Fédération Cynologique Internationale

United Kennel Club

The Kennel Club

American Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Spaniel (American Cocker)


ORIGIN

:
FCI
U.S.A.

PUBLISHED

:
FCI
17.05.1993.
KC
October 2009

UTILISATION

:
FCI
Flushing dog, companion.

CLASSIFICATION

:
FCI
Group 8Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 2Flushing Dogs
Without working trial

UKC
Gun Dog
KC
Gundog

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

:
UKC
The term "cocker" refers to the woodcock, the game bird the breed specialized in hunting. The Cocker Spaniel in the United States is a different dog than the Cocker in England, and was developed from the early U.S. importations of the English Cocker Spaniels. To avoid confusion, it is often referred to as the "American" Cocker Spaniel. Cockers are the smallest of the land spaniels. The breed is a flusher when working game. Unfortunately, very few are used for hunting any more. Today it enjoys the position of being the world’s most popular spaniel. The Cocker Spaniel was recognized by the United Kennel Club as a breed separate from the English Cocker Spaniel in 1947.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

:
FCI
The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the Sporting Group. He has a sturdy, compact body and a cleanly chiselled and refined head, with the overall dog in complete balance and of ideal size. He stands well up at the shoulder on straight forelegs with a topline sloping slightly toward strong, moderately bent, muscular quarters. He is a dog capable of considerable speed, combined with great endurance. Above all, he must be free and merry, sound, well balanced throughout and in action show a keen inclination to work. A dog well balanced in all parts is more desirable than a dog with strongly contrasting good points and faults.
UKC
The smallest of the hunting land spaniels, the Cocker is compact and square bodied, with a tail that is generally docked, long ears and long hair. It comes in a variety of solid colors, as well as parti-color. The head is cleanly chiseled and refined. The topline slopes slightly toward the strong, muscular hindquarters.
KC
Serviceable-looking dog with refined chiselled head, strong, well boned legs, well up at the shoulder, compact sturdy body, wide muscular quarters, well balanced.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

:
FCI
The measurement from the breast bone to back of thigh is slightly longer than the measurement from the highest point of withers to the ground. The body must be of sufficient length to permit a straight and free stride; the dog never appears long and low.
KC
Merry, free, sound, keen to work.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

:
FCI
Equable in temperament with no suggestion of timidity.
UKC
The Cocker Spaniel is a happy, people-oriented dog; and is a good family pet and companion. There should be no suggestion of shyness or viciousness. The whole is always to be of primary consideration rather than any of the parts. Primary points of consideration include: a free, merry and even temperament; a sound, well-balanced body; and a keen inclination to work. Exaggeration of any of the parts is to be faulted according to the degree of deviation.
KC
Equable with no suggestion of timidity.

HEAD

:
FCI
To attain a well proportioned head, which must be in balance with the rest of the dog, it embodies an intelligent, alert, soft and appealing expression.
UKC
The well-proportioned head is in balance with the rest of the body.
KC
Well developed and rounded, neither flat nor domed. Eyebrows and stop clearly defined. Median line distinctly marked to rather more than half-way up crown. Area surrounding eye socket well chiselled. Distance from tip of nose to stop approximately one-half distance from stop up over crown to base of skull. Muzzle broad, deep, square, even jaws. Nose well developed. Nostrils black in black and tans, black or brown in buffs, browns, brown and tans, roans and parti-colours.

CRANIAL REGION

:

Skull

:
FCI
Rounded but not exaggerated with no tendency toward flatness; the eyebrows are clearly defined. The bony structure beneath the eyes is well chiselled.
UKC
The skull is well developed and rounded, but not exaggerated, with no tendency towards flatness. The eyebrows are clearly defined. There is a pronounced stop. The bone structure beneath the eyes is well chiseled, without prominence in the cheeks.

Stop

:
FCI
Pronounced.

