Country of Origin: United States Height: Males 15 inches, females 14 inches
Weight: 15–30 pounds [est.] Coat: Double coat with medium-length, silky, flat or slight wavy outercoat and enough undercoat for protection; ears, chest, abdomen, legs well feathered
Colors: Jet black; any solid color other than black (ASCOB), ranging from lightest cream to darkest red; particolored, which is two or more solid colors, one of which must be white, including black and white, red and white, brown and white, roans|also sable [UKC]
Other Names: American Cocker Spaniel
Registries (With Group): AKC (Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)
Origin and History
The American version of the Cocker Spaniel evolved from early spaniel imports. By the 1940s, he was much smaller and had changed fairly dramatically from his English ancestors, so the breed was given separate status from English Cocker Spaniels. In the middle of the 20th century, he was the most popular breed of dog in the United States—a position he held for many years. He achieved this because he served a dual purpose for many families: companion and playmate during the week, hunting dog on the weekends. In the 1980s through the 1990s, he rose once again to the top of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) registration list. His popularity eventually waned a bit, which allowed for today’s Cocker breeders to focus less on coat and more on temperament. The Cocker is again active in hunting tests and field trials, and he has more of the “merry,” sound temperament that made him so popular in the early 20th century. With his compact size, range of colors, endearing expression, and sweet temperament, he is still a much-loved dog.
A Cocker Spaniel with a sound temperament is possibly the sweetest dog imaginable. Happy, trusting, intelligent, and gentle, with large, soulful eyes, the Cocker Spaniel is utterly endearing. Large enough to be able to share family activities as rigorous as hiking or swimming, yet small enough to be easily transported anywhere, it is no wonder he was America’s top dog for so long.
An active, fairly energetic dog who loves to be out and about, the Cocker Spaniel needs regular exercise. Playful and smart, he loves to engage in games. He is quick to settle down after a long walk.
The Cocker Spaniel’s profuse coat requires regular attention, and owners often decide to use a professional groomer to care for him. He has large eyes and long, feathered ears—these need special attention so that they don’t become infected or excessively dirty.
The average life span of the Cocker Spaniel is 12 to 15 years.
The Cocker Spaniel is easy to train and shines in a full range of fun and competitive activities, including obedience, agility, hunting tests, flyball, and much more. The properly trained Cocker Spaniel makes an exceptional therapy dog.
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