for the 4th (and last) dog in my lifetime; but after reading the article and your heartfelt comment, I’m not sure anymore.
It took a lot of courage for you to write your comments; I wish there was some other place it could be posted, as it is extremely personal and very touching but helpful. I will think more than twice before I consider buying a mini cocker but will most likely end up rescuing another “Heinz 57” from an animal shelter. Those crazy mutts are so thankful to be chosen and are usually healthier than purebred dogs anyway! I hope that you have MANY wonderful years with the next dog you buy or adopt 🐕🦺🐶🐩😊!