cocker spaniel, breed of small sporting dog developed from English cocker spaniels brought to the United States in the 1880s. It stands from 14 to 15 in. (35.6–38.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 25 lb (11.3 kg). Its silky, flat, or wavy coat is moderately long and forms fringes, or feathers, on the underside of the body and on the legs, chest, and ears. The coat may be of any solid color or a combination of two or more colors (parti-colored), such as white with red or tan markings or black and tan. The tail is docked. The smallest of the sporting-dog breeds, cockers can be trained to flush game and retrieve. According to some authorities their name derives from their proficiency at hunting woodcocks. They have also been exceptionally popular as house pets. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.