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What Is an American Cocker Spaniel?

Today we are looking at the American Cocker Spaniel.

A really popular and interesting breed.

Some History of the American Cocker Spaniel.

The American Cocker Spaniel is a breed of sporting dog. It is a spaniel-type dog that is closely related to the English Cocker Spaniel; the two breeds diverged during the 20th century due to differing breed standards in the US and the UK.

In the United States, the breed is usually called a Cocker Spaniel, while elsewhere in the world, it is called an American Cocker Spaniel to distinguish it from its older English cousin.

The word cocker is commonly held to stem from their use to hunt woodcock in England, while spaniel is thought to be derived from the breed’s origins in Spain.

The first spaniel in America came across with the Mayflower in 1620, but it was not until 1878 that the first Cocker Spaniel was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

A national breed club was set up three years later and the dog was considered to be the father of the modern breed, Ch. Obo II, was born around this time. By the 1920s the English and American varieties of Cocker had become noticeably different and in 1946 the AKC recognized the English type as a separate breed.

It was not until 1970 that The Kennel Club in the UK recognized the American Cocker Spaniel as being separate from the English type.

The American Cocker was the most popular breed in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s and again during the 1980s, reigning for a total of 18 years.

Character & Temperament

The American Cocker Spaniel, sometimes known as the “Merry Cocker,” is a breed of dog whose breed standard states that the ideal dog of the breed should be “equitable in disposition with no trace of timidity.”
When it comes to intelligence, the breed is ranked 20th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, a ranking that shows high “Working or Obedience Intelligence” or trainability on the part of the dog.

It was discovered that the American Cocker performed best in IQ tests conducted on a variety of breeds in the 1950s and 1960s when tested on their ability to show restraint and delayed response to a trigger. This ability was attributed to the breed’s bred-in ability when hunting to freeze when it finds an animal before flushing it out on command.

However, when it came to manipulating objects with their paws, such as uncovering a dish of food or pulling on a thread, they were found to be the least successful breed tested in this category.

As long as an American Cocker receives a high level of socialization from a young age, it will get along with people, children, other dogs, and other pets.
Despite the fact that this breed appears to have a permanently wagging tail and enjoys being around people, it is not best suited to being left alone in the garden.
Large amounts of background noise, as well as rough treatment or handling, can cause stress in cockers.

Members of the breed were initially used as hunting dogs, but their popularity as show dogs has risen as a result of their success.

Due to the increasing amount of breeding in accordance with the breed standard, it has developed some characteristics, such as a long coat, that no longer qualify it as a suitable working dog.

Health Concerns & Keeping Them Healthy

In surveys conducted in the United Kingdom and the United States and Canada, American Cocker Spaniels had a median lifetime of approximately 10 to 11 years, which was on the lower end of the average range for purebred dogs and one to two years less than other breeds of their size.

The English Cocker Spaniel, which is larger than the American Cocker Spaniel, normally lives about a year longer than the American Cocker Spaniel. According to a survey conducted by the United Kingdom Kennel Club in 2004, the most common causes of death were cancer (23 percent), old age (20 percent), heart disease (8 percent), and immune-mediated diseases (8 percent ).

Lower sample size was used in the 2003 USA/Canada Health Survey, which found that the leading causes of mortality were cancer, liver illness, and immune-mediated diseases.

Cocker Spaniels from the United States Because of the breed’s past high popularity, it has been often bred by backyard breeders or in puppy mills in recent years.

It is because of this indiscriminate breeding that the prevalence of breed-related health concerns has increased in particular bloodlines.

An infection affecting the ears or, in certain cases, the eyes can make American Cocker Spaniels vulnerable to a wide range of illnesses and diseases.

It is unknown how many or what percentage of the breed are affected by progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, or cataracts; nonetheless, some members of the breed have been found to have these conditions.

All dogs intended for breeding should have their eyes examined annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist, according to the American Spaniel Club.

There have also been reports of autoimmunity issues in Cockers, which have been detected in an unknown number or percentage of the breed, including autoimmune hemolytic anaemia (AIHA).

It has been discovered that several drop-eared breeds, like as the American Cocker, are predisposed to ear inflammation.

Additionally, luxating patellas and hip dysplasia have been observed in some members of the breed.

It has been discovered that the breed is prone to cardiac diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy (where the heart gets feeble and enlarged) and sick sinus syndrome (a sort of aberrant heart pounding that causes low blood pressure).

In the case of dogs, phosphofructokinase deficiency is caused by the presence of a recessive gene in their breed that hinders the conversion of glucose into energy, resulting in the dog having severely little energy and being unable to do normal activities.

