Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

The 7 Most Unusual Habits of Cocker Spaniels

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 13, 2024

Cocker Spaniels, renowned for their lush, wavy coats and soulful eyes, embodies a mix of charm and spirited vivacity that has captivated dog lovers worldwide. Originating from Spain, as suggested by their name, they were bred as hunting dogs, specifically skilled in flushing the game from the brush. This breed is divided into two distinct types: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, each with its unique attributes but sharing common lineage and behavioral traits. Known for their gentle and affectionate nature, Cocker Spaniels also exhibit a range of behaviors that can be as peculiar as they are endearing. These habits often stem from their historical roles as hunting companions and their strong desire for human interaction. This article delves into seven of the most unusual habits of Cocker Spaniels, exploring the reasons behind each behavior and offering insights on how owners can effectively manage these traits.

1. “Shadowing” Their Owners

Cocker Spaniels are known for their tendency to “shadow” their owners, closely following them from room to room throughout the day. This behavior highlights their deeply ingrained pack mentality and need for companionship, a trait that made them excellent hunting partners. While this can be seen as a sign of loyalty and affection, it may sometimes lead to separation anxiety if not properly managed. To mitigate this, it’s important to gradually acclimate Cocker Spaniels to spending time alone and ensuring they have a comfortable, secure space of their own.

2. Spinning Before Lying Down

Cocker Spaniels often exhibit the curious habit of spinning in circles before settling down to sleep or rest. This behavior can be traced back to their ancestral instincts of trampling down grass to create a safe and comfortable resting spot in the wild. While this is typically a harmless quirk, excessive spinning might indicate excess energy or anxiety. Ensuring that they have adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day can help minimize restless behavior.

3. Sudden Bursts of Energy

Despite their medium size and often calm demeanor, Cocker Spaniels can experience sudden bursts of energy, commonly referred to as the “zoomies,” where they will spontaneously run around in high spirits. This can be a delightful display of joy, but it’s also a release mechanism for pent-up energy. Regular and structured play sessions, along with daily walks, are crucial for keeping their energy levels balanced.

4. Hoarding Toys

Many Cocker Spaniels develop a habit of hoarding their toys or even household items in a specific spot, such as their bed or a favorite corner. This behavior may stem from their instinct to collect and protect resources. Providing a designated spot for their toys and occasionally rotating them can keep this behavior from becoming a problem and help keep their interest in the toys they have.

5. Water Fascination

Reflecting their background as hunting dogs often working around water, many Cocker Spaniels have a particular fascination with water, whether it’s puddles, ponds, or sprinklers. This love for water activities can be encouraged in a controlled manner, ensuring safety first, especially considering their long ears are prone to infections if kept wet.

6. “Singing” Along to Music

An unusual yet charming habit of some Cocker Spaniels is their tendency to “sing” along to music or certain sounds. This vocalization can range from howling to making melodious sounds in response to specific tunes or noises. While this behavior is generally harmless and often entertaining, it’s important to observe what triggers this response and ensure it doesn’t stem from distress or annoyance.

7. Sleeping with Eyes Open

Cocker Spaniels may sometimes sleep with their eyes partially open, a trait that can be unsettling to those unfamiliar with it. This behavior is known as “nocturnal lagophthalmos,” and while it may look strange, it is generally harmless. However, if there are signs of irritation or dryness in their eyes, consulting a veterinarian is recommended.

Cocker Spaniels are as delightful as they are complex, with unique habits that can provide both amusement and challenges to their owners. Understanding these behaviors is crucial for providing the best care and ensuring a happy, healthy life for these affectionate companions. Through patience, training, and appropriate care, Cocker Spaniels will continue to be cherished members of the families they grace with their presence.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog