If you cross a Labrador retriever with a cocker spaniel, you end up with mixed breed puppies sometimes referred to as spanadors. Unlike some so-called designer crossbreeds -- colloquially known as mutts -- the Lab and the cocker spaniel share some traits in common, as both originally were developed as hunting dogs and individually are part of the American Kennel Club's sporting group.
Labrador Retriever Size and Appearance
At maturity, the male Labrador retriever stands between 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder, with the female standing between 21.5 to 23.5 inches high. Male Labs weigh between 65 and 80 pounds, with females tipping the scales between 55 and 70 pounds. The Lab is a strong, heavily boned dog, bred to hunt for hours in the field without tiring. The Lab's short, double coat appears in three colors: black, yellow or chocolate. He boasts a straight, "otter" tail.
Cocker Spaniel Size and Appearance
The smallest of the AKC sporting breeds, male cocker spaniels stand approximately 15 inches tall at the shoulder at maturity, with females 1 inch shorter. The breed standard doesn't indicate a weight limit, but weight is proportionate to height. While the coat might be flat, silky or somewhat wavy, he also sports heavier "feathering" on his legs, chest and stomach, and especially on his long ears. Permitted colors include solid black, black with tan points, other solid colors ranging from light tan to red, and parti-colored. The latter consists of two or more colors, one of which is white. While the cocker spaniel's breed standard calls for a docked tail, that's a procedure not likely done on a spanador.
Your Spanador puppy may mature somewhere between the large Labrador retriever and the small-to-medium cocker spaniel. However, the dog could grow up to be the same size as either parent. The cocker spaniel blood means there's plenty of color variety in the mix. The coat might be straight or wavy, or a mix of both. Depending on which side of the family he favors, the spanador might have the long ears of the cocker spaniel or the shorter ears of the Lab. Because he's not a true breed, you'll just have to wait to see how he matures.
A spanador might make a good choice for someone wanting certain Lab-like characteristics without the purebred Lab's size and energy level. Both breeds are smart, active canines requiring a good amount of exercise, and both make good family pets. Cocker spaniels and Labs usually get along with other dogs, and tolerate cats. If you have a backyard pool, expect your spanador to take a dip. Labs and cocker spaniels both love the water.