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American Cocker Spaniel: Origin, Temperament, Training, Exercise

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About Cocker Spaniel

Country of Origin, History of Cocker Spaniels

The American Cocker Spaniel was developed from the English Cocker Spaniel breed and transported to the United States to serve as a hunting dog. The American Spaniel is smaller in size than the English Spaniel, and both breeds make good hunting dogs as well as companions, show dogs, and watch dogs. The American Spaniel is the smallest of the sporting breed group of dogs.

Cocker Spaniel Tools

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The American Cocker Spaniel has long ears that hang straight down the side of its head, which is smaller and more rounded than the head of an English Spaniel.

Of all the dogs in the ‘sporting’ group, the American Cocker Spaniel is known to be the smallest. The American Cocker Spaniel demonstrates a balanced and powerful physical movement.

Coat color

Coat colorings range from a solid black to black mixed with tan or brown shadings.

Coat type (whether thick, or with undercoat etc.)

The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat is made up of short, fine hair on the head, with medium-length hair on the body. The dog’s undercoat tends to have short, fine hair, also.


Male: 15 inches
Female: 14 inches

Weight: American Cocker Spaniels weigh 15-30 pounds (7-14 kg.).

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Cocker Spaniel Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Dog

The American Spaniel is a form of 'working' dog. It makes a good animal in the home, or it can be a hunting, or 'gun,' dog. American Spaniels exhibit less dominance than English females, and tend to avoid challenging authority figures. The American breed is lively, playful, and devoted; however, they need to be socialized well as puppies, otherwise they will develop a shy personality in later years. American Spaniels are seen as good companion animals for children and household pets.

American Cocker Spaniels are very popular. A potential owner needs to purchase this breed from a reputable breeder to ensure that the Cocker Spaniel's temperament is compatible with young children. If an American Spaniel pup has not been bred well, it will exhibit unexpected temperament shifts and behavior problems, including viciousness caused by shyness and fear. In addition, the dog may aggressively guard objects or people and display excessive sexuality.

Better suited to an indoor or outdoor lifestyle?

American Spaniels are suited to an indoor lifestyle if they receive house training and obedience training as puppies. Spaniels are also comfortable in the outdoors due to being bred as outdoor 'working' dogs.

Are they suited to homes with kids?

Cockers are extremely sociable dogs, with a strong need to please. So they make fantastic family pets and well-suited to raising with children.


American Cocker Spaniels should be trained very gently, yet firmly. American Spaniels are known to be sensitive, independent, and intelligent.

The Spaniel breed is intelligent; yet, during training, it may give up easily if the dog feels that it cannot please its owner. Any person training an American Cocker Spaniel needs to be aware that the dog is happy when the authority figure is happy; however, if a trainer becomes frustrated and gives up the training effort, the dog will follow suit.

Trainers should keep housebreaking and obedience training simple and brief, with repeat attempts made frequently, before much time passes. If an American Cocker Spaniel is trained with pressure or punishment, they will perceive training as a negative experience, and the overall training effort will fail. The Spaniel needs to be encouraged to repeat a training task; then, the training should be successful.

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Cocker Spaniel Activity Level

  How active is the breed?

The American Cocker Spaniel, like the English breed, has a great deal of strength and stamina; it responds well to regular exercise such as walking, chasing, or 'fetching' activity.

How to take care of a Cocker Spaniel Puppy?

First, a puppy should never be purchased from a pet store; a reputable breeder will not sell Cocker puppies outright to a pet store as pet stores are notorious for purchasing puppies (not just Spaniels) from puppy 'mills.' Breeders and Spaniel owners recommend that a puppy be obtained when it is between eight and ten weeks old.

After six weeks, a Spaniel pup will be eating solid food, but, more importantly, it is more able to leave its litter at the minimum age of eight weeks than the standard six weeks.


The American Spaniel needs to have a regular eye cleaning to prevent mucous build up or tearing. If the coat is kept long, regular brushing, shampooing, and clipping will be required. If the coat is maintained at medium or short lengths, trimming will be required less frequently.

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Health and Care

A healthy male American Spaniel measures an average of fifteen and one half inches in height. A female measures an average of fourteen and one half inches in height. Both males and females weigh an average of fifteen to thirty pounds.

The American Spaniel may develop eye diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma. Other health concerns are hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy.

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Club

In the United States, this breed is represented by The American Spaniel Club, Inc. This organization can be reached via the internet at


The American Cocker Spaniel is recognized by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom and The American Kennel Club in the sporting breed classification of dogs.

Group: Sporting Group, UKC Gun Dog.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 30

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