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Gentle and cheerful, American Cocker Spaniels are distinguishable for their big, dreamy eyes and long, lush ears. Smallest of the sporting dogs, American Cocker Spaniels are also known as the “merry” cocker, making them one of the world’s best-loved breeds.
See the fact file below for more information on the American Cocker Spaniels or alternatively, you can download our 21-page American Cocker Spaniel worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY AND ETYMOLOGY
- Spaniels are an antique breed. The term spanyell, meaning “spanish dog”, is assumed to have originated from Spain. These dogs have served as companions for bird hunters before the invention of rifles.
- For hundreds of years, European and British spaniels were categorized as land and water spaniels. It was during the 19th century when dog shows and field trials, written breed standards, and the idea of purebred dogs started to gain popularity in England, classifying spaniels into specific breeds.
- One of these spaniels was the Cocker, named after specializing on woodcock. Cocker Spaniels were smaller than English Springer Spaniels but larger than English Toy Spaniels.
- The first recorded Cocker Spaniel in the first studbook of the American Kennel Club was a liver and white dog named Captain. The second volume of the studbook registered a black Cocker named Brush II.
- In 1881, Clinton Wilmerding and James Watson established the American Spaniel Club, the oldest breed club in the United States. It initially included varying types of Spaniels; however, breeders eventually split off as distinct differences among the Spaniels were clarified.
- In the United States, the Cocker Spaniel was divided into two varieties: American and English. The latter breed was characterized by their longer heads and taller stature compared to their American cousin.
- In 1939, a black American Cocker Spaniel named Brucie won the Best American Bred in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. Brucie captured the hearts of the American public; he was so cherished that when he died, The New York Times published his obituary.
- In 1946, the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Spaniel were recognized as two different breeds by the American Kennel Club.
- Aramingo Argonaut, born in January 17,1956, was the first American Cocker Spaniel to be shown at an international canine event Crufts in 1960.
- From the late 1930s to the 1950s, American Cocker Spaniels topped all of the breeds registered in the American Kennel Club. Its popularity declined for 30 years but took back its throne during the mid-1980s.
- In 1922, his number one spot was taken over by Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Today, American Cocker Spaniels still belong to the top 15 registered breeds.
- Smallest of the American Kennel Club Sporting Group, this Cocker Spaniel stands 14 to 15.5 inches tall for males, and 13.5 to 14.5 inches tall for females. They weigh approximately 24 to 28 pounds.
- They have sturdy and compact bodies, with rounded dome-like skulls, short muzzles, and deep stops. In a dog’s anatomy, stops are indentations between the muzzle and the forehead. Cocker Spaniels have round, dark eyes, black or brown nose, long, silky, low set drop ears, and docked tails.
- Cocker Spaniels have a quite long, silky coat, either straight or slightly wavy hair, and can have different color variations, such as buff, black, red and white, black and white, roan, cream and white, brown and white, and any solid color aside from black.
- Known as the “merry” cocker for they are such happy breeds. They seem to wag their tails most of the time – a sign when a Cocker is happy.
- They love to be with people, especially with kids because of their affectionate personality. They fit in almost every household situation, making them one of the most popular breeds in the United States.
- Cockers don’t handle being alone very well. Separation anxiety is common in these breeds. They have the tendency to bark, chew the things they see, or pee and poop wherever they want to.
- Cockers like it if their owners take them for a walk, for a hunt in the field, or for a country outings.
- They are mentally and physically sensitive dogs because of their soft personalities. They stress easily, automatically shutting down if treated harshly, sometimes they might growl or snap when they are afraid or in pain.
- Sadly, the American Cocker is not lucky to be blessed with good health.
- Their life expectancy is just 10 to 11 years, shorter than that of the English Cockers.
- Allergies. Cockers are prone to food allergies (symptoms include dry, itchy skin, too much scratching or licking, bald patches, and a number of hotspots), contact allergies (caused by a reaction to flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemical substances), and inhalant allergies (brought about by airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and mildew).
- Curing allergies depends on the cause and may include diet restrictions, medications, and change in environment.
- Eye problems. Progressive retinal atrophy (disease of the retinal cells that can lead to blindness), glaucoma (damages the optic nerve), cataracts (clouding of the lens which blurs vision), and other eye abnormalities might plague Cockers.
- Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). Pale gums, fatigue, jaundice, and swollen abdomen may cause the their immune system to strike its own blood cells. Young adult females are usually the victims.
- Hypothyroidism. Underactive thyroid glands that are believed to cause epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin disorders.
- Primary seborrhea. A skin disorder in which skin cells, such as the sebaceous (oil) cells, multiply and shed three times faster than the usual. Their skin produces too much oil and scale, which produces an unpleasant odor.
- Idiopathic epilepsy. A hereditary condition which can cause mild or severe seizures.
- Canine hip dysplasia. An abnormality in the hip socket, causing crippling lameness and painful joint inflammation, such as arthritis.
- Patellar luxation. Painfully crippling, this is a bone condition wherein Cocker’s knee caps are dislocated – knee joints slide in and out of place.
CARE AND GROOMING
- Maintaining a Cocker’s coat requires a great commitment from the owners. Grooming them is an intense and expensive obligation. Daily brushing at home is essential in order to prevent the coat from tangles and mats.
- Given their delicate temperament, they should be introduced to grooming at an early age in order to be used to it and accept it as a normal part of their life.
- Wipe their ears every week with a cotton ball damped with a gentle ear cleaner substance.
- Cockers are not used to being left alone, so it is best for owners to keep them indoors, where they can participate in group activities and play with kids.
American Cocker Spaniel Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the American Cocker Spaniels across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use American Cocker Spaniel worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the American Cocker Spaniels which are distinguishable for their big, dreamy eyes and long, lush ears. Smallest of the sporting dogs, American Cocker Spaniels are also known as the “merry” cocker, making them one of the world’s best-loved breeds.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- American Cocker Spaniel Facts
- Merry Cocker
- Cocker Spaniel Anatomy
- Merry Cocker Facts
- Growing Up
- Colors and Patterns
- American and English
- Dogs in the U.S.A.
- The Three Spaniels
- Treat Me Better
- Lady and the Tramp Comics
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Use With Any Curriculum
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