American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniels: 101 Is this the right breed for your family? All the information that matters, from where and how to purchase a puppy to temperament and health issues. You'll find it all right here.

cocker spaniel
Intelligent but can be stubborn
General Breed Health
Choose a breeder wisely. Never purchase a pet store puppy.
Ease of House Training
Use only positive training techniques
Low Maintenance
Not low maintenance. Will need regular grooming.
Good w/Other Pets
Socializing early and often never hurts.
NOT non shedding
Good With Children?
Great with well-behaved children only.

"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."

- Ann Landers

101 reasons to avoid pet store and website puppies

Simple Solution Potty Training Aid

Indoor/Outdoor Plastic Play Pen For Dogs

Solvit Pet Vehicle Safety Harness, Small

Kurgo Skybox Pet Booster Seat

The FUN Stuff
About American Cocker Spaniels...

Watch Dogs Cocker Spaniels make great watch dogs. You can trust this breed to warn you to every new sound including knocks on the door and strange noises outside.

Size- Typically this breed will stand no more than 16" high at the shoulders and weigh no more than 30 pounds. Apartment life will suit his exercise needs well, but only if another form of daily exercise is provided.

People Friendly- Cocker Spaniels are people friendly when socialized properly. Plenty of early exposure to sounds, environments and people will help to make your cocker a great family pet.

Trainability- Consistency in training is a must and the earlier you start, the better. Don't be surprised by accidents or "leaking" with cocker spaniels, but don't let that scare you away either. Check out our training page for lots of helpful advice for tricks and training. And check out this free tutorial for more great housetraining techniques.

Shedding- If you suffer with dog allergies, This is probably not the best breed for you. This breed sheds quite a bit of hair and the loose fine strands stick to everything. Vacuuming will become a more frequent necessity.


Side Note: Why not consider Adoption First? With the popularity of this breed increasing, so has the number of oppurtunistic breeders... and the population of unwanted dogs dying in shelters, (yes, even purebreds!) is always increasing. There is undoubtedly a rescue group near you that specializes in Cockers. Your dog is waiting!

What You Should Know…

Separation anxiety is common- A vast majority of dogs of all breeds suffer anxiety when left alone, a Cocker is no exception. Separation anxiety could result in destructive chewing, loud continuous barking or "accidents" on your carpet or furniture. Crating a dog for long hours every day is not a solution. Check out our page on separation anxiety to learn what you can do to end these destructive behaviors.

Maintenance Needs-Regular grooming, ie., brushing and clipping, etc. is necessary to keep this dog's coat from becoming matted. Regular attention should also be given to nails, teeth, ears and pads.

Housebreaking difficulties- Small breed dogs are among the hardest dogs to housebreak. You'll need to be very patient and probably clean up several messes in the process of housebreaking this breed. We highly recommend the positive training techniques outlined on our dog training page.

Puppy Mill Prone- Cockers continue to grow in popularity. Because of this, they are a common breed in puppy mills and the suffering there is unfathomable. Rescue groups work tirelessly to save these dogs. Please consider the benefits of adopting a Cocker Spaniel puppy instead of buying one. We are sure there is a Cocker Spaniel near you in need of your kindness.

Learn more about puppy mills by reading our FAQ page... Then spread the word to help put an end to them.

Excitability and Behavioral Issues- Cocker Spaniels are a popular family pet. As the demand increases, puppy mills focus on quantity with no regard for health or temperament. But there are ways to help ensure you get a healthy dog with a good disposition. Our FAQ page will tell you how.

Cocker Spaniel, Peanut, Brown, ball, outside, yard, american cocker spaniel, grass
Adopting an adult dog is GREAT way to ensure that you get all the breed characteristics you desire. Adult dogs come with several bonuses! Already out of chewing phase, more likely to be housebroken and his temperament will already be established. Best of all, you will forever be his hero! Click here to learn even more reasons why adopting an adult dog is the smartest choice.

-Health Issues-

Ear Problems- Cocker Spaniels are well known to have a variety of ear problems. Deafness is not uncommon, nor is infection which can lead to deafness. Cockers commonly need to have their ears sewn shut due to recurring infections.

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia- With this disease (which cockers are predisposed to), the body attacks it's own red blood cells. Some symptoms include weakness and lethargy, but also be aware of jaundice (a yellowing of the skin, gums and eyes) or paleness in the gums and eyelids.

Hypothyroidism- A condition of the thyroid gland which causes weight gain, hair loss and scaly skin. Autoimmune Thyroiditis is also prevalent among this breed.

Skin Problems- Primary Seborrhea is also commonly seen with this particular breed, among others. This skin condition is caused by overproduction of skin cells including sebaceous (oil) cells. The skin on affected dogs appears greasy and scaly, particularly the midsection and ears and can be recognized by a foul odor.

Liver Disease Chronic hepatitis is a diagnosis for several diseases which affect the liver. A predisposition to Chronic Hepatitis exists among American cocker spaniels.

Patellar Luxation is a joint condition in which kneecaps pop in and out of place. This is a common complication among many small breed dogs.

Hip Dysplasia is a developmental subluxation of the hip joints which can eventually lead to arthritis and/or lameness. It's causes are genetic as well as environmental. A secondary concern of this affliction is osteoarthritis.

The use of pet steps has been shown to significantly reduce the wear and tear on joints.

Still unsure if an American Cocker Spaniel is the right dogs for you?

If you're looking to share your home with a dog and you've got a soft spot for an animal in need, check into volunteering at a rescue... or better yet, become a foster parent for a dog in need of a temporary home. There are countless dogs in immediate need of someone like you who cares.

New! Pictures of Cocker Spaniels

(featuring adoptable dogs)!

We hope you've found this page helpful in your search for your next best friend.

If you haven't done so yet, we urge you to read our FAQ page to learn how to find a reputable breeder... and why should NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store.