The Cocker Spaniel is one of the oldest dog breeds. If you are thinking about getting a Cocker Spaniel but are unsure if it is right for you, you have come to the right place. In this article we will answer the question how much exercise a Cocker Spaniel needs and how far you can run with your Cocker Spaniel.
A Cocker Spaniel needs about 2 hours of exercise per day in the form of walks and mental activity. Long walks of 6 miles and more through nature, are no problem for the active hunting dog. It is important that he can sniff and explore the surroundings. He is a classic hunting dog, active and likes to run.
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How far can a Cocker Spaniel run?
How far and how long your Cocker Spaniel can walk depends on how you accustom him to the load. The Cocker brings everything to accompany you on long walks through nature.
However, it doesn’t go from 0 to 100; you can’t take it straight on a 10-mile hike through rolling countryside.
It is important that you gradually accustom him to the load and extend the distances more and more, so that your dog has the opportunity to build endurance and muscles.
So slowly increase the distance you walk with your Cocker Spaniel and choose more strenuous routes from time to time. There is a difference if you run with your Cocker Spaniel over flat meadows and fields or uphill and downhill.
How often should you walk a Cocker Spaniel?
As a rule, you should walk your Cocker Spaniel at least 2 times, better 3 times a day. One round should last a little longer. But you can adjust this individually.
It is important that your Cocker Spaniel gets enough exercise over a longer period of time.
In my opinion, it is ideal if you walk with your dog for at least 30 minutes directly in the morning.
After that you can feed him and take care of your tasks. Be it work, household, sports, kids… whatever you have to do.
We have right now 06:00 in the morning on a Monday. In about 30 minutes I grab my dog, walk her through the fields and then she gets fed.
The second walk is then at noon and the third in the early evening. This way your Cocker Spaniel has 3 walks throughout the day. If you can only do it 2 times, I would move the long walk to the afternoon if possible.
Make sure you take your Cocker Spaniel for a walk before eating, or have at least a 1.5 – 2 hour break after eating.
Even if the Cocker is not large, an active dog breed that jumps around wildly after eating can also suffer from gastric torsion.
First rule if you want to prevent gastric torsion is, don’t run around after eating, take a break.
Walks or hikes with your Cocker Spaniel
Make your walks interesting for your cocker. He is a classic hunting dog from Great Britain, whose job was to track and startle game so that the hunter could kill it.
After the shot, the Cocker Spaniel retrieved the prey and brought it to the hunter.
So let your Cocker Spaniel sniff and browse on your walk. This is what he can do and what makes him happy and tired.
You can also take a fetch dummy with you and keep your Cocker Spaniel busy with it in between walks.
The Cocker Spaniel is not for just walking beside you because you want to get the walk over with quickly.
Enjoy the time together in nature. This strengthens your bond and is much more fun than a boring walk.
Can you run with a Cocker Spaniel?
You can run or even bike with your Cocker Spaniel. The Cocker Spaniel is an active dog that needs and loves exercise.
So if you are looking for a dog that will accompany you on a run or a bike ride, you are right with the Cocker Spaniel.
It is important that you do not run or ride a bike with your Cocker Spaniel until he is fully grown. The bones and joints are still too prone to injury because they are not yet fully formed.
Start with smaller distances and increase. As with all sports, basic fitness and musculature must first be built up in order to be a solid sports partner later on.
Of course, there are better breeds of dogs if you are looking for a high performance athlete. But for the average jogger, who thus has an incentive to exercise at the same time, the Cocker Spaniel is perfect.
Agility with the Cocker Spaniel
Even if the Cocker Spaniel does not give the impression of being a sportsman, you can take him to agility as well as jogging and cycling.
Who thinks of agility, usually ends up with a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd. But also the Cocker Spaniel is suitable for agility and quite successful.
So, if you prefer a Cocker Spaniel for its cute appearance and great character traits, you don’t have to give up dog sports like agility.
The Cocker Spaniel likes to swim
I was surprised when I researched about the Cocker Spaniel that they love water and love to swim.
So if you have a lake nearby, you can let your cocker swim or retrieve dummies from the water.
The Cocker loves retrieving very much and it is a good way to keep him busy and trained.
Cocker Spaniel tends to be overweight
It is important that your Cocker Spaniel gets plenty of exercise, as they are unfortunately prone to obesity.
If your Cocker likes to eat and you don’t give him enough exercise, he can quickly become too fat.
As a general rule, a Cocker Spaniel is overweight when it exceeds about 10% of its ideal weight.
So if your male Cocker Spaniel has a normal weight of 33 pounds, he would already be overweight at 36 to 39 pounds. A good clue in dogs is that you should feel the ribs. Then everything is in order.
Ways to keep a Cocker Spaniel busy
In the following I will give you a short overview how you can keep your Cocker Spaniel busy:
- Hikes in the nature
- fetch game
- Nose and search games
- Basic obedience/obedience training
Can Socker Spaniels go off leash?
It may well be that the hunting instinct in the Cocker Spaniel always comes through. So if you let him run off leash, you must expect that he suddenly runs away because he has discovered a rabbit or a mouse.
However, this cannot be said for all Cocker Spaniels. Again and again I have read that one or the other Cocker Spaniel is not impressed by game.
But this is rather the exception.
If you want a dog that you can always keep off leash no matter what, the Cocker Spaniel is probably not the best choice for you.
Conclusion: How much exercise does a Cocker Spaniel need?
A Cocker Spaniel is an active dog breed that needs about 2 hours of exercise and activity on average. If introduced to exercise slowly from the beginning, long walks of 6 miles or more are no problem. Running, biking or agility is also possible with the Cocker Spaniel.
andriano_cz-stock.adobe.com (Contributing image)