Breed Profile
Group South Africa (KUSA), Australia (ANKC), New Zealand (NZKC), Britain (UK): Gundog Group
USA (AKC), Canada (CKC): Sporting Group
FCI: Group 8 - Flushing Dogs
The American Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the Gundog (Sporting) Group.
Defining characteristics A soft and appealing expression; long, heavily-feathered ears; round head; broad and deep muzzle; long, arching neck; slightly sloping topline; merry, docked tail carried in line with back; profusely-feathered coat, which is kept short on the head, neck and back, and allowed to grow out on the sides, legs, and belly.
Height Dogs 15 ½ " (39cm) Bitches 14 ½ " (36cm)
Weight 15-30 lbs (7-14 kg)
Colours Black:
  • black
  • 90% black with 10% tan points
    (allowed: small white patch on throat & chest)
    (undesirable: brown or liver in the coat)
    (disqualification: white anywhere else)
    (disqualification: more than 10% tan points)
  • any solid colour other than black
  • from light cream to dark red
  • brown with tan points
    (allowed: small white patch on throat & chest)
    (disqualification: white anywhere else)
  • two or more solid, well-broken colours, one of which must be white
  • roan
    (desirable: tan points (where present) in the specified locations)
    (disqualification: 90% or more of the primary colour)
Tan points:
  • from light cream to dark red
  • up to 10% of body
  • specified locations:
    • over each eye
    • sides of muzzle and cheeks
    • underside of earso on all feet/legs
    • under tail
    • on the chest (optional)
Temperament Bold and keen to work; suited to work as a gundog or as a household pet; merry and outgoing; a happy tail-wagger; good with children and other pets; responsive to authority; gentle, sensitive, trusting; average intelligence; lively, playful; easy to train.
Negative traits May be difficult to housebreak; some tend to bark a lot; poorly-bred Cockers may have "Cocker Rage", neurotic temperamental changes and behavioural problems such as shy-sharpness - a combination of fear and dominance that can cause viciousness; submissive urinating; aggressive guarding of objects, people and places; hyper-sexuality; roaming.
Accommodation The family home should include at least a small yard for exercise. Can adjust to apartment life if taken for regular exercise.
Level of activity Usually fairly active indoors or out. Provide sufficient toys for amusement.
Exercise Moderate exercise.
Life expectancy 12 - 15 years
Potential health issues
  • Major concerns: cataracts, glaucoma, PRA, and patellar luxation.
  • Minor concerns: hip dysplasia, ectropion, entropion, allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pyoderma, otitis externa, liver disease, urolithiasis, prolapse of nictitans gland, CHF, phosphofructokinase deficiency, and cardiomyopathy.
  • Occasional concerns: gastric torsion and elbow dysplasia.
Grooming Regular cleaning or ears and eyes.If the coat is kept long, brush daily, taking care not to pull out the silky hair. Regular brushing also when dog is clipped short. Regular shampooing with a good quality dog shampoo (not human).Regular clipping of nails.
Show grooming Skilled grooming, scissoring, and trimming required.

Find a reputable, registered breeder - do not buy from a backyard breeder or pet shop!
Consult pet-oriented media, KUSA (South Africa), official registries, and word of mouth.
Research as much about the breed as possible before making the commitment.

South African Breeders Ms C. Gilmour Pro-am
Mrs B.C. Rorke-Tarr Tullamore
Mr & Mrs M. Landsberg Springhill
Mr & Mrs H. Tarr Rosante
Mesd. N. Rossouw H. Steenkamp Rockabye
(082)416 0407
Mrs P. Oosthuizen Birchdale
Ms M. Brookes Denova