One of the oldest of the land Spaniels, the Cocker goes back as far as the 14th century. The dog got his name cocker from the purpose for which he was originally used: the flushing out of woodcock from coverts and woodland. Although kept nowadays mostly as pet, when carefully trained, he is still a good hunting and retrieving dog. Cockers have a keen smell of sense. The ability to sniff out the faintest of scents is one of the breed's best-known qualitites.
There are two varieties of Cocker Spaniels: the English and the American. The American Cocker Spaniel evolved in the US where breeders developed it from the English Cocker Spaniel to become the glamorous American type we see today. Slightly smaller than his British cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel has a more domed head and a shorter muzzle, a sloping topline and higher tail carriage. But the most noticeable difference is the abundance of coat which he carries, making him more demanding in terms of grooming.
As pet and companion, the American Cocker Spaniel's popularity has been exceptional. His small size and happy character make him an ideal house dog. Cockers are very perceptive and will notice the slightest changes around the house. They are excellent swimmers and love the water. A well-breed American Cocker spaniel is an intelligent, faithful, easily trained, and extremely loving and responsible children's companion. In the United States the breed is registered under the name "Cocker Spaniel", as is the English Cocker Spaniel in the UK which may cause confusion between these two breeds.
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Utilization: Flushing Dog, Companion
FCI Classification: Group 8 -Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs; Flushing Dogs (without working trial); AKC Classification: Sporting Group
Size: Small (14-15 inches at shoulders)
Colors: 1. Black-Color variety: the solid color is black, to include black with tan points. Any solid color other than black (ASCOB), ranging from the lightest cream to darkest red, including brown and brown with tan points.
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2. Parti-Color variety: two or more solid colors, one of which must be white; black and white, red and white (the red may range from lightest cream to darkest red), brown and white, and roans, to include any such color combination.
Litter Size: 5
Life Span: 9-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Cockers need daily brushing to avoid matting on their legs and regular trimming (at least every two months). Ears must be cleaned regularly.
Personality: Intelligent, playful, highly adaptable, gentle, and fun-loving
Social skills: Gets along with other animals and dogs.
Suitability for Children: Cockers are not recommended to families with young children. Many Cocker Spaniels have behavioral problems resulting in defensive biting.
Exercise Needs: Cockers do not always fit well into family life in an apartment, as they are somewhat temperamental. They need 60-80 minutes daily walk to maintain his good spirits. They love fetch games.
Train Ability: Highly trainable and responsive.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Cocker Spaniels have several serious health problems. Responsible breeders of American Cocker Spaniel will screen their dogs for inherited eye diseases (retinal dysplasia, cataracts), hormonal disfunctions (hypothyroidism), and skin diseases (seborrhea, atopic dermatitis).