The American Cocker Spaniel is a cheerful, cheerful, and very active dog. These are the pets that you can safely have in a house where there are small children, since aggression is, in principle, not peculiar to them, but on the contrary, only tenderness and friendliness are inherent. The American Cocker Spaniel is a favorite of billions of breeders around the world, the breed is not in vain among these most popular, because from time immemorial it has been favored by everyone from ordinary people to representatives of the nobility.
- Breed name: American Cocker Spaniel
- Country of origin: USA
- Weight: 7-14 kg
- Height (height at withers): males 36.8-39.4 cm, females 34.3-36.8 cm
- Life Expectancy: 13-14 Years
- American cocker spaniels are quite vulnerable. In order to be serious and for a long time offended, the animal needs a raised tone or displeased intonation of the owner.
- All adult dogs are fluent in the art of manipulation. Give in to the “American” one single time, and he will never tire of demanding concessions until the end of his days.
- Due to its hunting qualifications, the breed is considered to be very active and energetic. Accordingly, for people with disabilities and retirees, the American Cocker Spaniel will become more of a burden than a real friend.
- The soft, silky coat of the dog is the subject of constant care of the owner. If you are not ready to devote at least a few minutes a day to the image of your pet, make a choice in favor of another, more “comfortable” breed.
- American cockers do not like silence and love to communicate through loud barking, but with proper training they can curb their own desires.
- The ideal habitat for an “American” will be a house or apartment in which a caring owner or at least one of the household is waiting for him. Loneliness, these long-haired handsome guys endure with difficulty.
- American cocker spaniels have a keen sense of smell and are willing to learn new useful skills, so they work with equal success in the circus arena and in rescue work.
It is believed that the ancestors of American Cocker Spaniels emigrated to the New World from England along with the first settlers. For several centuries, the animals roamed freely around the continent, until at the end of the 19th century they were noticed by professional breeders. Well, further along, the knurled one: experimental mating, selection of the most successful individuals in the exterior plan – and now at the New Hampshire Dog Show of 1883 the first American cocker shines. The sample presented by the breeders was noticeably smaller and shaggier than its European counterpart – the English Cocker Spaniel, but at the same time retaining most of its hunting qualities.
In 1921, for the “Americans” their own standard of appearance was developed, and in 1946 the overseas spaniels finally separated from their ancestors from Foggy Albion, becoming an independent breed.
American Cocker Spaniels are the smallest hunters among their “colleagues” in the gun group. They are not much smaller than English cockers (average height – 34.3-34.9 cm), but their muzzles are much shorter. Among other things, “Americans” have a more glamorous look that they owe to their satin fur. However, for this beauty, the dogs had to pay with the hunting instinct, which manifests itself in a somewhat muffled form. As for the weight of American Cocker Spaniels, most cynological associations turn a blind eye to this parameter. Both eight and fifteen-kilogram individuals are able to win the champion title.
Coat and Color
The coat is soft, silky, straight, or slightly wavy, with an abundant, dense undercoat. The part with the shortest hair is the dog’s head. On the body, legs, and ears, the hair is longer and thicker.
American cockers can be black, black, and tan and mixed (white in combination with some other shade) colors. In addition, all types of mono colors are acceptable for this breed: from light, fawn to brown (monochromatic or tanned). As for the tan markings, they must be located in the parts of the body specified by the standard. These are usually the areas above the eyes, the cheekbones, the inner side of the ears, legs, chest, and the area under the tail.
The American Cocker Spaniel is an affectionate fidget, ready to follow its own owner even to the ends of the world. These long-eared “hairworms” easily find a common language with cats and other dogs, not to mention the owner, who is a creature of the highest order for the animal. But American cockers do not get along with representatives of the feathered family, periodically encroaching on their life and health (the hunting instincts of English ancestors affect). If your pet has not passed the training course and you are not sure of its endurance, it is better to release parrots and other birds in his presence from the cage.
