There are two kinds of cocker spaniels – American and English cocker spaniels. Although the two are very similar, there are still quite a bit of differences between the two, and thus it is worth it to take a look at both of the breeds separately.
American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel is a medium size breed, very muscular and fast. It is one of the hunting breeds and hence, it is very resilient and tough. The snout of this dogs is round, cheek bones are flat, eyes usually of an ellipse shape, long ears are set low and covered by long silky hair. The overall hair of the dog is quite long, thick and a bit curly. There are several standard colors for American cocker spaniels: black, black and gray, full tan any other full color, or two colors and sometimes even three. The dogs usually weigh 25 to 27 lbs.
American Cocker Spaniels derive directly from English cockers. Cocker spaniels appeared in America in 18th century. They were chosen according to the usual standards of beauty which existed back than – the size of the head, the built, and thus, with time, they started to drastically differ from the original English cocker spaniels and from American spaniels of today. In 40-ies of the 20th century, the two breeds were divided into two separate breeds of cocker spaniels. American cocker spaniel is nowadays one of the smallest hunting breeds. Although, this breed is very rarely used for hunting. It is much more common as a decorative breed kept at homes as a lovable pet.
The American Cocker Spaniel is a very smart and intelligent dog. These dogs are very active and like to move a lot. They constantly find something to entertain themselves with, they are naturally inquisitive and a good for training. They are very devoted to their owner, ready to do anything for him. They are very friendly and good around children, even toddlers.
English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of gun dogs which was created artificially in the beginning of the 19th century. The task of scientists dealing with inbreeding of this type of dog was, first and foremost, creation of the perfect gun dog which could be used for hunting. Back than this breed was strictly standardized which put obstacles to further inbreeding of the dogs. Nowadays, those standards have changed quite a bit and are not nearly as strict as they used to be.
The country of origin of English Cocker Spaniels, is, obviously, England, but the breed spread around the world quite fast and now it can be found everywhere in the world.
Spaniels have been found in literature and art for almost 500 years. At first, the breed was divided in England into land and water spaniels. The land cocker spaniels became a little more specialized and eventually, divisions among the breed were made based on weight. Cocker Spaniels of that time weighed from 12 to 25 pounds.
During 1850-ies, other types of the breed were recorded: Welsh and Devonshire Cocker Spaniels. In 1874 the first stud books and the Kennel Club officially registered the breed.
Let’s take a look at this breed as of today. The English Cocker Spaniel is an active, good-natured, sturdy, compact and well-balanced dog. Due to the breed’s happy and fun disposition, it has been given a “pet” name – “merry cocker”. They are very loyal dogs. Health problems are typical for pure breeds; however, the so called “rage syndrome” is closely associated with spaniels. Rage syndrome is described as when a dog attacks suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. The dog usually appears absolutely unaware of the surroundings. Studies have proved that rage syndrome is more often in black colored spaniels. Male orange spaniels are not recommended to keep as a family dog and should never be left with children by itself without supervision.