A Closer Look At The American Cocker Spaniel Dog

Picture taken from www.free-extras.com

Picture taken from www.free-extras.com

Good day and welcome everyone!

This is Sharda with another Cocker Spaniel newsletter.

Let’s get to know them more by learning how to spot them a mile away, so here’s a closer look at the American Cocker Spaniel dog.

Let’s start shall we?

As the smallest member of the sporting group, the ideal cocker spaniel is sturdy with a compact body.
The overall dog should be in balance and of ideal size as noted below.

When standing, the Cocker’s head and forequarters are held high above muscular shoulders with its forelegs straight and perpendicular to the ground. Its top line (back) slopes slightly toward moderately bent, muscular quarters.

Despite Their moderate size, Cocker Spaniels are capable of considerable speed and endurance.

Their personality is free and cheerful and the animal is sound and well balanced throughout. When in action he shows a keen tendency to work.


  • Size – The ideal height for an adult male Spaniel dog is 15 inches and for a female Cocker Spaniel, 14 inches. It is acceptable for height to vary one-half inch above or below this ideal; however, a Cocker whose height exceeds the upper limit (15½” male, 14½” female) is disqualified. An adult male whose height is less than 14½ inches and an adult female whose height is less than 13½ inches is acceptable but penalized.
  • Proportion – In order for the Cocker Spaniels to be properly proportioned, he should be longer than he is tall. In other words, the measurement from the breast bone to the back of the thigh is slightly longer than that from the highest point of his withers (shoulders) to the ground. He should be long enough to allow for a straight and free stride; never appearing long and low.

The head must be in balance with the rest of the Spaniel dog.

A well-proportioned head embodies the following characteristics:

  • Expression – The expression is intelligent, alert, soft and appealing.
  • Eyes – Eyeballs are round and full, looking directly forward. The eye is slightly almond shaped and is not weak or goggled. The iris is dark brown and in general, the darker the better.
  • Ears – The long, flowing ears are a distinctive feature of the Cocker Spaniel and as such, they should be set inline and begin no higher than the lower part of the eyes. They should be “leather fine and extending to nostrils” with long silky, straight or wavy hair.
  • Skull – The skull is well-rounded but not exaggerated and without flatness. Clearly defined eyebrows sit atop a pronounced stop (the sloped area between the forehead and muzzle). The bony structure below the eyes is well chiselled with indistinct cheeks. The muzzle is broad and deep. For proper balance, the distance from the stop to the tip of the nose is one half the distance from the stop up over the crown to the base of the skull.
  • Nose – The nose should be sized to balance the muzzle and foreface, with well-developed nostrils typical of a sporting dog. Animals that are black, black and tan, or black and white should have black noses.
  • Lips – The upper lip is full and deep enough to cover the lower jaw.
  • Teeth – Teeth are of proper size, strong and sound; meeting in a scissors bite.


  • Neck – The neck is long enough to allow the nose to reach the ground easily—sniffing the ground is after all an important skill for a hunting dog. The neck is muscular without loose-hanging skin.
  • Topline – The area that extends from the top of the head to the neck—slopes slightly toward muscular quarters.
  • Body –The chest is deep with its lowest point being no higher than the elbows. Its front is wide enough for adequate heart and lung space, yet not so wide as to interfere with foreleg movement. Ribs are deep and “well sprung”.

The Cocker Spaniel’s shoulders should form a nearly 90 degree angle with the upper arm, allowing the dog to easily move his forelegs forward. The shoulders are sharp, sloping without protrusion and set so that the upper points of the withers are at an angle permitting a “wide spring of rib”.

When viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel when in motion and at rest. They are strongly boned and muscled with modest angulation at the stifle (knee) with powerful, clearly defined thighs. The stifle is strong and stable. The hocks (where the lower legs join with the feet) are strong and set low. It is acceptable for the dewclaws to be removed

The head hair is short and fine as opposed to the body which is medium length and dense to give protection. The Cocker spaniels ears, chest, abdomen and legs are well feathered without hindering movement or affecting appearance and function. The coat is silky, flat or slightly wavy with a texture that permits easy care. An excessive, curly or cottony textured coat is harshly penalized.


  • Black Variety – Solid colour black, including black with tan points. This should be jet black with no shadings of brown or liver. A small amount of white on the chest and/or throat is allowed; however, white in any other location is disqualified.
  • Any Solid Colour Other than Black (ASCOB) – This is any solid colour other than black, ranging from the lightest cream to the darkest red, including brown and brown with tan points. The colour should be uniform, but it is permissible for the feathering to be lighter in colour.
  • Tan Points – The colour of the tan can range from the lightest cream to the darkest red and should be equal to 10% or less of the colour of the body. Tan markings in excess of that amount are disqualified.

The well-bred cocker Spaniel should be even tempered and without excessive timidity or aggression.

I hope that you learned a lot from today’s Cocker Spaniel newsletter

All the best and take care

Sharda Baker