- Spaniels were developed at least by the 1300s to flush birds into nets or to waiting falcons.
- Later, they were also used to find and point birds and were specialized by their size, terrain, and type of bird.
- The Cocker Spaniel, which was used for woodcock, was first mentioned in 1790.
- Cocker Spaniels were in America by the late 1800s.
- The AKC recognized the Cocker Spaniel in 1878.
- The Cocker Spaniel was the most popular breed in America from 1936 to 1952.
- As the Cocker became known as a show dog, winning Cockers tended to be smaller, longer legged, and rounder headed than the original stock from England.
- In 1946, the AKC split the breed into English Cocker Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels. Only in America are these names used; elsewhere they are known as Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels, respectively.
- Cockers were such a part of Americana that Cocker celebrities included Spot (of Dick and Jane "See Spot Run" fame), Cover Boy Butch (25 times a Saturday Evening Post cover model), Lady (Lady and the Tramp), and the Coppertone Cocker.
- Cocker Spaniels were once again the top breed in America from 1983 to 1990.
- The breed is divided into three varieties according to color: Black (solid black or black and tan); ASCOB (which stands for Any Solid Color Other than Black, and includes cream, red, brown, and brown and tan); and Particolor (spotted or roan).
American Cocker Spaniel Behavior Concerns
- Makes an exuberant and entertaining companion.
- Usually very good with children.
- A happy dog, not easily bothered by things.
- Eager to please and quick to learn, but can be so excitable that it has difficulty minding.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- Gets along well with other pets and dogs.
- Enjoys retrieving.
- Usually enjoys swimming.
- Some bark a lot.
- Some are overly submissive. Submissive urination is not uncommon.
American Cocker Spaniel Suggested Exercises
- Makes a fairly calm housedog if given adequate exercise.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk, jog, or energetic games.
- A good candidate for dog parks.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
American Cocker Spaniel Grooming
- Coat is fairly long, silky, and either flat or wavy.
- The coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week to prevent mats.
- Professional grooming and clipping is required once a month.
- Special attention should be paid to keeping the eyes clean and clear of stray hairs.
- The ears must be checked weekly for problems.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested American Cocker Spaniel Nutritional Needs
- Cockers have a tendency to become overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a balanced a puppy food.