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The term cocker spaniel is used to refer to two different breeds, being the American cocker spaniel and English cocker spaniel respectively. Understandably, the English variant is by far the most common of the two types within the UK, and so when we refer to the cocker spaniel, this is generally the type we mean. The English cocker spaniel is among the most popular of all of the various different dog breeds within the UK, and while the cocker was originally developed for use as a gun dog, today they are much more widely owned as pets. They stand up to 16” tall at the withers and can weigh between 13-15kg, and are classed as a medium sized breed.
Within the UK, the cocker spaniel is divided into two sub-types, being working strains and show strains respectively. Working dogs tend to have shorter, finer coats than show dogs, and also tend to be slightly larger and heavier in build.
If you are wondering if a cocker spaniel is a good choice of pet for you, it is of course important to do plenty of research on the breed before committing to a purchase. This includes researching the health and hereditary wellness of the breed, and if they are prone to any breed-specific health problems. In this article, we will look at the longevity, genetic diversity and hereditary health of the cocker spaniel in more detail. Read on to learn more.
The median lifespan for the English cocker spaniel is 11.2 years, with cancer listed as the leading cause of death across the breed as a whole. 11.2 years of age places the cocker spaniel slightly lower in the rankings than the average across the board for dogs of a similar size, but many cocker spaniels live well beyond this age too.
The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the cocker spaniel breed is 9.6%, which is slightly higher than the ideal figure of 6.25% or lower. Potential breeders of cocker spaniels are advised to calculate the coefficient of inbreeding figure for their own dogs, and try to keep the percentage as low as possible.
Various different health schemes and pre-breeding tests are available for the cocker spaniel, and again, breeders are strongly advised to consider taking part in these, in order to improve the hereditary health of their breed lines. The tests and health schemes currently available for the cocker spaniel are:
The conformation of the cocker spaniel may potentially lead to some issues in and of itself, including:
As well as the potential challenges mentioned above, the cocker spaniel is also known to have a propensity to some other health conditions too, for which no health schemes or pre-breeding tests are currently available. These include:
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