Cock-A-Chon (Bichon Frise x Cocker Spaniel Mix): All You Need to Know

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Cock-A-Chon (Bichon Frise x Cocker Spaniel Mix)The cock-a-chon is a crossbreed between the snow-white bichon frise and the prey-flushing cocker spaniel. The resulting hybrid is an affectionate and loyal dog with charming looks to go along with it.

There are some intricacies of the cock-a-chon that you should understand in full before making one a member of your family. We have covered all you need to know about this bichon frise cross breed to help you decide if this is the right dog for you and your household.

Cock-A-Chon (Bichon Frise x Cocker Spaniel) Mix: History

Bichon FriseThe designer dog craze in the 1990s saw the creation of the cock-a-chon. The increased popularity of designer dogs was driven by dog-owner demand for pets that better fit fancy lifestyles. There is a level of pride in owning a dog with the name designer on it.

The cock-a-chon was first developed in the United States when a purebred bichon frise was mixed with a purebred cocker spaniel. As hybrid breeds, cock-a-chons are not acknowledged by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the registry only accepts purebreds.

Multigenerational dogs come about when two hybrids are bred together while first generational (F1) hybrids result from mixing the two purebred parent breeds. F2 generation dogs have more standardized features because their parents have a stronger gene pool.

The cock-a-chon is also referred to as Bichon Spaniel among other names.

Cock-A-Chon Appearance, Coat, Size & Weight

Cock-a-chons can be small or medium-sized depending on the parent. An adult cock-a-chon stands at a height of 9 to 15 or 16 inches and weighs approximately 7 to 30 pounds. Having small and medium-sized parents accounts for a wide range of measurements.

The aging profile of cock-a-chons is like that of most small dog breeds attaining adult size at 8 to 12 months of age. Cock-a-chons, especially those on the smaller side of the spectrum, are remarkably tiny as puppies and must be handled with care to avoid injury.

The cock-a-chon’s appearance varies widely depending on which parent breed carries the dominant genes thereby passing their physical attributes. They generally have a well-proportioned body without any exaggerated features. They have low-hanging ears that vary in length, a black nose, and a blunt muzzle. Additionally, they have a rather rounded skull that is observed in the cocker spaniel parent, below which sit large, imploring brown eyes that are the typical “puppy” eyes.

Cock-a-chons are generally seen to have lighter color shades although dark colors can be seen too. The most common colors include combinations of white with black, brown, or tan; or white, brown, or black plain colors.

The cock-a-chon has a double coat that comprises an inner coat and a thick, curly outer coat that is typical of bichons frises. They can also have soft, flat, and straight hair like the spaniel parent. Regular brushing with a pin brush is key to avoiding tangles in your pup’s hair.

This coat may be hypoallergenic as passed down by the bichon frise but it is not a given. The best way to find out if a cock-a-chon triggers your allergies is to be around one and wait to see if you’ll have an allergic reaction. Only do so if your doctor allows you to do so, though.

Cock-A-Chon Maintenance, Activity, and Space Requirements

Cock-a-chons are good for first-time owners because they have moderate maintenance requirements. Their size and the type of coat they have are the biggest determinants of how intense the maintenance needs are.

Grooming Requirements

Cocker SpanielCock-a-chons are not the biggest shedders so if constantly having plenty of dog hair is a bother to you, they are an excellent choice. The minimal shedding that does take place in the inner coat can get caught up in the outer coat leading to a tangled mess.

In terms of regular brushing, cock-a-chons are notoriously high maintenance. Brushing the coat with a pin brush at least two times every week is recommended to avoid matting. Increase the frequency to 4 times every week if your cock-a-chon has long and fluffy hair.

The bichon frise ancestry puts cock-a-chons at risk of getting tear stains. The typical light coats don’t exactly help the situation because the contrast makes the stains more obvious. To avoid tear stains, wipe off tears from your pup’s face with damp clothing frequently.

Low-hanging ears with hair inside make this dog susceptible to ear infections. An example is Otitis externa where the cells lining the external ear canal become inflamed. To avoid ear infections, trim excess hair off your pup’s ears and dry them thoroughly after cleaning.

Some cock-a-chon parents opt to take their pup for professional grooming where they’ll be groomed and bathed properly. Professional grooming entails trimming excess hair on the face in a pleasant shape if your pup has the puffy appearance of the bichon frise.

Bathing your cock-a-chon once a month or every other month is adequate for a clean and shiny coat. Excessive bathing will strip your pup’s coat and skin of the naturally occurring essential oils that keep the skin and coat healthy.

On top of all these, trim your pup’s nails every 3 to 4 weeks when you hear clicking sounds as your dog walks. Even if you don’t take your pup for professional grooming, be sure to trim excess hair every few months and keep up with monthly full-body washes.

