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So YOU want to be a breeder?
The Standard for the Cocker




A reputable breeder is someone who breeds for the betterment of the breed, screens for genetic problems before breeding, ensures proper temperament and makes a lifelong commitment to all of the dogs they produce, taking them back if it becomes necessary. 

The quality and care of their own dogs is reflected in the beauty of the puppies they produce.

  Breeding for the betterment of the breed includes health testing/screening ,ensuring proper temperments,  proper socialization, care and training, and researching pedigrees to produce the best possible representative of the breed both in appearance and genetically.
A good breeder KNOWS the cocker standard and is an avid student of the study of pedigrees and lines and the health problems behind them.

Testing of eyes, hips and other blood tests should be done prior to breeding.
A dogs' eyes should be tested by a certified veterinary opthamologist for cataracts and PRA every year from the age of one year on. At the age of eight, a cocker is considered permanantly clear.
A cocker should also be DNA tested for PRA carrier status.
A cocker with cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy should never be bred. 
*Note because a cocker ( or any other breed) tests Perm Clear, DOES NOT mean it cannot produce eye problems. This is just a screening tool to make sure the cocker being tested, on that day, is clear of cataracts or other eye problems.

A link to the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) can be found on our Medical links page.
A cocker's hips should be tested at the age of 2 years or older. This is done by a regular veterinarian positioning a dog per OFA's guidelines, and x-raying the hips. These x-rays are then sent off to be read and evaluated by a panel of veterinarians at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
The results of the hips on x-ray are then rated as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Borderline or Fail.
A dog with poor hips should be carefully evaluated before thinking about breeding it. Because Hip Dysplasia is polygentic ( meaning it takes several different genes from both parents to produce this). Screening for hip dysplasia is just that.. a screen. 2 OFA Good parents can produce hip dysplasia.
It is also an excellent idea to screen for Luxating Patellas (also known in the show world as Slips)
Cockers are the top Number 4 breed for Luxating Patellas. You can read more on this condition at the OFA website.
Another organization that evaluates hips is PennHIP.

Other tests can also be done to ensure the health of the puppies produced.
These include Factor X, Von Wildebrand's disease, Thryoid panel and a variety of others.

  Good temperament and socialization go hand in hand. 
As the standard set forth by the American Kennel Club states regarding temperament ... "above all, he must be merry" in reference to the Cocker Spaniel.
Therefore, there is no excuse for breeding to a dog with a poor temperament.
Temperament is influenced by environmental as well as the genetic background.
For this reason, proper temperament and socialization of the parents and the puppies play an important part in developing a good personality. Caring and responsible breeders attempt to socialize the pups in a litter, but it is ALSO up to the buyer to continue this, as there are windows of learning time a cocker pup goes through, and proper training and socialization MUST be done during this time, or you may end up with a dog with problems.

Proper care is also important. Good nutrition, cleanliness, regular bathing and grooming all play a very important part in the health and well being of the parents and puppies.

  All of these things should be important to you, as a prospective cocker owner.

By purchasing a Cocker Spaniel from a reputable breeder, you will know that someone cared enough to produce a dog who's parents are as free as possible of most known genetic problems, who's temperament is merry and loving, and know that the breeder takes pride in their dogs by keeping them healthy and happy. 
What more could you ask for in a companion???
You can expect a minimum of: 

-A 3 generation pedigree

-Copies of health papers on the parents

- The papers to register your dog when you provide proof that the dog
has been spayed/neutered. * Unless the breeder has decided to allow you
to forego this requirement, but please read below on "Do you really
want to breed your Cocker Spaniel?" 

Breeding is not to be taken lightly or done for the wrong reasons, With
each puppy you produce you have a serious responsibility for the rest of
their lives.

Please think carefully before you take this step.

Most dogs are happier as your best friend than they are being parents.


Do You REALLY Want To Breed Your Cocker Spaniel?

There are so many reasons why NOT to breed your companion.
First, your dog is just that, your best friend, your companion! (or
should be!) 
Now, if your dog is a male, why would you want him to reproduce? If
he were neutered, he would not have a chance of getting testicular
cancer, he would also be more attentive to YOU rather than busy looking for a
female canine companion. 
If your dog is a female, why would you wish to put your best friend through the pain and discomfort of labor? Also, there is a good risk that complications can arise requiring a
C-section, and/or perhaps the loss of your beloved companion. Not
to speak of a higher risk of mammary cancer. or pyometria. Do you really want to risk her life?

A few words on puppies... They are not that easy to raise!!! For
many reasons (some unknown) 30-40 percent of puppies die
before they are six weeks old. 

