American cocker spaniels are known as the “merry” cocker because of their playful, friendly personality and willingness to please their owners. For this reason, cockers have become one of the most popular dogs in America, especially before retrievers like the golden and Labrador set the bar so high for being great with kids, according to VetStreet.com.
The American cocker spaniel is derived from the English cocker spaniel, which also still exists. The American variety of this dog is slightly smaller than its English counterpart, and was developed to hunt quail and other small game birds in the U.S. These pooches can be nearly any color, though black and tan are the most common shades.
The cocker spaniel has a soft, curly coat that requires moderate grooming, according to Animal Planet. You can maintain a close-cut coat on your cocker, but it still requires occasional trips to the groomer and may need brushing or combing with the Resco Pro-Series Large Slicker Brush to keep the long feathers around its ears and legs mat-free. Because of its luxurious fur, it can also benefit from baths with oatmeal shampoo for dogs and an Omega-3 supplement like Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet to keep its fur soft and supple.
Cocker spaniels are in the American Kennel Club’s sporting group, meaning that they need plenty of exercise even if they are kept as house pets. It is not known for maintaining its hunting instincts, but it enjoys a long walk each day and may also enjoy the occasional trip to the countryside.
Owners should make sure to care for their cockers’ eyes, as they are prone to cataracts and glaucoma. They can also suffer from hip dysplasia and allergies.
While these dogs are eager to please and responsive to their humans, they can be difficult to train because they are curious. It might help to invest in a One-Touch Pet Gate 150 to keep your spaniel out of trouble, and to crate train it. Cockers love food and they tend to become overweight. For this reason, owners should be aware of the weight management pet food on the market such as Candidae Platinum Seniors & Overweight Dog Dry Food.
If you keep your cocker spaniel healthy and engaged, you can enjoy up to 15 happy years together.