The Bocker is a mixed breed dog — a cross between the Cocker Spaniel and Beagle dog breeds. Small, affectionate, and curious by nature, these pups inherited some of the best qualities from both of their parents.
The Cocker Spaniel and Beagle mixes we call Bockers also go by the names Beakers or Beagle Spaniel. Despite their unfortunate status as a designer breed, you can find these mixed breed dogs in shelters and breed-specific rescues, so remember to adopt! Don’t shop!
These adorable pups do well in apartments and houses with fenced yards, whether it’s with single seniors or households with children. Just make sure the yard is secure, as they have a tendency to track and follow scents. Their wanderlust could lead them into dangerous situations, like traffic. So be careful and take extra precautions.
Bockers love endless play sessions and activity. They should not be left alone for long periods. Multiple pet families would be ideal. Isolation is their biggest enemy.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog. And you can find an awesome crate for your dog here to give them a little more personal space in your apartment.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks. You can find a great jacket for your dog here!
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed DogsHeight:12 to 15 inches Weight:20 to 30 pounds Life Span:12 to 15 years
More About This Breed
- Bockers are mixed breed dogs. They are not purebreds like their Beagle and Cocker Spaniel parents.
- The main colors of Bockers are black, brown, white, merle, tri-color, and bi-color. They are rarely a solid color and generally a combination of two or more colors.
- Their coats can be short and coarse like the Beagle or curly like the Cocker Spaniel. One brush every other day and a bath every few months with a mild shampoo should meet their grooming needs.
- Because the Bocker is a small dog, they can be easily injured by overly excited children. Bockers prefer to be mostly around adults or older kids who know how to play gently.
- Isolation and Bockers do not mix. If left alone for long periods, they may exhibit destructive behavior.
- Bockers enjoy playing games but may get sidetracked by new smells and go off on a new adventure. Keep a tight reign on your pup for their own safety.
- Bockers are suited for any size family and will love all members equally, but they can form a strong bond with their main caregiver.
The Bocker mixed dog breed may have existed naturally over the years, but designer breeders started intentionally mixing Beagles and Cocker Spaniels in the late 1990s, likely in North America.
Breeders wanted to mix the two parent breeds to create a new companion dog and minimize the health issues that many pure breeds suffer from. They continued to create Bockers as demand for the mixed breed pups climbed.
Even though Bockers got their start as a designer breed, some have ended up in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. Consider adoption if you decide this is the breed for you.
Check your local shelters, look up Bocker rescues, or check with breed-specific Beagle or Cocker Spaniel rescues, as they often help to re-home the ever increasing number of mixes in need of adoption.
Bockers are recognized by:
- American Canine Hybrid Club
- Designer Dogs Kennel Club
- Dog Registry of America, Inc.
- International Designer Canine Registry®
As the Bockers is a relatively new mixed breed, there are few standards when it comes to size. That said, as a mix between Cocker Spaniel and Beagle parents, you can expect Bockers to be on the small side.
Most weigh in at 20 to 30 pounds and range in height from twelve to 15 inches at the shoulder. However, many can be smaller or larger.
Male Bockers typically run a bit larger than females.
Bocker parents often describe their dogs as being playful, sweet and intelligent. They have high energy and enjoy lots of different activities. They enjoy playing games but may get sidetracked by new smells and go off on a new adventure. Keep a tight reign on your pup for their own safety.
These dogs are highly alert and will notify you when someone is at your door or nearby. Bockers are described as naturally happy creatures and highly intelligent. While Beagles are not easily trainable, Cocker Spaniels are, so it’ll be the luck of the draw to see which traits your pup ends up with.
Bockers are suited for any size family and will love all members equally, but they can form a strong bond with their main caregiver. Isolation and Bockers do not mix. If left alone for long periods, they may exhibit destructive behavior. Give them lots of love and attention, and involve them in your daily life.
The Bocker breed is predisposed to some of the same conditions that the Cocker Spaniel and Beagle also face. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Bockers are typically pretty health dogs, but some of their parent breeds’ health issues to watch out for include:
- Eye problems
- Otitis external
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Canine glaucoma
- Cherry eye
- Ear infections
- Heart disease
- Intervertebral disc disease
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Bocker’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will help keep your dog healthy.
Bockers are prone to weight gain, and they have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least two walks per day with lots of activity and play sessions mixed it.
If your Bocker has their Beagle parent’s drop ears, air doesn’t circulate well inside, and they are prone to ear infections. Check their ears at least every two weeks for signs of infection or waxy buildup. Check them also if you notice your Beagle shaking their head a lot or scratching at their ears. Never allow water or oils to remain in their ears.
Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
Your main concern when it comes to your Bocker’s care will be maintaining their oral health. You should brush their teeth daily, as small breeds are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly. Dental chews can also help with this.
Tip: Chews that take your dog between 20 minutes and several days are more effective than the ones they gobble up in five minutes.
Begin accustoming your Bocker to being brushed and examined during puppyhood. Handle their paws frequently–dogs are touchy about their feet. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when they’re an adult.
An ideal Bocker diet should be formulated for a small dog with high energy. They have a tendency to gain weight if they are overfed, so it’s best to stick to a feeding schedule. High quality food is recommended. Two to three small meals through the day is better for digestion with this breed.
As with all dogs, the Bocker’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Bocker’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Bocker coats are often a mix of their Cocker Spaniel and Beagle parents’ coats and colors. The main colors of Bockers are black, brown, white, merle, tri-color, and bi-color. They are rarely a solid color and generally a combination of two or more colors.
Their coats can be short and coarse like the Beagle or curly like the Cocker Spaniel. One brush every other day and a bath every few months with a mild shampoo should meet their grooming needs. Their coats have natural oils that brushing can help distribute evenly. Too much bathing can strip their coats natural oils.
Bockers are not super fond of the cold. If you live in a cold climate, you may to get a warm winter jacket. If you enjoy taking your Bocker for joyrides during the summer, don’t leave home without having enough water for you and your dog. Keeping a bowl in your car year round is a great way to plan ahead. If your pup will be in direct sunlight for long periods consider applying dog safe sunblock.
Children And Other Pets
Bockers bond with everyone in the family and can enjoy endless play sessions with older children. Because the Bocker is a small dog, they can be easily injured by overly excited children. Bockers prefer to be mostly around adults or older kids who know how to play gently. That said, for children who learn early how to properly approach and play with a small dog, the Bocker can make a great, active companion.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions. Teach your child never to approach any dog while they’re eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Because of their pack dog heritage, Bockers enjoy company and don’t like to be left alone. Another dog or even a cat will help meet their companionship needs.
Reading about their parent Cocker Spaniel and Beagle breeds is the best way to learn more about your Bocker.
It may be hard to find a breed-specific rescue for Bockers because they are a mixed breed. However, you may want to try Beagle or Cocker Spaniel breed-specific rescues, as they often care for mixes, as well. Here are some rescues you can try:
- Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue
- Colorado Beagle Rescue, Inc.