American Cocker Spaniel - Dog Breed Info, Temperament & Facts


The English Cocker Spaniel is the predecessor of the American Cocker Spaniel. Americans desired smaller hunting dogs for hunting game birds, so the American Cocker Spaniel was created by crossing the English Cocker Spaniel with other breeds. These dogs are of medium size and have a moderate level of activity. They generally have a cheerful disposition and are known for their intelligence. They are easily trained for hunting and are devoted to their families. The American Kennel Club officially recognized this elegant breed in 1878. American Cocker Spaniels have two distinctive coat patterns and come in 13 different colors. They are highly popular in the United States, according to the AKC.

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Ahead, we look at American Cocker Spaniel dog breed, its history, personality, pros and cons of owning an American Cocker Spaniel, characteristics, and must-see facts. We will also examine how to care for this breed and more. Prepare for a tail-wagging adventure into the world of American Cocker Spaniels!

Dog Breed American Cocker Spaniel
Size Medium
Weight 20-25 lbs (average)
Height 13-14″ (average)
Location United States
Ancestry English Cocker Spaniel
Date of Origin 1800s
Group Hunting, Retrieving Birds
Life Expectancy 11-15 years
Price $600 – $800
Family Canidae
Scientific Name Canis Lupus Familiaris

📖 Breed History

According to the American Kennel Club, Spaniels have been around since the 14th century. The first Spaniels arrived in the United States on the Mayflower in 1620, but they were not registered until 1878. In 1946, the AKC registered the English Cocker Spaniel as a separate breed, while the American Cocker Spaniel remained listed separately. Spaniels were originally divided between land and water spaniels, and the land spaniels were further divided by size. These dogs were bred for hunting, either on land or in water, with the American Cocker Spaniel being the smallest of the breed. They were specifically bred to flush out and retrieve game birds, such as woodcocks, which is how they got their name.

English Cocker Spaniels were brought to the United States in the 1800s by hunting enthusiasts who admired their hunting skills. However, some American breeders decided to breed them for shows and wanted them to be smaller in size. This made them popular as companion pets, leading them to become one of the most popular purebred dogs in the US. Unfortunately, the breed’s popularity also led to the emergence of commercial puppy mills and irresponsible breeders who disregarded the health and temperament of the dogs, resulting in a generally unhealthy population of spaniels.

Fortunately, with the implementation of strict breeding laws and the closure of puppy mills, the American Cocker Spaniel breed was able to recover. While still commonly used as hunting dogs, they are also frequently kept as companion pets.

🐕 American Cocker Spaniel Appearance

Among all dog breeds, the American Cocker Spaniel has one of the most exquisite coats, with long hair that occasionally touches the floor and glides when they move. They may frequently be seen strutting triumphantly in the conformation ring at dog shows. Even though they have short, fine hair on their heads, they should have feathers on their legs, breast, abdomen, and ears. The hues include cream, golden, red roan, sable and white, and sable. They also include black and tan, black and white, black, white, tan, brown and tan, brown and white, brown, buff and white, buff, red and white, red, silver, blue roan, blue roan and tan, and cream. They are between 20 and 30 pounds and stand around 15 inches tall. Their head is chiseled and well proportioned, and their body is strong and small. The eyebrows should be well defined, and the skull should be spherical with no flatness at all. The feathery and floppy long, lobular ears are present. Their dark brown eyes are huge and round with a slight almond shape, but they shouldn’t bulge. The owners find the gentle, attentive, and intelligent countenance of the American Cocker Spaniel particularly alluring. The top lips are big and have adequate depth to cover the jaw. The snout is square, deep, and broad with a black or brown nose. Their teeth have a scissors bite and are powerful. This handsome dog has a powerful, sloping back, a deep chest, and a long, muscular neck. The docked tail shouldn’t be straight up like, but rather in line with the back or somewhat higher. Overall, they offer a classy and welcoming appearance that is ideal for a home pet or hunting dog.

