American Cocker Spaniel
Dog Breeds

American Cocker Spaniel

Characteristics of American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel
Portrait of nice american cocker

The American Cocker Spaniel is a beautiful and agile dog. Very devoted to the owner. He loves children, loves active games.

Country of originUSA
The sizeMedium
Growth34.5-39 cm
Weight12-14 kg
Age10-15 years old
FCI breed groupRetrievers, Spaniels and Water Dogs
American Cocker Spaniel Characteristics

American Cocker Spaniel Pros and cons


Small size;
Goodwill towards all people;
Do not show aggression towards other dogs;
Easily learn new skills.

Long hair requiring care;
Can sometimes be overly intrusive;
Frequent physical activity and walks are necessary.
American Cocker Spaniel Pros and Cons

American Cocker Spaniel Facts

  • Today, American Cocker Spaniels are sometimes still used for hunting. Usually, hunters cut their pets short, so the feathers on their legs and stomach do not prevent them from moving through the forest.
  • Thanks to their excellent sense of smell, dogs work as service dogs, searching for drugs and explosives.
  • In addition, such cheerful dogs are successfully used for canistherapy. They help patients with nervous disorders and children diagnosed with autism.
  • The breed easily learns all kinds of tricks, so it often takes part in various shows. Sometimes they become circus performers.
  • American Cocker Spaniels love to swim.
  • There is an opinion that the temperament of a pet depends on its color. It is believed that light dogs are docile and calm, while dark ones are more mobile and inquisitive.

History of the breed

Spaniels have always been bred as hunting dogs. Initially, they hunted with falcons, later they became gun dogs.

There is an assumption that a variety of such animals originated in England. As breeding work was carried out, several families were formed: Clumber, Sussex, Irish, Norfolk and Field Spaniels. All these names are associated with the geographical affiliation of the breeders involved in the development of the breed.

There is a version that the American cockers were directly bred in the USA, hence the name. Although scientists have not found official confirmation of this.

When the dogs came to America, local breeders wanted to create their own spaniel, characterized by excellent performance and small size. As early as 1790, breeders noted that the average weight of an individual should not exceed 22 pounds.

Quite quickly, this miniature type of spaniel spread throughout the world. Dogs were valued for their endurance and activity. They were ideal for hunting woodcocks – small birds that live in humid forests. This is where the prefix “cocker” originated. After all, woodcocks were called “woodcock”.

The American Cocker Spaniel is hardy and active.

For the first time a representative of the breed took part in the exhibition in 1883 in New Hampshire.

After this event, more active breeding work began. Cockers were given a more imposing appearance: their coat became longer, several new characteristic breed colors appeared.

Gradually, animals ceased to be hunting animals, they were increasingly used as decorative ones.

The first Club was organized in 1940. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed also in 1940.

The breed was made popular by a black cocker named Brusi. He won twice in the exhibition held at Westminster in 1940 and 1941.

In America, spaniels became very popular in the 1950s. It was at this time that the famous cartoon produced by Walt Disney Studios “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) appeared, where the main character is precisely the American Cocker Spaniel breed dog of a characteristic red color.

Today, such pets are still popular all over the world, including in our country.

The American Cocker Spaniel gained popularity in the 20th century.

Description of the American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is a medium sized dog. Its body is compact. The muscles on it are very well developed.

The back looks a bit slanted. This dog gives the impression of being athletic and active. The physique is proportional.

The coat of such a pet looks like long, flowing waves. The outer hair may be straight or slightly wavy. Curls are considered a significant disadvantage.


In the American Cocker Spaniel, it fully corresponds to the dimensions of the animal. The cranium looks rounded. It shouldn’t be flat. Eyebrows are well marked.

The nose is quite large. Nostrils open. Pigmentation is present – black or brown. It depends on the color of the dog. But a darker color of the nose is desirable.

The eyelids of the American Cocker Spaniel are pigmented in the same color as the nose. The upper lip of the animal should cover the lower jaw, which has a square shape.

Bite, according to the standard, is permissible only scissors. Other options are a vice. The teeth are of medium size.


Eyeballs should be round. The eyelids give the eye an almond shape. Eyes – neither strongly sunken, nor protruding.

The color of the iris in an American Cocker Spaniel should be as dark as possible.

muzzle view of american cocker spaniel


They are long in the American Cocker Spaniel. The ear cloth is elastic and soft. The ears are rounded at the ends. Their coat is long.