Activity Requirements

The cocker spaniel was bred to flush out the game during hunting, which inevitably led to them being energy-filled pups. The bichon frise was kept as pets by royalty meaning that they are perfectly okay lounging around the house with you. The result is a cock-a-chon that has medium energy requirements that are quite easy to meet.

Simply break down 40 minutes of exercise into short sessions throughout the day or take your pooch out for a daily walk. Be sure to make time for playing.

Space Requirements

The good news is that cock-a-chons are highly adaptable to apartment living. Their small size and minimal energy needs contribute to their ability to cope in small living spaces. They will also enjoy a yard if you don’t live in the city.

Cock-A-Chon Temperament

You will never have a dull moment with the cock-a-chon. This pup is people-oriented and has plenty of love to go around not to mention the boundless loyalty they have towards their owners. They are tiny attention seekers who want nothing to do with being left alone.

They are calm but can be playful once the owners show them it is time to play. They are little odd ducks because their disposition differs vastly depending on which breed is the dominant parent.

Pups that take after the bichon frise make excellent lap dogs and will happily spend the entire day with you snuggled on the couch. Cock-a-chons that take after the hunting cocker spaniel will be happy exploring their environments and taking off as soon as you loosen the leash.

They tend to be cheerful, gentle, and affectionate but all that can change when they are left alone for a long time. Cock-a-chons tend to develop separation anxiety and will feel overwhelmed with nervousness once left at home with no one to keep them company.  They are also highly sensitive little dogs.

Cock-a-chons are generally collected dogs that are naturally quiet; that is, if their diva side doesn’t take charge. If they feel attention-deprived, constant barking and yapping will definitely get you to notice them.

They generally do well with other animals, but the cocker spaniel heritage could get them into hunting mode at the sight of smaller pets such as hamsters. They do well with children and with strangers although adult supervision is necessary when they’re around small kids.

Socialization is important with this breed, since their sensitive nature can make them withdrawn or anxious in new situations.

Cock-A-Chon Intelligence

Cock-a-chons are incredibly intelligent dogs that can perform a wide repertoire of skills from tricks to advanced obedience. Having parents that are both very smart plays a huge role in the cock-a-chon’s high intellectual capacity. They have a strong urge to please which makes them agreeable during training.

This high mental capacity comes with responsibility because this hybrid requires mental stimulation to stay clear of trouble. Puzzle toys, training, and regular activity will help keep them active and away from destructive barking or chewing.

Cock-a-chons that are a bit stubborn during training require plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of praise and treats. However, this positive feedback is beneficial when training every cock-a-chon, as these are sensitive dogs that do not respond well to harsh treatment.

Cock-A-Chon Health and Lifespan

Cock-a-chons are called senior dogs at 11 years of age. The cock-a-chon has a lifespan of between 12 to 15 years which is impressive in dog years.

Most hybrid dogs are quite healthy because of the genetic variation present due to breeding different purebred dogs. The best way to determine the health conditions expected in a cock-a-chon is to look at the medical issues present in the parent breeds such as:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy: Rapid retinal degeneration takes place that eventually leads to blindness. This disease isn’t curable, but the good news is that it is a painless condition.
  • Hip dysplasia: The hip and the socket grow at uneven speeds which leads to the hip not fully covering the socket leading to rubbing every time the dog moves. The condition worsens until the dog can barely move and is in constant pain.
  • Skin allergies: Not easily diagnosed because bacterial infections and mange can exhibit similar symptoms as skin allergies. Even if other diseases are factored out, vigorous testing including blood tests must be performed to determine the exact allergen.
  • Otitis externa: An ear infection common among dogs that have fur growing in the ears where the cells lining the external ear canal get inflamed.

Is Cock-A-Chon the Right Breed for You?

Everyone can comfortably own a cock-a-chon but certain groups of people benefit significantly more from owning this hybrid dog. Get a cock-a-ahon if:

  • You live in a large household: Large families are more likely to have a family member available to keep the pup occupied when the rest are gone about their business. Cock-a-chons can develop separation anxiety if they are left alone for a long time and will chew your furniture to cope with the anxiety.
  • If you are at home most of the time: Individuals that don’t have large families but spend a bulk of their time at home are also suitable owners. Invest in crate training in case issues arise and you have to leave the house for a while. Crate-trained pups understand that being left alone is not the end of the world and that they will be alright even if their owners step away for a moment.
  • You need a hypoallergenic dog: Allergy sufferers don’t have to rule out owning a cock-a-chon because the bichon frise side makes it possible to be hypoallergenic. However, the cocker spaniel is not a hypoallergenic dog, so there is still a chance of allergies.
  • You live in an apartment: The small size coupled with the nominal energy requirements makes them great for apartment living. Simply take your pup for frequent walks and they will be good to go.

Summary

The cock-a-chon is the right breed for you if you have been looking for a sociable dog that barely sheds and is pint-sized. Adequate socialization during puppy will see to it that your dog gets along with people and pets most of the time.