American Cocker Spaniel

English Vs American Cocker Spaniel

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Are you aware there are two distinct Cocker Spaniel Breeds? There really are!  So, if you’re thinking about getting a Cocker Spaniel as a family dog, then you need to know all about the English Vs American Cocker Spaniel. Even though these two distinct breeds are alike in many ways, there are several distinctions you should know about.

English Vs American Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is the original breed.  It is often thought of as the more “traditional” of the two breeds—by the English of course! The English hunter wanted a new type of hunting dog so the Cocker Spaniel was developed. These dogs are still popular as a hunting breed in the UK today. 

English Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized, usually ranging in weight between 26 and 34 pounds. Typically, the dogs have a long, wavy coat that needs to be groomed frequently to keep it mat-free and looking good.

Typical English Cocker Spaniels are friendly and playful dogs. They are known to be good with kids and make exceptional family dogs. But, they are bursting with energy and need regular exercise to burn it off. So, you must be willing and able to take the dog out every day for a good walk or run. They are easily trained for a variety of jobs because they are eager to learn, they like a challenge, and they’re very smart. 

American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is quite a bit smaller than the English breed. This dog breed typically weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. They have a shorter hair coat than the English Cocker Spaniel and they are showier in appearance than the taller English breed. They are bred more as fancy show dogs and family pets rather than for their natural hunting skills. Known for their sweet and affectionate dispositions, they are wonderful with kids and they are picture-perfect lap dogs.

The American Cocker Spaniels tend to be more likely than their English cousins to get more ear and eye infections. They also need to be groomed more often to keep their coat healthy and mat-free.  Although active like the English breed, the American Cocker Spaniel is less apt to be used for hunting or become overweight.  So, it does not need as much field training and exercise as the English Cocker Spaniel.

Both breeds of Cocker Spaniels are exceptional pets. Think about your lifestyle, personality,  likes, and needs when deciding whether the larger English or smaller American breed is right for you. If you are the active outdoorsy type who likes lots of exercise then an English Cocker Spaniel may be for you.  If you are less active then a smaller, low-maintenance American Cocker Spaniel may be the better choice.

Cocker Spaniel Health Issues

You ought to be aware of some of the health problems that affect this breed. Generally speaking, Cocker Spaniels are healthy dogs. But, they can come down with a few common health problems. In this section, we will discuss two of the most common health concerns in Cocker Spaniels: ear infections and eye problems.

Ear Infections

Because Cocker Spaniels have long, floppy ears they are notorious for trapping moisture and dirt. This is the perfect growing ground for bacteria and yeast to invade which leads to some serious ear infections.  These infections are usually painful and itchy. 

Familiar symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Scratching or rubbing the ears
  • Shaking the head
  • Redness or swelling of the ear canal
  • Nasty discharge from the ear
  • Smelly ear odour

To avoid ear infections clean, inspect, and dry your Cocker Spaniel’s ears after every outing. Using a pet-safe ear-cleaning solution and cotton balls works well.  Don’t use Q-Tips or swabs! Take your dog to the vet for an exam, cleaning and antibiotic treatment if needed.

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Eye Problems

Cocker Spaniels can get a few serious eye problems, such as:

  • Cataracts: A cloudiness in the eye that can cause vision loss
  • Glaucoma: Increased pressure in the eye that can cause pain and vision loss
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness

Take your Cocker Spaniel for regular check-ups at the vet clinic. And, do so immediately if you notice cloudiness or redness in your dog’s eyes.  Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to a few eye and ear problems but with proper care and attention, your dog should be healthy and happy.

Cocker Spaniel Training and Exercise 

Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, very trainable dogs but they need quality training and exercise to stay fit and healthy. Training and exercise are extremely important for these dogs.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is needed for Cocker Spaniels. They want to please and impress their owners, but they can be stubborn at times. Effective training beginning from a young age is critical to help your Cocker Spaniel be well-behaved and obedient.

When training, always use positive reinforcement to reinforce your commands.  Using dog treats and lots of petting and praising works well. Because Cocker Spaniels have short attention spans, always be patient and consistent. Remember to keep your training sessions short and sweet. Don’t forget — make your training sessions fun for you and your dog!

House Training

House training is another lesson your Cocker Spaniel must learn because they tend to have accidents in the home.  It’s imperative to be consistent and set a routine from the get-go.

Make your Cocker Spaniel go outside frequently during the day, especially after meals and rest. Praise your dog when he or she does their business outside.  Be calm, patient and consistent if accidents happen inside. Remember, use positive reinforcement because it works, punishment does not.

Exercise Needs

Cocker Spaniels need to have daily exercise to remain fit and healthy. They also require lots of mental challenges to remain mentally fit.  These dogs have a lot of energy and they love to play, in fact, they can be downright mischievous!

Daily walks, personal training, and play are necessary for Cocker Spaniel’s health and happiness.  These dogs also need lots of mental stimulation. Giving them interactive toys like pet puzzles works very well.

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Here are some exercise ideas for your Cocker Spaniel:

  • Playing fetch with your dog
  • Take your pooch for a walk or run
  • Put your dog in agility or obedience classes 
  • Give your best friend challenging interactive toys

Always pay close attention when your Cocker Spaniel is exercising and playing.  Giving your dog plenty of clean water and rest is very important to his or her well-being. Be consistent in your training, exercise, and play and your Cocker Spaniel will be a happy and well-behaved family pooch.

English Vs American Cocker Spaniel: Which Is Right For You?

A Cocker Spaniel might just be the perfect dog for you. Owning a Cocker Spaniel can be a really rewarding experience, but consider the pros and cons before committing to one. 

Cocker Spaniels are trusting, loving, dedicated, and loyal dogs.  They love to please their owners and they are always ready to go. They are extremely popular and have been since the 1800s. 

Just remember to look at the English Vs American Cocker Spaniel in detail before committing to either one.  

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