American Cocker Spaniel

20-25 lbs
13-14"
United States
Cocker Spaniel, Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel started out as the English Cocker Spaniel but was bred with other breeds because the Americans liked their hunting dogs smaller to in order to hunt game birds. They are medium sized dogs, with a medium sized energy level and a generally happy personality. The American Cocker Spaniel is a smart breed, easy to train for hunting, and is loyal to its family. This breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) way back in 1878. They come in 13 different colors and two different styles of markings. According to the AKC, they are the 29th most popular dog breed in the United States.

Purpose
hunting, retrieving birds
Date of Origin
1800s
Ancestry
english cocker spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel Health

Sketch of American Cocker Spaniel
Average Size
Male American Cocker Spaniel size stats
Height: 14-15 inches Weight: 25-30 lbs
Female American Cocker Spaniel size stats
Height: 13-14 inches Weight: 20-25 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Seborrhea
  • Skin Problems
Minor Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Corneal Erosion
  • Phosphofructokinase Deficiency
  • Skin Fold Dermatitis
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood
  • Knee
  • Dna For Phosphofructokinase Deficiency

American Cocker Spaniel Breed History

According to the AKC, the Spaniel family has been around since the 14th century. It is said that the first Spaniels came to the United States on the Mayflower in 1620 but were not registered until 1878. In 1946, the AKC registered the English Cocker Spaniel as a separate breed, leaving the American Cocker Spaniel listed separately. The breeds were divided between land and water spaniels. The land spaniels are also divided by size. They were all bred to hunt, either on land or water, and the American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the breed. The American Cocker Spaniel was bred to flush out and retrieve game birds such as woodcocks, which is where they got their name. The English Cocker Spaniels were brought to the United States in the 1800s by hunting enthusiasts who appreciated their skillful way of hunting birds. However, some American breeders decided to breed them for shows and wanted them to be smaller in stature. This also made them popular as companion pets and soon they were one of the most popular purebred dogs in the United States. Because of their great popularity, commercial puppy mills and breeders popped up all over the United States, ignoring the health conditions and temperament of the dogs and producing a generally unhealthy group of Spaniels. Luckily, with strict breeding laws and the closure of puppy mills, the American Cocker Spaniel breed was able to recover. Although this breed is still widely used as a hunting dog, they are also found as companion pets just as often.

American Cocker Spaniel Breed Appearance

The American Cocker Spaniel has one of the most beautiful coats of all dog breeds, with long hair that reaches the floor and flows as they walk. They should have enough undercoating to protect them. Although the hair on their head is short and fine the legs, abdomen, chest, and ears should be feathered. The colors include black and tan, black and white, black, white, tan, brown and tan, brown and white, brown, buff and white, buff, red and white, red, silver, blue roan, blue roan and tan, cream, golden, red roan, sable and white, and sable. They are about 15 inches tall and weigh between 20 and 30 pounds. Their body is sturdy and compact, with a chiselled head that is perfectly balanced. The skull should be round with no flatness at all and clearly defined eyebrows. The long, lobular ears are floppy and feathered. Their slightly almond shaped dark brown eyes are large and round but they should not be bulging. The American Cocker Spaniel has a soft but alert and intelligent looking expression that their owners find especially appealing. The muzzle is square, deep, and broad with a black or brown nose and the upper lips should be full with enough depth to cover the jaw. Their teeth are strong and have a scissors bite. The American Cocker Spaniel has a long, muscular neck with a deep chest and strong sloping back. The docked tail should be in line with the back or a little higher but not straight up like some Terriers. Overall, they have an elegant and friendly look perfect for a house pet or hunting dog.

Appearance of American Cocker Spaniel
Eye Color Possibilities
brown American Cocker Spaniel eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black American Cocker Spaniel nose
Black
brown American Cocker Spaniel nose
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
black American Cocker Spaniel coat
Black
brown American Cocker Spaniel coat
Brown
red American Cocker Spaniel coat
Red
cream American Cocker Spaniel coat
Cream
blue American Cocker Spaniel coat
Blue
silver American Cocker Spaniel coat
Silver
white American Cocker Spaniel coat
White
sable American Cocker Spaniel coat
Sable
brindle American Cocker Spaniel coat
Brindle
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
American Cocker Spaniel wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

American Cocker Spaniel Breed Maintenance

The American Cocker Spaniel has a lot of hair that you will see all over the house even with extensive grooming. With their long, silky hair, they require a thorough brushing about three or four times a week to prevent matting. Using a metal comb and slicker brush is recommended, working from front to back from the floor up. With such long ears, they tend to collect dirt and wax, so they need to be cleaned at least once per week. Without proper cleaning, they can be susceptible to ear infections such as otitis media. Their eyes should be checked at this time too because they are so large and unprotected. You will need to trim their nails regularly as well and have them professionally groomed every few months. Baths should be given once a month with a mild shampoo recommended by a veterinary care provider. They are a medium sized breed so they will be happy living in an apartment or house with a big yard. They do need daily exercise though and appreciate a walk or a trip to the dog park. This breed, like others, should be fed a high quality dog food appropriate for its age and weight.
Brushes for American Cocker Spaniel
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
American Cocker Spaniel requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