Pretty long. This is necessary so that the dog can freely lower its nose to the ground and take the trail. The muscles on it are well developed. The presence of a suspension is not welcome. At the base, the neck is wider, towards the top it becomes narrower.


The back of the American Cocker Spaniel is slightly tilted. Looks strong and strong. The chest looks wide and deep. Ribs well sprung.


Set at the level of the back. In a calm mood, the dog carries it parallel to the back, or slightly above it.

Dropped down and raised up at a right angle will be considered a defect. He is very “alive” in this breed, the dog wags him a lot.


The front legs of the American Cocker Spaniel look straight and parallel to each other. The hindquarters should also be parallel when the dog is standing and moving.

The paws look compact. Their shape is round. The pads are firm.

The setting at the paws should be strictly straight. They cannot be twisted to either side.

american cocker spaniel body photo


Despite their compact size, American Cocker Spaniels run very fast. The productivity of their movements is primarily related to the balance of the angles of all limbs.

The dog pushes with its hind legs and, thanks to the correct setting of the front legs, moves forward as quickly as possible. The step of the pet is light, balanced.

wool cover

The American Cocker Spaniel has a short length on the head and is significantly elongated in the back and abdomen. Feathers are present on the limbs, ears, and chest. They should not completely hide the movements of the pet. Excessive density of decorating hair is not welcome.

The outer hair can be either straight or slightly wavy. The texture of the coat is silky and smooth.

Grooming an American Cocker Spaniel is acceptable. But you can not touch the hair on the back. The feathers are trimmed to look as natural as possible.

Color of the American Cocker Spaniel

According to the standard, the colors of the American Cocker Spaniel can be quite a lot.

Solid black color is uniform, and may have tan marks. White spots in this case are acceptable on the chest or throat.

Any other solid color (from light cream to red) is permitted. Brown and brown and tan are also acceptable. A white mark on the chest or throat is not a defect.

Pati-color – a two-color color option – is allowed. The main color in this case is white, the spots can be black, red, brown, roan. Tan for such individuals is not a marriage.

The tan markings on the American Cocker Spaniel come in a variety of colors, from cream to red and brown. Depends on the main color. They cannot occupy more than 10% of the total color. Permissible on the muzzle (under the eyes, on the cheekbones, on the inside of the ears), on the limbs, under the tail, on the chest.

Burn marks should be clearly visible, have a clear outline.

Height and weight

The ideal height for an American Cocker Spaniel, according to the standard, is: 38 cm for males, 35.5 for females. Deviations of 1 cm in one direction and the other are permissible.

The average weight of an adult individual is approximately 12-14 kg.

Personality of the American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels are known for their peaceful disposition. Excellent companions. They are very attached to the owners, they need constant contact with a person. They do not like to be alone for a long time.

They love children, including small ones. American Cocker Spaniels are incredibly playful and agile. Able to support any active game. They will be happy to go with their family to nature: a picnic, fishing, mushroom picking – all this will incredibly please the pet. It is recommended to take the dog out of the city if possible. Such animals are very fond of water and will swim with pleasure in any open water bodies.

American Cocker Spaniels get along well with other pets. But it is better if they grow with them. Often, dogs awaken their main instinct – hunting – they begin to chase cats, pigeons and other living creatures. To prevent this from happening, enough time should be devoted to the socialization of the dog: introduce him to other pets from a very early age.

Very playful and active. They need regular physical activity. American Cocker Spaniels rarely sit still. They love any kind of active games: running, jumping, searching for a hidden object. With great success they participate in various sports competitions.

running american cocker spaniel

If the dog does not splash out the accumulated energy, then it begins to spoil things in the house. If the pet is not busy with anything, he will find something for himself. After all, American Cocker Spaniels cannot sit idle. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase enough toys for him so that, being alone, the Cocker does not begin to gnaw on shoes and flooring.

If the dog is well brought up and socialized in a timely manner , most likely, he will treat strangers calmly. When the stranger is not threatening, the American Cocker Spaniel will approach and get to know him better. Maybe even let yourself be petted.

Dogs will not show aggression for no reason. On the walking grounds, they behave most often in a friendly manner and are ready to get to know all the dogs. They rarely come into conflict with their relatives.

