Information on the American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the gun dogs and is typically used for hunting wild birds and small game. Their small size and good disposition make the American Cocker Spaniel easy to keep as a pet when not hunting. Their long coat tends to require a fair amount of maintenance with regular grooming and brushing necessary.
The Appearance of the American Cocker Spaniel
Height: 14 ½ – 15 ½ inches
Weight: 15-30 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
The American Cocker Spaniel has very long hanging ears, a rounded head, and a profuse, silky, feathered, medium-length coat. The upper lip hangs down, covering the lower jaw completely. The eyes are round, set on so they look straightforward. The tail is docked to 2/5 its original length.
The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat sheds twice a year and requires attention to grooming. The colors vary and include solid black, sable, liver, cream or white, and any combination of the three. Show dogs can be any color, but a mixture of black and white makes it easier to spot hunting dogs in the field. Solid sable colored dogs can be difficult to spot in the field and are less desirable for hunters. Because the American Cocker Spaniel’s long, soft coat tends to pick up debris, many hunting dog owners have their dogs given a short puppy cut in the summer to make the animal easier to groom and more comfortable.
Use of the American Cocker Spaniel in Field
The American Cocker Spaniel is a gun dog generally used in hunting birds and small game. Bold and keen to work, and with a small physique, it is ideal for flushing out quarry in the field. As Spaniels are not instinctive retrievers, hunters will often use a Retriever as a hunting companion to an American Cocker Spaniel.
American Cocker Spaniels have plenty of stamina. They tend to be spirited dogs and can be very easily excited. These Spaniels are, however, an intelligent breed and eager to please. They need firm, loving leadership and daily exercise. Harsh training is ineffective. With a fair amount of time and patience they can even be trained to retrieve.
The American Cocker Spaniel at Home
American Cocker Spaniels are versatile animals with a happy, loving, and active nature. They get along well with other dogs and children, making them excellent additions to most families. Cockers will do okay in an apartment if they are adequately exercised, and are fairly active indoors. They are gentle and trusting, lively, playful and devoted.
The History of the American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel, often known as just the “Cocker Spaniel,” originated in the United Kingdom as the English Cocker Spaniel and was brought to the United States near the end of the 19th century. The name “cocker” came about because Spaniels were originally used for hunting woodcock in England. The American Cocker Spaniel is noticeably smaller than the English Cocker Spaniel. American Kennel Club established it as a breed separate from the English Cocker Spaniel in 1947.