FACIAL REGION

:

Nose

:
FCI
Of sufficient size to balance the muzzle and foreface, with well developed nostrils typical of a sporting dog. It is black in colour in the blacks, black and tans and black and whites; in other colours it may be brown, liver or black, the darker the better. The colour of the nose harmonizes with the colour of the eye rim.
UKC
The nose is black in the Black and Black and Tan dogs. In other colors it may be brown, liver or black, the darker the better. Nose color harmonizes with eye rim color. The nose is of sufficient size to balance the muzzle and foreface. The well-developed nostrils are typical of field dogs.

Muzzle

:
FCI
Broad and deep. To be in correct balance, the distance from the stop to the tip of nose is one half the distance from the stop up over the crown to the base of the skull.
UKC
The distance from the tip of the nose to the stop is one-half the distance from the stop, up over the crown of the head, to the base of the skull. The muzzle is broad and deep, with square, even jaws. The full upper lip is of sufficient depth to cover the lower jaw.
KC
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Lips

:
FCI
The upper lip is full and of sufficient depth to cover the lower jaw.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Jaws square and even. Teeth strong and sound, not too small and meet in a scissor bite.
UKC
A full complement of strong, good-sized, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.

Cheeks

:
FCI
Not prominent.

Eyes

:
FCI
Eyeballs are round and full and look directly forward. The shape of the eye rims gives a slightly almond-shaped appearance; the eye is not weak or goggled. The colour of the iris is dark brown and in general the darker the better.
UKC
The eyes are round and full, and look directly forward. Eye rim shape suggests a slightly almond shape. The color of the iris is dark brown, the darker the better. Expression is soft, intelligent, alert and appealing.
KC
Eyeballs round, full and looking directly forward. Shape of eyerims gives a slightly almond appearance. Neither small nor protruding. Expression intelligent, alert, soft and appealing. Colour of iris dark brown to black in blacks, black and tans, buffs and creams, and in the darker shades of parti-colours and roans. In reds and browns, dark hazel; in parti-colours and roans of lighter shades, not lighter than hazel; the darker the better.

Ears

:
FCI
Lobular, long, of fine leather, well feathered, and placed no higher than a line to the lower part of the eye.
UKC
The long, lobe-shaped (round) ears, of fine leather, are well feathered. They are set no higher than a line to the lower part of the eye.
KC
Lobular, set on line no higher than lower part of eyes, leather fine and extending to nostrils, well clothed with long silky, straight or wavy hair.

NECK

:
FCI
The neck is sufficiently long to allow the nose to reach the ground easily, muscular and free from pendulous « throatiness ». It rises strongly from the shoulders and arches slightly as it tapers to join the head.
UKC
The muscular, clean neck is long enough to allow the nose to easily reach the ground. It rises strongly from the shoulders, and arches slightly as it tapers to join the head.
KC
Long, muscular and free from throatiness. Rising strongly and slightly arched.

BODY

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UKC
The short, compact, firmly-knit body conveys an impression of strength. The distance from top of the withers to the ground is 15 percent, or approximately two inches, more than the length from the top of the withers to the tail set. The strong back slopes evenly and slightly downward from the shoulders to the tail set. The chest is deep, with the lowest part no higher than the elbows. The brisket is sufficiently wide to allow for adequate heart and lung space, but not so wide as to interfere with forward leg movement. The ribs are deep and well sprung.
KC
Height at withers approximating length from withers to set on of tail. Chest deep. Lowest point no higher than elbows, front sufficiently wide for adequate heart and lung space, yet not so wide as to interfere with straight forward movement of forelegs. Ribs deep and well sprung throughout. Body short in couplings and flank, with depth at flank somewhat less than at last rib. Back strong, sloping evenly and slightly downwards from withers to set of tail. Hips wide with quarters well rounded and muscular. Body appearing short, compact and firmly knit together, giving impression of strength. Never appearing long and low.

Topline

:
FCI
Sloping slightly toward muscular quarters.

Back

:
FCI
Strong and sloping evenly and slightly downward from the shoulders to the set-on of the docked tail.

Chest

:
FCI
Deep, its lowest point no higher than the elbows, its front sufficiently wide for adequate heart and lung space, yet not so wide as to interfere with the straight forward movement of the forelegs. Ribs are deep and well sprung.

