American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel was until recently, considered to be the same breed as their English cousin, the English Cocker Spaniel. These two distinct breeds started to diverge about a century ago and the American version of the Cocker Spaniel developed into much smaller and compact dogs.

The American Cocker was bred primarily to fill the role of a pet. The focus was on their looks and behavior in the sense that their hunting abilities were “bred out” of the breed. They are a gentle and happy breed that excels at the task it was bred for. The sad problem is that some of the bloodlines have a problem because of irresponsible breeding. Breeders wanted to produce a large number of dogs because of the high demand in the US and they haven’t taken proper care about the mental characteristics of the new dogs. These newly produced dogs have the same appearance as the rest of the American Cockers but have significant behavioral problems.

The American Cocker can clearly be distinguished from the English by the shape of its head which is much more domed and their eyes are more prominent. These dogs are really sensitive and can easily get stressed in an unknown environment. In these kinds of situations, they might resort to biting as a first response. It is very important to socialize your American Cocker as soon as possible.

American Cocker Spaniel Height

Height:

13.5-15.5 in (34-40 cm)

American Cocker Spaniel Weight

Weight:

20-30 lb (9-14 kg)

American Cocker Spaniel Origin

Origin:

USA

American Cocker Spaniel Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

10-14 years

Breed History

It is believed that these dogs originated from Spain. The word spaniel is translated to “Spanish dog”. The American version was derivated from the English version of Cocker spaniel. It is not entirely clear how these dogs came to life but it is known that the English Cocker Spaniel was brought to America in the late 1800s. Because Americans preferred smaller dogs for hunting, a need arise to create a smaller version of English Cockers.

From the start, these two variants of Cockers were considered the same breed but they were finally separated in 1935 by American Kennel Club. Cockers were extremely popular before they were divided but after the separations these dogs gained even more popularity.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Trainability
Intelligence
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

FCI standard

This breed has a standard in place by the biggest cynology union in the world. The Federation Cynologique Internationale or the FCI has 98 member states that agreed upon and adapted the original American Cocker Spaniel standard. This standard describes these dogs as being the smallest member of the sporting group. They have a sturdy, compact body that is in perfect balance.

The FCI placed these dogs in Group 8 (Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs), Section 2 (Flushing Dogs). The American Cocker Spaniel isn’t required to undergo a working trial.

This standard describes a required size for this breed and it is 14,5 - 15,5 in (37 - 40 cm) for male dogs and 13,5 - 14,5 in (34 - 37 cm) for the female dogs.

This breed was registered by the DCI on the 1st of January 1965.

AKC standard

The American Cocker Spaniel is a breed that was developed in its modern version in the United States of America so it is not a surprise that they are registered and accepted by the governing American cynology association - the American Kennel Club. This breed is registered under the name “Cocker Spaniel” and its cousin is registered by the name “English Cocker Spaniel”.

The AKC has a standard in place for this breed and it describes them as being capable of impressive speed and should be keen and marry. The required size was defined by this association and is 14,5 - 15,5 in (37 - 40 cm) for male Cockers and 13,5 - 14,5 in (34 - 37 cm) for females.

They have been registered by the AKC in 1878.

american cocker running

Grooming

American Cocker Spaniel should be brushed daily to keep their coat healthy and in good shape. Grooming is extremely important for these dogs. Regular brushing is required to keep the coat looking good and to keep the hair under control. Also, regular brushing will prevent the forming of tangles and mats that can be painful for your dog. Many owners decide to let professionals do the job but you must know that you could easily spend a lot of money on grooming sessions for your dog.

American Cocker Spaniel coat colors:

  • Black/black and tan
  • Any solid color other than black (from dark cream to dark red)
  • Part color

Regular Care

Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

American Cocker Spaniels are known as dogs that don’t cooperate during grooming sessions and that is why is extremely important to expose your dog to those things from an early age so he could get used to them.

Exercise

American Cocker Spaniels are not highly active dogs and they only require a small number of activities to be happy and healthy. Retrieving balls or walking will do the trick and keep this dog in good health. If you have another dog in the house Cocker will be more than happy and will enjoy playing with him.

Training

Training such an intelligent dog breed is essential for preventing the development of bad behavioral traits. Start training them as soon as they arrive at your house, and if you do not have time to work with such an active breed, maybe it is not the best choice for you. 

If you are interested in properly training your American Cocker Spaniel and are unsure where to start, you can always ask professionals for help. Many puppy training programs and doggy schools can significantly help you train an active shepherding breed. Most dog breeds do not take well harsh training methods and techniques, and American Cocker Spaniel is one of them. You should make training sessions exciting, and you will start noticing great results in a matter of hours.

Socialization

Like any other dog breed, the American Cocker Spaniel should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. 

There are many ways you can socialize your American Cocker Spaniel, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs.

Kids

American Cocker Spaniels are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Cocker can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.

Other animals

American Cocker Spaniels get along with other dogs and animals including cats and even smaller animals.

Health problems

The American Cocker Spaniel is generally considered a healthy breed, but they are prone to some health issues and concerns like any other dog breed. These dogs have an average lifespan of 10-14 years. 

When getting any breed, the breeder must show you health tests that they have done for their breeding dogs. Dogs must be adequately tested because taking a chance and hoping that the puppy’s parents are healthy is a risk no one should ever take. Only healthy dogs should be bred because that is the only way to assure that bloodlines will remain healthy and without any problems. Health problems associated with this breed are;

  • Hypothyroidism - A health problem caused by the hyperproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland.
  • Epilepsy - Brain problem causing mild to severe seizures.
  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • Allergies - these dogs are prone to have allergic reactions to specific foods, products, or medications.
  • Patellar luxation
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia - AIHA

American Cocker Spaniel breeders

Before you start searching for American Cocker Spaniel breeders, make sure you made an informed decision about this breed and whether or not it is a good fit your you and/or your family. When buying this breed it is extremely important that you find a good and reputable breeder that is taking care of their dog’s mental characteristics. Ask as many questions as possible about this breed and try and see the parents of the puppy you are interested in.

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find an American Cocker Spaniel dog in it.

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World Dog Finder team

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