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(American) Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 13-15 inches from shoulder
Weight: 20-30 lbs.
Life Span: 12-15 years
Coloring: Solid black, cream, and reddish/brown; parti-color, which includes white
Area of Origin: United States
Similar Breeds: American Water Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Sussex Spaniel, Field Spaniel

History and Origin:

The Cocker Spaniel was given its name due to its ability to hunt woodcock. It is also the smallest breed belonging to the sporting class. However, they weren’t placed into a dog group until 1883, which eventually recognition of the breed by the English Kennel Club in 1892. Cockers have existed in the U.S. since the 1880’s, but slowly evolved and eventually became two distinct breeds. As a result, the AKC acknowledged the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel as two different breeds in 1946.

Personality and Temperament:

Cocker Spaniels are kind, playful, vigilant, intelligent, and lively dogs. They love spending quality time with the entire family, especially if it involves a fun activity. These dogs also do well with other pets and children, as long as they’re treated respectfully. Overall, they’re a well-rounded breed with a good temperament, making them ideal family pets. After all, they are one of the most popular dogs in America.

Exercise & Training:

Cocker Spaniels are active dogs that enjoy being outdoors, as they were developed to be out in the open field hunting game. They need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise in order to be happy and healthy. However, thanks to their size, they do just fine living in smaller homes or even apartments, as long as exercise is provided. Enrolling the dog in a sport is also a good way to provide exercise. Some of the sports that Cockers can participate in include; agility, fly-ball, tracking, and obedience trials. Cocker Spaniels are sensitive dogs, and should not be trained using force, negative reinforcement, or even harsh verbal corrections. This usually results in either defensive behavior such as growling and snapping, or fear and anxiety. The best way to go about training is to be patient, gentle, and most importantly, use positive reinforcement to encourage desired behavior. Socialization should also be started at a young age, so that the dog develops good manners and can socialize with people and other pets.


Owners that want to maintain a puppy cut need to have their dogs professionally groomed about twice a month. Those who opt to keep the coat natural will need to brush and bathe the dog at least once weekly in order to keep it clean. Trimming the areas with longer hair such as the rear end, around the ears, and near the abdomen may also be necessary. Lastly, the breed is prone to ear infections, so it is important that the ears are regularly cleaned and checked for any abnormalities.

Similar Breeds:

Some of the gun dog breeds similar to the Cocker Spaniel include; American Water Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Sussex Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, and Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Interesting Facts about the Cocker Spaniel:

1. The Cocker Spaniel was the most popular dog in the U.S. for 16 consecutive years from 1936 to 1952.

2. Prince William and Kate Middleton own a Cocker Spaniel named Lupo, which was produced with a Cocker belonging to Kate’s mother.

3. Throughout the years, Cocker Spaniels have been owned by several U.S. government officials including; Richard Nixon, Harry S. Truman, and Bill Clinton.

4. Cocker Spaniels have earned the Westminster Dog Show “best in show” title four times, with the first being awarded in 1921 to a dog named Ch. Midkiff Seductive.

5. “Lady” from the animation film “Lady and the Tramp” is a Cocker Spaniel.

Organizations dedicated to the Cocker Spaniel:

The American Spaniel Club Inc.
Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue
Cherished Cockers Rescue
Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue
American Cocker Spaniel Rescue

Breeds Similar to Cocker Spaniel Dogs:

Breed Information Cocker Spaniel

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