The American Cocker Spaniel is a direct descendant of the English Cocker Spaniel, which was taken to the United States in the 19th century.
With a royal and elegant appearance, thanks to which it looks truly majestic, combined with an extremely soft and balanced character, the American Cocker Spaniel won the hearts of thousands of owners all over the world, with its tender gaze in thousandths of a second. This dog is the ideal companion for all those who want to give him their love.
Read on and find out all the information about the American Cocker Spaniel, its care, its characteristics and its character as well as the typical facts of this breed of dogs.
In the 19th century, the first copies of the English Cocker Spaniel arrived in North America, and during the last decades of this same century, the breed spread throughout the United States until the foundation of the first official club in 1881, called the American Cocker Spaniel Club.
However, it should be borne in mind that the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel are not the same breed, because the Americans emerged thanks to the work of various breeders who sought a standard closer to their interests. In this way, new lines of work have been established in breeding and cocker spaniel specimens more oriented to be show animals rather than hunting dogs.
This decision raised a lot of controversy between those who wanted the cocker spaniel as a hunting animal and those who sought an animal for canyoning competitions, which is why they began to differentiate the two variants. In 1935, it was forbidden to cross dogs of both breeds, and that same year, the first American Cocker Spaniel club in the world was created. Thus, in 1946, the American Kennel Club officially accepted the existence of two different breeds, recognizing the American cocker spaniel as a breed differentiated from the English cocker spaniel.
Since then, the American cocker spaniel has earned world renown and deserved recognition, becoming famous in the rest of the world and being the pet of well-known celebrities, as well as families from all locations and all cultures.
Characteristics of the American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest breed in the FCI category “Game breeders and bushmen”, weighing between 10 and 12 kg in females and 12-15 kg in males, and a height between 33-36 centimeters and 36- 39 cm. The distance between the highest point of the cross and the ground must be a little shorter than that between the point of the sternum and the point of the buttock, without ever being the animal with the long and short body.
Continuing with the physical appearance of the American cocker spaniel, the head is with rounded lines, with an elongated and broad muzzle, finished in a proportioned and balanced truffle, with a color in harmony with that of its fur, as well as that of the edge of his eyelids. Unlike the English Cocker Spaniel, the muzzle of the American Cocker Spaniel is slightly flatter or shorter.
On the other hand, the coat of the American cocker spaniel is a little longer than that of the English. In general, the hairs present in his head are generally short, except in the upper part of the skull, while the rest of his body has a medium-long, smooth or wavy coat with an inner layer that protects it. Both on the legs and in the chest, abdomen and even the ears, there is a series of bangs that make it a really adorable and fun dog.
As far as the range of colors is concerned, solid black, black with fire marks or white spots on the chest and neck, cream, dark red, brown and brown with fire marks are accepted. The combination of two or more solid colors is also accepted as long as they are well defined and one of them is white, such as black and white.
The life expectancy of the American Spaniel dog is generally between 12 and 14 years in the longer-lived specimens, provided that they have received the appropriate care and that their needs are met in the best way.
Behavior and temperament
The American Cocker Spaniel is a loyal and mischievous breed, which generally has a cheerful and confident temperament. They are always eager to please their owner and they are known to be cooperative and intelligent enough dogs, which listen, understand and obey orders, but they are also known to be stubborn from time to time.
Their kind, obedient and affectionate nature means that they are often good as pets, interacting and responding well, both to children and to other animals. They are known to be happy and cheerful most of the time and like to exercise their wild hunting instinct by running, swimming and retrieving toys.
Unfortunately, behavior consultants see some American Cocker Spaniel dogs with neurotic behaviors. Therefore, you must be very careful when buying or adopting an American Spaniel. You obviously want to choose one of the most beautiful!
The American Cocker Spaniel dog must exercise regularly, but daily walks and games in the garden or in a dog park will suffice. When he socializes well, this dog is friendly and peaceful with strangers and other animals.
