Frequently Asked Questions

Hello! We’d all love to own a Great Cocker Spaniel puppy, and our puppies want great owners. That’s why we’ve put together this page of answers for prospective owners of our puppies. We know that finding a reliable breeder can be a challenging task, and we want you to be confident that this is the best place on earth to get a Cocker Spaniel puppy. We know it’s true. In fact, we guarantee it.

If you have a question not addressed here, please send it to jover@cocker-spaniels.com.

1. How long have you been raising Cocker Spaniels?

My wife and I have been raising our lines of Cocker Spaniels for over twenty years. Our focus has been on improving the breed through good breeding practices (no inbreeding) and careful selection of both the mother and father to ensure you get the best Cocker Spaniel possible.

2. Can I visit your facility and the dog’s parents?
Of course! We’ve had people come from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and South Africa to get their puppies. You can meet your puppy’s parents, grandparents, and (in some cases) the great grandparents. We are a disease-control facility, so we’ll ask you to take some precautions before your visit to make sure you don’t inadvertently introduce a health issue to our property.

3. Can I speak to people who have purchased your puppies?

We offer a unique reference program. You tell us where you want references from. We have owners who live all over the United States. Practically everyone who owns one of our puppies is a reference. This way you can get a reference you can rely on – one that is not what we call “canned.” When you purchase your pup, you’ll be listed on our reference list, too (with your permission, of course).

4. What kind of guarantee do you offer?

All of our puppies are guaranteed to be healthy. You will be provided with a Certificate of Health from a veterinarian who has examined your puppy prior its departure from us. We expect you to follow our instructions in the proper care and feeding of the puppy and vet care as scheduled. Our puppies are guaranteed to be free from any life- threatening disorders on receipt, and we are always available to answer any health questions for the life of the dog. (We are one of the few breeders that offer a lifetime support program for your puppy.) Please don’t be fooled by broker sites that offer a lifetime death guarantee. Those are scam sites that charge huge amounts of money for paybacks that are impossible to get.

5. Have your puppies been vaccinated?

Unlike most breeders, we go to extremes to insure your puppy has a healthy immune system before he/she leaves. This is our shot and parasite protocol:

a. Each puppy will have two five-way puppy shots

b. Each puppy will have two sub-type B Parvo shots

c. Each pup will have two kennel cough shots

d. Each puppy will have been wormed and treated for parasites four times

e. (Bonus) we will send with each puppy an additional five-day treatment for parasites, and will worm the puppy one more time the day before he or she leaves with you.

6. What paperwork comes with my puppy?

a. Health Records: Each puppy comes with his/her complete health record, detailing shots, dew claw removal, and tail docking. We also provide a recommended schedule from our vet regarding what and when the next shots should be scheduled. We provide a letter of instruction for your vet as well.

b. Registration Papers: We provide a copy of your pup’s pedigree and registration papers. Registering your pup is not mandatory, but we provide the paperwork for you should you want to incur the additional expense.

c. Frequently asked questions Package: We know there will be questions, so we try to provide you with the most common new-owner questions we’ve heard over the years.

d. Basic instructions: We provide basic instruction on health checks for your puppy as well.

7. Do you ship your puppies? If yes, is it safe?

Yes, we ship our puppies using American Airlines and Delta Airlines for air transport. We sometimes use private ground transportation.

Air transportation is by far the safest and fastest way to get your puppy. Puppies are not afraid to fly, and they sleep as if they were in a big rocking chair – all the way to your welcoming arms. We’ll give you specific instructions as to where to go and how to pick up a puppy at the airport.

We prepare each puppy for transportation. They will have been introduced to the airline’s approved carrier (we call them “Sky Condos”) and have gone for rides in it to prepare them for the type of motion they’ll experience when flying.

Each “condo” has a big, comfortable bed of shredded paper, plus food and water to eat and drink along the way. Each trip is averages about four hours- essentially the same duration of a good puppy nap and wake-up.

8. I’ve heard of puppy farms, puppy mills, backyard breeders, pet stores, brokers, rescues, and so on. How do I know it’s safe to buy a puppy from you? This is all very confusing.

We have been concerned about all of these names floating around, too, and we try hard not to be associated with any of them. To help you understand these types of places, we’ll describe them one by one.

