(aka: American Cocker Spaniel)
The Cocker Spaniel is a pretty, dignified, and elegant looking dog, with a silky, medium length coat and a shorter, undercoat. The coloring can be black, buff, or chocolate, and may have tan trims. The ears of the Cocker Spaniel are long, silky, and hang to the side, adding to its sweet and innocent expression. These dogs are about 13-16 inches in height, and the weight of the Cocker Spaniel is around 22-28 pounds. His body is small but sturdy, and he is a medium shedder, which means that he is not ideal for those with allergies.
Cocker Spaniel Temperament
A charming and gentle mannered creature, the Cocker Spaniel is a dog that enjoys playing but also has a clam and dignified manner about him. This is a dog that gets along well with children, especially when raised with them, and get on well with other animals and with strangers. The Cocker Spaniel is a sociable and amiable dog with a cheerful outlook on life and a responsive attitude. He is highly intelligent making him a stand-out at obedience training. The Cocker Spaniel is a dog that will usually be pretty easy to train, and will be fine for the more inexperienced dog owner as well as more experienced owners.
The Cocker Spaniel is a willing, enthusiastic, and keen dog, and is eager to please, active, and very friendly. Owners may find that these dogs are difficult to housebreak, and often barking can be a problem. These dogs are affectionate, which is great news for those looking for a devoted pet, but the Cocker Spaniel can sometimes get a little over dedicated and clingy, which makes him something of a demanding pet, and certainly not ideal for those that cannot dedicate the time to look after a pet and pay it plenty of attention.
The coat of the Cocker Spaniel should be brushed every couple of days in order to keep it in good condition, and every couple of months or so you may need to get the coat clipped. Also, during grooming sessions you should check the ear canals to ensure that they are clean and dry.
The American Cocker Spaniel was developed by very selective breeding of the English Cocker Spaniel, although the two now look distinctly different. The American Cocker Spaniel is more of a companion dog and less likely to be used for hunting than the original English Cocker Spaniel. Through selective breeding in the United States the Cocker Spaniel has become smaller and showier than the original hunting breed. The conformation has also changed to a more elegant and stylish dog from the hardy and practical spaniel that is more typical of the English lines. The American Cocker Spaniel was never used as extensively as a gun and hunting dog in the United States although it is excellent in hunting upland game birds such as pheasants, quail and partridges.The Cocker Spaniel become increasingly popular and was one of the most popular breeds of dogs according to the American Kennel club in the 1940's. At this time the breed was almost exclusively used as a companion dog, much as it now is. Currently the Cocker Spaniel is considered the fifteenth most popular dog breed in the United States and continues to be a favorite around the world.
Training the Cocker Spaniel should begin at the earliest possible age, especially in regards to socialization. A very friendly and affectionate breed, the Cocker Spaniel can become shy or nervous around new people if it doesn't become accustom to new people and places. Typically a Cocker Spaniel will have no trouble interacting with new dogs or other pets such as cats or rabbits or even livestock. They have little prey instinct although, like any dog, are more than willing to chase other animals just for the fun of it.
The Cocker Spaniel is a very willing learner and truly wants to please the owner. Unlike some of the hunting breeds they do not have a strong streak of independence and are generally very compliant. House training may be a problem for this breed and crate training is recommended to help with the process. They are very sensitive to the tone of voice used by the owner so it is very important never to raise your voice or use overly harsh tones when correcting the Cocker Spaniel. Crate training helps alleviate the need to try to correct the dog, as most experts agree that punishment is the least effective house training method for any breed.
The Cocker Spaniel does best when trained basic commands with lots of rehearsal and practice. They do need time to learn the basics and do best when not overwhelmed with a lot of different commands all at the same time. Start with come and sit, move on to lie down and stay, then on to the more advanced levels of commands. Barking may be a problem so start early in encouraging the Cocker Spaniel to bark once or twice and then stop, don't let them get into the habit of lots of barking.
Lead and collar training is important for this breed at an early age. They are generally very easy to train to heel, and a puppy obedience class can assist with all training requirements plus with socialization.
The life expectancy of the Cocker Spaniel is around 10-14 years, and there are a number of health problems that are linked to this breed. This includes PRS. HD, cataracts, autoimmune problems, skin conditions, and epilepsy. You should ensure that the parents of the Cocker Spaniel have OFA and CERF certificates.