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Cocker Spaniel
Ideally, the Cocker is a confident, substantial small dog.  Popularity in the 50s and 60s resulted in their infamy as one of the first breeds nearly destroyed by excessive and irresponsible breeding.  Today, examples can be found that are properly tempered, coated and healthy but requires much dedication on the part of the new owner to seek out.

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By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): SportingSpaniel Height: 15-17 inches
Weight: 20-30 pounds Longevity: teens
Colors: buff, black and tan, particolored, black Coat type: Long, silky requiring dedication to care and grooming
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Compact, showy dog in appearance and attitude. Glossy coat enhances beautiful soft, classic Spaniel head and eye, long ears and feathering create an effect that is breathtaking, even if not really intended for field work anymore.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: can be high
General Nature: can be exceptional
  with Children: can be excepational but the poorly bred specimens that are undersocialized are hazardous in contrast
  with other pets: can be good (see above)
  with dogs: can be very good (see above)
Socialization requirements: regardless of quality of breeding, socialization will benefit this dog's longterm sense of confidence and safety when meeting new people and places
Ideal home characteristics: regular time for the dog for grooming, play and attention, one that capitalizes on the funloving and enthusiastic attitude
Temperament Notes: quite intelligent, tends toward softness, can give up if it feels it cannot please you
Training requirement: limited to whatever is required to make its owner happy; this dog is happy if you are!
Trainer notes: Pressure will usually cause this breed to falter and give up.  Negative approaches, whether through pain, pressure, or punishment will generally be very unsuccessful.  Give this dog an opportunity to keep trying and encouraging the effort and they likely will not fail you.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: AKC 1940s
Country of Origin: America
Original Function: woodcock spaniel/retriever
History: In early America, Land Spaniels were separated by size. Larger ones were Field Spaniels and the smaller ones were Cocker Spaniels, even if from the same litter. Eventually, a desire to develop each breed individually led to specific registries for each.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: minimal coat, poor heads, oversized,
Health Notes: eye problems, luxating patellas
Health Testing: CERF, OFA-elbow
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had cockers?
  • What titles do you seek for your dogs and breeding stock?
  • Why did you breed this pair?
  • How do you suggest socializing a puppy properly?
  • At what age do you allow your puppies to go home?
  • Do you have health clearances on all your breeding stock?  May I see copies of them?
  • What is involved in the care and grooming?
Web Sites:  - Cocker Spaniel Club of America Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: -The Cocker Spaniel Standard with Illustrations

Breeder Ethics: -Code of Ethics for Members and Breeders


The Spaniel is an old type (just as the Mastiff while a breed is also a type given and contributing to many other breeds) going back to the mid 1300's. They have been divided into two groups: water spaniels and land spaniels. Size has also played a role in further division: smaller dogs were used specifically as pets or comforters or in smaller game like woodcocks; the larger spaniels were retained for their use as hunting dogs. The cocker is the smallest member of the Sporting Dog Group.

The dog has an inherent desire to hunt, is a capable gun dog, and can also be used as a retriever as it likes water too.

It has a sturdy compact body of excellent size and a cleanly chiseled refined head. Its coat is a beautiful silky texture which is flat to slightly wavy. There are abundant feathers on the legs, ears, chest, and abdomen. There are many variations in colors. The solid colors are black, red, cream, or buff. The parti-colors are black and white, black and tan, or liver and white. There is also a tri-colored black, tan, and white. It is known for its speed and endurance, keen desire to work, and free and merry disposition.

The cocker is a popular pet and companion. It is known as a lover of home and family and is usually trustworthy and adaptable.

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