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American Cocker Spaniel

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 by in A-B, Breeds by category, Breeds by name, Gun dogs | 0 comments

What's my history?

We descended from the English Cocker, coming over on the Mayflower in 1620. Over several generations we gradually took on our own look until by the 1920s we had become so noticeably different that the American Kennel Club recognised us as a separate breed in the 1940s. However the UK Kennel Club took until 1970 to recognise the American Cocker Spaniel as being separate from the English type. As a slight aside, the term Spaniel goes back as far as the 1100s where the word “spanyell” was used to describe a particular breed of dog imported into England from Spain (hence the ‘span’ bit).

What do I look like?

The main factors differentiating American Cocker Spaniels from their English counterparts are a smaller muzzle, a generally lighter and smaller frame and a softer coat. Due to our petite frame, we are now the smallest breed recognised by the American Kennel Cub as a ‘sporting dog’. Our head is a fairly distinctive with a rounded dome skull, well-pronounced stop, and a square shaped lip. Our ears are long, low set, with long silky fur, and our eyes are dark, large, and rounded. The nose can be black or brown depending on our colour. We have three coat varieties: black/black and tan, any solid colour other than black (ASCOB), and parti-colour (white with patches of another colour such as black or brown).

What do I need from you?

We are a dog not suited to a life in the backyard. American Cocker Spaniels love companionship so struggle to be alone. We can also be easily stressed by loud noises and rough treatment or handling – so please take this into account. Health-wise we are particularly susceptible to infections affecting our ears and eyes. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, and cataracts have been identified as common problems. The American Cocker Spaniel Club recommends annual eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist for all dogs that are to be used for breeding. We are also prone to canine epilepsy.

What I will give in return

We’re not known as the “Merry Cocker” for nothing! We get along with people, children, other dogs and pets superbly. Our perpetual wagging tail reflects the happiness and security we acquire from being around people. We’re naturally a very good dog in the field and have particular ability at finding things in trees – granted you might find limited uses for this skill. Sadly we don’t have great dexterity and are particularly bad at manipulating objects with our paws. Hopefully you won’t find much use for this skill either.

How big will I get?

The breed standard states that size over 15.5 inches (39 cm) inches for males and 14.5 inches (37 cm) for females will disqualify us at conformation shows. We weigh around 24 to 30 pounds (11 to 14 kg) on average, with females of the breed usually weighing slightly less than the males.

How long should I be around for?

American Cocker Spaniels in UK and USA/Canada surveys had a median lifespan of about 10 to 11 years.

How big is our litter?

The average litter size is around 4 to 6 puppies.

Famous owners?

Numerous from presidents such as Harry Truman and Richard Nixon to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Charlize Theron and Shirley Temple.

Other sites we like

Sebastian the Spaniel on Facebook

This six part grooming series shows you how to get your American Cocker Spaniel looking fabulous ~ Part 1


Want us to live with you?

We’re currently recruiting breeders and adopters to go here. Could that be you?

Our own special community

Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.

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