American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel Breed description: Character & Co

American Cocker Spaniel


The American Cocker Spaniel is a dog breed recognised by the FCI - Fédération Cynologique Internationale. It originates in the USA and belongs to the retrieving, searching and water dogs (FCI Group 8, Section 2, Standard No. 167).

Origin and history of the Cocker Spaniel

The exact origin of the American Cocker Spaniel is still unclear until today. Originally, however, it was a variation of the English Cocker Spaniel. American dog lovers bred with the European Cocker Spaniel until they later developed their own Cocker Spaniel type, which was seen as a separate breed in 1930 and recognised as a separate breed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1951. The American Cocker Spaniel breed, in contrast to its British relative, was less about creating a hunting dog, but much more about the outcome of a visually elegant family and companion dog. In the middle of the 20th century the American Cocker Spaniel was one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA - their home country.

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Alternate Name -
Origin USA
Life expectancy 12 - 15 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Flushing Dogs
AKC group Sporting Group
KC group Gundog Group

Characteristics of the American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is considered to be very

  • likeable,
  • endearing,
  • approachable and
  • smart.

Since the goal of breeding a family and companion dog was achieved, it is also very good when dealing with children. The American Cocker Spaniel is very people-oriented and is therefore not suitable for being kept in a kennel. They much prefer to be in close contact with their owners. Because of their approachable nature, they are also not very well suited as guard dogs. Their first approach towards strangers is usually in an open and friendly manner. They are considered playful house dogs, which does not mean, however, that they would want to miss out on longer walks out in the open. When they are outside, their hunting and flushing instinct, which they inherited from the British Cocker Spaniel, is quite noticeable. In addition, the American Cocker Spaniel has an extremely curious nature and is always interested in learning and discovering new things. This makes them completely unsuitable for environments, where they don't feel challenged. If they get bored, they might end up finding other ways to occupy themselves. 

Training and keeping of an American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is curious, smart and playful. At the same time it is very easy to handle and is therefore ideal as dog for first-time owners. They are considered to be very robust and due to their weatherproof coat, they enjoy being outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions. Since their hunting instinct is not very highly developed, their owners can easily get a grip on it through loving but consistent training. Attending a dog school with your playful Cocker Spaniel can also be very helpful for this reason. When you take your American Cocker Spaniel on walks, they will always be looking out for the next opportunity to jump into water.

As a dog owner owner you can take advantage of this situation by responding to their playful instinct and letting them retrieve from the water. Mantrailing is also a popular pastime for this dog breed. When keeping an American Cocker Spaniel, it should always be remembered that it is a very family-oriented dog and always seeks out to be close to their owner. Therefore, you should make sure you speak to your dog in a friendly tone. It is advisable to be consistent, but in no case harsh, with this lovely breed.

American Cocker Spaniel in blond sitting on a white background, medium calm dog breed, dog similar to English Cocker Spaniel, blond dog, white dog, yellow dog

Typical diseases of the American Cocker Spaniel

Among the typical diseases of this dog breed are

  • inflammation of the external auditory canal
  • Otitis externa
  • eczema of the chaps
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (eye disease)
  • familial nephropathy (kidney disease)

Care and nutrition of the American Cocker Spaniel

In contrast to the English Cocker Spaniel, the coat care of the American Cocker Spaniel is quite complex due to its long coat. It should be brushed every day and ideally trimmed from time to time. Even the sensitive ears of this breed should be checked regularly by a veterinarian and if necessary they should be groomed professionally.

Buying an American Cocker

If you want to buy an American Cocker Spaniel puppy, you should contact a reliable local breeder. In the best case, this breeder is affiliated to one of the three VDH clubs and therefore trustworthy. It is recommended to visit the puppy in the breeder's home and to get a picture of their surroundings and the parent dogs. They should make a healthy and content impression. Usually, the breeder will give you advice and tips about their health care, important vaccinations, nutrition and answer all the questions you might have about your new little darling. However, it is not so easy to find an American Cocker Spaniel. You will find it much easier to come across an English Cocker Spaniel. A Spaniel club can help you with your search and put you in touch with reputable breeders.

American Cocker Spaniel Dog

With a height of about 38cm measured at the withers, the American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the Spaniel family. An American Cocker Spaniel male can reach an average height of 38cm and can weigh up to 12kg. The shoulder height of Cocker Spaniel females is about 35cm - 36cm, with a weight of about 10kg.

American Spaniels have a strong but compact body with a head that is slightly rounder than that of the English Cocker Spaniel, and long, drooping ears. The fur on their heads is short and fine, whereas the coat on the rest of their body is of medium length. Especially the areas of the chest, the belly and the back of the legs are covered in a dense coat, which makes the small Cocker Spaniel very resistant to harsh weather conditions. The American Cocker Spaniels are known for their elegant colouring. They can have black, chocolate brown, cream, roan or red, unicoloured or spotted. They have a life expectancy of around 12 years or older.

Fur length medium
Fur wavy
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail short
Anatomy slim
Size ♀ 34 - 37 cm
Weight ♀ 7 - 14 kg
Size ♂ 37 - 39 cm
Weight ♂ 7 - 14 kg
Suitable For Children


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American cocker spaniel brown white brushed out, no more curls, dog with curls, dog that goes to shows, well-groomed dog breed, medium dog breed with long coat
American Cocker Spaniel in blond sitting on a white background, medium calm dog breed, dog similar to English Cocker Spaniel, blond dog, white dog, yellow dog
  • Kidney disease

    Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs: increased urination (polyuria) increased water intake. Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Loss of appetite

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

    Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a slowly progressive death of the retina in dogs.

Other medium dogs

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