American Cocker Spaniel
|Area of Origin:
||United States of
|Date of Origin:
Kennel Club recognition in 1946
||flushing and retrieving
in the United States and descended from one of the oldest Spaniel
breeds in the “Cocker Spaniel” the “Yankee”
as he is affectionately known, was originally bred to find and
flush woodcock and is an equally enthusiastic and capable hunting
companion as he is an obedience and agility competitor, show
dog and companion to his human family.
American Cocker Spaniel is an ideal family companion, with his
never tiring desire to please and endearing expression. An ideally
sized housedog equally at home curled up on your lap, the sofa,
or in front of the hearth, as will he be in either a rural or
suburban setting. By following a routine training programme
the Yankee generally responds quickly with that overwhelming
desire to please. They will not respond to harsh training methods,
don’t lose that typical “merry” temperament.
his pleading expression and overwhelming desire to snack the
American Cocker can easily over indulge, watch his weight, its
not only unhealthy but uncomfortable. Routine exercise helps
with his overall fitness and health, this need not be extreme,
a romp in the park or along the beach or a “fetch the
ball” work out will satisfy his requirements.
A Yankee in full coat is a joy to behold, his coat is long
and silky and requires regular attention. Regular appointments
with a groomer are recommended and will help maintain his
general well-kept appearance. You can help by thoroughly combing
him at least once a week; take care around the ear canal keeping
this area free of hair to assist ventilation. Don’t
feel that you have let the side down by having your American
Cocker completely clipped off for summer its much cooler for
him and makes swimming so much more pleasurable.
Official Breed Standard
A serviceable-looking dog with a refined chiselled head; standing
on straight legs and well up at the shoulders; of compact body and
wide, muscular quarters. The American Cocker Spaniel's sturdy body,
powerful quarters and strong, well-boned legs show him to be a dog
capable of considerable speed combined with great endurance. Above
all he must be free and merry, sound, well balanced throughout and
in action show a keen inclination to work, equable in temperament
with no suggestion of timidity.
Head and Skull:
Well developed and rounded with no tendency towards flatness, or
pronounced roundness, of the crown (dome). The forehead smooth,
i.e., free from wrinkles, the eyebrows and stop clearly defined,
the median line distinctly marked and gradually disappearing until
lost rather more than halfway up to the crown. The bony structure
surrounding the socket of the eye should be well chiselled;
there should be no suggestion of fullness under the eyes nor prominence
in the cheeks which, like the sides of the muzzle, should present
a smooth, clean-cut appearance. To attain a well-proportioned head,
which above all should be in balance with the rest of the dog, the
distance from the tip of the nose to the stop at a line drawn across
the top of the muzzle between the front corners of the eyes, should
be approximately one-half the distance from the stop at this point
up over the crown to the base of the skull. The muzzle should be
broad and deep, with square, even jaws. The upper lip should be
of sufficient depth to cover the lower jaw, presenting a square
appearance. The nose of sufficient size to balance the muzzle and
foreface, with well-developed nostrils and black in colour in the
blacks and black and tans; in the reds, buffs, livers and parti-colours
and in the roans it may be black or brown, the darker colouring
The teeth should be sound and regular and set at right angles to
their respective jaws. The relation of the upper teeth to the lower
should be that of scissors, with the inner surface of the upper
in contact with the outer surface of the lower when the jaws are
The eyeballs should be round and full and set in the surrounding
tissue to look directly forward and give the eye a slightly almond-shape
appearance. The eye should be neither weak nor goggled. The expression
should be intelligent, alert, soft and appealing. The colour of
the iris should be dark brown to black in the blacks, black and
tans, buffs and creams, and in the darker shades of the parti-colours
and roans. In the reds, dark hazel, in the livers, parti-colours
and roans of the lighter shades, not lighter than hazel, the darker
Lobular, set on a line no higher than the lower part of the eye,
the leathers fine and extending to the nostrils. Well clothed with
long, silky, straight or wavy hair.
The neck sufficiently long to allow the nose to reach the ground
easily, muscular and free from pendulous " throatiness".
It should rise strongly from the shoulders and arch slightly as
it tapers to join the head.
