American Cocker Spaniels, sometimes simply called “Cockers,” are the smallest of the Spaniel breeds. Their name is derived from the “woodcock” bird, which they historically were (and still are) especially proficient at hunting. These are lively, cheerful, intelligent dogs that excel as family companions and weekend bird-hunting partners. They also excel in the conformation show ring. Well-bred and well-cared-for, Cockers have glorious coats, dreamy dark eyes and wonderful dispositions. American Cocker Spaniels have been among the most popular of all purebred dogs in the United States for many decades. Unfortunately, their immense popularity at times has caused the Cocker Spaniel to suffer from overbreeding by unscrupulous people who focused on making money rather than promoting healthy, sound, well-tempered dogs. Reputable fanciers of this lovely breed have taken conscientious steps to stabilize the disposition and health of their dogs, in addition to maintaining their glamorous coats and promoting their instinctive hunting talents. The American Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a member of the AKC’s Sporting Group in 1878.