Some American Cocker Spaniel dogs, especially adolescents and young adults, are overly submissive. These dogs can suddenly urinate (or drip urine) when they are too excited or intimidated.
Because the blood of generations of hunting dogs crosses the veins of the American Cocker Spaniel, it is particularly attentive to the presence of birds and other small animals. As a result, owners should not leave their dogs on a leash unless the dog is fully obediently trained and has a strong memory, as he may be distracted and try to chase any moving creatures nearby.
Also, one can find some American Spaniel dogs tend to be a bit aggressive or a bit shy. In general, this is due to inadequate socialization at an early age. The most important period to properly socialize this breed is when the dog is 2 to 5 months old.
During this key period, the owner must expose the dog to many new people and new situations in a positive and non-threatening way. Children must learn to treat the dog in a gentle and loving manner so that they learn to trust them. When a young American Cocker Spaniel is carefully introduced to new people, new places and new things, he usually learns to accept them easily and becomes a happy, confident, and gentle family companion.
Although it is a fairly robust animal, it is necessary to pay attention to the incidence of certain diseases in the American Cocker Spaniel which will require specific veterinary checks and follow-ups for their prevention and their good evolution. The first is deafness, because as we mentioned, the buildup of wax and mites in their ears can trigger ear infections which, if not treated properly, can degenerate into temporary or permanent deafness.
To avoid this, we will have to perform periodic cleaning and frequently monitor the condition of our dog’s ears.
Even if we have all the care in the world, it must be said that 7% of American Spaniel puppies are born with congenital deafness, in one ear or in both ears, but if we are able to adapt to it, our pet can live a happy life without problems.
We will also have to pay attention to his eyes, as many specimens have conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, ectropion or glaucoma, the incidence and severity of these disorders become worse as the animal gets older, It is relatively common for the elderly to have visual impairments. To detect and avoid them in time, it is recommended to regularly carry out ophthalmological examinations.
Other important ailments can affect the American cocker spaniel like autoimmune hemolytic anemia or joint pathologies, such as dislocation of the elbow or hip dysplasia, although all are relatively rare and can have a good course with a timely veterinary support.
The American Cocker Spaniel is best adapted for apartment life. The dog requires a lot of attention, on the contrary, the owners of American cockers will have to make sure that keeping dogs is not a cheap pleasure, it requires a lot of material and time costs.
Cocker is not able to independently monitor his own luxurious coat. To prevent the wool from tangling, you will need to comb it daily and periodically cut it, carry out trimming. Caring for a American Cocker Spaniel requires a significant investment. In order for the coat to remain in a beautiful shape, and the dog is not disturbed by allergies and skin irritations, it is necessary to bathe it with the use of special expensive, but high-quality shampoos. Cocker bathing is allowed frequently.
Before the show, the American Cocker Spaniel coat needs careful grooming and a haircut appropriate for the breed.
Cocker eyes require regular care. It is supposed to be thoroughly cleaned with soap, without using cotton, otherwise the villi will end up on the mucous membrane of the eye and cause irritation. Better to use a soft cloth. Regular eye care will help prevent infection.
Ears require constant care, while feeding them it is better to tie them up on the back of the head or use dishes with a narrow neck.
Like any other dog, the American Cocker Spaniel is supposed to have its claws cut, brush its teeth and make sure that dirt or foreign bodies do not crumple between the toes.
When buying an American Cocker Spaniel, keep in mind that cockers are not silent dogs. Greeting acquaintances, feeling strangers, while playing, begging for a treat – the cocker barks loudly. The neighbors will clearly not like this.
When an American cocker gains great freedom, losing control of a person, without feeling leadership, he ceases to realize what is allowed to do and what cannot be done. It will take a lot of time to educate your dog Gaps in upbringing will make the pet uncontrollable, instead of joy, the pet will begin to bring grief.
You can’t buy an American cocker for a child; a cute dog is not a toy to let young children play. Children do not realize that they are capable of hurting the dog. Cocker is not one of the dogs that tolerate children, it is quite capable of biting.