American Cocker Spaniels do not bark very often. They usually give a voice to warn the owner of the danger.

Security qualities are developed averagely. Since American Cocker Spaniels are very peaceful and sociable, they do not make ideal watchmen.

These pets have a well-developed intellect. They are extremely smart. They are willing to be trained. American Cocker Spaniels master new teams quickly.

Pretty inquisitive. During the walk, the dog is constantly learning new things: smells, sounds, other pets and people.

They love affection. The American Cocker Spaniel will always be happy when he is scratched behind his ear, his stomach is stroked. Tactile contact with a person is extremely necessary for him.

american cocker spaniel playing with owner in the snow


Training is required for any dog ​​breed. If the animal is not brought up, then it will be problematic not only to go for a walk, but also to be in the same apartment. A well-mannered dog behaves with restraint and non-aggression towards other people and pets, he never barks without a reason.

Education is a long and regular process. It is necessary to start it from the first days of the appearance of the baby in the house.

Any misbehavior of a dog is a lack of education and training. If the owner understands that he cannot cope with the training on his own, then you should immediately contact the cynologists.

You can start classes with a puppy from the first days of his appearance in the house. A baby at 2 months old is already quite capable of learning the right behavior: going to the toilet on a diaper, sleeping on his sunbed, eating from his own bowl and not begging for food at the table.

Preparing for the arrival of a new resident – a dog – is important in advance. Buy for him a collar, a leash, a bowl for food and drink, a couch.

Raising an American Cocker Spaniel

Get rid of any dangerous things. For example, all kinds of small objects are best removed from sight, the dog can easily swallow them. Live wires should also be raised higher. Insert special plugs into sockets.

Education for the American Cocker Spaniel is extremely important. If this active dog is not dealt with, then it can literally turn into a “hurricane”. A naughty dog ​​is able to gnaw shoes, spoil the flooring, pull the leash all the time , run away from the owner while walking.That is why it is impossible to pamper the American Cocker Spaniel.

The owner must demonstrate his authority, be the unquestioning leader and “leader of the pack.”

From the first days, it is important for the baby to make it clear that in this house there are certain rules that he must follow. Under no circumstances should you change your mind. For example, if you plan that the dog will sleep exclusively on his own sunbed, then you don’t need to let him on your bed even for one night. Subsequently, it will no longer be possible to explain to the dog what they want from it. The animal will simply get confused and will not understand what is allowed and what is not.

Since these dogs are quite playful and mobile, sometimes they can no longer feel boundaries and begin to bite the owner or even openly bite him. This behavior must be stopped immediately. Distract your pet. Give him a toy or treat. If it does not help, you can lightly hit him on the croup – this part of the body in dogs is the most sensitive. If the behavior is not corrected during the time, then the dog will retain such habits for life.

Never show nervousness and intolerance during the learning process. Keep calm. Don’t yell at your pet. Talk to him calmly, quietly. Achieve every goal, every command given must be carried out.

Persistent repetition of each action in the learning process will certainly bear fruit. Usually, when learning new commands, 30-40 repetitions will be enough for the dog to master the information. Don’t forget about encouragement. Treat him with a treat after each successful execution of the command.

american cocker spaniel in training

Breed content

American Cocker Spaniels are ideal for keeping in a city apartment, due to their small size. A dog doesn’t need a lot of space. Cocker can also be kept in a private house, but, of course, not in an aviary and not in a booth.

The main difficulty in care is, of course, luxurious wool. It will need to be brushed regularly. Ideally, daily. The procedure will help keep the pet’s coat soft and silky, prevent the formation of tangles – matted hairballs, which are then very difficult to unravel. Haircut is allowed. Usually they trim the feathers on the abdomen and limbs, giving the dog a more well-groomed appearance. Grooming is carried out both independently and seek help from a groomer.

In the slush, it is better to wear special waterproof clothing that helps protect the coat from pollution. Dog shoes are also recommended.

For the ears of American Cocker Spaniels, you can buy hats or rubber bands. They are required both during walking in autumn and spring, and in the process of feeding. These devices will allow your pet to wash his long ears less often. Some owners, in order to keep their ears from sinking in a bowl, purchase special narrow and tall dishes for dogs.

