Pairing cocker spaniels and dachshunds results in an adorable, lovable dog called a docker. Like most mixed breeds, the docker has traits and characteristics of each of its parents. They are not recognized as an official breed but have been growing in popularity. Dockers grow to between nine and 15 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 30 pounds.
Some say the docker is the perfect mix of its parents: a sweet, cuddly dog that's fiercely loyal and loving. Its size varies depending on its parents but usually falls somewhere in the small to medium range. They fit well with just about any family and are a particularly good choice for seniors because they have minimal care needs. As with any breed, proper socialization and training are a good idea to make sure they mesh well with families of all shapes and sizes.
Dockers make great watchdogs because they always alert you to anything out of the ordinary. To curb this habit, start training them to stop barking early, and be patient and consistent. These dogs can be stubborn at times, but they are eager to please, which makes training possible. It helps to teach them commands to help you stop them from barking when it becomes excessive.
Dockers have compact bodies and are more prone to weight than some other breeds. Overfeeding and not enough activity can lead to obesity and significant health problems, like joint issues and diabetes. If you need help choosing the right kind of kibble, talk to your vet about what is best for your docker. Measure out the appropriate serving size and feed your docker on a schedule, rather than letting it free feed.
Not only are dockers eager to please, but they're also very smart, which makes training pretty easy. They're generally fast learners, but you have to use a gentle, consistent approach. Keep in mind that crossbreeds can be unpredictable, and there's a chance that your docker may have inherited the stubborn side of its dachshund parent. In this case, it may take a little more time, but their intelligence and willingness to please will likely win in the end.
Dockers have a mix of their parents' coats. They tend to have a combination of short hair with tufts of soft and silky hair throughout. Generally, they only need weekly brushing. That said, there is always a chance that they inherited a little more from their cocker spaniel side and have more involved grooming requirements. A groomer who knows your pup can help you figure out what it needs.
Dockers do pretty well in just about any environment. Their short coats don't cause them to overheat in the hot summer, but they may need a sweater in the winter. You usually won't be able to determine this until the puppy is full-grown because they change so much before becoming fully mature. These dogs love to run around, but they do fine in an apartment as long as they get to go out for occasional walks.
Dockers have a lot of energy and need daily exercise to stay healthy. In general, dockers should get between 30 and 60 minutes of activity a day, though it doesn't have to be particularly vigorous to tire them out. It also helps them burn off steam, so they don't act up when they're indoors, something to keep in mind if you're keeping one in an apartment.
Dockers get along with just about everyone and fit into families of all shapes and sizes. They're a good choice for seniors because they're lovable and friendly, and as long as they get a walk or two a day, they'll be happy. They're also great for kids because they're so eager to please and love to play. It's important to remember that, even though a docker is on the small side, young children should never be left alone with any dog unsupervised. There's a chance that the dog and the children could unintentionally hurt each other, especially when getting carried away with rough play.
Dockers can get along well with other dogs and even cats if they are socialized early and carefully. When introducing a docker to other pets, do so slowly and calmly. If the docker has more dominant dachshund traits, it may want to be the head dog in charge, in which case careful supervision is needed. Always keep a close watch on dogs who were just introduced to each other. Tail wagging and smelling rear ends are positive signs that show they're getting to know each other. On the other hand, eye-to-eye is not a good sign as it indicates they are challenging one another.
No one really knows where the docker came from, though it is believed to have been first developed as a designer breed in the United States in the late 1990s. It's no surprise that the crossbreed is drawing attention as both of its parents have been popular breeds for centuries. Dachshunds and cocker spaniels were both once used as hunting dogs, but today they are known more as companions. Although hybrids can be hard to predict, dockers are likely to have inherited companion dogs traits from their parents, though they may still have a bit of hunter deep down inside.
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