UTILIZATION : Flushing dog, companion.

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

GENERAL APPEARANCE : 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.

IMPORTANT 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.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Equable in tem­pera­ment with no sug­ges­tion of timidity.

HEAD : 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.

Skull : Round­ed but not exag­ger­at­ed with no ten­den­cy toward flat­ness; the eye­brows are clear­ly defined. The bony struc­ture beneath the eyes is well chis­elled.
Stop : Pronounced.

Nose : 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.
Muz­zle : 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.
Lips : The upper lip is full and of suf­fi­cient depth to cov­er the low­er jaw.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws square and even. Teeth strong and sound, not too small and meet in a scis­sor bite.
Cheeks : Not promi­nent.
Eyes : 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.
Ears : Lob­u­lar, long, of fine leather, well feath­ered, and placed no high­er than a line to the low­er part of the eye.

NECK : 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 tojoin the head.

Topline : Slop­ing slight­ly toward mus­cu­lar quar­ters.
Back : Strong and slop­ing even­ly and slight­ly down­ward from the shoul­ders to the set-on of the docked tail.
Chest : 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 : 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 ter­ri­erand nev­er so low as to indi­cate timid­i­ty. When the dog is in motion the tail action is merry.


Gen­er­al appear­ance : Forelegs are par­al­lel, straight, strong­ly boned, mus­cu­lar and set close to the body well under the scapu­lae.
Shoul­ders : 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.
Elbows : When viewed from the side with the forelegs ver­ti­cal, the elbow is direct­ly below the high­est point of the shoul­der blade.
Pasterns : Short and strong. Dew­claws on forelegs may be removed.

Gen­er­al appear­ance : 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.
Upper thighs : Pow­er­ful and clear­ly defined.
Sti­fle : Mod­er­ate angu­la­tion of the sti­fle. Strong and there is no slip­page of it in motion or when stand­ing.
Hocks : Strong and well let down. Dew­claws on hind legs may be removed.

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

GAIT / MOVEMENT : 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 coör­di­nat­ed, smooth and effort­less. The dog must cov­er ground with his action; exces­sive ani­ma­tion should not be mis­tak­en for prop­er gait.


HAIR : 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.

· 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.


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 12 inch­es or a bitch whose height exceeds 14 12 inch­es shall be dis­qual­i­fied. An adult dog whose height is less than 14 12 inch­es and an adult bitch whose height is less than 13 12 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.

FAULTS : 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.

· Aggre­sive or over­ly shy.
· Any dog clear­ly show­ing phys­i­cal or behav­iour­al abnor­mal­i­ties shall be dis­qual­i­fied.
· 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 12 inch­es. Females over 14 12 inches.

· Male ani­mals should have two appar­ent­ly nor­mal tes­ti­cles ful­ly descend­ed into the scro­tum.
· Only func­tion­al­ly and clin­i­cal­ly healthy dogs, with breed typ­i­cal con­for­ma­tion should be used for breeding.