Referenced as early as the 14th century, the American Cocker Spaniel falls within the 'gundog' group, sharing its classification with the Retrievers, Pointers and Setters. The Cocker Spaniel is separated into the English and American variety, although the American is traditionally more popular. Primarily utilised as a hunting gun dog capable of working large acreages and difficult terrain and adept at hunting through water, the Cocker Spaniel was introduced to America in 1620, although it wasn't until 1878 that the breed was officially recognised by the AKC.
A medium-sized breed with a broad muzzle, low-set 'drop' ears, round eyes and glamorous coat feathering on its underside, legs, chest and ears. The Spaniel is common in colour variations of solid black, merle or white, with red, tan, buff or black markings. The texture of the coat is soft, wavy and highly manageable, although it requires regular grooming and bathing. The dew claws are often removed and it is not uncommon to see the tail docked, despite it being an illegal practice across Europe.
Retaining its working instinct, the breed is bold, determined and intelligent, requiring gentle obedience training from an early age. The original family dog, the Cocker Spaniel is highly trainable, making it well suited to domestic living, and is compatible with children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually. Affectionate, loyal and sociable, the breed makes a great addition to family life. On average, a healthy American Cocker Spaniel will weigh 7-14 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when cared for accordingly.
Susceptible to various health complaints that are partly genetic, the American Cocker Spaniel has been known to suffer from optical disorders including glaucoma and cataracts, as well as issues relating to the hips and elbows. More serious conditions specific to the breed are cardiac weakness, epilepsy and liver disease, whilst deafness is also common due to the ears hanging low against the ground. Additionally, the Spaniel is prone to easy weight gain, so feeding human foods is not encouraged as even the smallest amount of fat can be detrimental to the general health of the dog.
Lost our American Cocker last week. Absolutely devastated as he was the world to my wife and I. He was a real character with a great temperament. He was almost 13 years old and was never an ounce of trouble. He just entertained us.
Our home is empty.
This is my second cocker spaniel I have owned. My first a female named Scooter and I have a male now named Chuck. He is a bit more out going then my female was. She was much more laid back. I need to keep an eye on Chuck because he likes food and will eat anything. But he is very smart and the love of my life. It's all about Chuck in this household!
Elsa and Emma, my third and fourth Americans!! A friend refers to them as those American Floozies and he is right. Lots of fun, never aggressive, sometimes demanding, headstrong, loving, high maintenance grooming but they do look the part and the effort is worthwhile. Love the snow - just as well here!! Hate the rain - well 50% on climate is OK! Love walking and free running, obedient and trustworthy with the family. Happy little dogs and the love of my life in case you had not guessed.
Emma is my fourth American Cocker. A happy dog who is a little demon - lovable and mischievous. Elsa is my third American. Beautiful, well behaved, perfect - but can keep the delinquent child in order.
Both are from France which might explain lots!!! I need to brush up my French so Emma understands me!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's hope that she becomes bilingual quickly before I go much greyer. Elsa's command of English is word perfect.
They are the love of my life, they make me smile and laugh and they always welcome me home.
High maintenance for grooming but an evening with a couple of little dogs on your knees as you comb and brush is relaxing and good for bonding.