American Cocker Spaniel

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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

Average Size
Height: 14-15 inches Weight: 25-30 lbs
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.

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.

American Cocker Spaniel Breed 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.