👀 Eye Color Brown
🐽 Nose Color Black, Brown
🐕 Coat Color Black, Brown, Red, Cream, Brindle, Sable, White, Silver, Blue

Fun Fact: American Cocker Spaniel dogs are a social breed. They enjoy being around people or other animals. This breed doesn’t tolerate being left alone.

🐶 Traits & Temperament of American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is a cheerful dog that is good-natured and sociable. When properly taught, they are incredibly obedient, clever, and simple to train. This breed dislikes being left alone for extended periods of time and requires constant play and care. Your American Cocker Spaniel may become overstimulated by loud noises and commotion, so a house with young children is not the best place for them. They should not be trusted around pets like hamsters, mice, or guinea pigs because they were raised to be hunters and should not be let around birds like chickens and ducks. They do like barking frequently, and if not properly taught, they could irritate your neighbors. Since they are rather laid back, they would be just as content to lounge on the couch and watch TV with you as opposed to playing outside. They must exercise frequently, though, to avoid obesity, which can lead to a variety of medical issues.

🤝 Are American Cocker Spaniels Friendly or Aggressive?

American Cocker Spaniel dogs have a friendly nature and get along well with other pets. They are also very sociable with strangers and enjoy meeting new people. This breed is particularly kid-friendly and loves being in the company of children. While they are generally friendly towards cats, their level of friendliness may vary. Additionally, American Cocker Spaniels are known to be dog-friendly, making them a good choice if you want to have multiple dogs or participate in dog meetups. Furthermore, they are considered one of the best breeds for elderly individuals, as they can provide companionship and are well-suited for a calmer lifestyle.

This breed is known for being:

  • Intelligent
  • Outgoing
  • Outright
  • Tempered
  • Merry
  • Trusting
  • Joyful
  • Sociable

🐩 American Cocker Spaniel Care & Maintenance

Even with meticulous care, the American Cocker Spaniel has a lot of fur that you will find all around the house. They need a thorough brushing around three or four times a week to prevent matting due to their long, silky hair. Working from the floor up, it is advised to use a metal comb and slicker brush while moving from front to back. They should be cleaned at least once a week because they tend to accumulate dirt and wax due to their length. They may be prone to ear infections like otitis media if their ears aren’t cleaned properly. Because they are so big and exposed at this point, their eyes should also be examined. Additionally, you will need to periodically cut their nails and have them groomed by a professional every few months. A veterinary care provider’s suggested mild shampoo should be used for baths once a month. Given their medium size, they will thrive in an apartment or home with a sizable yard. They do, however, benefit from a stroll or a trip to the dog park and do need regular exercise. Like other breeds, this one should be fed premium dog food that is suitable for its size and age.

American Cocker Spaniel dogs have a moderate level of shedding, which is a normal part of their hair growth cycle. By regularly brushing their fur, the amount of hair that is shed can be reduced. The shedding pattern can also be influenced by the dog’s overall health and the specific breed type they belong to. Additionally, these dogs usually require bathing every 6-8 weeks.

🍖 Food: We recommend 2.5 cups daily, costing you about $1.75 – $2.25 daily, or roughly $52.50 – $67.50 a month.

🐾 Exercise: American Cocker Spaniel dogs need quite a lot of exercise. Daily walks should be on schedule. If you live an active life, this breed can be a good choice for you.

This dog breed requires to be walked for roughly 8 miles per week, which equates to about 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This consistent moderate exercise regimen will help maintain their physical wellness and significantly contribute to their mental stimulation. Consciously setting aside this time for your furry friend can dramatically enhance their life quality, helping them stay energetic, healthy, and mentally alert.

Did you know: American Cocker Spaniel dogs have a higher energy level than other dog breeds. If you want a dog for snuggling on the couch, this breed isn’t the perfect choice for you.

