American Cocker Spaniel

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

The American Cocker Spaniel is a very sturdy, well rounded dog. They tend to be well mannered when they are properly bred. At one time they were the dog to have in the United States but because of the great demand many back yard breeders began producing this breed quickly and without regard to quality and the American Cocker Spaniel’s popularity declined due to bad breeding. A well-bred Cocker will show a very well balanced attitude and he will make an excellent family pet. Select your Cocker Spaniel carefully and make sure he is bred from good stock. He should have a rounded head with a broad muzzle and a square jaw. His eyes should be round and dark in color. He should have heavy, low set ears with a silky coat, from flat to slightly wavy. There should be feathered hair on his sides, ears and the backs of his legs. He should be brushed or combed once each week and he will need a trip to a professional groomer about every eight weeks.

Once desired as a gun dog and used for hunting, the American Cocker Spaniel is now revered as a loving and devoted family pet. They are loving and playful and when they are properly trained they are respectful of their owners. They are of average intelligence and they need to be well socialized from a very young age. Training must start early and if training problems do arise it will likely be a housebreaking issue. When raised properly they are wonderful with all pack members from young to old. They should not, however, be left unattended with small children, which is true of any breed. They are generally amusing pets and they do not mind showing off their antics. When they are properly trained and socialized they love everyone!

Devoted owners who are in control and can be gentle but firm in their instructions will find themselves with a perfect house pet. The American Cocker Spaniel will require daily mental and physical exercise and if the dog is not properly exercised and stimulated he can be a very difficult dog to get along with. He can easily develop shyness, submissive urination and they can become aggressive. These problems are easy to avoid but you must be in charge and he must understand his place. Physical punishment has no place in dog training and using it with this dog will result in a biter.  In addition the American Cocker Spaniel can be an obsessive dog when he is not being properly guided. They can become hyper-active, and they can become obsessive with guarding or with barking. When not neutered they tend to roam and can become lost easily. 

The American Cocker Spaniel usually weighs between fifteen and thirty pounds and stands around 14 or 15 inches at the withers. They are generally healthy dogs but do have some health concerns. Cataracts are fairly common, as well as glaucoma and Cherry-eye. You must be very careful in feeding them a balanced diet of good quality food as they can easily become overweight. Keeping them from becoming overweight is much easier than helping them lose weight once it is on. Another health concern is ear infections. American Cocker Spaniels are famous for ear infections because their ear leather is so thick it prevents air flow.

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