TAIL

:
FCI
The docked tail is set on and carried on a line with the topline of the back, or slightly higher; never straight up like a terrier and never so low as to indicate timidity. When the dog is in motion the tail action is merry.
UKC
The docked tail is set on and carried on a line with the topline, or slightly higher. It is never straight up like a terrier's or so low as to indicate shyness. When the dog is in motion, the tail action is merry.
KC
Previously customarily docked. Docked: Docked by three fifths of tail. Set on and carried on a line with topline of back or slightly higher. Never straight up and never so low as to indicate timidity. When dog in motion, merry tail action. Undocked: Set on a line with topline of back. Moderate length. Feathering in proportion to the coat of the dog. Thicker at the root and tapering towards the tip. Carried on a line with the topline of back, or slightly higher, but never curled over the back or so low as to indicate timidity. When dog is in motion, merry tail action.

LIMBS

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FOREQUARTERS

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FCI
Forelegs are parallel, straight, strongly boned, muscular and set close to the body well under the scapulae.
UKC
The shoulders are clean cut and sloping without protrusion. They are set so that the upper points of the withers are set at an angle to allow for well-sprung ribs. Shoulder angulation allows for considerable forward reach without restriction.
KC
Shoulders deep, clean-cut and sloping without protrusion, so set that upper points of withers at an angle permitting wide spring of ribs. Forelegs straight, strongly boned and muscular, set close to body well under scapulae. Elbows well let down, turning neither in nor out. Pasterns short and strong.

Shoulder

:
FCI
Well laid back forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90° which permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with forward reach. Shoulders are clean-cut and sloping without protrusion and so set that the upper points of the withers are at an angle which permits a wide spring of rib.

Elbow

:
FCI
When viewed from the side with the forelegs vertical, the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder blade.

FORELEGS

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UKC
The straight, strongly-boned, muscular forelegs are parallel to each other, and set close to the body. The elbows are well let down, and set directly below the highest point of the shoulder blade when viewed from the side, showing no tendency to turn in nor out. The pasterns are short and strong.

Pastern

:
FCI
Short and strong. Dewclaws on forelegs may be removed.

FEET

:
UKC
The round, compact feet are large and firm. Pads are well-developed, with thick, rough covering. Dewclaws on front and rear may be removed.
KC
Compact, not spreading, round and firm, with deep, strong, tough pads and hair between toes; facing truly forward.

Forefeet

:
FCI
Compact, large, round and firm with horny pads; they turn neither in nor out.

Hind feet

:
FCI
See Forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

:
FCI
When viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel when in motion and at rest. They are strongly boned and muscled.
Hips: Wide and quarters well rounded and muscular.
UKC
The hips are wide. The muscular hindquarters are well rounded.
KC
Strongly boned, muscled with good angulation at stifle and powerful, clearly defined thighs. Stifle joint strong without slippage. Hocks strong, well let down; when viewed from behind, hindlegs parallel when in motion or at rest.

Thigh

:
FCI
Powerful and clearly defined.

Stifle

:
FCI
Moderate angulation of the stifle. Strong and there is no slippage of it in motion or when standing.

HIND LEGS

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UKC
The muscular, strongly-boned hind legs have well-angulated, powerful stifles. The thighs are clearly defined. The hocks are strong and well let down. They are parallel when viewed from behind, whether standing or in motion.

Hock

:
FCI
Strong and well let down. Dewclaws on hind legs may be removed.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

:
FCI
The American Cocker Spaniel, though the smallest of the sporting dogs, possesses a typical sporting dog gait. Prerequisite to good movement is balance between the front and the rear assemblies. He drives with strong, powerful rear quarters and is properly constructed in the shoulders and forelegs so that he can reach forward without constriction in a full stride to counterbalance the driving force from the rear. Above all, his gait is coordinated, smooth and effortless. The dog must cover ground with his action; excessive animation should not be mistaken for proper gait.
UKC
The dogs always possess the typical spaniel gait. It is characterized by drive and the appearance of power, rather than speed (although the Cocker Spaniel is capable of speed), indicative of the breed’s use as a hunter in dense cover and upland terrain. Balance between the front and rear assemblies is a prerequisite to good movement. Correct angulation and structure allow forward reach without constriction, counter-balanced by the driving force from the strong, powerful rear. Above all, the Cocker Spaniel exhibits a coordinated, smooth, effortless gait.
KC
Co-ordinated, smooth and effortless, covering ground well.

