Health Issues

The Cocker Spaniel is generally a healthy, sturdy, purebred dog.
However, like so many others, this breed does have some known health problems.

We have listed below, the generally accepted, conditions that can affect this breed. Other problem such as overshot or undershot jaw, deafness, blue eyes, various eye problems such as PPM, entropion etc also occur in the breed.

No breeder can 100% guarantee your puppy against these conditions that afflict the breed.  Probably the best way to think about it is, that your puppy will be a joyous member of your family for the next 10 to 15 years, and like children, they may or may not turn out exactly how you envisioned, however, your love and care, will ensure that they can live a long and happy life as most of the conditions can be corrected or eased by your veterinarian.

As a club, and part of the National Cocker Spaniel Council of Australia, we encourage our members to undertake annual eye testing and also test for Hip Dysplasia.  The National Council has compiled a list of positive results for both of the aforementioned. 


PRA is a descriptive term applied to retinal diseases that affect all breeds of dogs. The same clinical signs are present in all PRA affected animals. Affected animals will show night blindness and a progressive loss of day vision.
Many PRA affected English Cockers can be diagnosed between three and five years of age. It is during this age period subtle retinal changes can be noted by the experienced ophthalmologist. Even though the same clinical signs will be present in all PRA affected animals, the age of onset of disease differs from breed to breed. The onset period is divided into three approximate age groups: early, middle, and late. The English Cocker falls into the late-onset group (4-7 years old). This late-onset form of the disease is now called Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD). PRCD is inherited RECESSIVELY

*Breeders are now able to access DNA testing through Optigen (USA). For more information on this testing please click on the logo below.


Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is the most common, heritable orthopedic problem in dogs. It is usually characterized by hip joint instability (laxity) and secondary degenerative joint disease (DJD). Normally, the ball-shaped head of the femur fits snugly into the socket (acetabulum). When the hip doesn't fit tightly, degenerative joint disease begins. The genetic basis for CHD is thought to be polygenic and multifactorial

For more information please click HERE


A recessively inherited renal disease that has been recognized in the English Cocker for more than 50 years.  FN is a form of "hereditary nephritis" which refers to a group of glomerular diseases that are linked to genetic collagen defects.

Onset of renal failure due to FN typically occurs between six and 24 months of age.  Clinical signs may include polydipsia (drinks more), polyuria (urinates more), weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.  These symptoms are commonly associated with any type of renal failure.
For more information on this disease please click on the banner below.




This page was last updated on:07-Jun-2010

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