American Cocker Spaniel

Origin and History

The origin and history of the American Cocker Spaniel is the same as that of the English Cocker up until the time when a dog called Obo II was exported from Britain to the United States. This dog, whelped in 1880 and known simply as the Cocker Spaniel is considered to be the foundation sire of the American Cocker Spaniel. As a show dog, Obo was a great success and attracted many breed fanciers who, in 1883, founded the American Spaniel Club. That year, too, the Cocker Spaniel was granted official breed status in the United States.

But after Obo’s reign a gradual change occurred within the breed. Two distinct varieties of Cocker Spaniel began to emerge. One retained the longer bodied, longer muzzled, heavier lines of the original sporting cocker. The other was lighter in weight, higher on leg, shorter backed, had a sloping topline, a short muzzle, domed skull, and heavy coat and leg furnishings. Although the two competed against each other in the show ring and were inter-bred, by the 1930’s the differences between them became so obvious that efforts were begun to grant each its own breed classification. When this was finally acheived in 1947 in the United States, the original cocker breed was named the English Cocker while the smaller American version retained the original name of Cocker Spaniel. To the rest of the world this breed is known as the American Cocker Spaniel.

The most illustrious Cocker Spaniel of the all was Ch. My Own Brucie who topped the entry at the Westminster Kennel Club shows in New York in 1940 and 1941. More than any other dog My Own Brucie is responsible for the rise of the cocker to the top of the popularity poll-a position the breed held for some fifteen years.

 Copied from the Canadian Kennel Club Breed Histories.