Cockapoo Health Problems: 7 Genetic Diseases Cockapoos Inherit

Cockapoo Health Problems

Like all dogs, Cockapoos are susceptible to some genetic diseases. The parent breeds used to produce a F1 (or first cross) Cockapoo puppy will pass on hereditary diseases if not tested for breeding suitability.

This is the same for all dogs but the list below is particular for Cockapoo Parent dogs (the male and female are known as dams and sires or stud dogs ). If health tests are not carried out before breeding, the breeder and the eventual owner of the Cockapoo puppy might unknowingly be accepting a Cockapoo with health issues in later life.

As a buyer, it’s far better to understand what testing you should insist on seeing original written documentation for, rather than risk having Cockapoo health concerns as your puppy matures.

Below is a list of the most prevalent diseases to scrutinize to ensure you buy a healthy Cockapoo!

Four month old cockapoo puppy

Prcd-PRA – (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)

What is it: A genetic disorder that causes blindness. Cells at the back of the retina gradually decay and die leaving the dog suffering from night blindness and most likely full blindness by end of life.

Onset age: Early adolescence / adulthood

Symptoms: Night blindness, gradual short slightness

Cure: No

Prevention: Test parents before breeding

Parent dogs affected: American Cocker Spaniel / English Shower Cocker / English Working Cocker / Miniature Poodle / Toy Poodle

Health testing: Always. For all registered cockapoos one parent must be clear.

FN – Familial Nephropathy

What is it: A recessive inherited disease that destroys nephrons (cell structure that makes up the kidney)

Onset age: six to 24 months of age

Symptoms: drinks more, urinates more, weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea

Cure: No

Prevention: Test parents before breeding

Parent dogs affected: English Shower Cocker / English Working

Heath Testing: Always – Always for all registered Cockapoos. (F1 and poodle back crosses are exempt) carrying English Show & Working Cocker Spaniel genes, must have one parent clear/normal.

Phosphofructokinase (PFK)

What is it: Phosphofructokinase (PFK) is an essential enzyme needed to produce energy. The disease occurs when the gene mutates and stops producing energy from sugar sources within the dog.

Onset age: adolescence / adulthood

Cure: none

Symptoms: jaundice, sudden weakness, cramping, and anemia

Prevention: health testing

Parent dogs affected: American Cocker Spaniel

Health testing: Always for all registered Cockapoos. (F1 and poodle back crosses are exempt) carrying American Cocker Spaniel genes must have one parent clear/normal.


What is it: Primary Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure build up within the eye. It is classified as either primary or secondary. The eye’s drainage becomes blocked, but the eye keeps making fluid. As a result, pressure on the eye increases.

Secondary glaucoma

What is it: Occurs when other eye diseases cause fluid drainage problems. With secondary glaucoma be watchful for eye inflammation, cataracts, retinal detachment and movement of the lens.

Onset age: Adolescence / adulthood

Cure: It is crucial to determine if the dog is affected by primary or secondary glaucoma. The treatment needed and the prognosis for vision is different for each type.

Symptoms: Can start in just one eye

Prevention: Annual vet check-up can prevent secondary glaucoma. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) also have a scheme for specialist Canine Opthalomogist. A manual examination of the eye needs to be done.

Parent dogs affected: American Cocker Spaniel / English Shower Cocker / English Working Cocker / Miniature Poodle / Toy Poodle

Health testing: Preferable

Von Willebrand disease TYPE 1 (vWD1)

What is it: A bleeding disorder. vWD1 is a protein that enables blood clotting.

Onset age: Early adolescence / adulthood. Often discovered after nail trimming, teething, spaying, sterilizing, tail docking, cropping

Cure: Type 1 is only results in mild bleeding. Type 2&3 are more severe and bleeding can occur in intestines, stomach, urinary tracts, genitals and joints

Symptoms: Spontaneous bleeding from the nose, gum and other mucous membranes. Excessive bleeding occurs after an injury, trauma or a surgery.

Prevention: Testing before breeding

Parent dogs affected: Miniature Poodle

Health testing: Advisable

Hip dysplasia

What is it: Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development within the hip joint, which leads to deformity in the joint.

Onset age: 14 to 26 weeks of age. The developmental ‘primary’ changes appear first. The secondary changes may be referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease or Osteo Arthrosis or Osteo-Arthritis.

Cure: Hereditary hip dysplasia is not curable. Secondary hip dysplasia can be treated as its primary cause is wear and tear

Symptoms: As Hip dysplasia can include joint looseness (laxity), inflammation, pain, new bone formation and bone erosion, changes in gait to pronounced lameness, stiffness after exercise.

Prevention: Not over exercising, particularly developing puppies in their first year.

Hip Score

BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme scores radio graphs. The lower the ‘hip score’ the less the better. The minimum (best) score for each hip is zero and the maximum (or least desirable) is 53, giving a range for the total score of 0 to 106.

Sires (fathers) to be bred from should ideally be ones whose offspring have consistently low scores. The same selection procedure should be used for breeding bitches, since the use of animals with higher scores will increase the risk of producing offspring with higher scores.

For fees and further information contact: CHS, 7 Mansfield Street, London, W1G 9NQ. Tel 020 7908 6380 Email /

The breed mean score: The suggested mean score for Cockapoos is 12/13.

Parent dogs affected: American Cocker Spaniel / English Shower Cocker / English Working Cocker / Miniature Poodle / Toy Poodle

Health testing: Advised

[see diet and Hip Dysplasia]

Retinal Dysplasia

What is it: Retinal dysplasia appears as streaks and dots in the central retina affecting a dog’s eye site. Most cases are hereditary.

Onset age: Adult dogs

Symptoms: Mild retinal dysplasia may not show symptoms. In dogs with more severe cases, the symptoms may include being afraid of the dark (even inside the house), bumping into things and noticeable visual impairment.

Cure: None

Prevention: Other than an inherited condition, retinal dysplasia may be bought on by prenatal infections like the the Herpes-virus. Herpes-virus causes inflammation of the eye and retinal dysplasia may develop later on in life. Also Parvo-virus and exposure to toxins can cause retinal dysplasia in dogs.

Parent dogs affected: American Cocker Spaniel

Health testing: Advisable


Most Cockapoo health problems can be avoided by Cockapoo Breeders UK. Why roll the dice and buy a puppy off the internet – it will probably end in heart break

One Reply to “Cockapoo Health Problems: 7 Genetic Diseases Cockapoos Inherit”

  1. If a cookopoo had a shunt proble when it was infant and is 3 months and is fine now can it develope again when he gets older. It’s 5 to 7 lbs now Sid to be t cup. Should I be concerned

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