The Sprocker Spaniel is a cross between a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel.
This is a relatively new hybrid that has become increasingly popular over the past 10 to 20 years.
Seeing as the Cocker Spaniel and Springer Spaniel are similar dog breeds with a shared history, it’s little surprise that the Sprocker Spaniel has proven so popular.
The first Sprocker Spaniel is thought to have emerged around 1997.
While they’re not recognised by the American Kennel Club or the Kennel Club in the UK, the Sprocker has been granted status by Dog Registry Of America and the International Designer Canine Registry.
If you’re thinking about getting a Sprocker Spaniel, you’re probably wondering what life is like owning a member of this hybrid breed.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Sprocker Spaniel pros and cons, examining the advantages and disadvantages of the cross breed.
Sprocker Spaniels Pros
Great Family Dogs
Sprocker Spaniels can make excellent family pets. They’re affectionate, energetic, playful and sociable dogs that like to be around their fellow family members.
Lewis explained why he believes Sprocker Spaniel can be well-suited to family life based upon his experience with Major (12 years old) and Autumn (2 years olds) (flipflop_sprockerspaniels).
First and foremost from a family pet perspective, they make great family dogs. Loyal and playful with a very gentle personality. We also have three human children under 10 which can be quite the abundance of energy on their own without the addition of the dogs. All have grown up together from various stages, and as with any dog breed, good socialisation with children and people helps solidify that bond and set boundaries.
More training is given to the human kids in relation to how to behave around the dogs. The dogs love the attention the kids give them and we win as all our babies, furry and otherwise, end up well exercised and stimulated by the end of the day!
While Sprocker Spaniels can excel in a family setting, you should never leave a Sprocker or any dog alone with young children unsupervised.
Sprocker Spaniels will usually be loyal dogs who will show incredible levels of devotion to their family. They’ll enjoy spending time with their owners, building a deep bond. This could be through playtime in the home or the garden, regular training sessions or cuddling up on the sofa at the end of an energetic day.
They are both very soppy dogs but I am one hundred percent convinced that they would protect me if somebody tried to do me harm. They are good guard dogs who don’t miss a trick when it comes to people outside or on our property. Aggressive no, but protective, yes.
Easy To Train
Cocker Spaniels and Springer Spaniels are extremely intelligent dogs that are highly trainable. As a result, they can be relatively quick to learn basic commands that can help create a relatively obedient dog. However, their supreme intelligence means that Sprocker Spaniels can be trained to carry out all manner of tasks, ranging from gun dogs, sniffer dogs, service dogs and police dogs.
Lewis shared his experience training Autumn from a puppy as well as highlighting the “working drive” of all three dogs (flipflop_sprockerspaniels).
Sprocker Spaniels combine the best of two well known working dog breeds. They are infamously renowned for being a permanent part of shooting events and based on their natural instincts and their ability to easily be trained. Major and Mya and their human Mum came into my life 3 years ago and their training was very basic and the only real need was domestic training such as recall, sit, high five etc.
Autumn (from Major and Mya’s first litter) was the first puppy I had owned and first dog I had trained. I began with basic puppy skills and have built up to excellent recall. I am currently working on specific gun dog training with the intention of working her next year. I came to this decision based on how easy my dog training experiences have been with her. Autumn loves and thrives off training. Always able to switch between training and play effortlessly. It’s her little face as I start to give commands through vocal or whistle cues waiting and anticipating what is next.
All three dogs have an incredible working drive to complete the task given to them be this nose to the ground scent work to retrieving toys. This natural scent instinct combined with their drive and enjoyment of their “work” shows in Sprockers being utilised by police forces for Scent work from weapons and cash, to digital devices and bodily fluids, all happily and enthusiastically undertaken for the simple reward of a tennis ball!
The Sprocker Spaniel will have an average size range from 14 to 20 inches and 30 to 44 pounds. However, the size of a Sprocker will depend on the size of the parents. Some Sprocker Spaniels are the result of breeding between a Cocker Spaniel and Springer Spaniel or a Sprocker Spaniel and a Springer or Cocker Spaniel. Whatever the lineage, Sprocker Spaniels are relatively small dogs with high energy levels.
Lewis highlighted why the size of the Sprocker Spaniel is a big advantage, especially when looking for a family pet in an average-sized home.
Having sired 24 Sprocker Spaniel pups and keeping in touch with them all regularly their size is one thing that was always asked about. Major Mya and Autumn are all more Cocker sized than Springer. All of their pups are of similar builds with the largest being a Pup called Bailey who lives with the Grandparents. He is a very lean and defined black Sprocker weighing at 17kg and just 1kg heavier than dad Major. Autumn is 12kg and still jumps up into my arms for a cuddle! Sprockers are literally in between the heoght and length of Springers and Cockers.
