Are you struggling to pick between the English vs American Cocker Spaniel?
Both breeds are beautiful and are known for their loving and playful temperaments.
But how do you know which one is right for you, and is there really a difference between the two anyway?
If you find yourself asking these questions, don’t worry.
We’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to learn all about the differences between the English vs American Cocker Spaniel, and find out which breed might make the best pet for you!
English vs American Cocker Spaniel History
Both the English and American Cocker Spaniel share a similar heritage.
As you may have assumed, the English Cocker Spaniel came first, by way of England.
Originally, the English Cocker Spaniel was grouped with a number of other spaniel hunting breeds and was separated only by type and hunting ability.
He was first known as a Cocking Spaniel due to his smaller size and the way he hunted birds.
The Cocking Spaniel became the English Cocker Spaniel after finally being classified as his own breed in the 19th century.
The American Cocker Spaniel was developed years later
In the 20th century, American enthusiasts of the English Cocker Spaniel opted to breed a companion dog of comparable temperament and beauty.
This breed was smaller and had a more relaxed, family-oriented personality.
The American Cocker Spaniel was born.
Today, both breeds are favored by certain dog enthusiasts and clubs for their unique talents, temperaments, and looks.
English vs American Cocker Spaniel Appearance
The English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel vary quite a bit in appearance, although it may not be that obvious at first.
Both have thick wavy fur, long ears, and adoring expressive faces.
However, the English Cocker Spaniel is a larger breed with a longer head.
He is around 15–17 inches tall and weighs between 26–34 pounds.
His coat can come in a variety of colors, such as:
The American Cocker Spaniel, also known simply as the Cocker Spaniel, is around 13.5–15.5 inches and weighs about 20–30 pounds.
His coat is more abundant than the coat of the English Cocker Spaniel, and it comes in seven colors and color combinations:
- White and Buff
English vs American Cocker Spaniel Temperament
Both the English and the American Cocker Spaniel have good temperaments and are eager to please.
However, the American Cocker Spaniel was built for companionship and becomes incredibly bonded with his people.
His goal in life is to please his family and to be with them as much as possible.
He is a sensitive breed who will need a loving hand in training and in discipline.
The English Cocker Spaniel is also a loving breed but is more energetic with a higher prey drive.
He will always need to be on a leash when out on walks.
Still, both breeds can make wonderful family dogs.
They are both playful and outgoing and get along with both children and other household pets.
The English Cocker Spaniel has high prey drive.
He should be supervised around other pets in the home, including Guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and more.
Furthermore, some studies have shown that English Cocker Spaniels can show aggressive behaviors in certain situations.
For the most part, these situations include aggression towards strangers and strange dogs they do not know.
As always, early socialization and obedience training beginning in puppyhood will play a key role in the temperament.
Early socialization and obedience training will also help your puppy adapt to any situation and ensure that he grows up into a well-adjusted adult.
English vs American Cocker Spaniel Training
Training dogs who are as eager to please as the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel is a treat!
Both of these breeds enjoy learning and want to make their person happy and proud.
They are both sensitive breeds who respond best to positive reinforcement methods like treats and lots of praise.
Due to the possibility of separation anxiety, some owners choose to consider crate training.
can be a safe and effective way to keep a dog happy and healthy while home alone.
While it is not always necessary for every dog, it could help with anxious dogs who can develop anxiety-induced behaviors like potty accidents and chewing.
Furthermore, if you are planning on getting an English or American Cocker Spaniel puppy and would like tips on potty training, click here!
English vs American Cocker Spaniel Exercise
Both the English and the American Cocker Spaniel can be prone to obesity and will require enough exercise to keep them healthy.
The English Cocker Spaniel, especially, will do best with long walks or hikes with his person.
Although a leash will be necessary if you don’t have a great recall.
His natural prey drive could get him into trouble at home as well, and while he does best in homes that have a backyard suitable for him to play in freely, owners should make sure the yard is fenced properly so the dog stays safe.