American Cocker Spaniel Temperament

The American Cocker Spaniel is a good natured and friendly dog with a happy personality. They are also intelligent and easy to train and will be extremely obedient when trained properly. This breed needs a lot of attention and play and does not like to be left alone for long periods of time. Loud noises and rowdiness can stress out your American Cocker Spaniel so they are not great in a home with small children. Also, they were bred to be hunters so they should not be trusted around birds such as chickens and ducks or even with pets like hamsters, mice, or guinea pigs. They do like to bark often and may annoy your neighbors if not trained properly. They are somewhat laid back and will be just as happy to lay on the couch watching television with you instead of running around in the yard. However, they do need plenty of exercise to prevent obesity, which can cause many health problems.

American Cocker Spaniel Activity Requirements

The American Cocker Spaniel loves to be in the thick of things and will gaily accompany the family on a walk at every opportunity. Friendly to others, both human and animal alike, this breed will enjoy daily trips to the dog park where socialization can help with any timidity that may develop. Some American Cocker Spaniels are hard to housebreak so plenty of outdoor breaks will help to train and to provide an outlet for energy. Keep the training consistent, and the exercise too, allowing for a content addition to the family.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

American Cocker Spaniel Popularity

Popularity ranking
#29
Popular Hybrids
Hush Basset
Basset Hound
American Cocker Spaniel
Hush Basset
Spanador
Labrador Retriever
American Cocker Spaniel
Spanador
Pembroke Cocker Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
American Cocker Spaniel
Pembroke Cocker Corgi
Shocker
American Cocker Spaniel
Shiba Inu
Shocker
Colonial Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
Colonial Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.75 - $2.25
Monthly Cost
$52.50 - $67.50

American Cocker Spaniel Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of American Cocker Spaniel at six months
Male American Cocker Spaniel size stats at six months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 19 lbs
Female American Cocker Spaniel size stats at six months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 16 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of American Cocker Spaniel at 12 months
Male American Cocker Spaniel size stats at 12 months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 24 lbs
Female American Cocker Spaniel size stats at 12 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 20 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of American Cocker Spaniel at 18 months
Male American Cocker Spaniel size stats at 18 months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 28 lbs
Female American Cocker Spaniel size stats at 18 months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 23 lbs

Top American Cocker Spaniel Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable American Cocker Spaniel breeders of 2018.
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder Moondrop Gardens
Moondrop Gardens
Putnam, New York
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder Classy Country Cockers
Classy Country Cockers
Altona, Illinois
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder Buttonwood Cockers
Buttonwood Cockers
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder Zim Family Cockers
Zim Family Cockers
Grover Beach, California
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder Mary's Cocker Haven
Mary's Cocker Haven
Peyton, Colorado
Top American Cocker Spaniel breeder CM Cocker Pups
CM Cocker Pups
Farmersburg, Indiana

