Cocker Spaniel Club of Queensland Inc established 1944

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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, entropian etc also occur in the breed.

No breeder will guarantee your puppy. These conditions that afflict the breed, in no way can be guaranteed against. Unless your chosen breeder has hip x-rays and eye certifications for many generations of ALL dogs in the pedigree, and knows the testing results of others from the same litter, they could not begin to guarantee you anything but a happy, healthy puppy full of promise and joy at eight weeks of age. Many things can and do go wrong, as a puppy grows up, but many problems are unseen unless specifically tested for (dogs with HD can run for miles, jump fences and lie like a frog - unless you actually X-ray a dog, you cannot diagnose HD).

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 HD. The National Council has compiled a list of positive results for both of the aforementioned. Please note, however, that no 'positive' identification is sought of a dog at the time of testing, and therefore many people do not test their dogs.


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


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


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.

It is hoped the the outline of the above conditions, will make you more informed about the breed's health issues.

All the conditions invoke great debate from dedicated breeders across the Country. We suggest that when you select your puppy, you bear in mind, that even if the parents have testing certifications, that it is NO GUARANTEE that your puppy will not be afflicted.

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.


This website has been created to be a formative record of the Cocker Spaniel Club of Queensland Inc. It is purely for your information and enjoyment, and as such, we ask that if you do find any errors in the information, that you contact us direct. We have taken as much care as possible to ensure that the information contained is correct, however we (the club nor our webmaster) accept no responsibility for any errors.

This site was originally created on 14 September 2002 - All rights reserved.
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