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Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Dog Breed

Aliases: American Cocker Spaniel

Life Span: 12-15 years
Litter Size: 2-7 puppies with an average of 5 per litter
Group: Gun Dog, AKC Sporting
Color: Black and tan, black, any solid color other than black (ASCOB), parti-colored (white and any other solid color), tan points with the tan less than 10% of the total body.
Hair Length: Long, Medium
Size: Medium
Shedding: Moderate Shed
Male Height: 14-16 inches (36-38 cm)
Male Weight: 15-30 pounds (7-14 kg)
Female Height: 14-16 inches (36-38 cm)
Female Weight: 15-30 pounds (7-14 kg)
 General info courtesy of Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.

Thyroid Disease - High Risk

The Cocker Spaniel ranks #13 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding.  It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.

 Rank Among Breeds  Number of Dogs Tested  Percent of Dogs With Disease
 #13  17083  15.7%

You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here

Other Health Problems

With the popularity of Cocker Spaniel as a pet and gun dog there has been a significant amount of backyard breeding that has lead to some serious health conditions in many Cockers that are not purchased from reputable breeders. Even within some of the purebred lines there are some minor health issue, but these are seen in many breeds of dogs. Some of the more serious health concerns are:

  • IMHA ( Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia ) - the immune system attacks the blood cells, resulting in serious blood loss from the body in the urine and typically death if not treated immediately.
  • Eyes - glaucoma, cataracts, entropion and ectropion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) resulting in eventual blindness.
  • Skin - allergies, seborrhea, lip fold pyoderma all which can lead to irritations and skin infections as the dog scratches and rubs the area.
  • Otitis externa - ear infections, common in any dog with a folded ear.
  • Phosphofructokinase deficiency - destroys red blood cells and leads to anemia and muscle degeneration and pain in movement.
  • Cardiomyopathy - heart conditions such as disease or muscle development problems.