Cock-A-Chon Breed Information, Characteristics, and Heath Problems

While the Cock-A-Chon may not have the most elegant or appealing of names, they make up for this by being utterly adorable. A designer dog that combines the cheerful and ever-accommodating Cocker Spaniel with the clever and tolerant Bichon Frise, the Cock-A-Chon has a stand-out personality and can make the ideal family pet.

Cock-A-Chons typically have a wavy or curly coat and are moderate shedders. They have the imploring dark brown eyes that Spaniels are renowned for, as well as the long, thick ears that gracefully frame their face. A small to medium breed, these dogs should have a nicely-proportioned body and no exaggerated features.

About & History

The Cock-A-Chon is a new arrival to the hybrid dog scene and is thought to have first been developed in the USA over the last few decades. With ever-growing consumer demand for cute-looking dogs that do not shed a lot and get on well with children, the creation of the Cock-A-Chon was an inevitability!

The Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels were bred as gundogs and trained over the years to be highly successful at flushing animals out of hiding to allow hunters to shoot them. They must have a soft mouth to avoid damaging their prey.

Their sense of smell is highly-tuned, and they show a great deal of dedication to any job. These dogs’ willingness to please their huntsman has translated to an obedient family dog that is always keen to make its owner happy and likes to avoid punishment and confrontation at all costs.

Sources indicate that the first-ever Spaniels came from Spain about 700 years ago. In the 1800s, some breeders began to use Cocker Spaniels to show rather than hunt, and two distinct types emerged. While generally kept as pets nowadays, many continue to work in the field, and many individuals are employed as sniffer dogs.

The Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is an interesting breed with a colourful history. They have been around for a similar amount of time as the Cocker Spaniel (around 700 years) and were not developed too far away from them on Tenerife off mainland Spain.

They were brought on ships by sailors who enjoyed their companionship and introduced them to several mainland countries. They quickly became popular in the high society within Europe, where they were admired for their snow-white fur and jaunty personalities. A breed that excels in the show ring, many pets enjoy a ‘double life as a dog show competitor.

Appearance

The Cock-A-Chon is an attractive crossbreed with a skull that is rather rounded and a medium-sized muzzle. Their long flowing ears should be covered in wavy fur and are well set apart on their heads. Their round eyes are a deep, dark brown and portray a pleading expression that can prove impossible to resist! Their large, black nose is inherited from their Spaniel side, allowing for a superior sense of smell. Their bodies are less solid and muscular than the Cocker Spaniel but could still be described as athletic. They have a slim, medium-length tail, which typically curls towards the end.

Most adult dogs will grow to 28cm to 41cm and weigh from 5.5kg to 11kg. As with other crossbreeds, this can vary quite a lot from one dog to another. The coat of the Cock-A-Chon is one of its most likeable qualities, and it is generally wavy or curled. Most individuals are a pleasing light cream colour, though other fur colours such as brown, black and white are seen. A variety of markings are possible and are usually white.

Character & Temperament

 

A real pleasure to be around, Cock-A-Chons are eager to make friends with anyone willing. This, along with their tolerance of young children, makes them the perfect family pet. However, owners should not assume that their good-natured personality is guaranteed and must remember that every dog has its limit. Young children must respect them and give them their space to ensure a good relationship is formed. Gentle and loving, given a chance, these dogs will provide a lifelong friendship for the household’s kids.

Smart and energetic, it is fair to say that the Cock-A-Chon requires plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They like to be kept occupied and are always looking for new ways to engage their brain. This allows for easy training but can also make for a dog that needs lots of attention. Failing to provide these dogs with enough interaction and stimulation can potentially result in negative behaviours. For example, bored and frustrated Cock-A-Chons may take to furniture chewing, garden digging, and incessant barking.

As the Cock-A-Chon is quite people-oriented, they do not like spending too much time in their own company. Some can find this very stressful and may go on to develop separation anxiety. To avoid this from happening, owners should ensure that they can commit themselves to spend most of their time with this dog before acquiring one.

Trainability

Undeniably smart and a dog that is always keen to please, the Cock-A-Chon can be good fun to train. In fact, they can learn a wide repertoire of tricks and make good students for the amateur trainer. While repetition is key, owners should avoid making the training sessions boring, as these smart cookies will soon lose interest.

The best results can be achieved when the trainer uses positive reinforcement within the training sessions. This means that desired behaviours are strongly rewarded, usually with the tastiest of treats, such as chicken and sausage. This positive reinforcement is not just used to teach a new trick but is continued throughout the Cock-A-Chons lifetime to ensure their training is not forgotten and to keep them on the side.

Health

Hybrid dogs can potentially be healthier than their parent breeds and, if bred responsibly, should suffer from fewer genetic issues. However, this is only achieved if screening tests are used, and they are bred responsibly.

Sadly, many designer dogs are churned out of puppy mills and are bred so indiscriminately that they can suffer from worse health than their pedigree parent ever did. Those wishing to purchase a healthy Cock-A-Chon must do their research and buy them from a reputable source.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

An inherited disease that affects the eyes, PRA will occur in both eyes and does not cause the animal any pain or discomfort. The rod cells within the retina will gradually die off.

Rods are primarily used to see things in dim light, so the first sign of an issue can be night blindness. Sadly, their eyesight will gradually deteriorate until the animal is completely blind. There is no treatment or cure for this awful condition, but we now know that anti-oxidant supplementation can be used in some cases.

Otitis Externa

Those beautiful, furry ears of the Cock-A-Chon may look great but predispose them to chronic ear infections. Bacteria and fungi love to grow in the moist, humid conditions within the ear canals of the Cock-A-Chon’s ears.

Dogs with fur that grows within the canal are even more prone to infections due to the lack of natural airflow. Plucking ears, keeping them clean, and drying them after they get wet can go a long way to preventing otitis externa.

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are one of the more frustrating conditions an animal can develop, and it often takes weeks to months of tests and therapeutic trials before a diagnosis is made. This is because other conditions, such as mange and bacterial infections, can mimic skin allergies. If possible, the trigger is identified and avoided.

We can perform blood tests and intradermal skin tests to determine what the animal is reacting to. For some dogs, hypoallergenic diets are of benefit, and many will improve with the administration of immunotherapy injections.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though their Spaniel parent was bred to be a working dog, the Cock-A-Chon has moderate exercise requirements and can get by just fine with an hour of exercise each day. These little guys love to play fetch and chasing and would ideally have a backyard in which to run about. Owners must be sure also to provide plenty of mental stimulation.

Grooming

Their fur can become tangled if not brushed frequently enough, and they can be professionally groomed several times a year to keep their coat trim and neat.