We are a specialty kennel that breeds American Cocker Spaniels exclusively. We have been doing so for over twenty years. We have been recognized as Breeder of the Year on two occasions –first in 2005, and most recently in 2008. Most breeders never obtain this award in their entire breeding career. We have raised numerous Show Champions, and raised dogs that have dominated in Field and Trial, Agility and Obedience. Several of our pups have been trained as service dogs and are hard at work helping people every day. We strive to be the best American Cocker Spaniel breeder in the world. We are a licensed facility in good standing with the state and all registries.

Now, let’s move on to the definitions of the various dog “breeders’ and sellers. (Some people will object to my descriptions – but this is my website, and they can publish their ideas on their own site if they wish. I’m being as fair as I can.)

a. What is a “puppy farm”?

In my opinion, a puppy farm is a place where breeders raise multiple breeds primarily for the commercial pet industry. They are licensed by the USDA, and often by the state and local county as well. They must meet strict standards for animal welfare and care and are inspected numerous times throughout the year by all of their licensing agencies. These places seldom sell directly to the public.

b. What is a “puppy mill”?

In my Opinion, a puppy mill is a non-licensed, un-inspected, sub-standard facility that may provide poor care for the animals at the facility. Often a puppy mill will be a “hoarder” facility harboring several breeds of dogs typically of poor quality. The easiest question to ask is, “How many breeds of dogs do you have?” More than two, in my opinion, is a red flag. Another good question is: “Are you licensed and inspected?” The term puppy mill is bandied about a lot by animal rights activists, according to whom anyone who raises anything is a puppy mill operator. These extremists cannot be taken seriously. There are good breeders, and ones who aren’t as good. And yes, there are bad ones. But it’s unfair to lump them all together. I suggest that you go with a breeder who specializes in a single breed.

c. What is a “backyard breeder”?

A backyard breeder is usually a family operation that promotes itself as a “hobby breeder” of some type. What that really means, in my view,  is that they raise dogs in an unlicensed place without proper facilities to care for the mother and babies. These are usually advertised as “raised under foot”, which is code language for “brought up in a filthy cardboard box in a garage or worse, with poor preventive health care and high infant mortality”. You’ll will phrases like “She had eight puppies, and we saved five!” To me, that is outrageous for both the babies and mother. A backyard hobby breeder will not have an adequate selection of dogs to breed with, which simply means you will get a dog from whoever is handy. You receive little thought or planning, poor care and usually substandard dogs. These are people who raise dogs for the car payment, or to let their children experience the miracle of (puppy) birth.

d. Pet Stores and Brokers

A pet store is a place where you can buy a puppy provided to the pet store by a commercial breeder or from a broker. When you by a puppy at a pet store that uses licensed legal suppliers, you should have a good experience overall. However, pet stores are not required to buy from the legal and licensed breeders. brokers can buy from anyone who has puppies to sell locally – such as the the Hobby backyard breeders, hoarders and puppy mill operators. This is why buying a puppy at as pet store is such a risk: knowing where the store’s pup actually came from is pretty hard to determine. Plus, the pet store owner is not required to report where the pup came from, as it is his supplier. The pet store should warrant the puppy.

e. Agents

These are websites you see that offer all kinds of puppies at a pretty hefty price, along with a guarantee that no one will ever be able to take advantage of you if there is a problem. These places have a long history of problems and I advise you to stay away from them. (Note: agents should not be confused with listing services like Puppyfind.com and others.)

f. Rescues and Shelters

Their slogan is, “Adopt don’t Buy!” On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable option to consider. If you are an adult with no experience in handling potentially troublesome dogs, don’t mind getting bitten, and have a secure fenced yard where the dog can’t get out by climbing or digging, you may consider this option. You should also have a good insurance policy that covers animal attacks on your neighbors and visitors. And you need to make sure your children and grandchildren or others are closely supervised until you figure out why the dog was really at the shelter or rescue.

These dogs can make good pets, but you should always remember one very important thing: these dogs are in the shelter for a reason. Shelters make money from the adoptions and “rescues” have become a big business which trades in thousands of dogs a year (through second-hand pets stores). If you choose the shelter-dog route, be careful. There is no health guarantee and no refunds, so you risk ending up in a very expensive nightmare.

9. I have a question that’s not answered here!

No problem. You’re welcome to call us from 9:00 am until; 9:00 PM Central. We’re open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon till 9:00 p.m.. Our phone number is 417-452-2781.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to send me an email, please include your name and phone number along with your questions.

Click here to email us.   jover@cocker-spaniels.com