Breed Group: Sporting Group
Shoulder Height: 13-15 in.
Weight: 15-30 lb.
Life Span: 12-15 years
Colors: Black, tan, white, brown, buff, red, silver, blue, roan, cream, golden, sable
- The Cocker Spaniel was developed in Great Britain and named after the woodcock, a game bird that was hunted by this breed.
- There are two variants of the Cocker Spaniel: an English version that is larger and a smaller American version. The American Cocker Spaniel is smaller in stature because it was used to hunt the smaller American woodcock. The AKC recognizes both types as separate breeds.
- The American Cocker Spaniel is a more popular breed in the United States than the English Cocker Spaniel.
The American version of the Cocker Spaniel has seen steady approval since it was recognized in the forties. It consistently ranks in or near the top twenty in the AKC’s popularity listing and it is easy to see why so many people take to them.
The Cocker Spaniel is seemingly the happiest dog in the world. Hardly a day goes by when they do not show off their trademark smile and wagging tail. They are also quite intelligent, making them easy to train as house pets. Although they have been bred to a show standard for many years, there are still working lines that are ideal for hunting game birds in dense cover.
They are playful and adore human company and are typically quite friendly with strangers when they receive proper social training. However, they can get stressed out by rough handling and a raised voice. This is a breed that thrives on training techniques that build confidence. If they're raised around children they can be an ideal family companion, however if they're not comfortable around noisy young people, they can become anxious.
They are the smallest breed in the Sporting group and do quite well in apartments. They do not enjoy being left alone; if they get bored, their smart mind will make their own entertainment and they may be destructive. The show cut of their coat is long and flowing, so regular grooming is essential. However, their coat can be trimmed, which makes them much easier to care for.
Cocker Spaniels are small dogs, but they do not have as long a lifespan as dogs of similar weight. Regular exercise is required if they are to remain healthy.
- Eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and cataracts occur in the breed.
- Those beautiful long ears can trap moisture in the ear canal and make them susceptible to chronic ear disease.
- This breed has an increased incidence of hemolytic anemia, an autoimmune condition that attacks red blood cells. In addition, they may also suffer from a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle is not strong enough to pump blood around the body.
- Three different Presidents have owned Cocker Spaniels in office: Richard Nixon, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Harry S. Truman. In addition, President Bill Clinton owned a Cocker while he was governor of Arkansas.
- The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most decorated breeds in the AKC with four different dogs winning Best in Show at Westminster. One of these winners, My Own Brucie, still holds the title as the most photographed dog in the world.
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