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Cocker Spaniel Breed Information

Cocker Spaniel

Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CCR , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: American Cocker Spaniel
Mispellings: Cocker Spaineil, Cocker Spanial

Living with a Cocker Spaniel

Temperament: The Cocker Spaniel should be even tempered without any sign of timidity.

Family Dog: Cockers are typically good with children and other family pets. They love everyone they meet.

Shedding: Cocker Spaniels are considered an average shedder.

Grooming: The Cocker's eyes require regular cleaning. If the coat is left long it requires daily brushing, frequent bathing and quarterly trimming. If the coat is kept shorter slightly less grooming is required but it will still need regular trimming. It is important to be careful during brushing to avoid pulling out the silky hair.

Training: Cocker Spaniels are dogs of average intelligence. They need to be thoroughly socialized when young to avoid shyness as an adult. Some can be difficult to housetrain.

Barking: Some Cocker Spaniels do like to bark.

Exercise: Cockers have lots of stamina and thus require regular exercise including long daily walks.

Living Conditions: Cocker Spaniels make wonderful apartment dogs provided they are given ample exercise.

Cocker Spaniel Appearance

Appearance: Cocker Spaniels, the smallest member of the Sporting Group, are compact, sturdy dogs with finely chiseled heads and a balanced body. Their front legs are straight raising the front of the body and causing the topline to slope down toward the rear. Cocker Spaniels are capable of great speed and have excellent endurance.

Size: Male Cocker Spaniels should be 15 inches tall at the shoulders while females should be 14 inches tall. The average weight of a fully grown Cocker Spaniel is 15 to 30 pounds.

Companionship: Cockers are people dogs and need lots of human attention.

Head: The head of the Cocker Spaniel should be well-rounded without any signs of flatness. The have an alert, intelligent expression.

Nose: The nose of the Cocker Spaniel is black or liver in color in the lighter-coated Cockers with well-defined nostrils.

Eyes: The eyes of the Cocker Spaniel are dark in color and round in shape. The eyes face straight forward with almond shaped rims and well defined brows.

Ears: The Cocker Spaniel is noted for its long, feathered ears that are set even with or slightly lower than the lower part of their eyes.

Muzzle: The Cocker Spaniel should have a broad muzzle with square jaws and proportionate nose.

Teeth/Bite: The teeth of a Cocker Spaniel should be strong and of a good size and meet in a scissors bite.

Neck: The neck of a Cocker Spaniel should be long enough to allow their nose to reach the ground easily. It should be muscular and rise from the shoulders arching slightly as it tapers toward the head.

Body: A Cocker Spaniel's body should be of good proportions with the measurement from their breast bone to back of their thigh just slightly longer than the measurement from their highest point at the shoulders. Cocker Spaniels should have a deep, wide chest with sufficient room for their internal organs but does not interfere with their gait. Their chest should run no lower that their elbows. Their back should gradually slope slightly downward from their shoulders to their tail.

Forequarters: The front shoulders of a Cocker Spaniel should for a ninety degree angle with their upper arm. This allows the dog to move in a graceful, easy manner. Their shoulders should be well-shaped and free of any protrusions. The front legs of a Cocker Spaniel should be straight, parallel and set close to the body. Cocker Spaniels can have their front dewclaws removed.

Hindquarters: The hips of a Cocker Spaniel should be wide, rounded and muscular. Their hind legs are muscular with strong bones and should appear parallel when viewed from the rear. A Cocker Spaniel's read dewclaws may also be removed.

Gait: The Cocker Spaniel should have a balanced gait typical of the sporting dogs. Cocker Spaniels should have strong drive from their rear legs. Their gait should be smooth and well-coordinated, appearing effortless when watched.

Feet: A Cocker Spaniel's feet should be compact, round and firm with horny pads. Their feet should turn neither in nor out.

Tail: The tail of a Cocker Spaniel should be docked and carried in line with or slightly higher than their back. The tail should never be straight up like a Terrier and not so low as to indicate any sign of shyness. When a Cocker Spaniel is in motion their tail should also be moving in a happy manner.

Color: Cocker Spaniels come in a wide variety of colors. There is the Black Variety which should be solid, jet black or black with tan points. This variety should not have any shadings of brown or liver in the coat. They may have a small amount of white on their chest and/or throat but not in any other location.

The Solid Color variety Other can be any solid color other than black. This variety ranges from light cream to dark red, including brown and brown with tan points. Their coat should be of a uniform shade with the only lightness of color in their feathering. They may have a small amount of white on their chest and/or throat but not in any other location.

The Parti-Color Variety can be any of two or more solid colors with one of the colors being white. Common color combinations are black and white, red ranging from dark red to cream and white, brown and white, and roans. Any of these color combination may have tan points. The colors should be well-distributed and no color should constitute ninety percent of the coat or more.

If a Cocker Spaniel has tan points the can range from cream to dark red but must consist of under ten percent of their coat.

Coat: The coat of the Cocker Spaniel is short and fine on the head and medium length on the body with enough undercoat to protect the body. The legs, chest, abdomen and ears are covered with a lightly feathered coat allowing the true lines and appearance of the dog to show through. The coat is silky in texture and may be flat or slightly wavy.

Cocker Spaniel Facts

Category: Gun Dog, AKC Sporting

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Cocker Spaniel is about 12-15 years.

Characteristics: The Cocker Spaniel is a bold dog that is ready to work or a cheerful and sweet companion and pet. They are respectful, lively, playful and obedient dogs.

Celebrity Owners: Oprah Winfrey

Cocker Spaniel Health

Health: Cocker Spaniels are prone to some major health concerns including cataracts, glaucoma and patellar luxation. Other less serious concerns are hip dysplasia, ectropion, entropion, PRA, allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pyoderma, otitis externa, liver disease, urolithiasis, prolapse of nictitans gland, CHF, phosphofructokinase deficiency, and cardiomyopathy. It is also possible but less common to see gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia and IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia).

Litter Size: Cockers typically have litters ranging from 1 to 7 pups with somewhere around 5 being average.

Cocker Spaniel History

History: The Cocker Spaniel or American Cocker Spaniel as it is sometimes called was created from selective breeding of the English Cocker Spaniel to create a smaller dog. The name "Cocker" comes from the woodcock, a game bird typically hunted with these breeds. Today's Cocker Spaniel is typically a companion dog and household pet or show dog.

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