American Cocker Spaniels

Is the American Cocker Spaniel the right dog breed for you? Following is a brief standard on American Cocker Spaniels. Included is their history, their physical and mental makeup and how to best care for them.

At a glance:

  • Dog Breed Group: Sporting Dog Group

  • Height: 14 – 15inches

  • Weight: 15 – 30 pounds

  • Color: Black, any firm Color except black, and parti-Color varieties.

  • Average Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

  • Average litter size: 1 – 7

History: American Cocker Spaniels are the smallest member of the Sporting Group of spaniels. Initiated in Spain and developed primarily in England, they were named because they were popularly used to hunt the woodcock in England. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed after the formation of the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America (ECSA).The increasing popularity of the breed led to an increase in its exports into the United States. By 1946 American-bred Cocker Spaniels became prevalent and were acknowledged by the American Kennel Club to be quite distinct from their English cousins.

The type of work the breed does: The American Cocker Spaniel was initially employed as hunting dogs. They chased out birds and prey from brush lands, which were then shot by their masters. Even today they are primarily thought of as sporting dogs even though they are mainly bred for companionship and dog shows.

Physical Representation: The texture of the coat is silky, flat or slightly wavy. It is short and fine on the head and of medium length in the rest of the body and accompanied with adequate undercoating for protection. Dogs with feathered ears, chest, legs and abdomen are preferred.The standard height of a male American Cocker Spaniel is 15 inches and bitches are typically 14 inches tall; the height being measured from the top of the shoulder blades to the ground. A grace of half an inch is permitted in a confirmation show.

American Cockers are categorized into three colors in a confirmation show: black, any firm Color except black, and parti-Color varieties. The Cocker Spaniels that come under the black category include those that are solid black as well as black with tan points. The ASCOB categories include a range of solid colors from the lightest shade of cream to the darkest red and even brown with russet points. Parti-colors include a mixture of two colors with white as the primary color with no more than 90% coloration and at least 10% of the secondary color. Roans are also included within this category.

Personality and Temperament: Originally meant to be hunting dogs, American Cocker Spaniels are now enjoying immense popularity as household pets. They have acquired a reputation for being good companions to children and get along very well with other pets.

Care: A Cocker Spaniel’s coat should be sufficiently clipped so that it does not hinder movements of the dog. Electric clippers should be avoided while trimming. Also the trimming should be such that it appears to be naturally done.

Living environment: These are very content dogs and prefer to live in small backyards or similar places. The breed, however, needs to be looked after well and taken care of regularly. Caring for a Cocker Spaniel should include a regular exercise regime in order to prevent obesity and the onset of emotional distress.

Adaptability to the Electronic Dog Fence: Cocker Spaniels adapt very easily to electronic dog fences. Care should be taken to take the time to properly condition these dogs to the dog fence as it is very possible for them to be intimidated. Once trained, they are content to play in their yard.

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