They are certainly the perfect size for our family and had it not been for their size there certainly wouldn’t have been three of them in our 3 bed terraced house. All three comfortably fit in the boot of my Nissan Juke too. All of the pup owners have commented on how their size is convenient and works well for them all. Some of the girls are slightly more petite than the boys but all in all they have grown to fit all the homes they’ve moved on to.
Best Of Both
As someone with experience of owning a Cocker Spaniel, two Sprocker Spaniels and breeding three litters of Sprocker Spaniels, Lewis explained why he believes the Sprocker Spaniel is a perfect combination of Cocker and Springer.
Medically the Sprocker Spaniel is a very strong breed. There are very little health conditions associated with the breed. They’re Spaniels and for the most part be able to find water in the desert given the chance! Ours regualrly have access to sea/river swims. As with any dogs regularly exposed to water they can get dirty ears and if not cleaned often they can cause issues.
The biggest medical issue I have seem with Spaniel breeds is that it is now more common to see them overweight. This is wholly the fault of the owner and not of the dog. We run all ours very lean and take pride in their appearance which is a result of their good diet and exercise!
No Major Health Concerns
Continuing on from the previous point, Meet The Sprockers (@meet_the_sprockers) explained that Sprocker Spaniels tend to be relatively healthy dogs and that’s a big plus point!
In the main, Sprockers don’t have too many hereditary health conditions. Health issues are typically joint problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, DCM and eye problems. Whilst this sounds alarming, they are generally considered as very fit and healthy dogs.
As an old gun dog trainer once said to me in his broad accent ‘you can’t break these dogs’. I’m not entirely sure I like this sentiment, but I absolutely know what he meant.
The high energy levels and resultant exercise requirements of the Sprocker can contribute to health concerns and my advice is always take out health insurance with this breed of dog. They are constantly busy, always wanting to have fun and liable to get into scrapes. Grass seeds, tail injuries and cuts are just some of the reasons you’re likely to be at the vets.
Sprocker Spaniels Cons
Lewis provided an insight into their daily exercise routine with Major, Autumn and Mya.
We walk our dogs daily and it can range from as little as 30 minutes to hours. These walks could be a simple field with a ball or Frisbee to mile long swims in the river or a combination of ball and beaches. With Major being 12 he can get a bit stiff so if we’ve done a big walk the day before we will give him a rest day which he doesn’t argue about!
They are highly driven dogs mentally and physically. They were bred to work non-stop for hours on end to go from that natural instinct and drive to not be walked often or long enough and not be mentally stimulated will have adverse effects on the dog and you!
High Prey Drive
Meet The Sprockers (@meet_the_sprockers) warned that prey drive can be an issue with some Sprocker Spaniels. Bentley and Morgan have both shown an interest in chasing their feline friend Enzo. While Bentley grew out of the habit before his sad passing in 2021, Morgan still has a high prey drive.
As working dogs, both Bentley & Morgan have a high prey drive. In other words, little fluffies that are capable of moving quickly are really exciting. Bentley as a puppy liked to chase Enzo. This was something as a pawrent I wasn’t keen on, so we did lots of work to try and put a stop to it. The work did help, but honestly speaking, it was really something he grew out of as he approached adulthood. Bentley and Enzo now have a completely harmonious relationship and are both extremely settled in each other’s company.
Morgan is a different kettle of fish. Even at four years old, he is fascinated by Enzo and finds him the most exhilarating thing besides tennis balls and squirrels. He is never deliberately unkind to the cat but still loves to chase him and finds it difficult to leave the cat alone. Even now I find myself stepping in to tell Morgan that enough is enough because it’s not fair on the cat and Morgan of course also risks a nasty swipe with the claws. Training has helped and distraction works well. For the first couple of years, I wouldn’t leave the Enzo and Morgan alone together in the house unless they were in separate rooms. Despite Enzo being feisty and in charge, I wouldn’t have left an excitable adolescent spaniel with him just in case ‘play’ became too stimulating. It was just a risk that wasn’t worth even considering, Now I do leave them alone.
Lewis warned that Sprocker Spaniels can display a mischievous side if they’re not getting sufficient mental and physical stimulation. The Sprocker Spaniel needs regular daily exercise and mental stimulation. You can think outside the box when it comes to Sprocker exercise. For instance, Sprockers could excel at agility, scent work or water sports.
Whenever our Sprocker Spaniels have had to be on bed rest for sprains or operations and not able to go for walks, it has turned them into very mischievous dogs. A number of times I’ve come home to bins knocked over and emptied with cardboard shredded up.