The American Cocker Spaniel, bred for companionship, does not need as much exercise as the English Cocker Spaniel, although he certainly needs some.
Since he so thoroughly enjoys being with his people, any exercise activity that involves the two of you together will do just fine.
This could include a nice walk and a game of catch in the park or throwing a ball in the backyard.
English vs American Cocker Spaniel Health
Unfortunately, all dogs are susceptible to genetic health issues, and the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel are no exception.
With a lifespan of 12–14 years, the English Cocker Spaniel is especially prone to:
- hip dysplasia
- progressive retinal atrophy
- familial nephropathy
- ear infections
- dental issues
- adult-onset neuropathy
Below are the following health tests recommended for the English Cocker Spaniel:
- Hip Evaluation
- Patella Evaluation
- PRA Optigen DNA Test
To learn more about the overall health of the English Cocker Spaniel, visit the English Cocker Spaniel’s Official Breed Club Health Statement.
But what about the American Cocker Spaniel?
The American Cocker Spaniel has a similar lifespan of 10–14 years and is generally a healthy breed overall.
He can be susceptible, however, to skin issues and ear infections.
The recommended health tests for the American Cocker Spaniel, according to the AKC, are as follows:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
Keep in mind that while early health screening can get you a leg up on your pet’s overall genetic health, diet and grooming maintenance will also play a key role in the English and American Cocker Spaniel’s vigor.
Your dog should always eat a healthy, high-quality dog food that is formulated for his specific age, weight, and energy level.
He should also be properly groomed to keep his skin and coat healthy and to keep him infection free.
Both the English and the American Cocker Spaniel require lots of grooming, although the American Cocker Spaniel needs more maintenance than his English counterpart.
Daily brushing as well as frequent bathing help to reduce the chances of skin and ear infections.
The English Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, will need brushing at least twice a week and occasional bathing.
Both breeds will need their nails trimmed regularly and their ears cleaned often to keep them clear of possible ear infections.
Which Breed Makes a Better Pet?
For the most part, it appears that both the English and the American Cocker Spaniel make wonderful pets, and it really depends on which one suits you and your unique needs most.
Summary of English Cocker Spaniel
Remember, the English Cocker Spaniel was bred for hunting while the American Cocker Spaniel was created for companionship.
This means that the English Cocker Spaniel has a higher prey drive and will need more exercise.
He also has more health issues than the American Cocker Spaniel.
If you have concerns about getting a puppy and facing future health issues, you may want to consider adopting an adult dog from a shelter.
Additionally, the English Cocker Spaniel has been shown to exhibit more aggressive behaviors than the American Cocker Spaniel, and he may not be suitable for homes with very young children or homes that have other household pets.
Summary of American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, can be prone to separation anxiety and does best in homes whose families are around often.
He will also require more grooming than the English Cocker Spaniel, with daily brushing and frequent bathing.
Do you know of any fun facts we may have missed about the English Cocker Spaniel or American Cocker Spaniel?
Let us know in the comment section!
Want to Read More?
If you’re left wanting to find out more about breeds that are similar to one another? We’ve got loads of breed comparison articles you can check out!
Try clicking some of the links below:
- Bernese Mountain Dog vs St. Bernard
- German Pinscher vs Doberman Pinscher
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky
References and Resources
- AL Podberscek, JA Serpell, The English Cocker Spaniel: Preliminary Findings on Aggressive Behaviour, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Official Journal of the International Society for Applied Ethology
- M Amat, et al., Aggressive Behavior in the English Cocker Spaniel, Journal of Veterinary Behavior
- DN Irion, et al., Analysis of Genetic Variation in 28 Dog Breed Populations With 100 Microsatellite Markers, Journal of Heredity.
- L Acumen, The Genetic Connection; a Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs, Second Edition, 2011
- S Coren, The Intelligence of Dogs, 1994