In relation to children, American Cocker Spaniels are quite friendly, but alas, they do not always control themselves. Carried away by catching up and fighting, dogs can attack babies, slightly biting them. In general, the “Americans” are characterized by some infantilism of character. As the breeders themselves say, this is one of the few hunting breeds whose representatives, even at a very respectable age, retain their puppy habits.
American cockers are hyperactive, emotional and so dependent on human society that it sometimes turns into a manic attachment. However, in spite of the successful exploitation of the image of naive simpletons, these glamorous handsome men do not lack trickery, and to be convinced of this, the owner just needs to give up and stop raising his ward. Feeling freedom, the cocker will very quickly turn into a charming, but completely uncontrollable bully, who does not recognize any restrictions.
The American Cocker Spaniel is not a breed for careerists and workaholics who disappear for days at work. Loneliness is a burden and not good for dogs, especially since the eccentric temperament of animals requires a regular release of energy, which a busy owner simply cannot provide. When putting your pet under lock and key and going to work, do not be indignant if, upon returning, you find that your four-legged friend entertained himself as best he could, gnawing his boots and tearing wallpaper off the walls.
Even if you are indifferent to handling and are not going to take your pet on a hunt, it is still necessary to educate it and teach commands, at least for your own comfort and peace of mind. Poorly socialized and not obeying the elementary rules of behavior, the American Cocker Spaniel is still outrageous. Representatives of this breed lend themselves well to training, but due to their natural restlessness, they better assimilate educational material if it is presented in a playful way. The method of positive reinforcement will also not be superfluous – not a single “American” can resist an appetizing treat.
It is necessary to start education with elementary commands like “No!” and “Sit!” From the first weeks of being in the house, the puppy should be able to recognize his own nickname, and also understand the meaning of the command “Place!” Do not be lazy to accustom the animal to the hands. The dog should not shy away from your touch or panic over being lifted. And of course, no psychological or, even worse, physical abuse of the pet! American cockers are dogs with a gentle psyche, they absolutely do not need extra phobias.
Since the American Cocker Spaniel is more of an ornamental companion than a hunter, its main habitat remains a house or apartment. On the street, the animal is taken out mainly to the toilet or for a walk and only after vaccination. In addition, for the first six months, the puppy is not allowed to go down the stairs on its own, so as not to deteriorate the position of the limbs.
You should start caring for your dog with equipment for a separate corner with a couch, toys, bowls for food and water. It is necessary to place a litter or a puppy’s basket in the quietest place in the apartment, where drafts do not reach and where it is not too hot (a place near a heating battery is a frankly unfortunate option). In the early days, the American Cocker Spaniel will, of course, try to ignore your efforts and settle down in some more comfortable place, for example, on the couch, so you need to keep an eye on it. In no case do not indulge the whims of the baby and do not take him to bed with you, no matter how much he wishes, otherwise, in the future, this sly handsome guy will sit on your neck.
American Cocker Spaniels love to go for a walk, so you need to take them outside two, or preferably three times a day. As you walk, allow your dog to warm up by running a race with him. At the same time, you can practice maintaining correct posture. To do this, let your pet walking on a leash pull you forward (you can learn the command “Pull!”). But communication with other dogs, especially stray ones, is best kept to a minimum since cocker spaniels are very susceptible to various kinds of infections.
The American Cocker Spaniel is not a breed for the lazy. Of course, you can take your pet to a grooming salon several times a week, where a specialist will work with him while you flip through magazines and sip coffee. In this case, the maintenance of the dog will result in a tangible budgetary amount. If these expenses do not suit you, learn to care for the fur of your four-legged friend at home.
The first thing to do is to get a slicker, brushes, combs, and mats because you will have to comb the satin hair of the American Cocker Spaniel every day. And do not be fooled by the fact that puppies have a rarer coat. It will pass with age. In general, the procedure of brushing for dogs is extremely tedious, so the sooner you teach your puppy to it, the better for you.