After walking, the animal’s paws are checked for various injuries and small dirt stuck in the fur between the toes. Paws should be cleaned after every walk. In the summer, this is done with an ordinary napkin or cloth, in the fall you will have to wash them with warm water. In winter, soap must be used for the procedure to wash off anti-icing reagents from the pads and wool that can irritate the dog’s skin. Also, special protective waxes can be used to protect against cold and salt. They are applied to the paws immediately before walking and removed immediately upon arrival home. Such tools help not only to prevent the formation of cracks and wounds, but also to treat existing ones.

american cocker spaniel in bathtub

Nails are trimmed as they grow. Usually a haircut is needed every 2 weeks. At the same time, in dogs that constantly walk on asphalt, they do not need a haircut at all, because they grind down on the road.

Teeth can be brushed daily. It is recommended to use veterinary pastes and dog toothbrushes for this. For small breeds and puppies, fingertips are fine. You can buy both special and regular children’s. Human toothpaste (including children’s) is not suitable for dogs, because it contains substances that can be harmful and even dangerous to the animal.

It is very often undesirable to wash dogs completely. It is optimal to do this 2-3 times a month. For the procedure, veterinary shampoos are purchased. If necessary, they also buy conditioners, they will help keep the coat smooth and silky longer, and facilitate the combing process.

Ears are cleaned with special lotions for dogs. It is better not to use human means for these purposes: boric alcohol, peroxide, baby powders and creams. The long ears of American Cocker Spaniels need to be monitored very carefully. Often they develop inflammation in the auricles.

Pets are taught to any hygiene procedures from childhood. This should be done gradually, using treats in the form of rewards. Do not scold the dog if he refuses to approach you. Try to find an individual approach, to interest him.

grooming american cocker spaniel

How and what to feed the American Cocker Spaniel

Proper nutrition is important for any breed of dog, including the American Cocker Spaniel. A balanced diet will keep your pet healthy for years to come.

You can feed your pet with industrial rations (dry or wet) or natural products. When choosing any option, a nutritionist should draw up a feeding plan.

Ready-made rations are the most optimal for those owners who do not want to buy a large amount of products and cook them on their own. They are full and non-full. The former do not need to be supplemented with vitamin and mineral supplements, the latter do not contain vitamins and minerals in their composition and are prescribed separately by a doctor.

It is worth giving up complementary foods from the common table. The dog must have its own regime, which must be strictly observed. Feed the animal daily at the same time. At the end of the meal, the plate should be removed, regardless of whether it is empty or not.

american cocker spaniel lying on the floor of the apartment

It is not recommended to overfeed the animal. This may lead to the appearance of excess weight. It is necessary to strictly follow the norm prescribed by a nutritionist. Get a kitchen scale. They will help to correctly measure the daily portions for the dog.

Natural products are a rather complex type of nutrition. In this case, every day you will have to calculate calories and the ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.For people who are not experienced in such matters, this can be quite difficult.

With any type of feeding, proteins should predominate in the diet, since such animals are zoophagous, that is, carnivores. Carbohydrate food is also needed, but in small quantities. It is absorbed much worse. Fat dogs of small dimensions need very little – about 4-5 ml per day.

There are a number of foods that are harmful to pets.

These include:

  • Bones;
  • Grape;
  • Onion and garlic;
  • Sweets;
  • Smoked products;
  • Too salty food;
  • Raw fish and pork.

Chocolate and all its derivatives contain theobromine, a substance very harmful to dogs. Animals should not be given both black and milk and white chocolate and cocoa. Your dog may develop pancreatitis or hepatitis after eating these foods. Keep such food out of the reach of the pet so that he does not find it on his own. Tea and coffee have a similar effect on the body of a pet.

Certain types of fruits are also dangerous. Among them: plums, cherries, peaches and apricots. The seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is also dangerous for humans. In addition, if the dog gnaws the bones, then their fragments can damage the pet’s stomach and intestines with their fragments.

american cocker spaniel sitting in the backyard


The weak point of all spaniels is their ears. Indeed, due to poor air circulation in the auricles, inflammation often appears. If the animal has begun scratching its ears or shaking its head, check its auricles. If problems are found, contact the clinic for an examination and consultation with a specialist.

Even American Cocker Spaniels are often diagnosed with allergic reactions. Most often for food. In the first place among allergens in this breed is chicken skin.

Eye diseases (retinal atrophy, glaucoma, cataracts) and joint problems also sometimes occur.

For the timely detection of any disease, it is recommended to regularly undergo medical examinations with your pet.

