The cocker spaniel is the smallest of the spaniels and is one of the most popular breeds in America, according to the American Kennel Club. A merry dog, the breed is recognized by its flowing coat. Whether silky, flat or wavy, the coat comes in a variety of colors combinations.
Black cocker spaniels sport shiny, jet black coats, with no hint of brown. For show dogs, the AKC allows a small amount of white markings on the chest and/or throat, but nowhere else. Black is the second most common color found in the breed, behind buff.
ASCOB stands for Any Solid Color Other Than Black. These colors range from a very pale cream called silver, to buff, which is the most common color found in cocker spaniels, to shades of red and brown, golden and sable. The shades will be uniform across the dog, and sometimes white is seen on the chest and/or throat. Lighter shades of the color can sometimes be seen in the dog’s feathering, which is the longer hair that covers its legs, chest, abdomen and ears.
These cockers have two or more solid, well-broken colors, one of which must be white. The other color can be any of the colors found in solid-color dogs. Black and white is the most common parti-color combination. The white must cover at least 10 percent of the body. If the ratio of white is very high, this is described as open markings. Roan is described as a mingling of colored hair mixed into the white and is considered a parti-color. Parti-colored dogs with tan points are sometimes referred to as tri-color dogs.
Either solid or parti-colored cockers can have tan points. The point can be from lightest cream to darkest red. For show purposes, the tan points are restricted to 10 percent or less of the dog’s coat. The tan points are found over each eye, the underside of the ears, on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, on the feet and legs, under the tail, and sometimes on the chest.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.