Below you will find the average cost for a litter, I am
including a low price, and high price. Depending on veterinary and
other costs in your area these prices will vary, what I have here is a

High Low
Eye Exam $100.00 $20.00
CERF fee $10.00 $8.00 (for follow up CERF if your dog already has a CERF number)
Hips x-ray $150.00 $50.00
OFA-Fee $25.00 $25.00
*Complete Blood workup 
(Includes thyroid profile, vWD, etc)
$250.00 $125.00
*Brucellosis Test  $20.00 $50.00

 (remember to double these totals if you own both prospective parents!!!!!)


                                                                 $555.00             $278.00

(This does NOT include vet office visit charges or the price of
food and supplements to get your cocker in optimum health to
consider breeding)

Stud Fee                      $300.00 and up       or pick puppy and a fee 
           or free 
Shipping fee(varies)   $500.00 (Round trip)-$250.00
or free

Shipped Semen-$300 and up plus the cost of shipping and extras
Artificial Insemination from shipped semen-Varies depending on method..$25.00-$500.00
Vet exam during pregnancy    $75.00       $40.00 

*some tests such as ultrasound or bloodwork may be required,
the prices vary on the type of test required and the vets fees*

Exam post delivery   $75.00                    $25.00

Docking tails/dew claws   $5.00- $10.00 PER PUP or more

6 Week Vet Check        $50.00              $20.00
sub totals                     HIGH                       LOW

                           $1518.00+                   $338.00+

Other costs and possible costs

3 sets of shots(4 in avg litter)  -$90.00 if you do it yourself..--$125.00 from vet or more

worming of pups                          $15.00--$50.00

Cesearean Section                      $200.00-$450.00+

Formula(for pups)                        $20.00-$80.00

Sub totals  $630.00---------------------------$260.00 


So with the subtotals added together it COSTS
anywhere from $598.00 to $2148.00 + to responsibly breed a litter of Cocker

This is not including the time it takes to properly socialize puppies or
the Food to feed them - double the cost for feeding the female
for the 9 weeks of pregnancy plus 5 weeks of nursing. Also,Puppies begin eating food at around 4 weeks of age, and they can really eat a lot!! 
An average cocker spaniel litter is 4 puppies.

Is the cost, the responsibility and possible
loss of your dog really worth breeding?

Please think about this!


       So you want to be a breeder do you? Good for you! That's what I
       am, a breeder. But before you decide to go ahead and breed dogs,
       here are a few things you need to know, and a few things you
       need to have.

       1. You'll need to be willing to clean up vomit, urine, feces,
       chewed up couches, ruined shoes, and destroyed garbage cans.
       Then you'll need to be willing to do it all over again the next
       day, and the next, and the next....

       2. You'll need a strong stomach, to be able to stand the stench
       of rotting fetuses aborted mid term by your pregnant bitch
       you've been waiting two years to breed. You'll need that strong
       stomach when you look down on the occasional deformed monster
       your bitch gives birth to, and you'll need it when you humanely
       destroy that same puppy.

       3. You'll need a strong heart to be able to nurture and love
       your healthy puppies until they're ready to be sold into the
       hands of strangers who may abuse, neglect, starve, beat, or at
       best ignore them. You'll need that strong heart when even the
       puppies that go to good homes end up run over by accident, or
       put down from illness. You'll need it when the tears of those
       good owners are pouring their way into your heart.

       4. You'll need lots of room to be able to keep bitches in heat
       away from stud dogs, stud dogs away from each other, and puppies
       away from everything. Don't forget about those last two pups
       that you couldn't find homes for, or the rescue dog your breed
       club begged you to take in, or the pup from your last litter
       that the owners decided just wasn't right for them.

       5. You'll need to be able to stand grief and loss. Like the way
       you'll feel the first time you lose a bitch during labor, and
       realize that it was your decision to breed her that killed her.
       You'll need it when you explain to your kids why the miracle of
       birth has a dark side as well.

       6. You'll need an employer that will understand if you have to
       take time off work because your bitch died in labor and you're
       tube feeding the new puppies.

       ..........Wait a minute you're saying by now! Give me a break!
       All you breeders are the same. You only tell us the gory stuff,
       the stuff intended to scare us off breeding forever. What about
       the money? I mean you guys just don't want anyone else to
       compete with you.....

       Oh yes the money, glad you mentioned it.

       7. You'll need money. Lots of it. Probably lots more than you
       have, especially if the above mentioned employer didn't turn out
       to be so sympathetic after all. Lets do some math shall we? Vet
       bills, Cesarean section, stud fees, registrations, shots,
       worming, puppy check ups, special diets, whelping gear.... Let's
       say an average of $2500 per litter, if nothing complicated
       arises. All this must be paid out before the first puppy ever
       sells, assuming that they're not all stillborn, in which case
       don't forget the cost of autopsies. Even if every puppy in the
       litter is show quality (we can all dream after all) and you find
       each one a dream home, you're still going to lose about $750 per

       .........Wait! Where are you going? I didn't tell you about show
       fees, or handling, or picking the right stud dog, or government
       forms, or AKC registrations, or dog runs, or irate neighbours,
       or city licenses.......