American cockers are supposed to be washed more often than other decorative breeds: on average, once every two weeks. For bathing, it is better to choose kits of pet shampoo and rinse, designed for long-haired dogs. After washing, to facilitate combing, it is recommended to rinse the pet’s fur in a weakly concentrated solution of acetic acid (can be replaced with citric acid). This will give the hair a noble shine and protect the animal’s skin from parasites.
The coat of American Cocker Spaniels is often tangled, regardless of the quality of the dog’s grooming. The areas most susceptible to this phenomenon are the armpits, hocks, and groin areas. Before every bathing of your dog, arm yourself with a collar cutter, and remove matted hair.
The long ears of the American Cocker Spaniel cannot be avoided either. First, during each feed, they must be lifted and secured with an elastic band over the dog’s head so that the dog does not dip them into the bowl. Secondly, the ear funnels of the “Americans” very quickly accumulate sulfur and dirt, and mites simply love to settle in them. Accordingly, the examination of the ear canal and the cleaning of the ear canal for representatives of this family must be carried out every few days.
The teeth of the “Americans” are brushed 1-2 times a week if the animal eats natural food. Dogs sitting on “drying”, the procedure is carried out less often, as the solid particles of food are very good at coping with dental plaque. Some Cocker Spaniel owners suggest that they chew on the bone instead of the standard brushing. The method, of course, is effective, but it should not be abused, since the teeth of American cockers who gnaw bones quickly grind off.
Grooming the American Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniels are supposed to be cut from 1.5-2 months of age, and if you are late with this, the dog will be extremely stressed. Domestic individuals who are not aiming for a championship will be satisfied with a hygienic haircut, which is carried out twice a month. In this case, the mats and the area around the anal region are cut off by the animal, the hairs in the ear canal are plucked out, and the hair on the paws and between the toes is also removed to keep them clean. Once every three months or before an exhibition, the animal should be brought to a groomer who, using a typewriter, will shorten the hair on the face and back of the head, profile the shoulder and chest area, trim the fur on the sides and “refine” the legs.
Important: The coat on the back of the American Cocker Spaniel is never cut with a clipper or scissors. For the treatment of this part of the body, it is best to use a slicker.
The basis of the dog’s diet should be meat, dairy products, cereals, seasonal vegetables, and fruits, as well as sea fish (occasionally and only in the form of fillets). Meat is usually given in the morning, leaving vegetables and dairy products for the evening. Once a week, the cocker spaniel has a belly party, treating him with rye croutons (not from the store), egg yolk, or dried fruits (raisins, dried apricots, prunes). A couple of times a month, the digestive system of the American Cocker Spaniel is “unloaded” by putting a little less than half of the usual daily portion into its bowl.
The most frequent reasons for the appeal of the owners of “Americans” to veterinary clinics are food allergies and ear infections, often leading to complete deafness of the animal. There are also such ailments among American cockers:
- hereditary atopy;
- eye diseases;
- dysplasia of the hip joints.
How to Choose a Puppy
First, decide on the class of the animal and sensibly assess your own financial capabilities. American Cocker Spaniel puppies of the show category will cost more not only in purchase but also in maintenance (remember about salon grooming and constant traveling to exhibitions). The sex of the dog is also an important selection criterion. Girls are usually softer and more welcoming. They quickly get used to a new place of residence and household members, while boys can demonstrate leadership habits. However, when it comes to buying a bitch with the right to breed, get ready for her behavioral tricks during estrus and regular spending on mating.
Be serious about checking items such as the kennel’s reputation, the puppy’s pedigree, and living conditions. Visually assess the appearance of a potential pet: how much it corresponds to the breed standard. A normally developing American Cocker Spaniel puppy is neat, plump, and cheerful. He has a cold and wet nose, pink gums, and always clean under the ponytail. Skip the purchase if you are being aggressively offered the smallest cocker from the litter. Almost certainly the animal will have poor immunity and soreness. Babies whose dewclaws have not been removed and their tails have not been docked are also not the most valuable acquisition.