Whether it’s a Chihuahua or a German Shepherd, dogs of all shapes and sizes have been man’s best friend for centuries.
But experts at the Royal Veterinary College London warn that one particular breed isn’t so friendly after all, with aggression almost twice as common among these dogs as any other puppy in the UK.
Amazingly, it turned out to be the English Cocker Spaniel – a beloved pet of many famous faces, including the Prince and Princess of Wales.
While 2.2% of other dogs in the UK were aggressive, this came in at an average of 4% for the Spaniel breed.
Golden-coated pooches were found to be even more vocal, with aggression prevalent in 12% of those studied.
Golden-coated pooches were found to be even noisier, with aggression prevalent in 12% of those studied
English Cocker Spaniels have been a beloved pet of many famous faces, including the Prince and Princess of Wales. Pictured with son Prince George and Lupo who died in 2020
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“The English Cocker Spaniel (ECS) is a popular family dog in the UK, but there is little information about common disorders affecting the breed,” the study read.
“The purpose of this study was to describe demographics (age, sex, sterilization, and body weight), disease onset, lifespan, and reasons for death.”
Scientists examined a group of 2,318 Cockers for this study, drawing on veterinary records from around the country.
Aggression ranked sixth in a list of the breed’s most common disorders, coming after others such as anal sac impaction and diarrhoea.
Nearly 230 dogs suffered from obesity, which ranked third on the list, while the main disorder was periodontal disease, with a prevalence of 20%.
This condition – commonly referred to as gum disease – usually occurs when bacteria and food scraps build up in a dog’s mouth.
Pictured: The Prince and Princess of Wales with their new puppy Orla in Windsor
Actor George Clooney and his wife Amal both own two Cocker Spaniels
David Beckham, 46, gave fans a glimpse into his family life by sharing a photo of himself with his beloved dogs on Instagram
Yet the puppies were more likely to die from neoplasia – a condition that causes cells to grow abnormally and uncontrollably, often in the form of a tumour.
Experts also looked at the coat color of more than 64% of the dogs studied to understand potential links between appearances and disorders.
While golden dogs were the most aggressive, brown ones were the least aggressive, with scientists finding that only 4.3% were on the fiery side.
Meanwhile, 6.3% of black dogs, 4.3% of brown dogs, and 6.5% of red puppies were rated as aggressive.
Scientists say these numbers back up previous research pointing out that solid-colored dogs are much more likely to show signs of anger than two- and three-color pooches.
Actress Elizbeth Hurley is pictured posing in the sunshine with her English Cocker Spaniel puppy
Oprah Winfrey owns a Cocker Spaniel named Sadie and two Spring Spaniels named Lauren and Sunny, while Elton John’s dog is named Arthur
Despite this, any cause for this association remains unclear, with some believing that there is no real connection.
Pet expert Zita Wells from the South of England based Pet Patrol said: ‘From what I understand coat color is mainly determined by genetics and has no no direct correlation to a dog’s temperament or behavior.
“Temperament in dogs is influenced by a combination of genetic factors, early socialization experiences, training and individual personality traits.
“While some breeds may exhibit certain temperaments or general tendencies, such as being more energetic, calm, or sociable, these traits are not determined solely by coat color.”
READ MORE: Scientists reveal the breeds that grow the most, from puppies to adults
Welcoming a puppy into the family home is often the dream of many.
But experts are urging owners to be aware of what lies ahead, as some dog breeds can dramatically increase in size as they reach adulthood.
Sixty of the UK’s most popular and common dog breeds were measured at eight weeks and again at one year in research by Petplan.
Labradoodles top the charts for the most weight gain, with a 900% increase in size from their puppy phase to adulthood.
Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers followed close behind, their bodies changing by 700% and 692% over the same period.
Sixty of the UK’s most popular and common dog breeds have been assessed in a Petplan study