APPEARANCE - The Cocker Spaniel
(American) is the smallest member of the Gundog 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
towards 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.
- (Not detailed under this heading.)
- Equable in temperament with no suggestion of timidity.
AND SKULL - To attain a well proportioned head,
which must be in balance with the rest of the dog, it
embodies the following:
Expression: The expression is intelligent, alert, soft
Skull: Rounded but not exaggerated with no tendency
toward flatness; the eyebrows are clearly defined with
a pronounced stop. The bony structure beneath
the eyes is well chiselled with no prominence in the
cheeks. The muzzle is broad and deep, with square
even jaws. To be in correct balance, the distance
from the stop to the tip of the nose is one half the
distance from the stop up over the crown to the base
of the skull.
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 nose harmonises with the colour of the eye rim.
Lips: The upper lip is full and of sufficient depth
to cover the lower jaw.
- 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.
- Lobular, long, of fine leather, well feathered and
placed no higher than a line to the lower part of the
- Teeth: Strong and sound, not too small and meet in
a scissor bite.
- 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.
- The shoulders are well laid back forming an angle
with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees 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
wide spring of rib. When viewed from the side
with the forelegs vertical, the elbow is directly below
the highest point of the shoulder blade. Forelegs
are parallel, straight, strongly boned and muscular
and set close to the body well under the scapulae.
The pasterns are short and strong. Dewclaws on
forelegs may be removed.
- Topline: Sloping slightly towards muscular quarters.
Body: The chest is 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 straightforward movement of the forelegs.
Ribs are deep and well sprung. Back is strong
and sloping evenly and slightly downward from the shoulders
to the set-on of the tail.
- Hips are wide and quarters well rounded and muscular.
When viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel
when in motion and at rest. The hind legs are
strongly boned, and muscled with moderate angulation
at the stifle and powerful, clearly defined thighs.
The stifle is strong and there is no slippage of it
in motion or when standing. The hocks are strong
and well let down. Dewclaws on hind legs may be
- Feet compact, large, round and firm with horny pads;
they turn neither in nor out.
- The preferably 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.
Current laws in australia have now banned tail docking
- The Cocker Spaniel (American), though the smallest
of the Gundogs, possesses a typical sporting dog gait.
Prerequisite to good movement is balance between the
front and 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 restriction in a full stride to counterbalance
the driving force from the rear. Above all, his
gait is co-ordinated, smooth and effortless. The
dog must cover ground with his action; excessive animation
should not be mistaken for proper gait.
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 (American)'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 penalised. Use
of electric clippers on the back is not desirable.
Trimming to enhance the dog's true lines should be done
to appear as natural as possible.
- Colour and Markings:
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 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.
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.
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 varieties,
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 under sides of the ears;
4. On all the feet and/or legs;
5. Under the tail;
6. On the chest optional; presence or absence
shall not be penalised.
Tan markings which are not readily visible or which
amount only to traces, shall be penalised. Tan
on the muzzle which extends upward, over and joins shall
also be penalised. The absence of tan markings
in the Black or ASCOB varieties in any of the specified
locations in any otherwise tan-pointed dog shall disqualify.
- The ideal height at the withers:
for an adult dog is 38.1 cm (15 ins) and
for an adult bitch, 35.6 cm (14 ins).
Height may vary 1.25 cm (&1/2; inch) above or below
A dog whose height exceeds 39.4 cm (15&1/2;ins), or
bitch whose height exceeds 36.8 cm (14&1/2; ins) shall
An adult dog whose height is less than 36.8 cm (14&1/2;
an adult bitch whose height is less than 34.3 cm (13&1/2;
ins) shall be penalised.
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.
Proportions: 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.
- 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.
Height - Males over 39.4 cm (15&1/2; ins)
Females over 36.8 cm (14&1/2; ins)
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: White markings except
on chest and throat.
Parti-Colour Variety: Primary colour ninety percent
(90%) or more
1. Tan markings in excess of ten per cent (10%);
2. Absence of tan markings in Black or ASCOB Varieties
in any of the specified locations in an otherwise tan
- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.
Gundog Group A.N.K.C.
© January 1998