American Cocker Spaniel

Updated: Jul 3, 2018

Other Names : American Cocker

Country of Origin : United States of America

Dog Group : Gundog


The first Cocker in America is said to have arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower in 1620. Settlers in subsequent centuries brought more with them to help explore and exploit the country's wildernesses. American Cockers were developed from the English Cocker in the 19th century, to retrieve quail and woodcock. Originally they were divided from the English Cocker solely on the basis of size, but over the years they were bred for specific traits and the differences grew greater. By the 1940s the American Cocker differed so much in type from the English Cocker that it became impossible to judge them together and in 1945 the two breeds were separated and each officially recognised with their own standards. Bred as hunting dogs they still retain some of their hunting instincts, some are still kept as working dogs but most are now commonly found in the show ring or as companions. The American Cocker is one of America’s most popular breeds.


American Cockers come in a variety of colours: black, any solid colour other than black, particolours, roans and tricolours. Some tan can also be seen in the coat.

Feeding & Ownership

American Cockers are relatively easy dogs to feed as they are small dogs and not fussy eaters. They are not normally greedy but do require a good quality food to keep their coats in good condition.


American Cockers are cheerful intelligent dogs with a lively curiosity and make ideal companions. They are adaptable and suit both town and country dwellers but are demanding of the owners time. They have great personalities and are known to be mischievous with minds of their own, owners need to be gentle and patient with these dogs. Novice owners would be advised to speak to an expert before purchasing.


American Cocker Spaniels are labour intensive dogs and need a thorough grooming every day. They require trimming at intervals, particularly working cockers as an untrimmed coat is impractical for these dogs. They also need bathing quite often to clean their skin and minimise odour. Their ears require careful attention as airflow is restricted and ear infections often occur, in addition the long ears will trail in food bowls unless specially designed ones are used, and will need regular cleaning. Eyes should be checked regularly and attention must be paid to the lip folds, making sure that they are clean and free from infection. Teeth will benefit from regular cleaning. Feet should be checked for matted hair or dried mud. Attention to these details will ensure that not only is the dog clean, tidy and comfortable but will help lessen or avoid many of the skin problems that would otherwise require veterinary attention.


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