Are There Two Different Kinds
of American Cocker Spaniels?
by Carolyn Glanton
(Santa Cruz, CA.)
Are There Different Kinds Of Cocker Spaniels?
My son has an American cocker spaniel that is absolutely beautiful. She's black with a beautiful thick coat and big feet. My Mom also has a cocker spaniel that is a mixture of white and tan. He is also beautiful but his coat is more silky and feathery, his feet are not so big and he also has a tail.
My son's dog looks like a common cocker whereas my mom's cocker is not so common, or so I thought until I looked up some pictures.
When my mom's female cocker had puppies people were coming from all over to buy them. So what's the deal? Is my mom's cocker also common?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
American Cocker Spaniels, like English Cocker Spaniels, come in all shapes and sizes, depending upon their breeding.
They can have tails or their tails can be docked.
There is a specific standard for the 'ideal' cocker if the dog is to be shown and breeders tend to keep the 'best' looking puppies for their own breeding purposes. The remaining puppies may well be show standard and some may not, but all will make great family pets.
This is what the American Cocker Spaniel Club of GB have to say about the cocker coat:
"On the head, short and fine; on the 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....."
Assuming that your son and mother's cocker spaniels are not cross-bred, it's entirely possible that they look very different because of their coat texture.
I have an English Cocker Spaniel whose coat was beautifully fine and silky (until he was neutered, but that's another story!) but the feathers on his legs and paws were thick and cotton-wool like.
Cocker spaniels will also look different depending on how they're groomed. Hand-stripping is highly recommended to keep their glossy coat, however, once a cocker has been clipped, it will lose the glossy coat.
Perhaps this is the 'difference' you are referring to, but without a photo of your dogs, it's very difficult to give an accurate answer.