American Cocker Spaniel: What You Need to Know

american cocker spaniel

The American cocker spaniel is a pretty special dog. Sweet and adorable, it’s not just one that looks good on the outside. This dog has a lot of beauty on the inside, as well. One of the most popular breeds in the world, it’s easy to see why people love the American cocker spaniel so much once you get to know all the sweet characteristics and personality traits of this lovely little breed. It’s a small little dog, but it has a big personality and it loves some hard work. It’s not afraid to get down and dirty, to perform a task and to broaden its horizons with some challenges along the way. This sweet dog is everything that you might ever want in a dog, and that’s why we’re bringing you the information you need to have before you make the American cocker spaniel the newest and most beloved member of your family.

Personality and Temperament

With cheer that is unmatched by any other, the American cocker spaniel is a perpetually happy dog. It’s one with a big personality, bold work ethic and a lot of fun features. This dog is smart, but it’s not among the smartest dogs in the world. It loves to please its people and it really does want to play. This is a very respectful dog that is willing to do whatever it takes to show its master that it means business and that it is a dog that wants to please. The only real issue with the personality and temperament of this dog is that it does require ample socialization when it is small. The reason for this is that the dog has to learn how to behave around other people and animals or it will show issues with that later in life.

This is also a dog that has a tendency to develop something called Small Dog Syndrome. It sounds silly, but it’s real. This is a syndrome that develops when a dog that’s small lives with a timid and not very alpha-like master. If you are not capable of ruling this dog with a firm hand, a consistent routine and a firm manner, it will make sure that it takes over the household. It will suddenly decide it wants to be the boss of everything and it will become a very difficult, almost impossible dog to contain and handle. You do not want this, so please go ahead and begin exuding your authority with this dog from the start.

With a daily walk and some time in the yard to play, this is a great dog to have around the house. It’s great with kids, it’s not a loud dog and it’s not one that is too overly needy. It fits right into most households and can provide wonderful companionship and love for years to come. That’s what makes this such a unique and wonderful dog to have around the house.

Lifestyle and Expectation

For the most part, this dog will not get much bigger than about 15 inches tall and 30 pounds. Many of the female American cocker spaniel dogs are much smaller than male American cocker spaniel dogs, so you can expect a female to stand a bit shorter and weigh as little as 15 pounds when full grown. The American cocker spaniel has an average lifespan of around 15 years, so you can expect to have this dog around for a very long time. It’s also important that you consider spaying or neutering your American cocker spaniel right away if you don’t want to breed the dog or have puppies. The average litter size for the American cocker spaniel is 5 puppies, though sometimes it gives more than that.

The American cocker spaniel is a breed that is active indoors, so it will only do well in apartment life if it is sufficiently exercised and able to get out of the house on a regular basis. Without that kind of exercise in his life, this is a breed that will not do well in a small home without a yard. As far as health is concerned, however, you’re looking at a few issues that might cause some issues later in life.

American cocker spaniels are prone to:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • PRA
  • Allergies
  • Cherry eye
  • Seborrhea
  • Lip fold pyoderma
  • Otitis externa
  • Liver disease
  • Urolithiasis
  • Prolapsed of the nictitans gland
  • CHF
  • Phosphofructokinase deficiency
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Gastri torsion
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Immune mediated hemolytic anemia

Unfortunately, you can see that the American cocker spaniel is prone to a number of health issues. However, many people have theirs their entire lives and never experience any illness or undue extremes in the American cocker spaniel. It’s just a risk you have to be willing to take.

Grooming is fairly easy, as you should get this dog to the groomer every other month for a trim. A regular brush date and wiping his eyes once a day is going to keep your dog as healthy as possible, too.

Breed History

The American cocker spaniel has been around since at least the 14th century when it was used as a hunting dog. It was known then as the English cocker spaniel, but when it was brought to America and bred here, it was then called the American cocker spaniel. In modern times, it’s just known as the cocker spaniel with no American or English in front of it. The dog was used for its innate ability to hunt in both wet and dry terrain, which worked well for hunters in those times. The dog is gentle, so it was able to retrieve game and flush game out of hiding spaces without hurting it or tearing it up so that hunters could have game that was in the best possible condition. It’s been a very popular breed for centuries, and that is not something that has changed too much in the past few years.

Photo by Getty Images

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