Photo of American Cocker Spaniel

Who is this breed for?

American Cocker Spaniels are dogs that are suitable for people planning to get a pet:

  • Sports and mobile;
  • Small sizes;
  • Friendly behavior with relatives;
  • Able to swim well.
The American Cocker Spaniel is a great pet for active owners.
Photo of American Cocker Spaniel

This animal is not suitable for dog breeders who do not want:

  • Regularly groom your pet’s long hair;
  • Spend a lot of time walking and exercising;
  • Timely socialize the dog so that he does not chase domestic animals.

The American Cocker Spaniel is bred by both family and single people. The main rule for the owner is to take care of him properly. With him you need to walk a lot, engage in his training. If possible, take him for a walk in nature.

Families with children are great for American Cocker Spaniels. After all, they are able to become wonderful friends for a child, including a preschooler.

Famous owners

Representatives of this breed are the favorites of several presidents of the United States – John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon.

The latter even mentioned his dog, Checkers, in a campaign speech in 1952 in which he denied allegations of corruption. It was this television address of the politician to the people that later became known as the “Checkers speech”.

Photo of Richard Nixon with American Cocker Spaniel Checkers

How to choose a puppy?

Acquisition of a dog is an extremely responsible step. Each future owner must weigh his chances: will he be able to devote enough time to her, walk with her in any weather, feed her, train her.

The choice of breed must also be approached responsibly. Study the literature about it, talk to dog breeders. Ask them about what dog care includes. Think about whether you can handle it or is it better to choose another breed, the care of which takes less time and effort.

For example, if you work or study a lot and are not at home at all, then the American Cocker Spaniel is not the breed for you. After all, she needs to pay enough attention. She needs human contact.

If you have decided on the breed, then it’s time to start choosing a breeder. You can buy a dog both from a private breeding specialist and from a professional kennel.

American Cocker Spaniel puppy standing on the couch

Before buying, it is important to decide what the dog is for. If only as a companion and family friend, then for a relatively inexpensive price tag from a private breeder, you can buy a healthy puppy with a balanced psyche.

If the baby, when he grows up, will take part in exhibitions, then it is better to contact the nursery. Highly qualified specialists work here, who select for selection only the best individuals that meet the conformation standard of the breed.

Be sure to inspect the room where the kids are kept. It must be clean. Mom and the puppies themselves can not be well-groomed. Breeders who care about their wards wash them regularly.

Check the puppy’s ears, his eyes. Any inflammation of the mucosa indicates an unhealthy condition of the dog. The abdomen cannot be swollen, most often this indicates the presence of helminthiasis .

A high-bred puppy is always sold along with a metric and a veterinary passport. Even in nurseries, all litters are branded or chipped. This helps in case of need to identify the dog. For example, when it is lost or stolen.

Photo of American Cocker Spaniel puppies

What are the owners saying?

We studied in detail the reviews and comments of dog breeders, and made the following conclusions. Owners consider American Cocker Spaniels:

  • Sports and mobile;
  • Very sociable and affectionate;
  • Non-aggressive towards children;
  • Dogs with spectacular appearance.

The vast majority of people believe that they are well trainable. They love their owners and try to please them. Ready to fulfill any command, especially for a delicious treat.

On a walk and at home, the American Cocker Spaniel must be constantly monitored. They love to pick up off the floor. All the time they strive to find and eat something.

Begging at the table is very fond of. You can’t pamper them, because they tend to be overweight. Feed only from your own cup. In food, they are not picky. But there may be an allergy to certain products. When a rash appears, you should immediately contact a specialist.

The coat of American Cocker Spaniels will need to be groomed frequently. So that it does not fluff and does not roll, dog breeders recommend purchasing veterinary shampoos and conditioners. You need to comb your pet daily, otherwise tangles cannot be avoided.

American Cocker Spaniels love outdoor activities. Physical activity they need frequent and long.

American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel price

After contacting some breeders of American Cocker Spaniels, we found out what the price of puppies of this breed is.

For private breeders, the cost is always less – from 400 to 500$.

In nurseries, the price tag for American Cocker Spaniels is noticeably higher – from 800 to 1000$ thousand. The cost of puppies born from titled parents can be very high and reach up to 2000$.

American Cocker Spaniel – Video

American Cocker Spaniel - Top 10 Facts

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