Many American cocker owners want to dress their dogs in warm clothes, especially in winter, forgetting about the presence of wool that does not allow freezing. Clothing interferes with thermoregulation of the body, which negatively affects the quality of the wool.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, which means they burn energy at a very high rate. It also means, that with such a small stomach, they should eat little but often. Foods for small breeds are specially designed with adequate proportions of key nutrients and smaller feed grains suitable for small mouths. It also stimulates chewing and improves digestion.
The first question the new owner asks is: how to feed your Cocker Spaniel puppy properly? Please note that it is better to choose from the very beginning whether you are ready to spend time preparing food for your dog or whether it is more convenient for you to choose the best dry food for the American Cocker Spaniel. Remember that these dogs are prone to overeating, so you should not give them overly large portions of food.
- Up to two months of age – six meals a day,
- 2-4 months. – five times a day,
- 4-6 months – four times a day,
- 6-10 months – three times a day,
From the age of ten months the dog needs to be fed only twice – in the morning and in the evening.
Access to fresh water is needed at all times, especially when feeding with dry food.
The diet includes:
Meat (beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, rabbit, offal); – cereals; – vegetables; – cottage cheese, dairy products (but not milk); – vitamin and mineral supplements.
American cockers are prone to obesity and love to eat, so avoid overfeeding and spoil your pet.
In order to preserve the dog’s quickly grinding teeth longer, you should not often treat it with a bone, it is better to choose a softer product, for example, from veins.
Here is a list of what you shouldn’t feed the American Cocker Spaniel:
- Products containing sugar and cocoa;
- Fatty meat;
- Sausage, sausage and flour products;
- Too hot or cold food;
- Spicy and smoked foods;
- Tubular, chicken or fish bones.
The American cocker spaniel preferably needs about two hours a day to exercise his body and his mind. Enjoy playing to collect items and swim in safe waters. Examine the fur and ears after a walk to remove any seeds from the field, twigs or other remains that may have been taken with it.
American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Highlights
- The American cocker spaniel is a loving and loyal dog by nature.
- He is very intelligent and therefore in good hands easy to train.
- It is very adaptable being as happy to live in an apartment as in a house.
- This dog makes a wonderful pet because it is so nice by nature.
- The American cocker spaniel likes to be busy and likes to do a lot of physical exercise daily.
- The American cocker spaniel loses a large amount of hair all year round, especially in spring and fall.
- It requires very high maintenance on the grooming front.
- He can suffer from many health problems, so veterinary bills can be high.
- He suffers from separation anxiety when left to its own devices.
- Some dogs like the sound of their own voices, which can be problematic.
- The American cocker spaniel can suffer from a few health problems, which means that the bills from veterinarians can be high.
American Cocker Spaniel Fun facts
- The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest hunting dog in the world. It was originally created to hunt, track and chase small birds, such as quail and woodcock, from their hiding places. The American Cocker Spaniel has a soft mouth that does not damage dead birds (killed during the hunt) when it takes them away for its owner.
- This dog is well known as a cheerful and playful dog. He is very cooperative and eager to please his owner.
- The American Spaniel is an affectionate dog. It is suitable for families with children and other animals.
- The American Cocker Spaniel is a friendly, happy and agile dog. It is an intelligent dog that can be easily trained. Regular but gentle training gives the best results for this breed.
- The American Cocker Spaniel can be stored both in small apartments and in houses with a garden. It belongs to the group of active dogs that require daily walks of at least 30 minutes to stay in shape. This dog likes to participate in daily family activities, but also to run, swim and recover and play with various toys. He hates being left alone.
- The American Cocker Spaniel is a popular show dog. He often participates in competitions that assess obedience, skill monitoring and dog agility.
- The American Cocker Spaniel is often used as a therapy dog due to its soft, warm and cheerful nature.
- The thick fur of the American cocker spaniel should be cleaned daily to avoid tangling and matting.
- The American Cocker Spaniel generally gives birth to 4 puppies.