American Cocker Spaniel Temperament

The American Cocker Spaniel is a remoulded version of the English Cocker. He is smaller, his skull rounded and his eyes more forward facing. His back is shorter and slightly sloping. He also has copious hair on his ears and body. All of these characteristics, as well as his (usually) friendly temperament, make the American Cocker a popular family dog. He needs plenty of fun and exercise. His very long, silky coat needs careful and frequent grooming.

(should be as low as possible)

The breed average COI is 4.0%

Effective population size (EPS) 189

EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population (KC registered dogs). It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservation biologists and below 50 puts a breed at grave risk.

(body shape and physical characteristics)
  • The American Cocker’s long coat will cause him problems if not groomed regularly and professionally trimmed from time to time.
  • His over long ears are likely to be stepped on when he tries to follow a scent
  • Long ears and excessive hair can cause ear canal inflammation and infection which can be painful

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): score should be as low as possible
  • Eye disease: Primary glaucoma (G) (annual testing); Multi-focal retinal dysplasia (visual impairment) (litter screening); Hereditary cataract (HC) (annual testing); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) (gradual loss of vision)

DNA tests available

  • pcrd-PRA (Progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Phosphofructokinase (PKF) deficiency (prevents metabolism of glucose into energy, causes exercise intolerance and muscle disease – also destroys red blood cells, causing anaemia)

Unofficial (breed club) schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents (or check the KC’s health test results finder). If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

(for which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
  • Chronic hepatitis (liver disease) (an autoimmune disease)
  • Immune mediated thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets causing spontaneous bleeding – can cause chronic malaise and severe pain)
  • Cancer: ceruminous gland carcinoma; perianal gland tumours; basal cell tumors; histiocytoma; lymphoma
  • Corneal dystrophy (opaqueness of cornea, causing visual impairment)
  • Distichiasis (double row of eyelashes which irritate the eyeball)
  • Entropion/Ectropion (inward turning eyelid/outward turning eyelid)
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye)
  • Bronchiectasis (permanent widening of the bronchi) causes coughing
  • Inherited XX sex reversal (hermaphrodite)
  • Heart disease: Dilated cardiomyopathy and associated taurine deficiency (heart chambers enlarge – heart muscle weakens and gradually fails)
  • Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap)
  • Intervertebral disc disease (rupture of a disc with compression of the spinal cord) causes pain and weakness and sometimes paralysis)
  • Haemophilia B (bleeding disease)
  • Platelet storage pool deficiency (may cause haemorrhage)
  • Aggression

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Advisory Council’s Standard for Breeders

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:

Billy The Black and White Cocker Spaniel
Billy The Black and White Cocker Spaniel
How to Select a Cocker Spaniel
How to Select a Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel | Clover Very Friendly 8 Year Old Cocker
Cocker Spaniel | Clover Very Friendly 8 Year Old Cocker ...
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