American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel pictures
American Cocker Spaniel suitability

In my own words


I hate to brag, but did you know that I’m one of the most popular breeds in the United States of America? It’s true and I can tell you exactly why. It’s all down to my personality. I know, I know… I shouldn’t really say it myself but I’m just telling you what people have told me. I have a reputation for being sweet, gentle and playful. I’m a lot more easy going and relaxed than a lot of the other dogs that you see around; they can be so highly strung! No, I’m just content to be around my family.

I’m a naturally cheerful dog. I just can’t help myself! Life’s just too short to be stressed and upset about things. That’s why my tail is nearly always wagging. I’m just so happy and thankful to have my family in my life. I love them so, so much! Of course, I love most people. Oh and I love other dogs. And cats. Well, let’s just say I love everyone and everything!


My ideal owner(s)


Hikers and ramblers

City or country folk


Committed groomers

Sociable people

People who work from home


What they say about me


Sweet and gentle



Loves everybody


Excellent retriever

Silky coat


Please read on to find out more about me, and whether I’ll be someone you’ll be happy to live with for the next 11 years!


Is this American Cocker Spaniel for you?

Test your knowledge about the American Cocker Spaniel

Information essential about the American Cocker Spaniel


Kennel Club Group:



Small: Weight Male 14 – 15” (36 – 39 cm) Female 13 – 15” (34 – 37cm)

Height Male 24 – 29 lb (11 – 13 kg) Female 24 – 29 lb (11 – 13 kg)




The American Cocker Spaniel first became popular towards the end of the 19th Century in America and Canada. At this time, they were prized for their ability to hunt as well as their sweet companionship. Today, the American Cocker Spaniel is still very popular, though it is not usually kept as a working dog anymore. Instead, the American Cocker is more often than not found in the show ring or as a family pet. The American Cocker Spaniel is one of America’s most loved, most popular breeds.


Breed History:


Betraying its name, the American Cocker Spaniel actually originates from a Spanish breed. The Spanish Spaniel is the oldest type of Spaniel and was bred to be a hunting and retrieving dog. The Spanish traded and gave away their Spaniels as gifts, spreading them to England.

It is thought that the first spaniel to arrive in America cam e in on the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. As more settlers arrived, more spaniels were brought into the country to help the people explore and scout out the country. The spaniel was an English Cocker and the modern day American Cocker Spaniel was developed from this breed during the 19th Century.

At first, the American Cocker was distinguished from the English Cocker based solely on size. As breeding continued and the breed became purer, more differences were seen between the two spaniel breeds. In 1935 breeders established the English Cocker Spaniel Club and discouraged breeding between the two varieties. By the 1940s the two breeds could not be judged together in shows as they were so vastly different, and in 1945 the American and English Spaniels were separated and given their own distinctive breed standards.




Bred to be hunters and retrievers, American Cocker Spaniels thoroughly enjoy working as gundogs however they also make lovely pets for homes which do not partake in hunting or have need of a sporting dog. Your American Cocker Spaniel is charming, friendly and sociable. He loves to be around his family and other dogs and animals and gets on well with everyone. American Cocker Spaniels are very playful, but also sensitive and gentle which makes them excellent pets for families with children. As they are such sociable dogs, American Cocker Spaniels need an owner who won’t leave them alone for long periods of time as they will become bored, stressed and may resort to destructive behaviour such as chewing, and excessive barking.




Your American Cocker Spaniel is wonderfully intelligent, ranking 20th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, making him an easy dog to train.  Tests carried out in the 1950s and 1960s also showed that the breed is excellent at showing restraint, a skill which was most likely bred into him in order to create his ability to freeze while hunting game so as not to scare it off. A very happy and joyful dog, your American Cocker Spaniel seems to always be wagging his tail in jubilance. However, he is also sensitive and can be frightened of loud noises, rough treatment or harsh tones of voice – so you need to be gentle around your American Cocker and treat him with respect. Your American Cocker Spaniel is very curious and can be mischievous, demanding a lot of their owner’s time, attention and affection. Patience is a must for American Cocker Spaniel owners.




