To adopt a cocker spaniel from a reputable breeder, search online in cocker spaniel directories and databases using query tools for location and other options. Choosing a reputable breeder, whether a professional breeder or a hobby breeder, helps ensure that the puppies have a healthy lineage.
When looking for a cocker spaniel breeder, the choice between a professional breeder and a hobby breeder is important in the socialization of the dog. Professional breeders tend to have puppies that have not been socialized; they are bred for profit and spend more time in kennels than they do with people. Adopting these puppies means more work in acclimating them to a family home.
Hobby breeders are people who simply have a love for the breed, although they do make a profit on their puppy sales. These puppies are less likely to be raised in a kennel environment and usually are more socially acclimated than the professional breeder's puppies. Puppies from hobby breeders typically are loving and friendly from the onset.
Buying a cocker spaniel from the classifieds or a friend does not give any indication of the puppies' background. Knowing the bloodline, at least to some degree, helps choose dogs that do not have inherited health issues.