American Cocker Spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel

11 July 2023

Let’s talk about… American Cocker Spaniels: what are they?

  • The American Cocker Spaniel is a charming and affectionate dog breed that originated in the United States.
  • They are known for their beautiful, silky coats and long, droopy ears.
  • American Cocker Spaniels have a playful and gentle nature, making them excellent companions and family pets.
  • Males typically reach a height of 36-39cm, while females are slightly smaller, averaging 34-37cm.
  • The average weight for adult American Cocker Spaniels ranges between 11-15 kg.
  • They tend to have a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
American Cocker Spaniel  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 2/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of American Cocker Spaniels like?

  • American Cocker Spaniels have a delightful temperament and are known for their affectionate and gentle nature.
  • They are loving and devoted to their families, often forming strong bonds with their owners.
  • These dogs are typically good with children and can get along well with other pets if properly socialised from a young age.
  • They thrive on human companionship and enjoy being part of family activities.
  • American Cocker Spaniels are known for their happy and waggy tails, which reflect their friendly and sociable disposition.
Jonny, the American Cocker Spaniel

How much exercise do American Cocker Spaniels need?

  • American Cocker Spaniels have moderate exercise needs and require approximately 1 hour of exercise per day.
  • They enjoy walks, playtime in a securely fenced garden, and interactive games that provide mental stimulation.
  • Engaging them in activities like retrieving, obedience training, or even dog sports such as agility can help keep them physically and mentally fit.
  • It's important to provide regular exercise to prevent boredom and potential behavioural issues.
  • When it comes to American Cocker Spaniel puppies, it's important to be mindful of their growing bodies.
  • Puppies have developing bones and joints that are more vulnerable to injuries. Until they reach around 12 to 18 months of age, it's best to limit high-impact exercises and avoid activities that may strain their joints.
  • Short, controlled play sessions in a safe environment and gentle walks are beneficial for their early development.
  • Consult with your veterinarian for specific exercise guidelines tailored to your American Cocker Spaniel puppy's age and condition.
Molly, the American Cocker Spaniel

Do American Cocker Spaniels need grooming?

  • American Cocker Spaniels have a luxurious, medium-length coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition.
  • This coat can come in a variety of colours including black, red, silver and merle.
  • Their beautiful, silky fur is prone to matting and tangling, so daily brushing is recommended to prevent knots and keep the coat looking its best. Pay particular attention to their feathering (longer hair on the ears, chest, legs, and belly), as it tends to tangle more easily.
  • In addition to brushing, American Cocker Spaniels may require regular professional grooming every 6-8 weeks to maintain their coat's health and appearance.
  • Grooming sessions typically include bathing, trimming around the ears and paws, and shaping the coat.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Are American Cocker Spaniels easy to train?

  • American Cocker Spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them generally responsive to training.
  • They are known for their gentle and sensitive nature, so positive reinforcement methods work best for them.
  • Use rewards, praise, and treats to motivate and reward desired behaviours.
  • Early socialisation and consistent training from puppyhood are important to help them develop into well-behaved and well-adjusted dogs
  • Basic obedience training, including commands like sit, stay, and come, should be introduced early on. Gradually progress to more advanced training tasks, such as leash walking and off-lead training, once the basics are mastered.
  • Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key to successful training sessions with American Cocker Spaniels.
  • If you're new to dog training, attending puppy classes or seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer can be helpful.
Rupert, the American Cocker Spaniel

What do American Cocker Spaniels eat?

  • Feeding your American Cocker Spaniel a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. High-quality commercial dog foods that are appropriate for their age, size, and activity level are recommended.
  • Divide their daily food portion into two meals as an adult.
  • For American Cocker Spaniel puppies, it's important to provide them with a specially formulated puppy diet that supports their growth and development until around 10-12 months old depending on the brand of food and on the advice of your vet.
  • Ideally feed them 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, when it can be reduced to twice a day.
  • Monitor their weight and body condition to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. Avoid overfeeding and excessive treats, as American Cocker Spaniels can be prone to weight gain.

Are American Cocker Spaniels generally healthy?

American Cocker Spaniels are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some potential health concerns associated with American Cocker Spaniels include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Dry eye - an ongoing condition where the tear glands in the eyes don’t produce enough protective tear film, which can lead to discomfort, infections and damage of the eye
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if an American Cocker Spaniel is right for you, consult with your vet.

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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