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The American cocker spaniel was originally bred as a woodcock bird hunter but the breed’s versatility makes it more than just a gundog but an all-around companion dog.
Energetic, happy, and smart dog, the American cocker spaniel learns quickly. Because of his easy-to-please personality, the American cocker spaniel is very responsive to a positive training approach.
Because of the breed’s glamorous silky coat, the American cocker spaniel is a favourite in dog show rings. The American cocker spaniel requires regular grooming and needs daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats.
The American cocker spaniel, also called the American spaniel, is the smallest of the spaniel breed. It was bred in the sixteenth century, together with its cousin, the English cocker spaniel, as a gun dog. It is believed that the cousins are descendants of the spaniel type found in thirteenth-century England. The name cocker is deemed to have come from woodcock, the specific bird it was made to hunt.
The two breeds, both referred to as cocker spaniels in their home countries, used to be shown in the same class. However, the American Kennel Club divided the two breeds in the 1930s—the English cocker spaniel and the American cocker spaniel. The Kennel Club officially recognised the American cocker spaniel in the 1970s.
The American spaniel stands 34–40 centimetres tall at the withers and weighs 25–30 pounds. The breed’s more domed skull, rounder eyes, and more pronounced eyebrows make it more distinguishable from its English cousin. It has a double coat that comes in various colours. The Kennel Club recognises three specific colours: jet black, black with tan, and brown with tan. Black with shadings of brown and liver is considered a fault. The soft silky outer coat can be flat or wavy, whilst the moderate undercoat provides protection.
Maintaining this dog’s long, gorgeous locks requires vigorous grooming. It is advisable to take it to professional groomers every six weeks. Apart from this, daily brushing is also necessary to remove tangles and mats. To somehow make it easier and less expensive to maintain, the coat should be clipped. Regular bathing and trimming every six weeks are still needed to keep it clean and short. It has a distinct doggy smell because of its skin and long ears. It is a low to moderate shedder.
The American spaniel is friendly, sweet-natured, and gentle. It makes an excellent family dog and can have a good relationship with kids, especially if raised together. It is affectionate and cuddly, and enjoys being part of family activities. Since it loves human companion, it has a tendency to bark and cry when left alone for long periods. It needs to be socialised with people and animals early as it has a tendency to be timid. It is also a sensitive breed that is often described as soft because it does not respond well to strictness.
This pooch can be difficult to house-train and will have a tendency to urinate when excited or scared. Training will be successful if you are positive, calm, and persuasive. It responds well with plenty of praises and food rewards.
Many people will describe the American cocker spaniel as a sweet-natured, happy, and spirited dog. Unfortunately, in recent years, it is believed that this dog breed has exhibited behaviours such as nastiness. Thus, it is essential to get a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder, since a lot of factors can affect its behaviour growing up. Amongst the factors are the environment where the American spaniel was raised, early training, and socialisation.
A typical serving for an adult American cocker spaniel is 1.5–2.5 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. You have to remember that the amount of food you give to your pet depends on its age, size, build, metabolism, and activity level. Owners need to have a clear idea of the basic nutritional needs of their cocker spaniel as a breed in general and consider its individual characteristics.
Typical calorie needs of an adult American cocker spaniel per day:
Make sure to provide your American spaniel with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fibre. Protein sources can come from beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, and salmon. Good carbohydrates from rice, barley, and oatmeal can help it slowly release energy throughout the day. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important to maintain its lovely coat.
Since the cocker is prone to bone issues, include food that contains glucosamine. Fat found in meat and fish or cod liver oil supplements is also essential to maintain its beautiful coat. Nonetheless, be careful not to overfeed it as it easily gains weight. Also include good carbohydrates found in oatmeal, rice, and barley to provide it with energy all day.
The average lifespan of the American spaniel is ten to twelve years. It is predisposed to eye problems, allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, primary seborrhoea, patellar luxation, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), and idiopathic epilepsy.
The American cockers spaniel is moderately energetic and will be fine with a thirty-minute brisk walk and romps at a fenced yard or a dog park. Younger ones will enjoy hiking, swimming, and playing games with its owners.
The cost of a new dog or puppy varies significantly. A breed from a local animal shelter will be cheaper than a purebred from a reputable breeder. A 'show-quality' puppy will be more expensive than those 'pet-quality' puppies.
More factors affect how much a puppy will cost. Luckily, since an American cocker spaniel is a common breed, it is significantly cheaper compared to rare breeds. If you’re looking to purchase an American spaniel, you will need about £600–£800.
The best pet insurance can offer broad coverage for whatever care your dog needs. Having the best coverage will also prepare you financially for treatments and medical care that is often not covered by basic pet insurance. The cost to insure an American cocker spaniel would be £27 a month for a basic cover and £65 a month for a lifetime policy.
Other costs include veterinary care, dog toys, dog supplies, and equipment such as beds, leads, collars, bowls, and more. Veterinary costs per year alone can cost around £1,000. In rough estimates, you will have to set aside £80–£120 a month to care for an American cocker spaniel.
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