American Cocker Spaniel Dogs

Despite the rather foofy version of the American Cocker Spaniel often seen in the show ring, this dog is extremely hardy and loves to romp in the woods as much as it takes pride in being in a show. They need a moderate amount of exercise and, ideally, a place to run and do field work.

American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel Pictures

  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named Tanner
  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named Zeus
  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named Kelly
  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named ~*Casey*~ Rest in Peace
  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named Ruari (Irish: Red King)
  • American Cocker Spaniel dog named Shadow  (5/28/91-2/17/06)
see American Cocker Spaniel pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 15 to 30 pounds
  • 14 to 15.5 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Hikers
    • Adopters for life
    • Country or suburban dwellers
    • Families (young children supervised)
    • Ardent groomers
    Non-allergy sufferers

American Cocker Spaniels on Dogster

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Trademark Traits

    • Long, silky coat
    • Large, liquid, wide-set eyes
    • Distinct "eyebrows"
    • Sweet, gentle disposition
    • Diligence and endurance
    • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

What They Are Like to Live With

Grooming an American Cocker Spaniel is time-consuming, with a bath and trim needed about every two weeks. Be prepared to find fur everywhere -- these dogs are big shedders. American Cockers are very people-oriented, so make sure you have lots of time to spend loving them.

Things You Should Know

Though American Cocker Spaniels are generally easy-going dogs, they tend toward crankiness and snappiness as they get older. This may be because of health issues or bad breeding (they have been bred for looks, not for temperament) and should not be a reason to surrender a pet -- it can often be rectified with vet visits and renewed obedience training.

The American Cocker Spaniel is known to have a few health problems. These include hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, and liver disease. As they get older, they tend to have cataracts and glaucoma, sometimes causing blindness. Adjust to your American Cocker's loss of vision by limiting the space the dog moves in, keeping furniture and objects in the same place, and always approaching slowly so your pet has time to identify its human.

American Cocker Spaniel History

The term "cocker" comes from the breed's original purpose, which was to hunt woodcock. Spaniels are a very old breed that was developed in Spain; the English Cocker Spaniel was brought to America with our forefathers.

The American Cocker Spaniel was first registered with the AKC in the early 19th century. By the 1940s, the English Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a separate breed by the AKC.

The American Cocker and the English Cocker were both were bred to flush game and retrieve it with a "soft mouth," returning the prey without harming it. Today they are more likely to be seen in the show ring.

The Look of a American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel are often confused, but there are some distinct differences. The American Cocker is smaller, with more streamlined looks. Its head is rounder, its snout is a bit shorter, and it has a smaller bone structure.

American Cockers have large, soft, round eyes; a narrow stance; and an elegant gait. Their coat is long (the English Cocker's coat is shorter) and most commonly buff, though they can be seen in particolor, black, and any other solid color.

Talk About American Cocker Spaniels 

The perfect companion dog

To say I love Max, my American Cocker Spaniel, is an understatement! He's the perfect dog for anyone wanting a companion that is attentive, beautiful, smart and quiet. The best way to describe Max is ADAPTABLE. Max handled coming into the office every week day like a champ. He was friendly and yet absolutely quiet with everyone that stopped by. I've taken hundreds of conference calls and no one knew he was in the room unless I offered that information.

At home during the night, if he heard an unfamiliar noise or if he needed to go out to relive, we was willing to bark to sound the alarm. In between, he offered kisses and attention, will go on a walk with you (as long as it's not too long or too hot) and probably most of all loves a leisurely day sleeping in the living room and just being with the family. At 25 pounds, Max is easy to feed, groom (although this must happen regularly) and love. No one can have Max, but I would recommend American Cocker Spaniels to all families!

~Cynthia C., owner of an American Cocker Spaniel