The cocker spaniel is not just one breed; there are two: the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel. They don't look identical to each other, and they have a few basic differences in disposition.
English vs. American Cocker Spaniel Temperament
One of the most prominent differences between American and English cocker spaniels' temperaments involves the drive to hunt. English cocker spaniels display more intense hunting behaviors than do their American counterparts. They have an extensive history in going after game, after all. English cocker spaniels greatly enjoy being outside and going on treks for birds. Though American cocker spaniels have hunting in their past, they haven't held onto those behaviors as a breed as tightly as their English kin.
Although both breeds are thought to generally display pleasant, family-focused and amiable temperaments, English cocker spaniels are believed to have more stable and predictable temperaments. If you want a pooch who doesn't have noticeable mood changes, the English cuties might be more suited to your needs.
Dogs of all breeds require daily exercise, and these two need plenty. English cocker spaniels often tend to be even more energetic and peppy in nature than their American relatives, and therefore might have increased physical fitness needs. American cocker spaniels often thrive with extended daily outdoor walking excursions, as do their English buddies. However, English cocker spaniels also greatly appreciate lots of vigorous outdoor running activities -- inside secure and fenced backyards.
The two cocker spaniel breeds indeed have some overall temperament differences, and they aren't the same size, either. English cocker spaniels are a tad bigger. Mature female English cocker spaniels usually weigh between 26 and 32 pounds, while the male specimens are usually 28 to 34 pounds. The females are usually 15 to 16 inches at the shoulder, while the males are usually 16 to 17 inches. On the other hand, male and female American cocker spaniels typically weigh somewhere in the range of 24 and 28 pounds. The females are typically between 13.5 and 14.5 inches tall, while the males are typically between 14.5 and 15.5 inches tall.
By Naomi Millburn
PetMD: Cocker Spaniel
Animal Planet: English Cocker Spaniel
Training Your Cocker Spaniel; Nikki Riggsbee
DogChannel.com: English Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Profile
DogChannel.com: Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed Profile
Animal Planet: American Cocker Spaniel
Petwave: English Cocker Spaniel
PetMD: English Cocker Spaniel
American Kennel Club: English Cocker Spaniel Page
American Kennel Club: Cocker Spaniel Page
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.