The American Cocker Spaniel is known as a breed of sporting dog, gun dog and spaniel type. It is closely related to its English cousin, the English Cocker Spaniel. In the United States, the breed is simply referred to as Cocker Spaniels. The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest sporting dog and is easily distinguished because of its distinctly shaped head.

General Description

The American Cocker Spaniel is a sturdy, medium sized dog. It has a rounded head with a distinct stop. The muzzle is deep and broad, with evenly squared jaws. The teeth meet at a scissors bite. The eyes of the American Cocker Spaniel are very round, dark, with eye rims slightly almond in shape. Meanwhile, Merle Cocker Spaniels may have blue eyes. Its low set, long ears are feathered well. Its legs are straight and the topline slightly slopes down from the front to the back. The tail is normally docked, but American Cocker Spaniel breeders must take note that docking is illegal in many parts of Europe. The dewclaws can also be removed.

Coat and Color

The coat of the American Cocker Spaniel is slightly wavy or flat, and silky. The hair is medium length in the body while fine and short in the head. Feathering is also present in the chest, ears, abdomen, and legs. The coat may come in any solid color such as black, which may also have tan points. It may also come in merle color with tan points as well. Parti color combinations are also possible. Parti color combinations may be white with red, white and black, or white with points of black and tan. The show line typically has longer coats than the field or working line.


This breed is absolutely equipped and suited to be a gundog, and is also great for being a household pet. They are cheerful, sweet and gentle. They are of average intelligence and they respect their master’s authority. They are charming, trustworthy and amusing, with a tail that would wag most of the time. They are devoted, playful and active but they must be socialized well because they tend to be shy upon growing up. A cocker that fully understands that it is inferior to a human is generally good with children. Although they are loving and can go along with everyone very well, they still need firm leadership in a calm manner. They also need daily exercise to keep them happy. However, they are harder to housebreak. They go along with other animals well when trained properly, though. These Cocker Spaniel dogs must not be allowed to develop the small dog syndrome wherein they feel that they are actually superior to humans and that they are the pack leader. Generally, it should not be treated as if it is a little human child. It must be understood by the dog that he is inferior to his master. Without proper training, the dog may develop aggressive guarding behavior, obsessive barking and hyperactivity, among other negative behaviors.

Common Health Problems

This breed is prone to developing cataracts, patellar luxation and glaucoma. Minor concerns include hip dysplasia, allergies, entropion, otitis externa, lip fold pyoderma, cardiomyopathy and liver disease. These cockers are also prone to IMHA or Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, a considerably fast-acting, silent killer disease among American Cocker Spaniel dogs.


Regularly wiping under the eye is necessary as these dogs tend to tear. Brushing and combing is also a must as well as regular shampooing and bathing. Scissoring and clipping every quarter is also needed. Regular trimming is also required. They are average shedders, but the owner must be careful not to pull the silky hair out when combing.

Other Information

  • Normal height and weight: Height: 15 inches (Dog); 14 inches (Bitch); Weight: 15-30 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Litter size: 1-7 puppies