The American Cocker Spaniel was bred as a gundog for flushing and retrieving game birds. The name "Cocker" comes from the bird named the "woodcock".
They originate from the English Cocker Spaniel but were bred to be slightly smaller with rounder heads, eyes that face more to the front and shorter muzzles. Their body is shorter too and slopes slightly from front to back. Both the American and English Cocker Spaniels have a silky coat but whereas the English coat is of a similar length all over, the American coat is short on the head, longer on the body and very long on the legs and tummy. Both varieties can come in a wide range of colours. The American Kennel Club refers to American Cocker Spaniels as simply "Cocker Spaniels".
They are a happy little dog as evidenced by their ever wagging tail. They enjoy working but are equally happy as a household pet as they are essentially sweet-natured and outgoing. They are normally sociable and friendly towards other animals, strangers and children. They have a fair amount of stamina and energy so need regular exercise. They shed but still need trimming as well as regular brushing. They also have a tendency to have weepy eyes so these may need wiping too.
They are prone to quite a wide range of health problems, in particular: cataracts, glaucoma and patellar luxation. There have also been reported cases of IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia) which strikes out of the blue and can prove fatal within a couple of days.