The English Cocker Spaniel is a favourite of the Spaniel type. Originally bred to flush game birds, the breed may be divided into two types: those who work and those bred for showing. Type varies considerably in terms of colour and size A Cocker is generally an energetic breed and should have at least an hour of exercise every day, including plenty of opportunity to run free. His fine coat and long ears need regular grooming.
(should be as low as possible)
The breed average COI is 9.2%.
Health and welfare problems due to conformation
(body shape and physical characteristics)
- The Cocker’s longish hair can easily become tangled and matted, so should be tended to and groomed daily.
- His long ears and hairy feet invite seeds, insects and other debris and should be cleaned and checked every day.
- Otitis Externa and Media (ear infection) (long droopy ears, excessive hair growth and wax production, causes inflammation, irritation and pain)
- Eye disease due to eyelid conformation
- Lip-fold dermatitis
BVA/KC Health schemes http://www.bva.co.uk/chs
- Hip Dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and lameness): breed mean score 11 (parents should be lower)
- Eye Scheme: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (gradual loss of vision); Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy; Goniodysgenesis (predisposes the dog to painful and sight threatening disease)
DNA tests available
- Progressive retinal atrophy (prcd-PRA)
- Familial nephropathy (FN) (defective filtering mechanism of kidneys)
- Merle gene
Unofficial (breed club) schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents (or check the KC’s health test results finder). If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
(for which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire and dam)
- Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles, causing intense itching)
- Immune mediated thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets causing spontaneous bleeding – can cause chronic malaise and severe pain)
- Mammary tumours
- Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) (ranging from minor back pain to severe spinal cord damage and paralysis)
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye)
- Heart disease: Patent ductus arteriosus, Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Distichiasis (double row of eyelashes, causing irritation and damage to the eye)
- Hepatitis (liver disease)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Advisory Council’s Standard for Breeders: http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/dac-breeding-standard/