A sporting breed of spaniel kind, the American Cocker Spaniel, is a close cousin of the English Cocker Spaniel, which developed in the United States in the 20th century. The smallest of the AKC recognized sporting breeds some of the distinct physical features of the American Cocker Spaniel include a compact, sturdy body, well-proportioned chiseled head, almond-shaped eyes with an alert, intelligent expression, longish, leathered, well-feathered ears, broad, deep muzzle, and a well set docked tail. Its merry temperament and brilliant hunting skills make it an adept companion and working dog.
|Other names||Cocker Spaniel|
|Common nicknames||Cocker, Merry Cocker|
|Coat||Silky, flat, wavy|
|Color||Black, black and tan, black and white, black, white and tan, brown, brown and tan, brown and white, brown, white, and tan, buff, buff and white, red, red and white, silver, blue roan, blue, roan and tan, cream, golden, red roan, sable, sable and white (markings merle, roan, ticked and white)|
|Average lifespan||10 to 14 years|
|Size (How big do they get)||Small|
|Height of a full grown American Cocker Spaniel||Male: 14.5-15.5 inches; Female: 13.5 – 14.5 inches|
|Weight of a full grown American Cocker Spaniel||Male: 25 to 30 pounds; Female: 20 to 25 pounds|
|Litter size||1 to 7 puppies|
|Behavioral traits||Merry, devoted, active, trustworthy|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderate (increases when they are stressed or anxious)|
|Climate compatibility||Intolerant to extreme heat and cold|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Excessive|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, CKC, AKC, ANKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)|
Assuming the name cocker or cocking spaniels since they were employed with the task of flushing woodcock, they became immensely popular all over England. They were gradually imported to the United States of America, with the first recorded Cocker named as Captain, which had a liver and white coat. The AKC registered Captain in 1878, after which the American Cocker Spaniel Club evolved, in the year 1881. Efforts began separating it from the English variant as well as other land and water spaniels. After years of hard work, this endeavor was met with success and the ones bred in America was shorter and smaller in size, also having a lightweight and softer coat. In the first half of the 1940s the English and Cocker Spaniels were identified as separate breeds by the English and Canadian Kennel Clubs respectively, and in 1946 the AKC did the same. Brucie, a Cocker Spaniel of black color, was instrumental in popularizing this breed after winning the Westminster’s Best in Show for two consecutive years.
Their happy and cheerful nature earns them the nickname “merry dogs.” Having an affectionate disposition, they love to be cuddled and participate in activities about their family. They are highly intelligent dogs ranking 20th in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren. However, they are not adept enough when it comes to using objects using their paws like pulling a string or removing the cover from a platter of food. These cute, cuddly dogs share a good rapport with children especially if they are brought up with them. However, they are sensitive hence you need to supervise their interaction with kids. Though the Cocker is friendly with other dogs and pets of the family, keeping their hunting and flushing instinct in mind cats and smaller creatures should be kept at a distance from them.
They are sweet tempered but could sometimes be strong-willed, needing an experienced and firm taskmaster to get the best out of them.
The National Research Council of the National Academies mentions that an adult American Cocker Spaniel weighing about 25 pounds, needs 780 kilocalories per day. However, those employed as a sporting dog engaged in hunting and other activities could require about 900 kilocalories on an average.
Good quality dry dog food of a reputable brand divided into two equal meals would suit them well. Homemade food can be added to its kibble at the advice of the veterinarian. Avoid giving it grains like wheat and corn, instead replace it with barley and oats. Refrain from giving it too much snacks in the form of treats as this could make it obese.
|English Cocker Spaniel||American Cocker Spaniel|
|Large and tall||Comparatively shorter|
|Straight, wavy coat||Full and lustrous coat|
|Dome shaped head||Flat head|
|Function better as a sporting dog||Function better as a companion dog|
|Have an increased energy level||Has comparatively lesser energy level|