The smallest of the sporting dogs it is known for its distinctive domed head and large, round and expressive eyes.
The History Of The Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel originated in United States during the 1800's and is sometimes called the American Cocker Spaniel
This Cocker was bred from the English Cocker Spaniels brought to the United States in the 17th century. It was officially recognized as a separate breed in 1946.
Today it has become more of a pet and show dog with an exaggerated coat that would not be suitable in the field. It peaked in popularity between 1940-1956 when it set an AKC record for the number of dogs registered. It has remained a popular family pet and show dog.
Description Of The Cocker Spaniel
The docked tail is carried in line with the top of the back. The long, hanging, low-set ears are never altered.
The breed averages 14 - 15 inches and 15 - 30 pounds.
This is a beautiful spaniel with very long hanging ears, a rounded head, and a profuse, silky, medium-length coat. The muzzle is wide, deep and broad with a square jaw. The upper lip hangs down, covering the lower jaw completely. Teeth are strong and should meet in a scissors bite. The nose is always black on black dogs and may be brown on other dogs. The eyes are round and look straight forward. Eye rims are slightly oval. The body is compact, with a short back.
Coat & Grooming
The medium length coat is silky in texture. It may be flat or slightly waved.
There are three acceptable color classifications: black; any other solid color other than black (called ASCOB by show people); and parti-color which consists of two or more definite colors appearing in clearly defined markings.
The Cocker Spaniel needs a moderate amount of grooming with occasional professional trimming. Hair tends to mat and it is a seasonal shedder.
The eyes need regular cleaning. 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.
Temperament and Cocker Spaniel Training
Bold and keen to work, the American Cocker Spaniel is equally suited to life as a gun dog a household pet. The Cocker Spaniel respects its master's authority without challenge. Merry and endearing.
They are lively, playful and devoted and of average intelligence. They should be socialized when puppies, to avoid a tendency for shyness.
They are usually good with children. They can be difficult to housebreak and some may bark excessively. They are easy to train and get along well with other dogs. As with all dogs, Cocker Spaniel training should be started as a puppy. To prevent behavioral problems later in life, training should follow a recognized training regime.
Either enroll in a certified local dog training school or read this.
Life Expectancy and Health
The average life span for a Cocker Spaniel is around 12 - 15 years.
The popularity of the Cocker Spaniel has led to poor breeding practices leaving the breed with a number of genetic health problems. These are being addressed by responsible breeders.
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 and urolithiasis.
Please read our page on health problems by clicking here.
Preferred Environment and Exercise Requirements
Cockers will do fine in an apartment if they are regularly exercised. They are active indoors and a small yard is sufficient.
They have lots of stamina and need regular exercise. When walking, avoid undergrowth and thickets that can tangle the coat.
For More Information on the Cocker Spaniel
To get more information, check out the Cocker Spaniel web site:
There may also be rescue dogs available. Check for details on:
Easily obtained at reasonable prices. To avoid problems with health and temperament, be sure to buy only from a reputable breeder. Tendency to become overweight if not kept active. May be difficult to housebreak.
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