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Thread: Spaniel Aggression

  1. #1

    Spaniel Aggression

    Had one of my spaniels put down today by my vet. An 11 year old who was always a good reliable worker but had a problem - aggressive dominance. From an early age this dog showed signs of being dominant, not with me but other dogs. Any dog challenged him from small to large and it was full scale attack. Strangely enough at no time did he ever display this behaviour on a shoot day. He would happily share room in the back of a vehicle with all sorts but out for a bit of exercise I had to be ever watchful. Of recent times his behaviour changed. He would not allow his very long term kennel mate into his kennel, at times would sit in the back of my truck baring his teeth if anybody went near but 10 minutes later would be wagging his tail as if nothing had happened. Bit my elbow and as he sat there with his teeth in my arm was looking like "what happened there". I have heard of spaniel rage but from a bit research this would appear to be an almost concocted syndrome covering all sorts of aggressive behaviour in spaniels and mostly show dogs.
    Vet reckoned there probably was "things going on" in his brain but from his experience any drug treatment would be hit or miss. With me dogs that are unpredictable get no second chance.

    Has anybody had experience of this behaviour?

  2. #2
    Sorry to hear that, even though it sound like you've made a sensible if distressing decision. Difficult to say if this was dominance or submission aggression, the two can look very similar. If his behaviour has recently changed, there could have been an underlying problem, such as arthritic pain, making him less tolerant.
    I certainly recall "cocker rage" from the early 80s. A normal placid dog would suddenly become violent and extremely dangerous, a change in character out of proportion to a stimulus (such as applying flea treatment). I've not seen it for many years and was told it was probably just a particular breeding trait. Something similar happened with Golden Retrievers in the 90s.

  3. #3
    Yes I have also seen a few cases of this in Springers and Cockers too.One of my shooting pals had to have his bitch put down(The dog that is! (: ) . She bit him and the Postman.I think its definitely to do with breeding practises.

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