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.
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.
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.
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.