Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed
Aliases: American Cocker Spaniel
|Life Span:||12-15 years|
|Litter Size:||2-7 puppies with an average of 5 per litter|
|Group:||Gun Dog, AKC Sporting|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Black and tan, black, any solid color other than black (ASCOB), parti-colored (white and any other solid color), tan points with the tan less than 10% of the total body.|
|Hair Length:||Long, Medium|
|Male Height:||14-16 inches (36-38 cm)|
|Male Weight:||15-30 pounds (7-14 kg)|
|Female Height:||14-16 inches (36-38 cm)|
|Female Weight:||15-30 pounds (7-14 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The Cocker Spaniel is a very adaptable dog that can do well in a smaller space such as an apartment but can also do well in the country. A fenced yard is important for this breed, as they do tend to roam.|
The Cocker Spaniel is a smaller sized spaniel that has wonderful temperament and boundless energy. They are great dogs for families as well as single people and really love being with humans, although they can tolerate moderate lengths of time alone if they are properly exercised and attended to when the family is home. The Cocker Spaniel has a beautiful, silky medium long coat that is relatively easy to care for and maintain, even if the dog is outside.
The head of the Cocker Spaniel is dome shaped between the long, pendulous and well feathered ears. The eyes are very round and positioned towards the center of the muzzle, dark and very soft looking while still giving a twinkle of merriment and interest in their surroundings. The muzzle has a defined stop at the eyes then is rather square and broad in appearance down to the nose. The nose is large and noticeable with black coloration on dark coated dogs and a more brown color on the lighter coat colors. The upper lips are relatively long and hang down beyond the level of the lower jaw but are tight to the mouth. The neck is short and very erect from the shoulders, which are muscular and well developed. The legs tend to be rather short and well feathered, making them appear slightly heavier than they really are.
The body of the Cocker Spaniel has a topline that slopes slightly down from the shoulders to the hips, giving a "ready" appearance when the dog is standing up. The hind legs are strong and relatively straight and the tail is traditionally docked to about 2/5 of its natural length. In many areas tail docking is no longer allowed so the tail may be left natural. The Cocker Spaniel has traditionally been used as a gun dog as well as a household pet, and will quickly adjust to whatever is asked of it. They are surprisingly athletic for their smaller size and are natural retrievers.
The coat of the Cocker Spaniel is varied in length with the hair on the head short and sleek and the hair on the ears, neck and chest being moderately long and well feathered. The rest of the body including the legs is well feathered with a silky, fine and flat hair that is easy to care for and very silky to the touch. Hair that is very curly or woolly or cottony in texture is considered a fault. For show purposes the coat can be trimmed to enhance the natural lines of the dog but should not be clipped. For everyday practical purposes may Cocker Spaniel owners completely clip their dogs.
The American Cocker Spaniel was developed by very selective breeding of the English Cocker Spaniel, although the two now look distinctly different. The American Cocker Spaniel is more of a companion dog and less likely to be used for hunting than the original English Cocker Spaniel. Through selective breeding in the United States the Cocker Spaniel has become smaller and showier than the original hunting breed. The conformation has also changed to a more elegant and stylish dog from the hardy and practical spaniel that is more typical of the English lines. The American Cocker Spaniel was never used as extensively as a gun and hunting dog in the United States although it is excellent in hunting upland game birds such as pheasants, quail and partridges.The Cocker Spaniel become increasingly popular and was one of the most popular breeds of dogs according to the American Kennel club in the 1940\'s. At this time the breed was almost exclusively used as a companion dog, much as it now is. Currently the Cocker Spaniel is considered the fifteenth most popular dog breed in the United States and continues to be a favorite around the world.
The Cocker Spaniel is a happy, friendly and enthusiastic dog that is great with families and children. They are more likely to wag their tail and welcome a stranger than they are to act aggressive or territorial, although some Cocker Spaniels are good watchdogs and will bark when someone approaches. They are not a dominant breed of dog and are typically very willing and obedient and have an average ability to learn.The Cocker Spaniel is an excellent companion dog and is rarely dog aggressive especially if socialized properly. The Cocker Spaniel is not a timid dog; rather they are just easy going and willing to accept other dogs into their space. Cockers that have not been socialized may have a tendency to hid or run when they feel threatened, but with opportunity to go new places and meet new people and animals this problem is quickly overcome. The Cocker Spaniel is typically very good with cats and other pets however socialization will help this process. Many Cocker Spaniels that are raised with cats are very affectionate with the cat, allowing the cat to sleep in the same bed and even share toys.
The Cocker Spaniel loves to be active and does best with a family where there is moderate to high activity, especially when the dog is young. They seem to enjoy interacting with children and are tolerant of even very young kids. The Cocker Spaniel can be left alone for short to moderate periods of time but do not do well when left alone for long periods. They do need human contact and interaction to be happy and content. Without enough attention they may be prone to habits such as chewing and barking, both which can become problematic.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Cocker Spaniel ranks #13 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
With the popularity of Cocker Spaniel as a pet and gun dog there has been a significant amount of backyard breeding that has lead to some serious health conditions in many Cockers that are not purchased from reputable breeders. Even within some of the purebred lines there are some minor health issue, but these are seen in many breeds of dogs. Some of the more serious health concerns are:
- IMHA ( Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia ) - the immune system attacks the blood cells, resulting in serious blood loss from the body in the urine and typically death if not treated immediately.
- Eyes - glaucoma, cataracts, entropion and ectropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) resulting in eventual blindness.
- Skin - allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pyoderma all which can lead to irritations and skin infections as the dog scratches and rubs the area.
- Otitis externa - ear infections, common in any dog with a folded ear.
- Phosphofructokinase deficiency - destroys red blood cells and leads to anemia and muscle degeneration and pain in movement.
- Cardiomyopathy - heart conditions such as disease or muscle development problems.