American cocker spaniel

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American cocker spaniel


The American Cocker Spaniel breed has a long history and originates from the UK. Back in the distant 14th century, spaniels, however, not American, but purely English, were mentioned in the literature of that time. Spaniel means “Spanish dog”. These pets have long been used in hunting for birds (namely, the woodcock – for this they were “awarded” the prefix “cocker”), however, in modern society, these qualities have almost completely regressed.

Now, when buying a spaniel, people first of all think not about how to drive a hare and a fox, but about what kind of friend and companion this dog will become for the whole family. Over time, dog owners began to divide hunting spaniels into water and land, (both then and now, there are now quite a lot of species of this breed – not only the English and American Cocker Spaniel). Around the middle of the 19th century, breeders engaged in breeding this breed began to pay more attention to land spaniel species.

This period is characterized by the fact that it was thanks to this attention to the breeding of terrestrial species that the English Toy Cocker Spaniel breed appeared. Several English Spaniels were brought to America (around the 1870s), and by the end of the 19th century, the American Cocker Spaniel emerged and was rapidly gaining popularity. First of all, of course, in America. In 1881, Clinton Wilmerding and James Watson formed the American Spaniel Club, the oldest dog breeding club in America.

Subsequently, breeders and canine specialists took notice of the distinctive differences between the English and American breeds, and even discouraged them from mixing, so that each retained its own distinctive characteristics. The breed was first recognized in 1946 by the American Kennel Club.

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The American Cocker Spaniel is a small dog with a short tail (usually docked at an early age) and long hair. Wool is generally a distinctive feature – silky, it has a wavy structure and shimmers in the sun. Also, a well-known feature of these dogs’ appearance is long ears. They require additional care, but more on that later. The physique is graceful, the eyes are expressive and kind.


Cockers are very kind and friendly creatures with heightened emotional sensitivity. They are very attached to the owners and just try to make them happy. With improper and aggressive upbringing, such sensitivity can result in various inadequate states of the dog, including neuroses, nervousness and aggression towards strangers. And sometimes even in relation to their family members.

If you treat your pet with love and understanding, you will not find such phenomena. The American Cocker Spaniel is active, loves games and walks, and enjoys spending time in the park and in nature. It is perfect for keeping in a city apartment, also due to its small size – such living conditions do not at all embarrass either the dog or its owner.

The American Cocker Spaniel breed treats children well, expresses great affection and love, however, it is advisable to accustom the dog to having a child in the house from childhood. Other pets, especially cats, should also be introduced to the social circle as early as possible.


The Cocker Spaniel is a rather decorative dog, since these animals have not been hunted for a long time. Accordingly, the question of training for any specific tasks (security, protection, hunting) is not worth it, unless you are the owner of the circus or want to take prizes at exhibitions. But, in both the first and second cases, you most likely do not need advice.

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Raising a Cocker Spaniel is not very difficult, the main thing to remember is that these dogs are very emotional. Therefore, it is better not to punish them very strongly, instead, it is better to constantly pay attention and limit unwanted manifestations, combining kindness and severity. It is also necessary to ensure play, walks and contact with other dogs and people. Consistency and adequacy are the keys to success.


These dogs have a fairly long coat and need to be brushed weekly. Also, you should definitely check their ears for infections and impurities once or twice a week, and after walking in nature, as there may be ticks and other insects. Remember to trim your nails, clean your eyes as needed, and bathe your dog at least once a week.

Common diseases

The American Cocker Spaniel breed has been freely crossed for many decades, which negatively affected the health of these dogs. On the one hand, if you buy a puppy with a good pedigree from a professional breeder who has carried out all the necessary tests, your pet will most likely be deprived of major health problems. But this is not always the case. The American Cocker Spaniel can have the following conditions:

  • Vision problems that can manifest in many different ways, including:
      • progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative disease of retinal cells that progresses to blindness;
      • cataracts;
      • glaucoma;
      • eye abnormalities.

    If you notice any redness in the eyes of your cocker, or if he starts rubbing his face heavily, take him to the vet for a check-up.

  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA).
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Primary seborrhea.
  • Allergies are common in dogs, and the American Cocker Spaniel may be particularly prone to it.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy is often inherited and can cause mild to severe seizures. Remember that seizures can be caused by many other reasons, and therefore, if they appear, immediately contact your veterinarian.
  • Hip dysplasia in dogs is an abnormal mass in the hip joint that can cause pain and lameness. The breeder should check his dogs for this pathology, and have a certificate.
  • Patellar dislocation involves dislocation of the patella. In this condition, the knee joint (often the back leg) slides in different directions, causing pain.
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