The American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel has been a family favorite pet for many generations. This mid-sized spaniel can be bred as a show dog or as a field line, as these dogs are outstanding hunters. Generally, the appearance of both types of American Cocker Spaniels is very similar although the field line is slightly smaller and more compact and tends to have a shorter coat. Both are ideal companion pets with abilities to adjust to the lifestyle of their owners.
The Cocker Spaniel will measure about 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 15 and 30 pounds, with males being larger and heavier than females. The coat is very silky to the touch and long and wavy when not clipped. Coat colors can be solid, blends, combination and merle markings. The most recognizable characteristic of the breed is likely their beautiful pendulum like ears.
The Cocker Spaniel is not a low maintenance breed if the coat is left natural. They should be brushed at least two to three times a week to remove tangles and mats from the hair. It is also important to check the ears and eyes for any signs of infections if the dog is very active outdoors. Even with regular clipping, grooming can require a lot of maintenance.
Training the Cocker Spaniel is usually very easy, although some can be difficult to housetrain. They are very intelligent and learn quickly, responding very well to positive praise and a small food reward. While some Cocker Spaniels can be shy and reserved around strangers they are not known to be aggressive to other dogs or people. Early socialization will further prevent this from being a concern.
These are wonderful dogs around children and their love of the kids in the family is obvious. They are playful and engaging but also wonderful companion dogs for seniors or those that just want a household pet. They will need fairly intense exercise daily, especially as puppies and young adults. Despite their calm disposition, these are moderately high energy dogs that need to get out and run to stay happy and content. Meeting these high-energy demands with training and/or exercise can lead to a successful relationship with your beloved dog.