COAT

:

HAIR

:
FCI
On the head, short and fine; on body, medium length, with enough undercoating to give protection. The ears, chest, abdomen and legs are well feathered, but not so excessively as to hide the Cocker Spaniel’s true lines and movement or affect his appearance and function as a moderately coated sporting dog. The texture is most important. The coat is silky, flat or slightly wavy and of a texture which permits easy care. Excessive coat or curly or cottony textured coat shall be severely penalized. Use of electric clippers on the back coat is not desirable. Trimming to enhance the dog’s true lines should be done to appear as natural as possible.
UKC
The coat is short and fine on the head. On the body, it is of medium length, with enough undercoat to give protection. The chest, ears, abdomen and legs are well feathered, but not so excessively as to hide the true lines and movement or to affect the breed’s appearance as a sporting dog or to interfere with field work. Coat texture is silky, flat or slightly wavy, and of a texture that permits easy care. Trimming is permitted only to remove overabundant hair. The dog should always appear as natural as possible.
KC
On head, short and fine; on body, medium length, with enough under coating to give protection. Ears, chest, abdomen and legs well feathered, but not so excessive as to hide body lines or impede movement and function as a sporting dog. Texture most important. Coat silky, flat or slightly wavy. Excessive coat, curly, woolly or cotton texture undesirable.

COLOUR

:
FCI

  • Black variety: Solid colour black, to include black with tan points. The black should be jet; shadings of brown or liver in the coat are not desirable. A small amount of white on the chest and/or throat is allowed; white in any other location shall disqualify.
  • Any Solid Colour Other Than Black (ASCOB): Any solid colour other than black, ranging from the lightest cream to darkest red, including brown and brown with tan points. The colour shall be of a uniform shade, but lighter colour of the feathering is permissible. A small amount of white on the chest and/or throat is allowed; white in any other location shall disqualify.
  • Parti-Colour variety: Two or more solid, well broken colours, one of which must be white; black and white, red and white (the red may range from lightest cream to darkest red), brown and white, and roans, to include any such colour combination with tan points. It is preferable that the tan markings be located in the same pattern as for the tan points in the Black and ASCOB varieties. Roans are classified as Parti-Colours and may be of any of the usual roaning patterns. Primary colour which is ninety percent (90%) or more shall disqualify.
  • Tan points: The colour of the tan may be from the lightest cream to the darkest red and is restricted to ten percent (10%) or less of the colour of the specimen; tan markings in excess of that amount shall disqualify. In the case of tan points in the Black or ASCOB variety, the markings shall be located as follows
1) A clear tan spot over each eye.
2) On the sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks.
3) On the underside of the ears.
4) On all feet and/or legs.
5) Under the tail.
6) On the chest, optional presence or absence shall not be penalized.
Tan markings which are not readily visible or which amount only to traces, shall be penalized. Tan on the muzzle which extends upward, over and joins shall also be penalized. The absence of tan markings in the Black or ASCOB variety in any of the specified locations in any otherwise tan-pointed dog shall disqualify.
UKC
The following color varieties are found in the breed: Black (to Include Black and Tans); ASCOB (any solid color other than black); Parti-Color; and Sable. Black: Black, to include the Black and Tan (black with tan points). A small amount of white on the chest and/or throat is allowed. ASCOB: Any solid color other than black (ASCOB). Also includes tan points. A small amount of white on the chest and/or throat is allowed. Parti-Color: Two or more definite well-broken colors, one of which must be white. Tan points are acceptable. Roans are classified as Parti-Colors. Any of the usual roaning patterns are acceptable. Sable. A lacing of black hairs over a lighter background color. Sables may be solid or parti-colored. Tan Points: The color of the tan points range from light cream to dark red. Amount of tan trim is restricted to 10 percent or less, of the color of the dog. Tan points on the Black, ASCOB, or Sable are found: over each eye on the sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks on the undersides of the ears on all feet and/or legs under the tail markings on the chest are optional; neither absence nor presence is penalized. (In UKC Conformation events, the Cocker Spaniel is not divided by the three color varieties.)
KC
Blacks: Jet black; shadings of brown or liver in sheen of coat undesirable. Black and tan and brown and tan (classified under solid colours) having definite tan markings on jet black or brown body. Tan markings distinct and plainly visible and colour of tan may be from lightest cream to darkest red colour. Amount of tan markings restricted to ten per cent or less of colour of specimen; tan markings in excess of ten per cent undesirable. Tan markings not readily visible in ring or absence of tan markings in any of specified locations undesirable. Tan markings located as follows: 1. A clear spot over each eye. 2. On sides of muzzle and on cheeks. 3. On underside of ears. 4. On all feet and legs. 5. Under tail. 6. On chest, optional, presence or absence permissible. Tan on muzzle which extends upwards and joins over muzzle highly undesirable. Any solid colour other than black of uniform shades. Lighter colouring of feathering permissible. In all above solid colours a small amount of white on chest and throat while not desirable, permissible, but white in any other location highly undesirable. Parti-colours: Two or more definite colours appearing in clearly defined markings essential. Primary colour which is ninety per cent or more highly undesirable; secondary colour or colours which are limited solely to one location also highly undesirable. Roans are classified as parti-colours and may be of any usual roaning patterns. Tricolours, any of above colours combined with tan markings. Tan markings preferably located in same pattern as for black and tan.

