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American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel

Distinctly different to the English Cocker Spaniel, the American Cocker is smaller, with a more rounded skull and a profuse and glamorous coat.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight:  10 – 15kg 
Height:  34 – 39cm
Colours:  Black, liver, red, golden, black with tan points, brown with tan points and parti-colour. Some distinct markings may be present, specified by the breed standard
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
American Cocker Spaniel with sticking out tongue

Personality

This is a merry and busy little dog. They should be confident and cheerful, although early and thorough socialisation is recommended to avoid fearful or anxious behaviour. One of the smallest of the gundog types, the American Cocker is an intelligent dog who will thrive in a family environment, given sufficient company, exercise and training. 

American Cocker Spaniel sitting on the carpet

History and Origins

Country of Origin: America

The English Cocker is said to have arrived in America with the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower in 1620. However, this is a claim many have tried to apply to their ancestors, canine or otherwise, and in any case, the Mayflower’s journey pre-dates the UK Kennel Club by over 250 years, and thus the spaniel types had not yet been split into clearly defined breeds. 

It is reasonable to suspect that early settlers from Britain would have taken the useful working and hunting breeds they had with them to America, and the records do show that a spaniel type was listed as travelling on the Mayflower. 

As with the English Cocker Spaniel, the American Cocker was developed to flush and retrieve woodcock and other game birds. They are now popular in the showring or as companions, but still retain some of their hunting instinct.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Disney animated film “Lady and the Tramp” features a cartoon animated version of an American Cocker Spaniel as Lady. However, it was story artist Joe Grant who came up with the idea for Lady and the Tramp, inspired by the antics of his English Springer Spaniel, Lady!
  • Celebrity owners of American Cocker Spaniels include Charlize Theron, Oprah Winfrey and 37th President of the USA, Richard Nixon.
  • American Cocker Spaniel’s are the smallest gundogs in the world. 
  • This breed is popularly used as a therapy dog due to their kind and happy natures. 
  • A Cocker Spaniel called Tangle was the first ever cancer-detecting dog and apparently his success rate was 80 percent! 
Dog with red collar looking out the window
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