Cocker Spaniel

Type: Gun Dog

Height: Females: 14 inches. Males: 15 inches. Any Cocker over 15 inches will be disqualified from the show ring.

Weight: 18 -28 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 4 - 6 puppies.

Country of Origin: USA

Activity: Indoors - Medium. Outdoors - High. Cocker Spaniels are lively when excited.

Watch-dog: High. They are very alert and conscious of their surroundings.

Guard-dog: Low. Spaniels are friendly to anyone.


Description: The American Cocker Spaniel has a sturdy, compact body and a cleanly chiseled and refined head, with the overall dog in complete balance and of ideal size. This spaniel has long drop ears and a usually docked tail. They have a double coat in which the top coat is silky and medium length, while the under coat is dense. There is intense feathering on the ears, chest, belly and legs. American Cocker Spaniels have a much thicker coat and elegant trousers as opposed to their cousin the English Cocker Spaniel. They come in many colors. Cocker Spaniels can be black as well as ASCOB (Any solid color other than black), parti-colored, and with or without white markings on the chest and throat, or with tan points on them. Known as a merry Cocker, they have charmed themselves into many households through out the world making them the world's most popular household pet. Cocker Spaniels are lively and excited to see people, they relish in their presence. Cockers can adjust well to any setting. They are at home in the city, suburban or rural areas. They have a strong drive to work, are intelligent, affectionate and quite trainable. American Cocker Spaniels may suffer from quite a few inherited health problems, but their affable personality makes up for health concerns. An excellent bird and small-game hunter, American Cocker Spaniels make a great companion, good with children and an all-around friendly pup.Cocker Spaniel

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Other Names: Cocker Spaniel, Cocker, Cocking Spaniel

Colors: Black, jet black, shading of brown or liver in sheen of coat undesirable; black and tan, brown and tan, with definite tan markings on jet black or brown body; parti colors and tricolors. They can also be ASCOB (Any solid color other than black), including chocolate, red, buff, sable, or cream.

Coat: Short and fine on head, medium length on body, with enough undercoat to give protection. There is profuse feathering on the legs, chest and bottom of the drop ears. Fur is long and silky.

Temperament: Cocker Spaniels are active, friendly, lively and fun. They love to be around people and are always willing to please. They can be lazy if not exercised, but are certainly willing to go out on a walk. They are affectionate, affable, and very good with kids. They are also good with other pets. They should never be suspicious or untrustworthy, and should usually be joyful in appearance and attitude. They are gentle, merry, outgoing and loving. They do not respond well to harsh training, and should be trained with a gentle hand. They have a happy nature and fit in easily to any lifestyle.

With Children: Yes, if from good blood lines they are exceptionally good with children. Avoid puppies with parents who are standoffish or suspicious, as this is not a trait that should be in Cocker Spaniels.

With Pets: Yes, sociable and gentle.

Special Skills: Field sports dog, bird dog and companion.

Care and Training: Need careful grooming for about forty-five minutes twice a week is definitely necessary for the American Cocker Spaniel. Daily brushing of the fur, or once every two days is optimal. Their fur can mat and get dirty easily. They adapt well to a city dwelling or rural country, but need sufficient exercise to prevent them from becoming overweight. Daily walks will do fine to keep the pup healthy and in shape. Cocker Spaniels are trainable and learn quickly, but do not respond well to harsh training. They should be trained with a gentle hand.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - Low. American Cockers were very eager to please, and are willing to obey.

Special Needs: Grooming and exercise.

Living Environment: Apartment, house, country or city as long as they are exercised, the American Cocker Spaniel will adapt. An owner of a Cocker Spaniel should be willing to spend time grooming their coat and handling them every day, as their coats can mat easily. The best owner for this breed would be a loving family or individual, or the elderly, who live in the city, suburbs or rural country environment who can give daily walks and attention to the coat.

Health Issues: The Cocker Spaniel is quite hardy, but may experience a variety of inherited disorders such as eye and ear infections, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. Other health concerns include PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hypothyroidism, cataracts, von Willebrand's disease, and slipping stifles.

History: The name of the Cocker Spaniel comes from what they were once used for, hunting woodcock. Despite his name, the American Cocker Spaniel is in fact originally a breed of Spanish blood. The Spanish Spaniel is considered to be the oldest of the recognized spaniels. Developed by crossing setters and spaniels, it was during the seventeenth century they were divided into the water and land spaniels. Legend says that the Cocker Spaniel was first brought to America in 1620 aboard the Mayflower, but much speculation is needed on this theory. In 1892 the Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a breed in England. In the late 1870s the breed was brought to the United States and here was developed into quite different lines from the English Cocker. Americans and English Cockers were soon bred for different reasons, the English more for hunting, and the American more for show. Soon, the new version of Cocker Spaniel needed a name, and it was decided on American Cocker Spaniel. In 1946 the American was registered as a separate breed. The breed was still used for hunting, although bred for appearance. The breed would be used to hunt on the weekends and would be used as a playmate and companion during the weekdays. Currently, the American Cocker Spaniel does not exercise its hunting skills nearly as much as before, but is widely used and recognized as a companion all across the world today. Due to its popularity, some lines contain standoffish and untrusting dogs, which are most likely the result of puppy mills. American Cocker Spaniels are among the best breeds for temperament, thus making a shy or suspicious Cocker Spaniel a poor choice.

First Registered by the AKC: 1878

AKC Group: Sporting Group

Class: Gundog

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC(GB), UKC