Cocker Spaniel (A)
- Group – Sporting
- Height – 13-15 inches at the shoulder
- Weight – 11-13 KG
- Life Span – 12-15 years
The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular breeds in America. They’re playful, love people, and adapt to both city and country dwelling. A Cocker needs a lot of exercise, but you’ll find it a joy to have around!
Spaniels, earlier referred to as “Spanyells,” have been around for centuries. This is a large and diverse group of dogs, dating back to the 14th century or perhaps even earlier. Spaniels of all types historically have been bred to hunt, either on land or on water, or sometimes on both. The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the recognized Spaniel breeds and also is the smallest member of the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group.
American Cockers, and English Cockers, were bred specifically to flush and retrieve game birds. In fact, their name probably comes from the “woodcock,” which is a bird that they apparently are especially proficient at hunting. During the 1800s, English Cocker Spaniels were imported to the United States and Canada in quite some numbers by bird-hunting enthusiasts, who valued their exceptional skills at flushing and retrieving woodcock, pheasant and grouse. English Cockers were accepted for show competition in England in 1883, and were given breed status in England’s Kennel Club Stud Books in 1892. In the early to mid-1900s, the American Cockers began to diverge from their English counterparts. American breeders interested in showing Cocker Spaniels competitively in the conformation ring began breeding them down in size, which also made them especially suitable as family pets. The Cocker Spaniel soon became the most popular purebred dog in America.
Hunting enthusiasts resisted the trend towards breeding petite Cockers. In 1935, they formed a separate breed club for the traditional English Cocker Spaniels, called the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, which remains today as the parent club for that breed in the United States. The AKC formally recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a breed distinct from the American Cocker Spaniel in 1946.
The enormous popularity of the American Cocker Spaniel had its benefits for the breed but also brought some unwelcome consequences. Commercial puppy mills and other unscrupulous “breeders” began breeding Cockers indiscriminately, without attention to the health, temperament or well-being of the parents or their puppies. Fortunately, responsible fanciers of the American Cocker Spaniel intervened and continued promoting high-quality examples of their beloved breed. Today’s American Cockers by and large are the endearing, energetic, affectionate companions that made them among the most popular of all purebred dogs.
Personality and Temperament
Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, cheerful, lively, and affectionate.
This breed gets along well with children, other dogs, and most household pets.
Hair, Care and Grooming
Silky, flat or slightly wavy, not overly long. The Cocker Spaniel requires regular grooming with a brush and comb. The ears should be cleaned frequently and a professional clipping and scissoring every 2 to 3 months.
This breed may be prone to major problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and patellar luxation. Minor problems are hip dysplasia, ectropion, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pioderma, and otitis.
Training and Activity
This breed requires consistency in training, but do not be too firm. He’s eager to please and willing to learn, with the right approach.
The Cocker Spaniel can get by with three walks a day, although he welcomes being able to run freely now and then and enjoys swimming when given the opportunity.
The American Cocker Spaniel is prone to obesity, so it is important that you provide a healthy diet but do not overfeed your dog. A dog food formulated for small breed dogs or healthy weight management is recommended.