Cocker Spaniel Glossary: Bite

In the context of Cocker Spaniel dental descriptions, the term “Bite” refers to the alignment and manner in which the upper and lower teeth meet when the mouth is closed. Proper bite alignment is crucial not only for aesthetic reasons in show dogs but also for practical purposes, ensuring efficient feeding and minimizing potential dental or jaw problems.


  • Refers to the alignment of the upper and lower teeth.
  • Critical for feeding and overall dental health.
  • Evaluated in dog shows for conformation to breed standards.
  • Variations can indicate genetic or developmental concerns.

A Deeper Look: Bite

Cocker Spaniels, like many breeds, have specific standards for what constitutes a desirable bite. The most common and preferred bite in Cocker Spaniels is the “scissor bite,” where the upper incisors closely overlap the lower incisors, and the upper canines fit snugly in front of the lower canines.

However, variations can occur:

  • Level bite or pincer bite: Where the upper and lower incisors meet edge to edge.
  • Undershot: When the lower teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth.
  • Overshot or overbite: When the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth excessively.

While the scissor bite is most desirable, especially for show dogs, minor deviations might not significantly impact a dog’s health or ability to feed. However, pronounced undershots or overshots can lead to dental issues, including uneven wear on the teeth and potential jaw problems.

Bite alignment can be influenced by genetic factors, injuries, or developmental issues. Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify any concerns related to bite alignment early on, ensuring that any necessary interventions can be applied promptly.

Spotlight on the Bite

  • The scissor bite is the most common and preferred bite type in Cocker Spaniels.
  • Deviations from the desired bite can be genetic, developmental, or due to injury.
  • Bite alignment is often assessed during puppyhood, allowing for potential corrections if needed.
  • In the world of dog shows, bite alignment is a key consideration, with significant deviations possibly leading to point deductions.

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