Cocker Spaniel (American)
They are a small to medium dog of compact build. Their colours range from solid black, brown and buff with or without ban markings. Parti-colours such as white with any of the coloured patches above and includes roans. The coat can be silky, wavy or flat. The eyes are round and dark, and the ears are low-set and feathered.
The average weight ranges between 8 and 12 kilograms.
The first spaniel in America came across with the Mayflower in 1620, but it was not until 1878 that the first American Cocker Spaniel was registered with the American Kennel Club. In 1946 the AKC recognised the English and American types as separate breeds. The first American Cocker Spaniels arrived in Australia in the 1960s. They were originally bred and used as successful gun dogs and hunting dogs to flush ground dwelling game but are now a very strong competitor in dog shows, as well as obedience and agility trials.
The American Cocker Spaniel is intelligent, gentle, playful, devoted, dependable and can be amusing. They have a strong desire to hunt and retrieve, and are happy to work. American Cocker Spaniels are generally easy to train. They can also be shy, so thorough socialisation is required. They are good with other pets and children, but supervision is always advised.
American Cocker Spaniels require time and care to maintain a full coat. To achieve this, frequent brushing and bathing is needed, or regular trips to the groomer. While the American Cocker looks very elegant when in full coat, many pet owners keep their dogs in “pet clip” – leaving the coat only about 5cm in length on the legs and stomach. This reduces the tendency of the coat to knot, and makes bathing, drying and grooming much easier. Feet should be checked for matted hair or dried mud, and claws trimmed regularly. Teeth and ears will also benefit from regular cleaning. Attention to these details will ensure that not only is the dog clean, tidy and comfortable, but will help lessen or avoid many possible problems.