American Cocker Spaniel

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AKC Group: Sporting

Originally Cocker Spaniels were used to hunt (?) woodcock; hence their name. Spaniels are a very old dog breed from Spain. They made their way into England (English Cocker Spaniel) and then found their way to the New World (alongside all the other dog breeds). In the 19th century, American Cocker Spaniels became a recognized AKC breed. In the 1940s, the English Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a separate breed. Today, both breeds are more well-known in the show rings than for their work in the wilderness.

Size: 15 to 30 pounds. 14 to 15 inches.

Color: Most commonly buff colored, though black or any solid color and even parti-colors are acceptable.

Life span: 12 to 14 years.

Health problems: Hip dysplasia, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), liver disease or hemolytic anemia. As Cocker Spaniels age, they can develop cataracts, glaucoma and, frequently, blindness.

Unless you’re willing to develop a close relationship with a dog groomer, keep looking. Cocker Spaniels require bathing and trimmings every two weeks to keep them in tiptop shape. You also need to be prepared for a lot of hair everywhere. It takes a lot of work to keep a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel looking gorgeous.

Another thing to consider is as a Cocker Spaniel ages, they can become cranky and snappy. Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels are being bred for their looks not their temperaments. Don’t let this scare you off, it is a very fixable problem. You can increase your vet visits to rule out physical causes and engage in obedience classes. They will respond positively; as a show dog, Cocker Spaniels love to show off.

Generally, Cocker Spaniels are easygoing, gentle dogs. Despite their “frou-frou” look, they love to be outside, romping and playing around. They love to run and hike — they were historically bred for hunting. On a daily basis, Cocker Spaniels only require a moderate amount of exercise. They are quite happy to live a country life.

If you’re wondering, American Cocker Spaniels are smaller and more streamlined than their English ancestors. They have rounder heads, shorter snouts and a smaller bone structure.

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