The American Cocker has a relatively small frame with good proportions. The head is well developed and rounded while the muzzle is broad and squarely shaped. Strong jaws meet in a perfect scissor bite. Round eyes are dark and large while the ears are long and hang down. The strong neck leads to a deep chest with well sprung ribs. The legs are fairly short, but strong and well boned, leading to round and compact feet. The American Cocker’s tail is carried in line with the back, though it may be carried slightly higher than this. The American Cocker Spaniel has a long, silky coat which may be flat or slightly waved. The hair is shorter on the head, while the ears, chest and legs should be well feathered.




The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat can come in three colour varieties – black, any solid colour other than black (ASCOB) and parti-colours. The black shade can be either entirely black or show tan markings on the head feet and tail, called black and tan. ASCOB types can be any solid colour from pale cream to dark red, occasionally lighter colouring on the feathering may be allowed. Parti-coloured coats are white with coloured marking such as black or brown. Parti-coloured also includes roan coloured dogs, which are rare. Merle shades of American Cocker Spaniel are also seen, but are not recognised by most Kennel Clubs.




American Cocker Spaniels tend to be quite easy dogs to train, which helps attribute to their immense popularity. Be sure to train your American Cocker consistently and from a young age in order to let him reach his full potential and for you to end up with a polite, obedient and well-mannered dog. They can be sensitive, so use reward based, positive training methods with your American Cocker and never speak to him harshly or treat him severely.




The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat needs a great deal of maintenance in order to keep it healthy and free from mattes and knots. A thorough brush every day and regular trims are necessary. In addition, it is important to bathe the American Cocker Spaniel frequently to keep his coat and skin clean as well as minimise odour. As your American Cocker is prone to ear infections, his ears must be checked and cleaned often. The lips should also be checked for signs of infection and the teeth require regular cleaning to avoid decay. Particular attention should be given to the feet as the hair can become matted and dried mud can become stuck in the hair there.





American Cocker Spaniels have an average lifespan of around 10 to 11 years, which is low for a pedigree breed as well as one or two years less than most other breeds of the same size. The most common causes of death are cancer, old age and cardiac in nature. Immune-mediated issues are also a leading cause of death. The high popularity of the breed has led to puppy mills and backyard breeders breeding the American Cocker Spaniel, leading to health issues in certain bloodlines. The American Cocker Spaniel is particularly prone to ear and eye infections such as retinal atrophy, glaucoma and cataracts. Autoimmune disorders have also been noted in the breed, including haemolytic anaemia. Luxating patella and hip dysplasia have also been seen. Heart conditions which the American Cocker Spaniel is susceptible to include dilated cardiomyopathy (a weakened and enlarged heart) and sick sinus syndrome, which causes low blood pressure. The genetic disease Phosphofructokinase deficiency is also seen in American Cockers and prevents the metabolism of glucose into energy, creating a very low energy and fatigued dog that cannot exercise. American Cocker Spaniels are also prone to epilepsy and rage syndrome, a form of epilepsy which can cause a well-mannered, relaxed dog to become suddenly violent without provocation.




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Advice on choosing your breed »

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The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if an American Cocker Spaniel is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1 = strongly disagree, and 5 = strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that is sociable when meeting new people, look down the list under ‘behaviour’ and you will see that American Cocker Spaniels are very friendly with strangers, scoring 5. If you are looking for a dog that would make a good retriever, look under ‘activities’ and you’ll see an American Cocker Spaniel would be an excellent choice, also scoring 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your choice.


Be the first to rate this breed »

Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming5/5
Likes learning new tricks4/5
Likes to hunt5/5
Likes to fetch5/5
Good gundog/retriever5/5
Barks a lot3/5
Gets easily jealous4/5
Friendly with strangers5/5
Expensive to insure3/5
Expensive to feed3/5
Happy to sleep outside1/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment4/5
Prefers temperate climate5/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate3/5
Moults a lot4/5
Requires lots of grooming5/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly4/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children5/5
Good watch dog1/5
Good guard dog1/5
Good with other pets5/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs1/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs2/5
Requires lots of exercise4/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners3/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall3/5
Easy to train5/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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