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Your American Spaniel

Updated on May 29, 2013

Your Cocker Spaniel and You

A sporting breed of dog, the American Cocker Spaniel is a spaniel-type dog that is related closely to the English Cocker Spaniel.

These 2 breeds diverged in the twentieth century because of varying standards of breed in the United Kingdom and America. In the USA, Cocker Spaniel is what the breed is referred to.

In other parts of the globe, this breed is called American Cocker Spaniel to depict the difference between this one and its cousin from England.

The term 'spaniel' is derived from the origins of this type in Spain. The term 'cocker' is held commonly coming from their usage to hunt for English woodcocks.

The smallest dogs recognized as a sporting dog by the American Kennel Club, on the average at the withers, these are between thirty four to thirty nine centimeters tall.

These dogs are proportioned normally, with fur on the ears and the body and long silky fur hanging down on the belly and the legs, which is called 'featherings.'

Their head has ears that hang down and a nose that is upturned.The standard of the breed states that dogs of this type which are more than thirty-nine centimeters and over thirty-seven centimeters for females are a factor to disqualify the dog at shows of conformation.

The weight of the American Cocker Spaniel makes this a recognizable breed immediately with their square shaped lips, well-pronounced stop and rounded skull dome.

Their long drop ears are set low with long fur that is silky and eyes that are round, large and dark. Their nose can be brown or black depending on the breed color.

This breed's coat comes in various shades with colors classified in three primary groups. These are parti-color, ASCOB or 'any solid color other than black' and tan with black or just black.

Dogs of parti color come with other colored patches like brown or black and include any dogs colored roan.

The ASCOB group includes every color which is solid from light cream to darker red. According to standards, some light colors are allowed on the feathering.

The variety which is black either has tan points or is all black on the dog's head, the tail and feet in a patter called tan and black.

American Cockers have shorter muzzles, domed skulls, rounder eyes and clearer eyebrows that are more pronounced than English Cockers which have setter-like heads.

When it comes to colors, the ones that are more rare are the roan colors in the variety of American compared to the English type.

The buff shade is more usual in America and is never seen in breeds from England at all, although there are some spaniels from England considered to be a red shade.

The breed from England is also bigger, between thirty seven to thirty-nine centimeters in height.

Known as Merry Cockers, the breed standards of American Cocker Spaniels define the dog ideal as the breed having no suggestion of timidity and being equable in temperament.

It ranks twentieth in the trainability or intelligence in the Intelligence of Dogs by StanleyCoren.

In tests of IQ run in the fifties and sixties, the American Cocker Spaniel performed best when its ability to respond to a trigger and show restraint was tested.

These were traits attributed to the in-bred ability of the American Cocker Spaniel to freeze when hunting when it finds a bird and on command, flushing it down.

However, these were the worst breed in tests when it came to using their paws to manipulate such as pulling on a string or uncovering a food dish.

When socialized early, this breed gets along with other dogs and pets, children or people.

This breed seems to have a tail that wags incessantly and loves being around people. It is not suited just for staying in the backyard.

American Cocker Spaniels also get stressed out by rough handling, rough treatment or loud noises.

Breed members were used originally as dogs for hunting. However, there was popularity which increased as show dogs.

These were bred more in conforming with standards of the breed, resulting in specific attributes like a coat which is long, which in turn no longer makes it ideal as a dog for working.

In Canada, the United States of America or the United Kingdom, American Cocker Spaniels have a lifespan median of between ten to eleven years. This is actually on the lower end of the range typical for dogs that are pure bred.

Bigger English Cocker Spaniels in general live one year longer than their American counterparts.

The most common causes of death for this breed are immune-mediated, cardiac, old age and cancer. Other causes of death also include hepatic diseases.

Because of their high popularity at one point, many puppy mills bred these dogs without discrimination.

Because of this, the breeding has caused the proliferation of issues that are health-related in specific blood lines.

There are many illnesses this breed is susceptible to. This includes an infection in their eyes and ears. Some members of this breed tend to get cataracts, glaucoma or progressive retinal atrophy.

American Cocker Spaniels are also prone to Rage Syndrome as well as canine epilepsy.

Rage Syndrome is a kind of epilepsy causing a normally calm dog to engage in unprovoked, sudden attacks of violence. Research has suggested that these conditions tend to be inherited.

At the Westminster Dog Show, American Cocker Spaniels have won best in show on 4 different occasions. Soon, this dog became known as the world's most photographed dog.

In the year two thousand five, this breed ranked as the fifteenth most popular dog by the American Kennel Club.

This dog has also been linked to the presidency of the United States, since Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, Rutherford Hayes and Bill Clinton all had one.

While Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, an American Cocker Spaniel named Zeke lived with him.


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    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 6 years ago from Scandinavia

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I love cockers are my favorite...i had one when i was a little girl...the best pet ever...great hub..voted up......debbie

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I can tell you now that I love all our hubs on these different breeds of dogs;I have to vote up plus bookmark. Keep them coming.

      Enjoy your day.


    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Love Cockers! They are the best dog ever.

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 6 years ago

      Voted up as useful! My family had a Cocker Spaniel growing up and she was an amazing dog.:)


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