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American Cocker Spaniel

Other names: American Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels are happy and playful dogs, with lots of energy, just like all Spaniels. Affectionate and playful, they are very good playmates for children. They are sociable dogs and they generally get on well with other animals. Born as hunting dogs, they are now mainly bred as pets.

Key facts about the American Cocker Spaniel

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The American Cocker Spaniel descends directly from the English Cocker Spaniel who was ‘readapted’ in America to suit their tastes and were made much more conspicuous than their British cousins. The first female Cocker Spaniel arrived in America in 1882. Gradually, the American Cocker Spaniel became a breed in its own right and was no longer a variety of the English Cocker Spaniel. The breed was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1946. The World Canine Organisation officially recognised the breed in 1965.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs


Section 2 : Flushing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the American Cocker Spaniel

    Adult size

    Female : Between 13 and 14 in

    Male : Between 15 and 15 in


    Female : Between 15 and 31 lb

    Male : Between 15 and 31 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    They resemble an English Cocker Spaniel that has been “pushed to the extreme”, with accentuated characteristics yet smaller in size. Their bodies are short and compact. Their heads are well proportioned and very chiselled, with a pronounced stop. Their muzzle is short and straight. They have big eyes and droopy ears. Their tails are in the middle of their backs and it wags when they’re active.

    Good to know

    They are one of the most common breeds in America, and they are easy to identify as they are truly spectacular dogs. Some even have coats that go all the way down to the ground, which is almost never seen in their European counterparts.


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      American Cocker Spaniels, (named after where they originate from), are particularly friendly dogs who are always happy and cheerful. They have a lovely backstory and origins, which makes them very good family dogs.

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      They are very playful dogs who like to let off steam through playing, which allow them to spend time with humans and therefore strengthen these relationships.

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      They are sweet and affectionate and know how to be calm, nevertheless some dogs are more nervous than others.

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      American Cocker Spaniels are mentally and physically gifted, although they don’t often make the most of these abilities, they are definitely there! They excel in multiple disciplines and are not just there to stand on the podium at beauty pageants!

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      Behind their elegant, almost precious look, they are actually great working dogs. They are very good at hunting although they are much more commonly treated as pets these days.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      These dogs are never timid or aggressive without reason. If they’re properly socialised they will have no problem when faced with strangers. The problem is that they will not be phased by potentially malicious intruders.

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      Although American Cocker Spaniels are good hunters, they are still real pet dogs in the sense that a lack of human interaction can make them unhappy.

      Behaviour of the American Cocker Spaniel

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        Tolerates solitude

        The American Cocker Spaniel does not like it when their master is not present. They are at their happiest when all of members of their social group are present.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        They have a docile nature and therefore you must make the most of when the puppy first arrives home, by starting training early and setting clear rules and limits.
        They are rather sensitive dogs and don’t respond well to any form of brutality and can quickly become stubborn and difficult if they sense any type of violence, whether physical or psychological.

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        Nervous dogs can bark quite frequently, particularly those that are not used to being left alone or those that didn’t hear lots of different noises during their early development.

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