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"One reason a dog
can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue
is that he doesn't try to find out why."

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Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is a breed of dog that originated in the United Kingdom and was brought to Canada and then Spain and the United States in the late 1800s. American Cocker Spaniels were given their own AKC Stud Book in the early 1900s. By 1946, the English Cocker Spaniel was distinct enough in type from the "American" variety, that the American Kennel Club established it as a breed separate from the English Cocker Spaniel. It was given its own Stud Book and that left the "American" type to be known as the Cocker Spaniel in the United States. They are in the sporting breed group of dogs and are the smallest of their group. American Cocker Spaniels were used to flush out birds and prey from the brush so their masters could shoot them.

Happy and popular, the signature trait of the American Cocker Spaniel is its dark, expressive eyes that reflect a happy, loving, and active nature. Cockers are a dropped eared breed (pendulous ears) and the mature Cocker is shown in a full feathered, silky coat. After its show career ends, the fur is often trimmed into a "puppy cut", shortened on the legs, sides and belly, that is easier to keep whether as a pet, performance dog, or hunting companion. It is important to keep the hair clipped from both sides of the ear about one third down the ear flap. This helps to keep air flowing through the ear canal and reduce risk of ear infections from bacteria, injury or parasites.

Cockers weigh an average of 18 to 28 pounds (6 to 9 kg). For show dogs, the ideal height of a Cocker Spaniel is 15 inches for male dogs and 14 inches for female dogs at the withers. An adult male who is over 15.5 inches, or an adult female over 14.5 inches would be disqualified in a conformation show. Bone and head size should be in proportion to the overall balance of the dog.

For North Americans conformation shows Cockers are divided by the breed standard into three varieties: black, ASCOB (Any Solid Color Other than Black),and parti-colors. Black Variety includes: solid blacks and black & tan. ASCOB includes solid colors ranging from silver, to light cream (buff) to dark red and brown and brown with tan points. Parti-colors have large areas of white with another color(s) and must be have at least 10% coloration (not more than 90% white). Parti-colors include: black & white; black & white with tan points (referred to as tri-colors or "tris"), brown & white, brown & white


Cocker Spaniel
Other names: Cockers
Country of origin: America
Build: Compact, with a short back
Weight: 15-30 pounds (7-14 kg.)
Height: 15.5 inches (38cm.)
Coat: Profuse, silky, feathered, medium-length
Color: Buff, black, and other solid colors, black-and-tan, or parti-colored variations of these
Head: Chiseled with an abrupt stop, muzzle wide, deep and broad with a square jaw, the upper lip hanging down, covering the lower jaw completely
Teeth: Scissors bite
Eyes: Round and straightforward
Ears: Long and hanging
Tail: Usually docked
Limbs: Parallel, straight, strong
Feet: Compact, large, round and firm with horny pads
Life span: Median 10 - 11 years

with tan points (referred to as a "brown tri"), and red & white. Roans are shown in the Parti-color variety and can be black (referred to as "blue roans"), red ("orange roan"), or brown ("liver or chocolate roan"); with or without tan points. In a roan coat, individual colored hairs are mingled in with the white. Sable coloring is seen in solids or Parti-colors, but no longer can be shown in conformation by the American Spaniel Club, although it can be shown in Canada and in Europe. Merle is a highly controversial pattern, as it is debated whether it is a result of breeding to another breed. Cockers cannot be registered as merles with the AKC. It is not recognized by the American Spaniel Club and cannot be shown in conformation.

Their temperament is typically joyful and trusting. The ideal Cocker temperament is merry, outgoing, and eager to please everyone. When a Cocker Spaniel is excited, they tend to not only wag their tail, but their whole back end. They can be good with children and usually sociable and gentle with other pets. They tend to be soft dogs who do not do well with rough or harsh training.

American Cocker Spaniels have health problems including skin allergies, ear infections, separation anxiety, conjunctivitis, autoimmune diseases, glaucoma, and cataracts.