THE COCKER SPANIEL
(The American Kennel Clubs Standard and Description)
The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest
member of the Sporting Group. He has a
sturdy, compact body and a cleanly
chiseled 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.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size-- 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 15½ inches or a bitch whose
height exceeds 14½ inches shall be disqualified. An adult dog whose
height is less than 14½ inches and an adult bitch whose height is less
than 13½ 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. Proportion--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.
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 and appealing. 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 color 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. 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 chiseled 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. Nose--of sufficient size to balance the muzzle and foreface, with
well developed nostrils typical of a sporting dog. It is black in color in the
blacks, black and tans, and black and whites; in other colors it may be
brown, liver or black, the darker the better. The color of nose harmonizes
with the color of the eye rim. Lips--The upper lip is full and of sufficient
depth to cover the lower jaw. Teeth--Teeth strong and sound, not too
small and meet in a scissors bite.
Neck, Topline, Body
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 to join the head.
Topline--sloping slightly toward 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 docked 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 Terrier and never so low as to indicate timidity. When
the dog is in motion the tail action is merry.
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 a 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.
Feet compact, large, round and firm with horny pads; they turn neither in
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 removed.
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. 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.
Color and Markings
Black Variety--Solid color 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 Color Other than Black (ASCOB)--Any solid color other than
black, ranging from lightest cream to darkest red, including brown and
brown with tan points. The color shall be of a uniform shade, but lighter
color 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-Color Variety--Two or more solid, well broken colors, 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 color 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-colors and may be of
any of the usual roaning patterns. Primary color which is ninety percent
(90%) or more shall disqualify.
Tan Points--The color of the tan may be from the lightest cream to the
darkest red and is restricted to ten percent (10%) or less of the color 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 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 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.
Equable in temperament with no suggestion of timidity.
Height--Males over 15½ inches; females over 14½ inches.
Color and Markings--The aforementioned colors are the only acceptable
colors or combination of colors.
Any other colors or combination of colors to disqualify.
Black Variety--White markings except on chest and throat.
Any Solid Color Other Than Black Variety--White markings except on
chest and throat.
Parti-color Variety--Primary color 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.
Approved May 12, 1992
Effective June 30, 1992
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SPORTING BREEDS CENTRAL
Sporting Breeds Central COCKER SPANIEL Breeders Directory and Litter Ads
The COCKER SPANIEL Parent Club
COCKER SPANIEL Rescue Organizations
COCKER SPANIEL Kennel Clubs