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The Cocker Spaniel

cocker spanielIf you’re considering a Cocker Spaniel as your next pet, read as much as you can here and be sure ask yourself: Is this is the right breed for me?

This dog is going to be right for a variety of families and owners, just because they have a lot of personality and breed traits that make them one of the most owned dogs in America.

They may not be the biggest dog you will see, but they still need to be maintained with exercise every day. Grooming is going to be a need as well, with a trim and brushing every few months. They are extremely smart dogs that can have success in almost any environment, but especially that of a family environment.

Cocker Spaniels have been in the United States since the 1880s. There is also no doubt they are one of the most owned dogs in America. This is because they are so versatile with their flat or wavy coats, and there excellent balance and endurance. They come in a variety of colors, including black and black with a touch of tan. They can also be found in other solid colors as well.

It is pretty amazing when you hear that they have been mentioned during the 14th century. Spanyell was mentioned and this is also when the water/land divide of spaniels was created too. A Cocker is going to be the smallest of the spaniels. It is also in the sporting group too. Over time the American Cocker Spaniel has taken on some differences from the traditional English Cocker Spaniel, but that is to be expected. They have no problem dealing with water or being a hunting dog. They can easily run into areas and retrieve or flush out more prey. Read more about the history here.




Their Basic Look - The sporting group’s smallest member, the Cocker Spaniel is a sturdy dog that is compact and a very refined head area of the body. They are a very well balanced dog with and are considered an ideal size dog. This dog stands straight up without any problems, and has a posture that slopes slightly downward from the front legs to the back. This breed can also achieve some pretty decent speed. They are incredibly durable as well. This is easily one of the most balanced all-around dogs, and they are a very happy breed. There is no doubt that this dog can make a great addition to any situation, and they are very smart.

The Size & Specific Measurement - The female Cocker Spaniel ideally should reach 14 inches at the withers when they are an adult, while a male should reach 15 inches. If a female is over 14 and a half at the withers, or a male is over 15 and a half at the withers, they would then be disqualified. On the other hand if a female is under 13 and a half and a male under 14 and a half at the withers, they are going to be penalized.

How do they measure the height of the dog? They use the shoulder blades and the ground, when the dog is standing comfortably, and take the measurement from there. The chest to the back of the thigh should be longer than the highest point of the shoulder blades to the ground measurement. A perfect Cocker Spaniel will have a proportionate stride and the body of the dog will never look like it is drooping.

Their Head - Lets start with the expression and the eyes. Keep in mind though, they are just a couple of many things that contributes to the overall proportion of the dog’s head. The expression should be a soft and intelligent one that has an appealing aspect about it. They also need to be alert and know what is going ton around them. They eyes should be full and dark, while looking straight forward. The Iris is a dark brown color and the darker that it is the better your dog’s head is going to look in competition.

The ears won’t be much higher than the eyes, and should be feathered well. The skull of the dog is rounded, keeping the emphasis on round and not having a flat head. The nose should be big enough to balance out the muzzle and the rest of the skull. The nose is always going to be a dark color, which is almost always brown or black depending on what color the dog’s body is. They should have a strong set of teeth on them too.



Their Neck & Body - The neck should be long enough that it allows the Cocker Spaniel to easily reach their nose to the ground. It also rises very distinctly toward the base of the skull, at which point it starts to taper off. The lowest point of their deep chest should be no lower than their elbows. The front of their body needs to be large enough to provide space for the heart and lungs. But, if it is too wide it can affect the stride and movements of the dog. Their strong back leads all of the way down to the docked tail at a slight slope. The tail should be docked so that there is a perfect line between the tail and the back.

Their Forequarters & HindquartersThe front legs on the dog should be at a ninety degree angle by the time you get up to the body. This allows them to have extremely easy movement. The high point of the withers should be wide enough that they allow for a full uninterrupted spread of ribs. The forelegs are very muscular and they are close to the body of the dog. The pasterns should also be strong and short too. Their feet should be compact and round, and the dewclaws can be removed.

The hips should be wide and the and the hindquarters very muscular as well. If you are looking at the dog from behind, they should have parallel legs when they are at rest and when they are moving. Their is going to be slight angle at the stifle, and then they will have extremely muscular thighs. They can also have the dewclaws on the hind legs removed too.

The Coat - The chest, ears, and stomach area are going to be feathered pretty well, but not so much that you don’t get to see the true physique of the Cocker Spaniel. The hair on their head should be fine and short. The body of this dog should have medium length hair, with a bit of undercoating on the under part of the abdomen for protection. The texture of the coat is going to be one of the most distinguishing aspects of a Cocker Spaniel, with the coat being either silky, wavy, or flat. Excessive hair in certain areas or hair that doesn’t match up with the style of the dog can be used for penalization.


Cocker Spaniel Grooming

Coat maintenance is a must with Cocker Spaniels. Cocker Spaniels have rooted hair, which means that the hair continuously grows, just like a humans. Due to this, Cockers need to be groomed, either by you or a professional, on a regular basis. Whether you keep your Cocker in a show cut (short along the back, long on the sides) or a field cut (short all over), they will require regular bathing, brushing, and coat cutting.

Please keep this in mind when deciding if a Cocker Spaniel is the right breed for you.
Cocker Spaniels also have a higher rate of ear infections than some breeds. This is due to their beautiful floppy ears, which prevent air from circulating inside the ear. This creates a perfect moist, dark environment for yeast and bacteria to grow. To prevent infection, it is important to clean a Cocker’s ears on a regular basis, especially after bathing and grooming.

Where does the name “cocker” come from?

Cocker Spaniels are a breed of small hunting dogs that were originally used to hunt small game and fowl. It is thought that the name “cocker” comes from their great proficiency to hunt woodcock. Today however, while some Cockers are still used for hunting, you are most likely to find Cocker Spaniels either in the show ring or curled up on the lap of their favorite human.

Cocker Spaniels are a small dog with adult females usually weighing 20-25 pounds and adult males weighing 25-30 pounds. Cocker Spaniels come in a variety of coat colors. Solid color, which is a Cocker of a single coat color. Parti-color, two or more solid, well broken colors, one of which must be white. Tri-Parti, a parti-colored coat with tan points. Last but not least, Roan, which is starting to make a come back in the American Cocker Spaniel, much to the delight of many. Read more about the history here.


Cocker Spaniel Temperament

This is not going to be a timid dog, but yet they have a lot of patience when it comes to most things. That is one of the many things that makes them one of the most desired dogs in the country. They truly are one of the most loyal and loving dogs that you will ever meet.


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