The American Cocker Spaniel is a breed of sporting dog. It is a spaniel type dog that is closely related to the English Cocker Spaniel; the two breeds diverged during the 20th century due to differing breed standards in America and the UK. In the United States, the breed is usually referred to as the Cocker Spaniel, while elsewhere in the world, it is called the American Cocker Spaniel in order to differentiate between it and its English cousin. The word cocker is commonly held to stem from their use to hunt woodcock in England, while spaniel is thought to be derived from the type's origins in Spain.
The first spaniel in America came across with the Mayflower in 1620, but it was not until 1878 that the first Cocker Spaniel was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). A national breed club was set up three years later and the dog considered to be the father of the modern breed, Ch. Obo II, was born around this time. By the 1920s the English and American varieties of Cocker had become noticeably different and in 1946 the AKC recognized the English type as a separate breed. It was not until 1970 that The Kennel Club in the UK recognized the American Cocker Spaniel as being separate from the English type. The American Cocker was the most popular breed in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s and again during the 1980s, reigning for a total of 18 years. They have also won the best in show title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on four occasions, and have been linked to the President of the United States on several occasions, with owners including Richard Nixon and Harry S. Truman.
The breed is the smallest of the sporting dogs recognized by the AKC, and its distinctly shaped head makes it immediately recognizable. In addition, there are some marked differences between it and its English relative. It is a happy breed with average working intelligence, although by being bred to a show standard it is no longer an ideal working dog.
Dog Grooming for the Cocker Spainiel:
Grooming is an intense proposition for the Cocker Spaniel. Most owners opt to have a professional groomer bath, brush, and trim their dogs' coats every six to eight weeks. Daily brushing at home is also necessary to keep the coat free of tangles and mats. Some owners opt to clip the coat short to make care easier. Even so, trimming and bathing every six to eight weeks is necessary to keep the Cocker clean and the coat short.
The Cocker Spaniel must be introduced to grooming early so he will grow up to accept it as a normal part of his life. Given his sensitive personality, an early introduction is advisable so that he learns to accept the handling, brushing, noise of electric clippers, scissoring, ear cleaning, and all the rest of the tasks involved in keeping him looking good.
The nails need to be trimmed once a month (or at grooming sessions), and the ears checked once a week for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. The Cocker Spaniel is prone to ear infections, so it's essential to be vigilant. Wipe the ears out weekly with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent problems.