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About The Breed....

Personality: Happy, smart, gentle

Energy Level: Very Active; Energetic sporting dogs, Cockers love their playtime and brisk walks

Shedding: Seasonal

Grooming: ACS are considered a high maintenance breed of dog as they require grooming about

once every 8 week. With a variety of styles and lengths to choose from to suit each persons lifestyle. 

Trainability: Eager To Please

Height: 14.5-15.5 inches (male), 13.5-14.5 inches (female)

Weight: 25-30 pounds (male), 20-25 pounds (female)

  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Colors and Markings


Black cocker spaniels sport shiny, jet black coats, with no hint of brown. For show dogs, the AKC allows a small amount of white markings on the chest and/or throat, but nowhere else. Black is the second most common color found in the breed, behind buff.


ASCOB stands for Any Solid Color Other Than Black. These colors range from a very pale cream called silver, to buff, which is the most common color found in cocker spaniels, to shades of red and brown, golden and sable. The shades will be uniform across the dog, and sometimes white is seen on the chest and/or throat. Lighter shades of the color can sometimes be seen in the dog’s feathering, which is the longer hair that covers its legs, chest, abdomen and ears.


These cockers have two or more solid, well-broken colors, one of which must be white. The other color can be any of the colors found in solid-color dogs. Black and white is the most common parti-color combination. The white must cover at least 10 percent of the body. If the ratio of white is very high, this is described as open markings. Roan is described as a mingling of colored hair mixed into the white and is considered a parti-color. Parti-colored dogs with tan points are sometimes referred to as tri-color dogs.

Tan Points

Either solid or parti-colored cockers can have tan points. The point can be from lightest cream to darkest red. For show purposes, the tan points are restricted to 10 percent or less of the dog’s coat. The tan points are found over each eye, the underside of the ears, on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, on the feet and legs, under the tail, and sometimes on the chest.


If this is a color you would like I would please ask you to look into the history, health issues and story behind this color.  One source that I liked is at (this web is a required read.) 

American Spaniel Clubs view on

The Merle American Cocker Spaniels is very enlightening. There is a beauty about this color that I personally love. Yet in the Cocker Spaniel world it is a very controversial color and one to not take lightly if you want to breed, as there are known health issues that can be common, yet that does NOT mean they will have, for this color more so than any other color. Purchasing this color from me will cause your return policy to void for health reasons that are common to the ACS that occur at a younger age than they would normally occur for this breed.  Yet each health issue is different and needs to be discussed if one arises. 




by Elaine E. Mathis

Donated to ASC Archives by Carol Rutherford

Spaniels in America can be traced back to 1620 and the landing of the Mayflower. This vessel carried two dogs on her voyage to New England, a Mastiff and a Spaniel. However, it is impossible to trace the ancestry of the blooded dogs of today to these two dogs since pedigrees and stud books were not available prior to the early nineteenth century.

In those early days, the Spaniels were divided into two varieties, land and the water spaniels, and from those early specimens have sprung the many varieties of spaniels we have today, including the toys. After that, the terms Springer, Springing Spaniel, Cocker, Cocking Spaniel, Field, English Type, etc. seem to have applied to Spaniels of all sizes and the division we have today in the Spaniel family developed from that period. Another bit of history was that since the spaniels all derived from the same bloodlines and litters, the top weight limit of 28 lbs. was the dividing line between the cocker spaniel and the field spaniel, for the ones over 28 lbs. were adjudged a field spaniel. The term "Cocker" was given to the smallest, more compact of this family and it came about because they were being used for woodcock shooting.

Cocker registrations can be traced to 1879. The first Cocker strain to become well known and to make definite strides toward the Cocker's recognition as a separate and distinct breed in England, was the "Obo" kennel of Mr. James Farrow. The National American Kennel Club (now the present American Kennel Club) published their first stud book in St. Louis Missouri. The very first Cocker registered was a liver and white named Captain and assigned No. 1354. The first black and tan registered was Jockey, No. 1365. Not until Volume 2 was published in 1885 did a black cocker make his appearance. This was registered as Brush II, No. 3124 and was imported by Commings Cocker Spaniel Kennel of Asworth, New Hampshire.

It was about this time that the founders of the American Spaniel Club were becoming actively interested in the dog that characterized as a Cocker, but not yet recognized as an entirely separate breed of Sporting Spaniel.

The American Spaniel Club is the parent club of the Cocker Spaniel and was established in 1881. When the American Spaniel Club joined the American Kennel Club, which the American Spaniel Club antedated by several years, it was accepted and thereafter recognized as the parent club of sporting spaniels, a role and responsibility it assumed.

The American Kennel Club recognized the separation of the "cocker" breed in September 1946, but it was not until January 1947 that breed registration appeared in the stud book under their own heading.

With time the popularity of the Cocker Spaniel increased by leaps and bounds, and sporting spaniels of other breeds becoming better known, spaniels rapidly grew in favor. With the increase in the number of breeders of Cocker Spaniels and of other breeds of sporting spaniels, the American Spaniel Club recognized its inability to do full and equal justice to all of them. The English Springer Spaniel was the first to crowd the parent club's nest, and this emphasized the propriety of the American Spaniel Club surrendering and transferring its jurisdiction over English Springer Spaniels to a new club organization qualified to assume the responsibility of parenthood for the English Springer Spaniel. Through the good offices of the American Kennel Club, this happy result was brought about, and by mutual consent the English Springer Spaniel passed to the jurisdiction of the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, Incorporated. The popularity of the Cocker Spaniel ever increasing, coupled with the introduction and winning favor of the English Type of Cocker Spaniel, again invited a change in the rules governing Sporting Spaniels. Once more, through the sympathetic understanding and appreciation of conditions by the American Kennel Club, the English Cocker Spaniel was recognized as a distinct type of Cocker Spaniel, separate classes were set up for it, and in due time it was deservedly admitted to the Sporting Group. Negotiations were opened with the American Kennel Club to affect a transfer of jurisdiction over all breeds of sporting spaniels other than Cocker Spaniels to clubs to be organized as parent clubs dedicated to the furtherance of these several breeds of sporting spaniels. The American Kennel Club approving and consenting this was brought about, the American Spaniel Club retaining its right without consultation or permission of any Specialty Club to offer classes for all breeds of sporting spaniels at its American Spaniel Club Specialty Show.

The American Spaniel Club stands out today, of all the specialty clubs in this country, and perhaps including the Old World as well, the first and original club devoted to one breed of dogs, with steady devotion to the sporting spaniel.

The popularity of the Sporting Spaniel is established for all time, and the smallest, the Cocker Spaniel, inherent desire to hunt renders him a capable gun dog when judiciously trained. The usual method of hunting is to let him quarter the ground ahead of the gun, covering all territory within gun range. This he should do at a fast, snappy pace. Upon flushing the game he should stop or preferable drop to a sitting position so as not to interfere with the shot, after which he should retrieve on command only. He should of course, be so trained that he will be under control at all times. He is likewise valuable for occasional water retrieving and as a rule takes to water readily.

The breed is excellent in Breed, Obedience and Field work, with many having dual and triple titles. As a pet and companion his popularity has been exceptional. He is a great lover of home and family, trustworthy and adaptable.

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