American Cocker Spaniel Owner Experiences

Daisy
11 Years
5 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
grooming
Chatting
snuggling
Walking
So my spaniel Daisy has a lot of health issues (bladder incontinence, cherry eye, spine issues, separation anxiety, grain/wheat allergies etc) but I wouldn't trade her for the WORLD. She adores anyone who comes over the house, and on days she can't walk, she is happy just to be pet while resting. Her fur was forced to be shaved due to chronic seborrhea and inflammation and the grooming is still very frequent as we bond over it. I could never imagine having anything but a spaniel and she is the light of my world!
1 month, 1 week ago
Lucy
3 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Play keep away
Lucy make us laugh, she’s a bundle of happiness💕
4 months, 3 weeks ago
6 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Tracking
Chase
Hike
Explore the woods
Run
Walk
Go to Park
I have worked in canine behavioral evaluations and as an adoptions councilor matching prospective family with shelter dogs to create forever homes. Each breed has their own innate natural instincts, which are brought out through environment, interactions and experience. Professionally, I currently walk an American Cocker Spaniel twice a week, and have evaluated the temperaments of numerous cockers as an adoptions councilor. Personally, I have lived with a cocker, and have had family members with them. Cocker Spaniels are bursting with emotion! They can be incredibly friendly, energetic, outgoing and eager to please. They are prone to fear, and can become nervous if grabbed at, or surprised. They air on the side of caution, and are not afraid to nip at you if they perceive a threat. While there is never a need to scream or shout at a dog, cockers are especially sensitive to anger and frustration. Never shout at a cocker spaniel, or swiftly snatch at them. They are intuitive and know when they have disappointed you, so make behavior corrections soft and brief. A simple "No, leave it.", followed by showing them the desired behavior is enough to help them make good choices. Harsh correction for Cocker Spaniels can lead to resentment, fear, and secretive behavior. For example, if you shout at the Cocker for peeing on the carpet and offer no positive enforcement, they may assume you dislike seeing the behavior, leading them to pee behind couches, or when you leave the room. When I walk a Cocker Spaniel, I am sure to announce my presence at the door, and allow the cocker to come toward me. I will sit down on the floor, and use a soft, affectionate voice, while avoiding eye contact. This allows the cocker to approach on his own terms. If the cocker is nervous about touch, I will loop the leash over his head in a slip lead. This allows the cocker to feel "caught", and they most often relax, knowing that I have taken control of the situation. I will then pet the cocker on the head, working my hand towards the collar to clip the leash as the cocker becomes comfortable. Then, once clipped, I remove the slip lead. Usually once we head outside, the cocker catches a scent, and forgets all about their nervousness! Cockers love to track and scent, so I allow the dog to choose our path (when reasonable), and look for areas with lots of bushes, where they may find birds, bunnies, and other fun smells! Usually, the breed of dog dictates what type of walk they need. Cockers naturally love to track. So while running 3 miles may tire the average pup, you may find it does nothing to satisfy a cockers exploring nature. Walks that allow the cocker to follow his natural need to scent out and "hunt down" scent sources, maintain a scent trail, and discover a source will do more for his temperament and benefit his behavior at home more than a long run could ever do! I teach all my dogs commands such as WAIT (when we need to stop for a moment) , LISTEN (for when I need their attention), SIDEWALK (for when I need them back on the sidewalk) and CROSS (for when crossing all intersections, they know to walk a straight line across). Teaching these commands strengthens our bond, and helps the cocker relax, because he always knows what is expected of him! In addition to commands, I talk to the dog when walking, engaging him in listening to human speech, and shower him with praise for everything he does "right". Time spent with a cocker should be filled with positive reinforcement and reassurance, as they are prone to stress over almost nothing. It is also important when returning home to check the dogs paws for thorns trapped within their thick fur, and to wipe down their face and neck. Scenting dogs can produce lots of drool, and folds in their fur can become infected and painful if not cleaned and dried. Cockers need daily grooming to stay clean and healthy! I love Cocker Spaniels, it is just wonderful to work with a dog that is so full of energy and emotion, and to show them how fun the world can be!
7 months, 3 weeks ago
12 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Nose work
Sadie is an old dog. When I enter her house she simply gazes at me skeptically. It takes more than a moment to get her hyped enough to get off of her bed. Once I get her out of the house and rolling down the street, however, her age is far less noticeable. She still pulls like the best of them. She's very interested in smelling everything and will occasionally be so captivated that compelling her to move is met with astonishing resistance. I usually indulge her nature a bit, keeping a close eye on any potential food scraps, but since she is an older gal, it seems only right to let her enjoy the things she loves. By the end of our half hour she's usually more than ready to be home and pulls a bit to head back inside. Once inside she insists on receiving a treat and being assisted back up onto her bed. She's a sweet girl, insistent, bright eyed, and a very relaxing walking companion.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
12 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Nose work
Sadie is an old dog. When I enter her house she simply gazes at me skeptically. It takes more than a moment to get her hyped enough to get off of her bed. Once I get her out of the house and rolling down the street, however, her age is far less noticeable. She still pulls like the best of them. She's very interested in smelling everything and will occasionally be so captivated that compelling her to move is met with astonishing resistance. I usually indulge her nature a bit, keeping a close eye on any potential food scraps, but since she is an older gal, it seems only right to let her enjoy the things she loves. By the end of our half hour she's usually more than ready to be home and pulls a bit to head back inside. Once inside she insists on receiving a treat and being assisted back up onto her bed. She's a sweet girl, insistent, bright eyed, and a very relaxing walking companion.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
sitting
Walking