SIZE

:
FCI
The ideal height at the withers for an adult dog is 15 inches and for an adult bitch, 14 inches. Height may vary one half inch above or below this ideal. A dog whose height exceeds 15 1/2 inches or a bitch whose height exceeds 14 1/2 inches shall be disqualified. An adult dog whose height is less than 14 1/2 inches and an adult bitch whose height is less than 13 1/2 inches shall be penalized. Height is determined by a line perpendicular to the ground from the top of the shoulder blades, the dog standing naturally with its forelegs and lower hind legs parallel to the line of measurement.
UKC
Ideal heights (with a half-inch variance either way allowed): Adult male, 15 inches; Adult female, 14 inches.
KC
Ideal height: (the word approximate leaves too much to chance.) dogs: 37-39 cms (141/2-151/2 ins); bitches: 34-37 cms (131/2-141/2 ins).

FAULTS

:
FCI
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
UKC

Coat: Excessive coat. Curly coat. Cotton-textured coat.
Size: An adult male less than 14½ inches. An adult female less than 13½ inches.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

SERIOUS FAULTS

:
UKC

Appearance: A long, low appearance.
Color: Traces of tan markings instead of well-defined markings. Tan marking not readily visible. Tan on the muzzle that extends up and over and joins. Absence of tan points in any of the specified locations in an otherwise tan-pointed dog.
Gait: Excessive angulation.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
FCI

  • Aggressive or overly shy.
  • Colour and markings The aforementioned colours are the only acceptable colours or combination of colours. Any other colours or combination of colours to disqualify.
  • Black variety White markings except on chest and throat.
  • Any Solid Colour Other Than Black variety White markings except on chest and throat.
  • Parti-Colour variety Primary colour ninety percent (90%) or more.
  • Tan points (1) Tan markings in excess of ten percent (10%); (2) Absence of tan markings in Black or ASCOB variety in any of the specified locations in an otherwise tan-pointed dog.
  • Height Males over 15 1/2 inches. Females over 14 1/2 inches.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
UKC

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. On Blacks, Black and Tans, ASCOBs, and Sables, white anywhere other than a small amount on the chest and/or throat. Tan points (markings) in excess of 10 percent of total body color. In Parti-Color, primary color that is 90 percent or more. Merle color. Albinism.
Color: On Blacks, Black and Tans, ASCOBs, and Sables, white anywhere other than a small amount on the chest and/or throat. Tan points (markings) in excess of 10 percent of total body color. In Parti-Color, primary color that is 90 percent or more. Merle color. Albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.