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Cocker Spaniel – American vs English

Cocker Spaniel – American vs English
cocker spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is a truly beautiful and majestic dog. But it gets a bit confusing when you find out that there are actually two completely different looking Cocker Spaniel dogs – The American and the English.

According to the AKC, these two breeds were formerly considered one. However, some people noticed that there were some differences. Because of this, they wanted to keep these two breeds separate and discourage their interbreeding. The American Kennel Club recognized the two breeds as separate in 1946.

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But, what are the biggest differences between these two types? How are they personality-wise, are they high maintenance or are they easy to groom and take care of?

In this article we’re going to explore the differences and similarities between the American and English Cocker Spaniel. We’re also going to take a look at why or why they wouldn’t make a good pet for you!

Cocker Spaniel – English vs. American

Both the American and English breeds are very popular dogs. Highly intelligent and beautiful to look at. But what else is it that makes these dogs so amazing?

English Cocker Spaniel

Picture of an English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-size dog breed recognizable for its long ears

The English type of this breed is a medium-sized dog. Males are between 16 and 17 inches tall and weigh between 28 and 34 pounds. The females are a bit smaller weighing between 26 and 32 pounds, and being 15 to 16 inches tall. On the AKC popularity list they rank 52 out of 197 dog breeds.

This breed has a beautiful medium-long coat. Their coat is flat or slightly wavy, with a silky texture. Its legs, chest, and belly are covered with longer hair called feathering. Their coat requires daily brushing and upkeep.

Their coat is usually white, solid black, black and tan. They also have tan points on the eyebrows, muzzle, throat, rump, and feet.

The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed that needs daily exercise to keep them in shape! They love long, brisk walks, hikes, runs, games of fetch, or sports such as agility or flyball.

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If you’re thinking about getting an English Cocker Spaniel, you should know what you’re signing up for personality-wise. With this breed you’re getting a very smart, merry and affectionate dog.

Besides this, these dogs are very playful, trainable, and friendly towards other people and animals too! However, sometimes they might be a bit cold towards strangers. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing after all. Because of this they actually make great watchdogs. If they see an unfamiliar face, they will bark!

English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel’s coat comes in many different colors and patterns

Health-wise you shouldn’t have any issues with this breed either. They are generally very healthy dogs, but they might get certain illnesses that are common among dogs. However, that doesn’t mean your dog will get any of them. Just make sure you’re getting your puppy from a reputable breeder.

Some of the illnesses your dog might be prone to are:

  • Eye problems
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Renal Failure
  • Congenital Sensorineural Deafness
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy

American Cocker Spaniel

The American Cocker Spaniel is the darling of many dog owners world wide

The American Cocker Spaniel is size-wise a bit smaller than the English one. Males are around 15 inches tall, while females are around 14 inches tall. Males and females weigh between 24 and 28 pounds.

If you ask any American Cocker Spaniel owner what it is like to own one, they’d probably tell you that this breed is a delight to own! And they wouldn’t be lying at all! They are absolutely a pleasure to own.

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This is mainly due to their merry, sound temperament and loyalty. These dogs are very gentle creatures, cuddly and affectionate. They are truly loving and trustworthy family companions that get along great with children and other pets.

Just like their English cousin, the American Cocker Spaniel needs a lot of exercise too! They need daily activity in form of walks, runs or some kind of sport.

They hate being outside alone, so even if you do have a big yard don’t let them play by themselves. If you do leave them alone, they will respond by digging or barking to keep themselves amused.

The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat is thick and sometimes wavy. It is short on the head and back and long on the ears, chest, belly, and legs. Besides this, their coat is a solid color (black or light cream to red to brown), or parti-color (two or more colors, one of which is white).

American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel’s coat can be one solid color, black for example

They are very high maintenance because of their luxurious coat. Also, grooming might become very expensive with this breed!

Health-wise these dogs are prone to several illnesses such as:

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  • Different eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, glaucoma, eye abnormalities, and so on.
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Primary seborrhea
  • Allergies such as food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation


In conclusion, as you can see both types, the American and English Cocker Spaniel, are pretty similar. Both breeds make amazing dogs and pets with almost the same personality.

Both are kind, gentle and loving and get along great with children and other animals. However, one issue that might arise is how high maintenance they are.

Their coat requires a lot of brushing and grooming which could, in the long run, become very expensive and cost you a lot of money.