It’s not unheard of for Rottweilers to be branded as a ruthless breed of dog.
But pet owners may be surprised to know that English cocker spaniels are the most vicious of them all, with aggression almost twice as prevalent across these dogs than any others in the UK.
Experts at the Royal Veterinary College London revealed that four per cent of cocker spaniels are aggressive – which triples to 12 per cent if they have a golden coat.
On the flip side, much larger – and perhaps scarier seeming – Rottweilers were much friendlier with just 7.46 per cent being hot-headed.
The results come after much talk of ‘cocker rage syndrome’ – a rare uncontrollable condition that causes dogs to suddenly flip out.
The Royal Veterinary College in London has looked at the prevalence of aggression and other characteristics in a number of dog species of the UK
Cocker spaniels with a golden coat were found to be even more boisterous, with aggression prevalent across 12 per cent of those studied
How aggressive is your dog’s breed?
- Golden English Cocker Spaniel: 12.08%
- Rottweilers: 7.46%
- Red English Cocker Spaniel: 6.5%
- Black English Cocker Spaniel: 6.3%
- Brown English Cocker Spaniel: 4.3%
- Chihuahua: 4.2%
- Labrador Retriever: 2.24%
- Pug: 1.97%
- Greyhound: 1.7%
Prevalence (%) of aggression in each breed
Dr Dan O’Neill, who led the project, told MailOnline: ‘Choosing between breeds is one of the decisions that owners worry about most when getting a new dog. The growing information from VetCompass across a range of breeds helps owners to make these choices based on good evidence.
‘Although not a hugely aggressive breed, owners should be aware of higher aggression in English Cocker Spaniels compared with some other typical breeds owned by families with children such as Labrador Retrievers.
‘Levels of aggression in English Cocker Spaniels were higher in male dogs and in dogs that were golden colored so owners who are particularly concerned about aggression could choose female or non-golden animals.’
The English cocker spaniel research has come after a number of previous studies looking into the characteristics of other breeds such as Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Labradors.
Currently, scientists claim that just 2.2 per cent of all dogs in the UK are aggressive.
But you may be surprised to know that size really doesn’t matter when it comes to temper, as Chihuahuas are almost as aggressive as German Shepherds.
Meanwhile, the UK favorite Pugs and Labradors were far less aggressive, with a prevalence of just 2.24 and 1.97 per cent respectively, according to The Telegraph.
Just 2.24 per cent of Labradors were seen to be aggressive in a previous study. Meanwhile, only 1.97 per cent of pugs were found to be aggressive, it has been reported.
Despite its size, Chihuahuas were almost as aggressive as German Shepherds, experts found
Innocent-seeming West Highland Terriers and Greyhounds were similar too, with just two per cent of pups being hot-headed.
For the English cocker spaniel study, scientists looked at a pool of 2,318 dogs, drawing from veterinary records from all over the country.
Aggression ranked sixth in a list of disorders most commonly experienced by the breed, coming after others such as anal sac impaction and diarrhoea.
Almost 230 dogs experienced obesity which ranked third on the list, while the top disorder was periodontal disease, with a prevalence of 20 per cent.
This condition – commonly known as gum disease – usually comes about when bacteria and leftover food particles build up in a dog’s mouth.
Scientists found that Rottweilers are more family friendly than golden English cocker spaniels
Despite this one’s grimace, just 1.7 per cent of Greyhounds were seen to be aggressive
|Anal sac impaction||8.07|
|Cutaneous mass lesion||3.15|
|Post operation wound complications||2.8|
Yet the pups were most likely to die from neoplasia – a condition that causes the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells, which often come in the form of a tumour.
Experts also looked at the coat color of more than 64 per cent of studied dogs to understand potential links between appearances and disorders.
While golden dogs were the most aggressive, brown ones were the least, with scientists finding that just 4.3 per cent were on the feisty side.
Meanwhile 6.5 per cent of red pups and 6.3 per cent of black dogs were seen to be aggressive.
Scientists claim these figures back previous research highlighting that solid-colored dogs are far more likely to show signs of anger than bi-colored and tri-colored pooches.
Despite this, any cause for this association remains unclear, with some believing there is no true link at all.
Pet expert, Zita Wells, of pet care service Pet Patrol said: ‘From my understanding coat color is primarily determined by genetics and has no direct correlation with a dog’s temperament or behaviour.
‘Temperament in dogs is influenced by a combination of genetic factors, early socialization experiences, training, and individual personality traits.
‘While certain breeds may exhibit certain general temperaments or tendencies, such as being more energetic, calm, or sociable, these traits are not solely determined by coat colour.’
The Prince and Princess of Wales have owned two cocker spaniels: Lupo, who died in 2020, and their current pup Orla.
Other celebrities with cocker spaniels include George and Amal Clooney, David and Brooklyn Beckham and Elizabeth Hurley.
Oprah Winfrey also owns a cocker spaniel called Sadie while Elton John’s dog Arthur was the best man at his civil union.
READ MORE: Scientists reveal the breeds that grow the MOST from puppies to adults
Welcoming a puppy into the family home is often a dream of many.
But experts are urging owners to be aware of what’s in store, as certain dog breeds can hugely increase in size as they reach adulthood.
Sixty of the UK’s most popular and common dog breeds were measured at eight weeks old and again one-year-old as part of research by insurance company Petplan.
Labradoodles topped the charts for picking up most weight, with a 900 per cent jump in size from its puppy phase to adulthood.
Labrador retrievers and rottweilers followed just behind, as their bodies changed by 700 per cent and 692 per cent over the same time period.
Sixty of the UK’s most popular and common dog breeds were assessed in a Petplan study