American Cocker Spaniel

Overview

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 America and the UK. In the United States, the breed is usually called the Cocker Spaniel, while elsewhere in the world, it is called the American Cocker Spaniel in order to differentiate between it and its 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 type'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. A national breed club was set up three years later and the dog 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 recognised the English type as a separate breed. It was not until 1970 that The Kennel Club in the UK recognised 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. They have also won the best in show title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on four occasions, and have been linked to the President of the United States on several occasions, with owners including Richard Nixon and Harry S. Truman. In 2013, the cocker spaniel ranked 29th the American Kennel Club registration statistics of historical comparisons and notable trends.
The breed is the smallest of the sporting dogs recognised by the AKC, and its distinctly shaped head makes it immediately recognisable. In addition, there are some marked differences between it and its English relative. It is a happy breed with average working intelligence, although by being bred to a show standard it is no longer an ideal working dog. Members of the breed suffer from a wide variety of health ailments including problems with their hearts, eyes and ears.

Information

See all American Cocker Spaniel information below!

Nicknames
Cockers, Cocker Spaniel
Hypoallergenic
No
Litter Size
5.0
Breed Type
Purebred
Breed Group
Sporting
Breed Coat Type
Medium

Characteristics / Temperament

Dogs have several different traits or characteristics which may or may not be right for you. Learn if the American Cocker Spaniel has the set of characteristics that are right for you.

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Coat Colors

The recognised colors of the American Cocker Spaniel are: black, white, brown, grey, red, and yellow.

Life Expectancy

The American Cocker Spaniel has a life expectancy of 10 to 11 years.

Height and Weight

The American Cocker Spaniel typically weighs between 15 to 31 pounds, placing it on the heavier end of dog breeds. It's typically 14 to 16 inches in height.
Gender Weight Range Height Range
Male 15 pounds - 31 pounds 14 inches - 16 inches
Feamle 15 pounds - 31 pounds 14 inches - 14 inches

Food Consumption in Cups

The American Cocker Spanielwill require on average 2.0 cups of dog food daily for proper nutrition.

American Cocker Spaniel Photos

View all American Cocker Spaniel photos below in the Pettium American Cocker Spaniel photo gallery.

History

The fasinating history of the American Cocker Spaniel below.

The word spanyell is thought to date from the late 12th century when it was used to name a type of dog imported into England from Spain, with the span part of the word referring to the country of origin. Records from the mid-14th century show that selective breeding was already in place, with the breed being separated into two distinct types, called water spaniels and land spaniels.[3] By 1801, the smaller variety of land spaniel was called the Cocker or Cocking Spaniel, so named for its use in flushing woodcock.

According to historical records, the first spaniel was brought to North America aboard the Mayflower which sailed from Plymouth, England and landed in New England in 1620. The first Cocker Spaniel recorded in America was a liver and white dog named Captain, who was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1878. In 1881, the American Cocker Spaniel Club was formed; it would later become the American Spaniel Club (ASC) and is now known as the oldest breed club for dogs in the United States. The task of the club was initially to create a standard to separate the Cocker Spaniel in America from other types of land spaniels, a task which would take over 20 years, only being completed in 1905.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the breed had become popular in America and Canada due to their dual use as a family pet and a working dog. In the early 20th century the breeders on either side of the Atlantic had created different breed standards for the Cocker Spaniel and the breed gradually diverged from one another, with the two becoming noticeably different by the 1920s. The American Cockers by now had a smaller muzzle, their coats were softer and the dogs overall were lighter and smaller. The differences were so apparent that in 1935, breeders founded the English Cocker Spaniel Club and restricted breeding between the two types of spaniel. The two types of Cocker Spaniel in America were shown together as one breed, with the English type as a variety of the main breed, until 1946 when the American Kennel Club recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a separate breed.

Health Problems

Learn the common health problems associated with the American Cocker Spaniel dog breed.

American Cocker Spaniels in UK and USA/Canada surveys had a median lifespan of about 10 to 11 years, which is on the low end of the typical range for purebred dogs, and one to two years less than other breeds of their size. The larger English Cocker Spaniel typically lives about a year longer than the American Cocker Spaniel. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (23%), old age (20%), cardiac (8%), and immune-mediated (8%). In a 2003 USA/Canada Health Survey with a smaller sample size, the leading causes of death were cancer, hepatic disease, and immune-mediated.

American Cockers previously high popularity resulted in the breed frequently being bred by backyard breeders or in puppy mills. This indiscriminate breeding has increased the proliferation of breed related health issues in certain bloodlines.

American Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to a variety of illnesses, particularly infections affecting their ears and, in some cases, their eyes. Although the number or percent of afflicted dogs is not known, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, and cataracts have been identified in some members of the breed. The American Spaniel Club recommends annual eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist for all dogs that are to be used for breeding. Autoimmune problems in Cockers have also been identified in an unknown number or percent of the breed, including autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). Ear inflammations are common in drop-eared breeds of dog, including the American Cocker, and luxating patellas and hip dysplasia have been identified in some members of the breed.

Heart conditions such as dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and sick sinus syndrome, which is a type of abnormal heart beating which causes low blood pressure, have been identified in the breed. Phosphofructokinase deficiency is a condition caused by a recessive gene in the breed which prevents the metabolism of glucose into energy, causing the dog to have extremely low energy and be unable to exercise. The gene which causes this appears in around 10 percent of the population, but DNA testing can prevent two carrier dogs from breeding and thus creating puppies with this condition.

American Cockers are also prone to canine epilepsy and the related condition known as Rage Syndrome. The latter is a form of epilepsy which can cause a normally placid dog to engage in sudden and unprovoked violent attacks. Initial research shows that both conditions appear to be inheritable.