❤️‍🩹 American Cocker Spaniel Health & Issues

Some of the major concerns for American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed can be:

  • Cataracts
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Seborrhea
  • Skin Problems

While minor concerns include:

  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Corneal Erosion
  • Phosphofructokinase Deficiency
  • Skin Fold Dermatitis

🤧 Important: Is American Cocker Spaniel hypoallergenic? No.

Bonus: Check out cool, creative, and funny names for American Cocker Spaniel.

⚡ American Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Facts

What makes the American Cocker Spaniel a great choice for families with young children?
The American Cocker Spaniel is a great choice for families with young children because they have a happy and friendly personality. They are good-natured and generally get along well with children. However, it is important to supervise interactions between the dog and children to ensure everyone’s safety.

Is the American Cocker Spaniel breed considered a suitable breed for apartment living?
The American Cocker Spaniel breed can adapt to apartment living, but it is not considered an ideal breed for this type of environment. They have medium energy levels and require regular exercise, so access to a yard or nearby park would be beneficial. However, with proper exercise and mental stimulation, they can adjust to apartment living.

How much exercise does a American Cocker Spaniel require compared to other breeds?
The American Cocker Spaniel requires a moderate amount of exercise compared to some other breeds. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation activities are necessary to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They are not as high-energy as some hunting breeds but still need regular exercise to prevent obesity and maintain good health.

Is the American Cocker Spaniel breed known for being good with other pets?
The American Cocker Spaniel breed may not be the best choice for households with other small pets. They were bred for hunting and may have a strong prey drive, making them less trustworthy around birds, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, and other small animals. It is important to introduce them to other pets carefully and provide proper supervision.

What are other low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the American Cocker Spaniel?
Some low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the American Cocker Spaniel include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. These breeds have similar temperaments and are generally easy to care for, requiring regular grooming but not excessive exercise.

What are the common health issues that American Cocker Spaniels are prone to?
American Cocker Spaniels are prone to several health issues, including ear infections, allergies, hip dysplasia, and eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper care are essential to maintain their overall health and prevent these issues.

Are American Cocker Spaniels known to be easy to train compared to other breeds?
American Cocker Spaniels are generally intelligent and trainable, but they may require consistent and patient training methods. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, and with proper training, they can be obedient and well-behaved.

Are American Cocker Spaniels more prone to separation anxiety compared to other breeds?
American Cocker Spaniels can be prone to separation anxiety, especially if not properly trained or socialized. They are known to form strong bonds with their families and may become anxious or distressed when left alone for long periods of time. It is important to gradually train them to be comfortable with alone time and provide mental stimulation and toys to keep them occupied.

Are there any dog breeds similar to the American Cocker Spaniel that are suitable for people with allergies?
Some dog breeds similar to the American Cocker Spaniel that are suitable for people with allergies include the Poodle, Bichon Frise, and Portuguese Water Dog. These breeds have hypoallergenic coats that produce fewer allergens and are considered more suitable for individuals with allergies.

What sizes of dogs similar to the American Cocker Spaniel are best for individuals or families with limited space?
For individuals or families with limited space, smaller-sized dogs similar to the American Cocker Spaniel, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or the Shih Tzu, may be a better fit. These breeds have similar temperaments and exercise needs but require less space due to their smaller size.

Is the American Cocker Spaniel breed known to be good with children with special needs?
American Cocker Spaniels can be good with children with special needs, but it is important to supervise interactions and ensure that both the child and the dog are comfortable and safe. Each situation should be assessed individually, taking into consideration the specific needs and behaviors of both the child and the dog.

How does the grooming and shedding needs of the American Cocker Spaniel?
The grooming needs of the American Cocker Spaniel are higher compared to some other breeds. They have a medium-length, silky coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. Professional grooming every 6-8 weeks is recommended to maintain their coat’s health and appearance. They are moderate shedders, so regular vacuuming may be necessary to keep the home clean.

We use reliable and publicly available data and resources such as AKC and American Canine Registry to ensure that American Cocker Spaniel dog breed information is accurate and up to date. If you spot an error, please don’t hesitate to bring it to our attention.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.


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