American cocker spaniels descend from the same root stock as working cockers; they were originally bred in the US as a continuation of the English type. By the 1920s an American variety emerged that was noticeably different, primarily bred for the show ring and as a family pet. It was recognised as a distinct breed in the US in 1946.
The American cocker is smaller and lighter than the English cocker, with a domed head, long ears, short muzzle, round eyes and a long silky coat in varying colours. It is generally a gentle and friendly dog towards people and other animals but is sensitive and can be easily stressed, so is not always suited to homes with young children. Early socialisation is important to develop more confidence.
Due to its conformation this dog is less suitable for the field, although it still ranks high in intelligence tests and demonstrates some working aptitude.