Despite the fact that the gene that causes this illness is present in approximately 10% of the population, DNA testing can prevent two carrier dogs from breeding and resulting in the birth of puppies with the condition.

Aside from canine epilepsy, American Cockers are also susceptible to Rage Syndrome, which is a disorder that is related to it.

The latter is a type of epilepsy that can cause a typically tranquil dog to erupt in violent assaults that are unprovoked and uncontrollably violent.

According to preliminary findings, both illnesses appear to be passable from parent to child.


These are small to medium breeds and as such the weights below are what you would be looking at for a healthy adult dog.

Coat Care

How do you groom an American cocker spaniel?

Grooming should be performed every 4 – 6 weeks on a cocker spaniel, with special attention paid to the ears once a week. Cockers are a sporting breed that has been bred to flush game from the field.

They may require bathing as frequently as once a week or twice a week to maintain them in good condition.

Cockers have a protective coat with a soft woolly undercoat, which means they need to be brushed on a regular basis.

These dogs are susceptible to getting matted coats!

Aloe Hydrating Spray should be used while brushing out mats, and Dematting & Detangling Spray should be used for general mats.

If the matting is excessive, it may be necessary to shave the undercoat because of the woolly texture.

Exercise Requirements

Exercise is required for the American Cocker Spaniel on a daily basis of at least one hour, but more is preferable, else they will become frustrated.

Consequently, destructive behavior, nuisance barking, and even elopement may be the result. In addition, they demand a great deal of cerebral stimulation and enrichment.

Brain Training Your Dog

The three primary sorts of exercise and activity that you must provide your Cocker Spaniel on a daily basis are as follows:

  • 1. A daily stroll of at least one hour is recommended…I would opt for 1 hour + as these guys have great energy.
  • 2. Purposeful Activity and Unstructured Play
  • 3. Mental Stimulation and Development

This recommended exercise quantity and suggestions are for a Cocker Spaniel that is in good health as an adult. Puppy exercise requirements differ from those of an adult because they are still growing.

The inappropriate amount and type of exercise can cause injury to a puppy’s growing bones and joints, which can be especially dangerous for male puppies.

Check out our simple Puppy Exercise Guide for more information.

As a dog ages, he or she becomes less active and has reduced levels of energy to exert. However, it is still critical that they maintain a moderate level of physical activity in order to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to maintain a healthy weight.

More information on the activity requirements of an older dog can be found here…

Life Expectancy

Around 10 to 11 years is normal for these guys.


Are American cocker spaniels easy to train?

Are American cocker spaniels a simple breed to raise and train?

Here are some great training tips for you to uses in easy-to-remember chunks!

  • As a breed, American Cocker Spaniels have a high level of intelligence, making them extremely easy to train. They are quick learners who rapidly grasp the concepts and learn what is expected of them.
  • Positive training that is consistent and firm will ensure that these dogs do not attempt to take over your role.
    Giving your American Cocker Spaniel praise and positive reinforcement when training him is incredibly beneficial and necessary for the development of the young puppy American Cocker Spaniel.
  • Under no circumstances should you yell at or punish your puppy for not listening – positive reinforcement is the most effective method of training your American Cocker Spaniel.
  • When it comes to praising your American Cocker Spaniel, instead of patting them on the top of their head or back, pat them under their chin or on the chest because this is more compassionate for your dog.
  • The training of your American Cocker Spaniel should not take place over an extended period of time. In order to maximize efficiency, it is preferable to exercise them in short yet frequent sessions throughout the day. An American Cocker Spaniel should be trained 3-5 times per day for 5-minute sessions, according to the manufacturer. This ensures that you have their full attention at any given time.
  •  Reward your young puppy with a canine treat when he or she has successfully completed the task you have assigned to them.
  • A major mistake that a large number of American Cocker Spaniel owners make is allowing their puppy to do things that they would not want them to do in the future when they are young (e.g. laying on furniture). If you allow them to develop this habit, it will be exceedingly difficult to change your dog’s behavior in the later stages of his life.
  • American Cocker Spaniel puppies should begin training at 8 weeks of age, and they typically reach full knowing ability between 8 and 12 weeks of age.
  • Your tone of voice is your most valuable training tool — while praising, use a cheerful tone, and when saying “No,” use a stern tone (but avoid yelling).

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How Much Are They To Buy?

These dogs can command a hefty price of between $1000 to $2000 or more for show dogs. Remember what we said in the health concerns about intensive breeding?

Well, it is a serious factor you need to be aware of. Check out our article on breeders and what you need to know.


Check out our great range of merchandise for this fabulous breed of below!

We have all kinds of shirts for guys and ladies, hoodies, bags, art and fridge magnets and stickers along with mugs, and even kids-size shirts too!

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