American Cocker Spaniel | History and Health
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

American Cocker Spaniel - History and Health


Spaniels, earlier referred to as “Spanyells,” have been around for centuries. This is a large and diverse group of dogs, dating back to the 14th century or perhaps even earlier. Spaniels of all types historically have been bred to hunt, either on land or on water, or sometimes on both. The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the recognized Spaniel breeds and also is the smallest member of the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group.

American Cockers, and English Cockers, were bred specifically to flush and retrieve game birds. In fact, their name probably comes from the “woodcock,” which is a bird that they apparently are especially proficient at hunting. During the 1800s, English Cocker Spaniels were imported to the United States and Canada in quite some numbers by bird-hunting enthusiasts, who valued their exceptional skills at flushing and retrieving woodcock, pheasant and grouse. English Cockers were accepted for show competition in England in 1883, and were given breed status in England’s Kennel Club Stud Books in 1892. In the early to mid-1900s, the American Cockers began to diverge from their English counterparts. American breeders interested in showing Cocker Spaniels competitively in the conformation ring began breeding them down in size, which also made them especially suitable as family pets. The Cocker Spaniel soon became the most popular purebred dog in America.

Hunting enthusiasts resisted the trend towards breeding petite Cockers. In 1935, they formed a separate breed club for the traditional English Cocker Spaniels, called the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, which remains today as the parent club for that breed in the United States. The AKC formally recognized the English Cocker Spaniel as a breed distinct from the American Cocker Spaniel in 1946.

The enormous popularity of the American Cocker Spaniel had its benefits for the breed but also brought some unwelcome consequences. Commercial puppy mills and other unscrupulous “breeders” began breeding Cockers indiscriminately, without attention to the health, temperament or well-being of the parents or their puppies. Fortunately, responsible fanciers of the American Cocker Spaniel intervened and continued promoting high-quality examples of their beloved breed. Today’s American Cockers by and large are the endearing, energetic, affectionate companions that made them among the most popular of all purebred dogs.

Health Predispositions

The American Cocker Spaniel has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cancer, cherry eye, cataracts, ectropion, entropion, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal ulceration, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, ear infections, hemophilia, hepatitis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, chondrodysplasia, hypothyroidism, patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonic stenosis, endocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, intervertebral disc disease, epilepsy and an assortment of dermatological (skin) disorders.

Source: PetWave



Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter Email Friend about Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2015 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.