Telling Cocker Spaniels Apart

American and English Cocker Spaniels are different in size, head, coat, and coloring.

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Q. Can you tell me the difference between an American Cocker Spaniel and an English Cocker Spaniel?

A. American and English Cockers are quite different in size, head, coat, and coloring.

The American Cocker is the smallest breed in the Sporting Group, the ideal height for an adult dog being 15 inches at the shoulder, and 14 inches for an adult bitch. English Cocker males reach 16 to 17 inches; bitches, 15 to 16 inches.

The AKC American Cocker standard calls for a rounded skull and a broad and deep muzzle. The English Cocker’s skull should be arched and slightly rounded, with the stop definite but moderate.

Three color varieties of the American Cocker appear in the Sporting Group: black, ASCOB (which stands for Any Solid Color Other than Black, and includes the various shades of red, buff, and chocolate, with or without tan points) and parti-color (two or more solid, well-broken colors, one of which must be white).

While solid red, black and liver English Cockers are certainly seen, the parti-colors – clearly marked, ticked, or roaned – are more plentiful. There is a single English Cocker Best of Breed representative competing in the Sporting Group.

English Cockers are less popular than American Cockers and so you may have to search harder for a breeder. For either breed, begin by consulting the parent club website, which will provide extensive information and lead you to regional breed clubs and member-breeders in your area.

Whether you are looking for a pet or a show dog, both breeds require significant grooming and trimming.


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