The shoulders deep, clean-cut and sloping without protrusion and
so set that the upper point of the withers are at an angle which
permits a wide spring of rib. Forelegs straight, strongly boned
and muscular and set close to the body well under the scapulae.
The elbows well let down and turning neither in nor out. The pasterns
short and strong.
Its height at the withers should approximate the length from the
withers to the set-on of tail. The chest deep, its lowest point
no higher than the elbows, its front sufficiently wide for adequate
heart and lung space, yet not so wide as to interfere with straight
forward movement of the forelegs. Ribs deep and well-sprung throughout.
Body short in the couplings and flank, with its depth at the flank
somewhat less than at the last rib. Back strong and sloping evenly
and slightly downward from the withers to the set-on of tail. Hips
wide with quarters well rounded and muscular. The body should appear
short, compact and firmly knit together, giving the impression of
The hind legs should be strongly boned and muscled with good angulation
at the stifle and powerful, clearly defined thighs. The stifle joint
should be strong and there should be no slippage in motion or when
standing. The hocks should be strong, well let down and when viewed
from behind, the hind legs should be parallel when in motion and
Feet compact, not spreading, round and firm, with deep, strong,
tough pads and hair between the toes; they should turn neither in
The American Cocker Spaniel possesses a typical sporting dog gait.
Prerequisite to good movement is balance between the fore and hind
quarters. He drives with his strong, powerful rear quarters and
is properly constructed to the shoulder and forelegs so that he
can reach forward without constriction in a full stride to counter
balance the driving force of the rear. Above all, his gait is co-ordinated,
smooth and effortless. The dog must cover ground with his action
and excessive animation should never be mistaken for proper gait.
The customarily docked tail should be set on and carried on a line with the topline of the back, or slightly higher; never straight up like a terrier and never so low as to indicate timidity. When the dog is in motion the action should be merry.
On the head, short and fine; on the body, medium length with enough
undercoating to give protection. The ears, chest, abdomen and legs
should be well feathered, but not so excessively as to hide the
American Cocker Spaniels true lines and movement or affect his appearance
and function as a sporting dog. The texture is most important. The
coat should be silky, flat or slightly wavy and of a texture which
permits easy care. Excessive or curly or cottony texture coat should
Blacks should be jet black; shadings of brown or liver in the sheen
of the coat is not desirable.
Black and Tan (classified under solid colours)
should have definite tan markings on a jet black body The tan markings
should be distinct and plainly visible and the colour of the tan
may be from the lightest cream to the darkest red colour. The amount
of tan markings should be restricted to ten per cent or less of
the colour of the specimen; tan markings in excess of ten per cent
should be penalised. Tan markings which are not readily visible
in the ring or the absence of tan markings in any of the specified
locations should be penalised. The tan markings should be located
1. A clear spot over each eye.
2. On the sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks.
3. On the underside of the ears.
4. On all feet and legs.
5. Under the tail.
6. On the chest, optional, presence or absence should not be penalised.
Tan on the muzzle which extends upwards over and
joins should be penalised.
Any solid colour other than black should be of
uniform shade. Lighter colouring of the feathering is permissible.
In all the above solid colours a small amount of white on chest
and throat while not desirable, is allowed, but white in any other
location should be penalised.
Parti-colours. Two or more definite colours appearing
in clearly defined markings are essential. Primary colour which
is ninety per cent or more should be penalised, secondary colour
or colours which are limited solely to one location should also
be penalised. Roans are classified as parti-colours and may be of
any of the usual roaning patterns. Tri-colours are any of the above
colours combined with tan markings. It is preferable that the tan
markings be located in the same pattern as for Black and Tan.
The ideal height at the withers for an adult is: Dog: 38 cm (15
in) Bitch: 35 cm (14 in). Height may vary 1.3 cm (0.5 in) above
or below this ideal A dog whose height exceeds 39 cm (15.5 in) or
a bitch whose height exceeds 37 cm (14.5 in) should be penalised.
An adult dog whose height is less than 37 cm (14.5 in) or an adult
bitch whose height is less than 34 cm (13.5 in) should be penalised.
Height is determined by a line perpendicular to the ground from
the top of the shoulder blades, the dog standing naturally with
its forelegs and the lower hindlegs parallel to the line of the
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended
into the scrotum.