Pet Advisor Blog

American Cocker Spaniel – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Medium
Weight: 15 - 30 pounds
Height: 14 ½ inches - 15 ½ inches
Longevity: 14
Bark Tendency: Medium
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: High


Famously called the “Merry” Cocker, American Cocker Spaniel is a breed that is always eager to please their human family. When you choose to adopt an American Cocker Spaniel, you’ll be getting a dog that is playful, sensitive, sweet, very amiable and happy to give joy to their owners with her cute antics. Although this breed came from a long line of hunting dogs, the American Cocker Spaniel has not retained the famous hunting instincts of her other spaniel cousins. But their curious nature does show, especially during country outing trips.

Official Name

American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is also called as the Cocker Spaniel or the Merry Cocker.


Date – 18th Century
Country – USA
Family / Group – Gun Dog, Sporting, Spaniel


Part of the cocker spaniel dog breeds which were developed to hunt woodcock, hence the term cocker, the American Cocker Spaniel is derived from the English Spaniel, a very old breed which was first bred in Spain. Their ancestral roots are believed to be bird hunting dogs. From Spain, the dog breed was brought to the British Isles and finally landing on American shores during the 1800s. They were bred in America for small game flushing and the American Cocker’s “soft mouth” is just perfect for returning hunted prey without harming it.

American Cocker Spaniel dogs and their English cousins are almost identical at first glance, but there are very distinct differences between these two spaniel breeds. The American breed tends to be smaller with this dog’s bone structure features relatively shorter than his European counterpart.

Initially considered as a single breed, through the years, the American Cocker Spaniel dogs earned their right to be called a breed of their own. They even surpassed their English cousins and ranked as the most popular breed to have a pet for several years.

Today, this beautiful and bold cocker spaniel breed is perfect companions for families big and small. They are also popular on the show dog circuit and ranked as one of the top show breeds.


When you adopt an American Cocker Spaniel, you’ll be surprised that this beautiful and bold dog are equally competent as home pets and hunting companions as gun dogs. This breed is naturally a hard-working dog, may it be pleasing their family or catching their prey, the American Cocker Spaniel makes sure that they get the job done! They are quite submissive to their handlers, giving proper respect to the pack leader. But this easy-going dog will turn cranky and snappy as they mature.

Bred For

Originally Bred for flushing and retrieving small games. Today, they are preferred home pets and top show dog contenders.


Like other cocker spaniel breeds, American Cock Spaniel can adapt well to apartment living conditions, as long as they are sufficiently exercised. Having a home with a small yard will make them happy.


This breed demands to be groomed. Grooming requires serious time allotment and care. Regular trimming is necessary and prepares to have their furs everywhere as they are big shedders.


Naturally submissive, this dog loves to be led by a firm but loving handler. Housebreak training may be quite a challenge for some, but most American Cock Spaniels are very trainable.


Few health problems are known on this breed. The American Cocker Spaniel may suffer from the usual canine hip dysplasia, heart muscle disease, and anemia and liver problems. Major problems do arise as they mature, older American Cocker Spaniels are often plagued with cataracts and glaucoma, which causes blindness.


The American Cocker Spaniel requires daily long walks. They need regular exercise as this breed is known to have plenty of stamina. Be sure to have them on a leash while taking them for walks!



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