Did you know?
The 1955 Disney animated classic, “Lady and the Tramp” stars an American Cocker Spaniel in the title role of Lady.
American Cocker Spaniel
What dogs?! These are my children – little people with fur who make my heart open a little wider. – Oprah Winfrey about her American Cocker Spaniels, Sophie and Solomon
The various Spaniels originated in Spain and have been known in Britain and Europe since the 14th century.
In the 1800’s Spaniels were divided into two groups; Springer Spaniels whose function was to “spring game”, and Cocker Spaniels named for their ability to flush and retrieve birds (woodcocks) from dense undergrowth. The partridge and quail hunters of the early 1800’s wanted a smaller-sized dog who would simply find the game without disturbing it. By 1892 these smaller dogs were classified officially as Cockers.
The American Cocker Spaniel evolved from the original English Cocker Spaniel.
By the end of the 1800s, the American Cocker Spaniel had become a popular family pet in both Canada and the United States. He was also highly prized for his work in the field. But the dog was changing and evolving further away from the English Cocker in appearance. By the early 20th century, they were classified as different breeds. The American Cocker was now smaller in size, had a shorter muzzle, and had a longer and thicker coat.
Although he is the smallest member of the Sporting Group, he is a sturdy dog capable of considerable speed and great endurance.
Photos displayed courtesy of Jacqueline Ambler, Boutyme Perm Reg’d, Saskatchewan
The American Cocker stands up to 15 inches (38 cm) tall at the shoulder and has a long, thick, silky coat. His coat is much more profuse than his English cousin. He sheds and requires regular brushing and trimming.
The coat comes in three colour varieties.
Black: Solid black, or black with tan points.
ASCOB: Any solid colour other than black, or any such colour with tan points, or any such colour with sable shadings.
Particolour: Two or more definite, well-broken colours, one of which must be white, including those with tan points and those with sable shadings. Roan coloured Cockers fall into the Particolour variety as well.
The American Cocker Spaniel is a very popular pet. He has a loving, even temperament and is great with children. Known as the ‘Merry Cocker’, he is friendly, lively, and active displaying a keen inclination to work.
The Merry Cocker’s nickname is well deserved as his tail seems to be constantly wagging! He should never be timid. His nature is exuberant and happy. He enjoys family life, and his size allows him to fit in most home environments. His sociable nature blends well with other household pets.
Loud noises and rough handling may stress him out as does being left alone for long periods. He’s too social to enjoy the solitude.
As an active and energetic sporting dog, the American Cocker Spaniel needs regular exercise to combat a tendency to gain weight. He should have a home with a fenced yard and an owner who is patient and will not spoil him.
The breed was the most popular breed in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s and again in the 1980s.
American Cockers have won Best in Show at Westminster Dog Show four times, and have even occupied the White House during the tenure of Richard Nixon and Harry S. Truman.