Know anything about Spanadors (Cocker Spaniel/Lab mix)? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-29-2006, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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After deciding that we did not need and could not afford a puppy right now, my DH just called to inform me that he & DS brought a puppy home this morning. She is a brown female Cocker Spaniel/Lab mix (the owner called them Spanadors). She is six weeks old and was free but has not had her shots yet. Does anyone know anything about this breed, particularly as far as temperament? We had a very bad experience in the past with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (very aggressive and terrible obedience problems), so I am kind of leary of having another retriever in the family, especially since we have two small children now and another on the way. I looked the breed up on, and it referred me to the descriptions of the Cocker Spaniel & the Labrador, both of which are supposed to have good temperaments, but I'm wondering if crossbreeding affects this at all. Anything you can tell me would help.
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#2 of 6 Old 12-29-2006, 05:09 PM
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This is my general view on "designer cross breeds" (or "designer mutts" to be a little more editorial and a little less charitable)like 'labradoodle', 'peekapoo', 'cockapoo', you name it (spanador is a new on on me.) In a nutshell, since a Spanador isn't a breed at all, there is unfortunately no real answer to your question.

A good definition of 'breed' is to say that if two animals of the same breed mate, the offspring will all predictably and consistently resemble the parents in appearance, size, temperament, etc. This takes not only many, many generations and carefully selective breeding to achieve, but also a *starting point*. The desired traits of the breed must be selected, standardized and universally applied to achieve an actual "breed." Then you can discuss what to expect from the puppies, because a standard has been selected, carefully directed and applied, and achieved.

The only of the currently-in-style designer crosses that has even begun to organize, cooperate and create a potential (someday) breed is really the cockapoo.

So, to your question...When people choose to breed, say, a Cocker Spaniel and a Labrador, the litter often doesn't even match among siblings let alone have a predictable look, set of health characteristics or temperament. What will the dog look and act like as an adult? No one can really say. Will it have energy like a Cocker? Will it have the hip problems of a Lab? We'll have to wait and see.

Not the answer you wanted I'm guessing, but really it's true. Good, consistent training from the start can go a long way toward a happy dog and a happy family. It's likely that, with the right attention, your new pup has the potential to be a wonderful addition to the family.
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#3 of 6 Old 12-29-2006, 05:34 PM
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Yep, I agree with easy_goer. Treat it like you would any mix or mutt from a shelter; make sure to do obedience training and lots of early socialization, and that'll be your best bet for loving your dog!

Enjoy! (I would really like to see a picture, I admit to not being able to imagine how a lab and a wittle tiny Cocker could the deed).
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#4 of 6 Old 12-29-2006, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, ladies. I was thinking it would probably be hard to tell what the temperament would be based on the two breeds alone. I will definitely post pictures in the next couple of days. I haven't even seen her yet!
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#5 of 6 Old 12-29-2006, 06:59 PM
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My experience with labs is that they generally have very good temperments, but need to be trained and given a job. They're working dogs, so if you don't give them something to do they'll come up with something (that you might not like) on their own.

Cocker's used to be great family dogs, back in the day. Unfortunately, they've gotten so popular that backyard inbreeding is rampant, and their temperment has suffered for it. I've known several dangerous cockers and heard stories of many more. I also have it on very good, reliable authority that cockers send more people to the ER for bite wounds than any other breed, including pits. The bites aren't as serious, but that's not the point, really.

My advice for this or any dog is to start obedience training early, and keep it up. When you walk the dog, have it wear a backpack and carry it's water (or something else for weight). Make firm rules for the house and enforce them. Maybe get into a sport that the whole family can enjoy and help with, like flyball or agility. Don't treat the dog like a child, especially this kind of dog.

Train your dog, treat it well, and supervise your children around it. You'll do fine.
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#6 of 6 Old 12-30-2006, 04:03 AM
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See if your library or bookstore has this book, Mutts: America's Dogs by Brian Kilcommons. It's such a cool book because they have paragraphs about each breed mix and what you can expect in general. For instance, they say that labs add a (slightly goofy) friendliness to whatever they are mixed with. You can look up the exact mix in this book. I've checked it out from our library a few times when we were fostering a dog or considering adopting one.
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