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 coor­di­na­ted, 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.