The Cocker Spaniel I walked was extremely well-behaved, so much so that she was a service dog fit with a sweet service dog vest. She was absolutely personable and mellow, although she walked at a fairly slow pace. She was very happy and easy going.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The Spaniel I walked was very excitable. When I arrived at the house, he jumped on me so much it was difficult to get his leash on. We finally got walking, and he sniffed at everything. The neighborhood we were in had many dogs out walking, and he barked at all of them. I walked another pair of Spaniels, which were older and less excitable. However, they did chase after a squirrel, almost pulling me over. All three of the Spaniels were well mannered though, and were fairly easy to manage and redirect.
7 months, 4 weeks ago
7 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
Eating Snacks
Walking
The Cocker Spaniel that I took for a walk was on the older-side. He was seven, and his hair kept getting caught underneath his paws, so I am sure he could have used some grooming. Despite the rain we experienced, he was a friendly dog and we had a great time moving slowly through the neighborhood. Although Cocker Spaniels aren’t highly energetic dogs, they do love to be outside which was nice. You could tell he wanted to stay outside even though the weather wasn’t ideal. He listened well and seemed to understand various commands like sit and stay before we crossed streets. When we came anywhere near other dogs he became a bit hesitant to move much, and a highly submissive attitude seemed to take over. He did not have any other dogs at home, so he may just not have been socialized very well. All-in-all it was a good experience and I’d recommend the breed if you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t require a ton of jogging/running/energy-exertion.
7 months, 4 weeks ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The American cocker spaniel I walked was a very affectionate and quiet dog. I’ve walked him three times and he never barked once, not even at birds or other dogs. He was a bit put off by his more energetic French bulldog friend, but he was never aggressive or ill-tempered. Mostly the spaniel was just walk away if the Frenchie got a little too excited. I would say this breed is an ideal dog for walkers because of how well they listen, how sweet they are, and how small they are. Smaller dogs typically mean less pulling which means less strain on the walker. I know temperament varies with each individual dog and style of care from the pet parent, but the cocker spaniel I walked was a great dog!
8 months ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He was very relaxed! He juat wanted to sniff around and walk pretty slowly. He seemed relatively low energy, he was curled up for a nap when I walked in. He was very easy going.
8 months ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Exploring
petting
Cuddling
Walking
The Spaniel I walked was incredibly friendly and smart. She was really eager to walk and explore and constantly would look up for a reassuring glance that I was still there with her.
8 months ago
4 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing with toys
Cuddling
Toby was an absolute sweetheart. I got to spend an hour with him and got attached to his gentle and friendly personality! He was very timid our in public and was afraid of large crowds or loud noises, so much, that he often asked you be carried. In his home he wasn’t incredibly playful and friendly!
8 months ago
15 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sleeping
Walking
The only cocker spaniel I have walked is very old. She is a typical old lady, doesn’t need long walks anymore, but likes to be outside for a short walk and then go back to sleep.
8 months ago
4 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
Short walks
Very sweet dog. Somewhat aloof and very independent. Seemed to like the outdoors to an extent, but was happy to be home and get back inside afterwards. Very easy to walk and get along with!
8 months ago
Dude
5 Years
1 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Dude is so friendly! He is very excited to see me and he loves to play! He is very cuddly. He does bark pretty loudly when he gets excited. He is so laid back. He gets along well with other dogs and he loves kids. He is very good on our walks. He does not pull and listens pretty well. He loves to chase squirrels. They see him coming and run up the trees!
8 months ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Nap
Walk
Fetch
Cocker Spaniels are very sweet dogs. They typically go up to any person, new or old. Sometimes they have trouble controlling their blatter when they get excited to see you. Typically not big barkers.
8 months ago
6 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I use to own Cocker Spaniels and they are the most sensitive dogs I’ve met. They’re usually about medium sized but CAN be larger or smaller. They need a lot of grooming because their ears and feet get very curly and the things they walk on can stick to their paws. They are the most loving and tend to cling to one person and love them for the rest of their lives. Very friendly dogs of course, everyone loves Cocker Spaniels!
8 months ago
4 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Cooper is super friendly and loves to run after his ball. His owner is fine with the walk being cut short so you can go inside and throw his ball for him.
8 months ago
9 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
chasing critters
Cuddling
The Cocker Spaniel that I walked was an older dog but was still crazy and full of energy! He was running for an entire hour and very excited about everything.
8 months ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience with a cocker spaniel. They are super sweethearts and love love. They are big balls of furball sweetness. A couple on the leash have been aggressive or snapped at other dogs. Ruby was one of my favorites. She was five when I walked her and now she’s 7 and still adorable. This is a beautiful breed of a dog. They adore their owners and pretty much become their shadow around the house. When I did a dog sitting for Ruby, anywhere I went she went. They will stick to you like glue. Their big floppy ears with their curly que hairs are quite cute and this breed knows they are a good looking dog.
8 months ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He was very energetic and eager to explore. No behavior problems.
8 months ago
11 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Nap
Fetch
Cocker Spaniels are great dogs! They've got attitude! They're dogs that get very attached to one person in the household. Generally eager to learn, and can be taught many great tricks. They're tons of fun to play fetch with!
8 months ago
11 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I’ve walked and known several and they are very smart obedient dogs who are friendly and playful.
8 months ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Super energetic, very curious and sometimes stubborn
8 months ago
4 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
petting
Walking
The cocker spaniel's that I have walked are extremely loving and are not timid by strangers at all. They love to lie dye when getting pet, and really enjoy the affection from anyone. They are extremely friendly with other dogs and have a very slow pace to their walk but love to be out and about on walks.
8 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd