Sporting Group Breed - American
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
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
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 nor out.
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
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
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
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
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
Height -- Males over 15½ inches; females over 14½
Color and Markings -- The aforementioned colors are
the only acceptable colors or combination of colors.
Any other colors or combination of colors to
Black Variety -- White markings except on chest and
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