Little is known about the origins of the American cocker breed. Originally, the American cocker was a variant of the English cocker spaniel and the first cocker spaniel from England arrived on American soil in 1882. Then some American dog fanciers began to breed the cocker spaniel of European origin and gradually developed a separate strain, which only began to be considered a true breed around 1930. This separation of the two breeds is largely due to the careful work of the cynologist Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge. In 1940 it got its own standard and in 1951 the FCI recognised it as its own breed. The difference lies in the fact that in England the cocker spaniel was bred mainly for hunting, whereas in America the focus was more on the companion and family dog aspect.
Around the middle of the 20th century, the American cocker spaniel was considered one of the most popular and sought-after dogs in its homeland. Then it experienced a real boom in popularity when a female American cocker was chosen to become Little Lilli in the Walt Disney cartoon ‘Lady and the Tramp’, thus becoming a much-loved star for children.
In America it is a very popular dog, in Europe much less so and in the rest of the world it is almost unknown.
Character of the American cocker dog breed
The American Cocker is the classic companion dog. It has a good, cheerful character, is always ready to play and gets on well with everyone, people and animals alike. It is very attached to its owner and family, likes to play with children and is always looking for company. He likes to go out and go for long walks, and if he can, he also goes for runs. He likes the country environment, especially if the house he lives in has a garden where he can spend a few hours a day, but he also adapts very well to a flat.
It is suitable for everyone, whether families with children, single people or the elderly; it needs very little to make it happy, going out for a walk a couple of times a day, but it does not disdain long sleeps on the sofa on short, rainy winter days.
It should be remembered, however, that it belongs to the group of hunting dogs and for this reason it is also a very sporting dog, its instinct for retrieving allows it to play for hours, searching for and retrieving a ball.
Appearance of the American Cocker breed
The American Cocker is a small to medium-sized dog and is the smallest of the group of hunting and hunting dogs. Everything about him is balanced and of an ideal size. It is a dog capable of considerable speed and great endurance, which is why it is often used in hare, poultry and game hunting. It has a compact and robust build; its height at withers is about 38 centimetres and its weight is about 12 kilograms, the female usually weighing a little less. The forelimbs are very straight, firmly on the legs and muscular, the hind limbs, also muscular and developed, have even more powerful thighs, very suitable for snapping. The tail is attached in a position slightly lower than the line of the back and is always in movement, but carried horizontally and never raised.
The head is well proportioned and rounded with a broad muzzle. The truffle is generally black or otherwise dark with wide nostrils. The eyes are almond-shaped, deep and dark, the ears are long, drooping, with the hairline at the base of the skull and well covered with hair.
The main characteristic of the American cocker is the fur. The coat is short and very thick on the head, abdomen, chest and hind legs, while the rest of the body is of medium length. The rest of the body is of medium length. The whole coat has a silky texture, but never too harsh, wavy or curly. There is abundant fringing on the forelegs, trunk and hindlegs, above the hocks.
The coat colours accepted in the breed standard are many: unicoloured, having black as a base, or brown, red or cream in different shades. Multi-coloured varieties can be white with red, cream, light or dark brown highlights. White specimens can also be found whose white coat is crossed by streaks of dark fur.
Health and care of the American cocker dog breed
Overall, this breed is considered to be very robust. The life expectancy of the American cocker is around 12 years, but there are specimens that have lived as long as 15 to 16 years. The delicate point of the American cocker are the eyes, teary and shabby which it is necessary to keep always clean, and the ears, which it is always recommended, when returning from a walk in the country, to check the auricle to avoid ticks and therefore otitis.
It does not suffer much from high or cold temperatures, although it should be kept indoors when they are too extreme, and it loves to swim.
With regard to the care of its coat, it should be brushed often in relation to the length of its hair and regularly taken to the groomer.
As far as feeding is concerned, this must be weighed up according to the dog’s age and level of daily physical activity.