Sprockers are very intelligent dogs which means when they’ve got a bee in their bonnet and they will make sure you know about it! These are good indicators for us to work to identify and address any issues. Mya would go through certain defiant and mischievous spells throughout pregnancy and surgery recovery often shredding the good ladies knickers and the kids socks!
Shedding And Grooming
Sprocker Spaniels aren’t hypoallergenic dogs seeing as they shed a lot. They’ve got beautiful, luscious, silky hair that requires maintenance in order to preserve its striking appearance. If their hair is allowed to grow long with flowing locks and lots of feathering, Sprocker owners will need to dedicate daily time to grooming their Spaniel cross.
Meet The Sprockers (@meet_the_sprockers) provided an insight into how challenging the shedding and grooming can be.
When you have two mud monkeys like Bentley & Morgan, then yes, they will need very regular grooming! Sprocker Spaniels often have beautiful coats but to keep them in tip top condition will require some (daily) effort. Predominantly, Sprockers will need to be regularly groomed to keep knots and tangles at bay.
When grooming, you have to pay particular attention to areas prone to matting – ie, the ears, under the ears, under the arms and the feathers. These areas are harder to brush because they are generally places where the fur is longer, but clip the coat and these dirt devils are much easier to keep in tip top condition.
Having a good vacuum cleaner is a must as Sprockers moult. I don’t really get hairs on my clothes but there is always a lot of loose hair on the floor. (Mental note, don’t have white floor tiles with Sprockers again!) They also bring in a lot of ‘debris’ wherever they’ve been – leaves, twigs and the occasional flower for mummy. Again, this would be a whole lot better if we got rid of the Velcro fur and they were clipped short.
While Sprocker Spaniels can be excellent candidates for family pets, Lewis explained that it’s important to set boundaries. This isn’t limited to your Sprocker Spaniels. You’d be wise to educate children on how to interact and respect your Sprockers to ensure as harmonious a relationship as possible.
Major, Mya and Autumn are part of the family. We have raised them as we do our children. We set the boundaries, we are consistent and persistent with them. The hard work is done in the first 6-18months, the more you put into this breed the more they will give you back and they won’t dissapoint! Any negative can be negated with good training and happy Sprocker lifestyle of an abundance of physical and mental stimulation but also a whole lot of love and attention!
As you’ll know by now, Sprocker Spaniels are very active, extremely energetic, unabashedly enthusiastic and extremely intelligent dogs. However, some Sprocker Spaniels may struggle with lead walking due to their unbridled enthusiasm.
Meet The Sprockers (@meet_the_sprockers) went into detail on this potential training issue.
The one thing many Sprocker owners find really challenging is lead walking. Both Bentley and Morgan have the capacity to be an absolute nightmare on the lead and it has taken a lot of work to get them to have acceptable manners when being walked. Bentley is a sniffer so the key to good walking for him is not to allow him to sniff. If he’s allowed to sniff at will, he will lunge when a nice smell grabs his attention – and he’s a strong dog that could have you over if unprepared. Morgan is just Morgan, and is so excited by wherever he’s going that he is a complete twit on the lead. He can do it and 99% of the time he will do it. For the 1% of the time when excitement levels are off the clock and he simply won’t do as he’s asked, he wears a figure of eight slip lead over his nose. Whilst I’m disappointed that I have to resort to intervention, it’s sometimes the only solution to walking both dogs together. Morgan’s issues are more down to Morgan being Morgan, but I guess what I’m saying is that the moral of the story is ‘work on lead walking’ from the outset with a Sprocker puppy.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Is a Sprocker better than a Cocker?
Yes! Brings together the best of both breeds. The cockers size and the craziness of both breeds.
• Do Sprocker Spaniels bark a lot?
So so, Major is a barker and taught Autumn to do it. Over the 24 pups and their feedback not big barkers at all! If left alone we often leave a radio on.
• Are Sprocker Spaniels aggressive?
I’ve never experienced any aggression towards humans. Major is 12 and other dogs can sense old age and frailty and will sometimes challenge their alpha dominance… Major has put them back in their place but has never hurt or injured another dog. No reports of aggressive behaviour from any of the pups.
• Do Sprockers ever calm down?
Yes!! But don’t hold your breath! Their drive and Spaniel crazy is unique and a positive when utilised in the right way. Neutering males and females isn’t a definite solution however Mya was only bred under advice from the vet to help calm her (she’s fully working cocker) and she is now a mature and mellowed mummy!
• Do Sprockers have separation anxiety?
As with most things good consistent training will negate most issues. We work shift patterns and the dogs will be left for long periods of time 30% of the time. They are used to this and we make up for it with the physical and mental stimulation.
FAQ completed by Flip Flop Sprocker Spaniel (flipflop_sprockerspaniels)