American Cocker Spaniel

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The Full American Cocker Spaniel Description

With big baby eyes, soft coat, cozy size, and an upbeat personality, it's easy to see why the Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dogs in America. Cockers are sensitive and playful dogs, and they love people, often more than other dogs. He forms a tight, lifelong bond with his owner. The Cocker can adapt easily to city or country living, as long as he gets his exercise and playtime.

Did you know?

The Cocker Spaniel is known as the "smallest member of the sporting-dog family."

So you want to own a Cocker Spaniel?

Grooming is essential and may require the help of a professional.

The Cocker Spaniel can live happily in a small apartment and will also take full advantage of any open space where he can run. The Cocker easily adapts to any climate or living space.

Cockers love people. They make wonderful companions for the elderly and equally love and enjoy the company of children.

Indicative Breed Standard

General Appearance

Serviceable-looking dog with refined chiselled head, strong, well boned legs, well up at the shoulder, compact sturdy body, wide muscular quarters, well balanced.


Merry, free, sound, keen to work.


Equable with no suggestion of timidity.

Head and Skull

Well developed and rounded, neither flat nor domed. Eyebrows and stop clearly defined. Median line distinctly marked to rather more than half-way up crown. Area surrounding eye socket well chiselled. Distance from tip of nose to stop approximately one-half distance from stop up over crown to base of skull. Muzzle broad, deep, square, even jaws. Nose well developed. Nostrils black in black and tans, black or brown in buffs, browns, brown and tans, roans and parti-colours.


Eyeballs round, full and looking directly forward. Shape of eyerims gives a slightly almond appearance.
Neither weak nor goggled. Expression intelligent, alert, soft and appealing. Colour of iris dark brown to black in blacks, black and tans, buffs and creams, and in the darker shades of parti-colours and roans. In
reds and browns, dark hazel; in parti-colours and roans of lighter shades, not lighter than hazel; the darker the better.


Lobular, set on line no higher than lower part of eyes, leather fine and extending to nostrils, well clothed with long silky, straight or wavy hair.


Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Long, muscular and free from throatiness. Rising strongly and slightly arched.


Shoulders deep, clean-cut and sloping without protrusion, so set that upper points of withers at an angle permitting wide spring of ribs. Forelegs straight, strongly boned and muscular, set close to body well under scapulae. Elbows well let down, turning neither in nor out. Pasterns short and strong.


Height at withers approximating length from withers to set on of tail. Chest deep. Lowest point no higher than elbows, front sufficiently wide for adequate heart and lung space, yet not so wide as to interfere with straight forward movement of forelegs. Ribs deep and well sprung throughout. Body short in couplings and flank, with depth at flank somewhat less than at last rib. Back strong, sloping evenly and slightly downwards from withers to set of tail. Hips wide with quarters well rounded and muscular. Body appearing short, compact and firmly knit together, giving impression of strength.
Never appearing long and low.


Strongly boned, muscled with good angulation at stifle and powerful, clearly defined thighs. Stifle joint
strong without slippage. Hocks strong, well let down; when viewed from behind, hindlegs parallel when in motion or at rest.


Compact, not spreading, round and firm, with deep, strong, tough pads and hair between toes; facing truly forward.


Customarily docked. Docked: Docked by three fifths of tail. Set on and carried on a line with topline of back or slightly higher. Never straight up and never so low as to indicate timidity. When dog in motion, merry tail action.
Undocked: Set on a line with topline of back. Moderate length. Feathering in proportion to the coat of the dog. Thicker at the root and tapering towards the tip. Carried on a line with the topline of back, or slightly higher, but never curled over the back or so low as to indicate timidity.
When dog is in motion, merry tail action.


Co-ordinated, smooth and effortless, covering ground well.


On head, short and fine; on body, medium length, with enough under coating to give protection. Ears, chest, abdomen and legs well feathered, but not so excessive as to hide body lines or impede movement and function as a sporting dog.
Texture most important. Coat silky, flat or slightly wavy. Excessive coat, curly, woolly or cotton texture undesirable.


Blacks: Jet black; shadings of brown or liver in sheen of coat undesirable. Black and tan and brown and tan (classified under solid colours) having definite tan markings on jet black or brown body. Tan markings
distinct and plainly visible and colour of tan may be from lightest cream to darkest red colour. Amount of tan markings restricted to ten per cent or less of colour of specimen; tan markings in excess of ten per cent undesirable. Tan markings not readily visible in ring or absence of tan markings in any of specified locations undesirable. Tan markings located as follows:

1) A clear spot over each eye.
2) On sides of muzzle and on cheeks.
3) On underside of ears.
4) On all feet and legs.
5) Under tail.
6) On chest, optional, presence or absence permissible.
Tan on muzzle which extends upwards and joins over muzzle highly undesirable. Any solid colour other than black of uniform shades. Lighter colouring of feathering permissible. In all above solid colours a small amount of white on chest and throat while not desirable, permissible, but white in any other location highly undesirable.
Parti-colours: Two or more definite colours appearing in clearly defined markings essential. Primary colour which is ninety per cent or more highly undesirable; secondary colour or colours which are limited solely to one location also highly undesirable. Roans are classified as parti-colours and may be of any usual roaning patterns.
Tricolours, any of above colours combined with tan markings. Tan markings preferably located in same pattern as for black and tan.


Ideal height: (the word approximate leaves too much to chance.) dogs: 37-39 cms (141/2-151/2 ins); bitches: 34-37 cms (131/2-141/2 ins).

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