Similar to its English counterpart, the American Cocker Spaniel is a small but athletic dog. Under all that silky fur is a born gun dog and athlete. Their full show coats can be hard to maintain, but you can always clip the longer feathers and get help from a groomer to maintain all that luxurious fur. Eager to please, training should be straight-forward for your American Cocker Spaniel. They are very sweet but sensitive, and hate to be left alone.
American Cocker Spaniel breed attributes
About American Cocker Spaniel breed
The American Cocker Spaniel breed has a round head, with huge dark eyes, and soft, silky, floppy ears. Their muzzles are shorter than those of the English Cocker Spaniel. The American Cocker Spaniel’s eyebrows are also more pronounced, and their eyes are rounder.
Under all that silky fur, the American Cocker Spaniel is small but athletic. The strong back slopes towards the hindquarters, and the chest is deep with plenty of room for the heart and lungs. The legs are strong and straight, which is ideal for what was originally a sporting breed. Although the tail was traditionally docked, this is now illegal in many areas as it is considered inhumane.
The American Cocker Spaniel has medium to long silky hair which often is slightly curly. The fur on the head is short and fine, but the fur on the belly, chest, and ears is longer and feathery. This feathering is meant to protect the dog from scratches or other injuries as it makes its way through the field.
Unless you plan on showing your American Cocker Spaniel, you may wish to trim the feathering to keep your dog clean and tidy, and to avoid tangles. Your American Cocker Spaniel will also need daily brushing. Be sure to clean the Cocker’s dangling ears to keep them clean and to prevent infection. The American Cocker Spaniel sheds heavily, but daily brushing should reduce this.
The American Cocker Spaniel comes in many colours. The main varieties are black/black and tan, any solid colour other than black, and parti-colour (patches). The solid colours are highly variable, ranging from dark red to cream.
The American Cocker Spaniel is a fairly healthy dog, but is prone to a few conditions:
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems
- Automimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA)
- Idiopathic epilepsy
- Primary seborrhea
At Newdoggy.com, we recommend that you buy your dog from reputable breeders, who use genetic testing and good breeding practices to remove genetic conditions from their breeding lines.
The American Cocker Spaniel is very trainable and friendly. They love to please, though treats are helpful too! Cockers are very responsive to tone of voice, as they are sensitive dogs, so speak gently to them. Never use harsh training methods on your American Cocker Spaniel, as it will only hinder your dog’s learning!
If you use appropriate training methods (such as positive reinforcement training) and socialise your dog correctly, you’ll find that your American Cocker Spaniel is willing to please and able to learn a wide variety of commands and tricks.
The American Cocker Spaniel is happy and affectionate, and gets on with just about everyone. They are sensitive dogs, and some are prone to excitable/submissive urination. Good socialisation is important to help your puppy to grow up to become a good canine citizen. If properly socialised, your American Cocker Spaniel will get on with just about everyone: people, dogs, and even cats!
The American Cocker Spaniel can live comfortably in an apartment so long as they are properly exercised. They are sporting dogs, so need the opportunity to stretch their legs; a long daily walk is very important to keep your dog fit and happy. Ideally, allow your American Cocker Spaniel access to a small garden or yard, but don’t make them live outside or they will become bored, which can lead to problematic behaviour. This breed hates to be left alone, and tends to suffer from separation anxiety. If you are out a lot, this might not be the dog for you.
The good news is that the American Cocker Spaniel is an ideal family pet. They get on well with children, and make a perfect playmate. They also get on with other pets, including cats.
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