American Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel dates back as far as the 14th century. The breed
originated from English Cocker Spaniels which were brought to the
United States. The Spaniels were bred down in size and given the
name American Cocker Spaniels, officially called simply the "Cocker
Spaniel" by the American Kennel Club.
The American Cocker Spaniel is more popular in the States than
the original English Cocker Spaniel and is also liked in Europe
and Britain. The Cocker Spaniel is a hunting-gun dog able to work
in difficult terrain in both wet and dry land. Excellent at flushing
and retrieving game with a gentle mouth they listen to commands
The name "Cocker" comes from the woodcock, a game bird
the dogs were known for flushing. Some of the American Cocker Spaniels
talents are hunting, tracking, retrieving, watchdog, agility and
competitive obedience. The American Cocker Spaniel was first recognized
by the American KC in 1873.
The Cocker Spaniel is a medium sized sturdy dog. The head is rounded
with a pronounced stop. The muzzle is broad and deep with square
even jaws. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The eyeballs are dark,
very round with slight almond shaped eye rims. Merle Cocker Spaniels
can have blue eyes. The long, low-set ears are well feathered. The
top line slopes slightly from the front of the dog to the back and
the legs are straight.
The dewclaws may be removed. The silky coat is flat or slightly
wavy. The hairs are medium length on the body but short and fine
on the head. There is feathering on the ears, chest, abdomen and
legs. The coat comes in any solid colour, black with tan points,
merle, solid colour with tan points, and parti-coloured. Examples
of parti-coloured combinations are white with buff or red, white
with black, or white with black and tan points. Field lines have
shorter coats than show lines.
Bold and keen to work, the American Cocker Spaniel is equally suited
to life as a gundog or as a household pet. Cheerful, gentle and
sweet this breed is of average intelligence, and is respectful of
its master's authority. Amusing, trustworthy and charming with an
ever-wagging tail they are active, playful and devoted, but should
be introduced to other dogs when they are young to avoid a tendency
Cockers, who understand their place is under humans, are good with
children. They love everyone and need firm, loving leadership and
daily exercise to be happy. With the right training they learn quickly
and easily and get along well with other animals, although house
training can be an issue. Do not allow this dog to believe that
it is top dog just because it is small. The human should always
be looked upon as pack leader other wise the dog can develop behavioural
It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an alpha male and female
dog who it looks up to. When we live with dogs we become their pack.
The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly
defined, and rules are set. You and all other humans MUST be higher
up in the order than the dog.
Owners who allow their dogs to believe they are higher up in the
order and/or who do not take the dog out for the exercise required
can end up with a badly behaved dog with behavioural issues. There
are two types, field lines and show lines. Field lines are bred
for working and have better hunting instincts, and shorter coats,
which is more practical for working in the woods. Both types make
good pets when the owners meet their needs.
Height: Dogs 38cm. Bitches 36.8cm
Weight: 7-14 kg.
Some major concern in American Cocker Spaniels are cataracts, glaucoma
and patellar luxation. Some minor concerns are hip dysplasia, ectropion,
entropion, PRA, allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pyoderma, otitis
externa, liver disease, urolithiasis, prolapse of nictitans gland,
CHF, phosphofructokinase deficiency, and cardiomyopathy. Occasionally
seen are gastric torsion and elbow dysplasia. Also IMHA (Immune
Mediated Hemolytic Anemia) IMHA is relatively common in cockers,
and almost always fatal. It's a fast-acting, silent killer.
Cockers will do okay in a flat or small dwelling if they are adequately
exercised, and are fairly active indoors. A small garden is sufficient.
Not suited to live outside alone in a kennel.
American Cockers have plenty of stamina and need regular exercise.
They should be taken on at least two walks a day. When walking,
avoid brushy thickets that can tangle the coat. Be sure to have
the dog heeling beside or behind the person holding the lead, as
in a dog's mind, the leader leads the way, and that leader needs
to be the humans, not the dog.
About 12-15 years.
1 - 7 puppies - Average of 5
Wipe under the eyes often as they tend to tear. Some owners prefer
to leave the coat long, brushing daily and shampooing frequently
with quarterly scissoring and clipping. Others prefer to clip the
coat to medium length to be more functional. Either way, the dog
will need regular trimming. When brushing, be careful not to pull
out the silky hair. This breed is has average moulting.