American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

Important facts about American Cocker Spaniel dogs including descriptions of the appearance, size, temperament, grooming, health concerns, etc.


Cocker Spaniels come from the same stock as English Cocker Spaniels but are smaller than the English version.

  They began being recognized as a separate breed in the United States around the 1930s but the British did not acknowledge them as a separate breed until 35 years or so later.  Cocker Spaniels can be loving and devoted pets, hunting dogs, tracking dogs, retrievers, or watchdogs.

Cocker Spaniels have sturdy and compact bodies with fine silky coats.  The males are typically 13-16 inches (33-41 cm) tall and weigh around 25-35 pounds (11-16 kg).  The females are slightly smaller at 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) and weighing 20-30 pounds (9-14 kg).  Their coats are short on their heads and longer on their bodies and may even reach the ground.  They come in many colors including black, black and tan, any solid color, particolors, tricolors and roans.  Particolors include white with black points, white with buff points, white with red points, and white with black and tan points.  Cocker Spaniels have long ears that are set low on their heads.  

Lively, happy, and friendly would be a good way to describe the temperament of Cocker Spaniels.  They are also intelligent, responsive, and make good watchdogs.  They are moderately active and adapt well to living in urban areas when they have plenty of space.    
These dogs make wonderful pets for children since they are gentle, happy and sensitive.  Sometimes they may be difficult to housebreak and some like to bark frequently but they like to please people and they are easy to train.  They are generally good-natured but may at times show unprovoked aggression.  Some dogs may develop a condition similar to Rage Syndrome that is an inherited behavioral disorder that is found in some English Springer Spaniels.  Check to see if the any of a dog’s relatives have ever shown aggression before purchasing a dog and beware of poorly bred puppy-mill dogs.  

Regular trimming and brushing are required to keep Cocker Spaniels well groomed.  Owners who prefer to leave the coat long will need to brush it daily and shampoo it often.  Owners who clip the coat to a medium length may find the coat more manageable with daily brushing.  When brushing the coat, be very careful not to pull out the silky hair.  Cocker Spaniels also need their eyes cleaned regularly to prevent infections.

There are no special dietary requirements for Cocker Spaniels however they do require regular exercise.  These are strong dogs with lots of stamina so walking is ideal for them.  Try to avoid walking them in areas of thickets and bushes that may become entangled in their coats.  

There are a number of health problems that Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to.  They often develop ear infections, spinal problems and skin problems like seborrhea or dandruff.  They also may develop eye diseases that may be inherited.  Some common eye diseases Cocker Spaniels may have are glaucoma, cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.  Their life expectancy is generally twelve to fifteen years.