Weather Updates
Monday, March 27, 2023

Cocker Spaniel American

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: American Cocker Spaniel Club Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Tanya Smith
Phone: 0416676533

Brief History

The Cocker Spaniel (American) is the smallest member of the gundog group and was first recognised as a separate breed by the American Kennel Club in 1946. He shares close ties with his cousin the English Cocker Spaniel and prior to 1946 they were both simply identified throughout the world as ‘Cocker Spaniels’. The American Cocker Spaniel was originally bred to flush the game from the undergrowth, and was built for speed, endurance and the ability to work all day.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 10 to 14 years.


American Cocker Spaniels have typical gundog temperament. They have a merry disposition and are outgoing, friendly, and very sociable, with a strong desire to retrieve. They should be stable, not timid, but are a sensitive breed.

General Breed Description

Although the smallest of the gundogs, the American Cocker has a sturdy, compact body and is capable of considerable speed, combined with great endurance as well as a keen inclination to work. He is small enough to sit on your lap, yet large enough for long walks and energetic play. His expression is intelligent, alert, soft and appealing. This breed is well suited to obedience and agility competition.

The coat may be in solid colours of black, buff, or brown, bi-colours of black and tan or brown and tan, tri-colour, parti-colour (red/white, black/white) and roan.

Coat and Care Requirements

The coat of the American Cocker Spaniel is moderate to long, with a silky texture. Weekly bathing and daily brushing are required to avoid matts and tangles if the hair is left long; if clipped short, grooming is needed every 6-8 weeks. Nails need to be trimmed regularly and ears checked weekly to prevent problems.


Height: Males 36.8 to 39.4cms (14.5 to 15.5ins), Females 34.3 to 36.8cms (13.5 to 14.5ins).


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The American Cocker Spaniel is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Cataracts.


American Cocker Spaniels enjoy exercise, which they need on a regular basis, but they will also be happy to live where there are reduced opportunities for free running. They prefer to be an integral part of the family, sharing space inside and outside the house, and do not like to be left alone outside for long periods. They love to swim and retrieve and will happily play any ‘fetch’ games with the family, but do not really enjoy rough play. They are sensitive dogs, so respond best to gentle training methods. They are a good choice for someone considering a dog to train in one of the many dog sport activities, or simply as a loving companion. With correct training and socialisation as puppies, they adapt well to all environments and interact well with other dogs and cats once integrated.

Owners of an American Cocker need to be prepared to meet the breed’s ongoing grooming requirements.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders