American Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel

How does the Cocker Spaniel score: 0-5 Bones
General Breed Health
Easily Housebroken
Low Maintenance
Good w/Other Pets
Non-Shedding n/a

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.

-Robert Benchley

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.  

People Friendly? Of course! Cocker Spaniels are people friendly when socialized properly. Plenty of 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.

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.

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. Be sure to give plenty of plenty time and walks.

Looking for a family pet? Why not consider Adoption First? The population of unwanted dogs dying in shelters, (yes, even purebreds, like the American Cocker Spaneil!) is always increasing. There is undoubtedly a rescue group near you that specializes in Cockers. Your dog is waiting!

If you have your heart set on a puppy, a quick internet search will turn up several breeders, near and far. But, did you know you

Be on the lookout for puppy mills and never purchase a puppy from these operations. You may think you're saving a puppy, but in reality you're only dooming the breeding parents.

Scouring the internet will turn up several puppy mills disguised as family raised breeders. Beware of any site with several breeds for sale and other red flags it's a puppy mill. But also be aware that you don't necessarily have to purchase a puppy from these breeders. Many will also have adult dogs that they are "retiring" from their breeding program. And once you've made it clear that you won't be purchasing a puppy, they might be willing to allow you purchase a retiring "momma" dog or stud. I've actually rescued 3 dogs this way.

More Stuff About Cocker Spaniels

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.

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.

Housebreaking difficulties- Small breed dogs are among the hardest to housebreak. You'll need to be very patient and probably clean up several messes in the process of house training. We highly recommend the positive and proven 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/rescuing a Cocker Spaniel puppy instead of buying one. We are sure there is a Cocker Spaniel near you in need of your kindness.

Adopting an adult dog is GREAT way to ensure that you get all the breed characteristics you desire. Adult dogs come with several bonuses! Such bonuses Include: 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 Related to the Cocker Spaniel-

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.

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 Basenjis in need of someone like you who cares. 

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. Dogs in your area in need of rescue or foster will be listed on

Coming soon! Pictures of Cocker Spaniels
(featuring adoptable dogs)!

cocker spaniel

Learn more about me, my art, the mission of this site and Rescue Dogs Are Better here.

We also welcome you to contact us if there are any other questions we can answer for you about anything you saw or read on this site.

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