Ever asked the question, “do Cocker Spaniels shed?” In this article, we discuss the answer to your question, plus the best grooming tips to keep your Cocker Spaniel’s beautiful coat in tip-top shape.
So Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Yes. The Cocker Spaniel is a shedding breed. While they do not shed as much as Labradors, Cocker Spaniels do shed their coat and go through a shedding season twice a year. Cocker Spaniel shedding season is usually during spring and fall.
During Cocker Spaniel shedding seasons, the dogs need to be brushed every day to prevent matting and to save you from having to remove loose hairs that are stuck all over your furniture.
Do English Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Yes, they do. Just like the American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniels also shed moderately. However, English Cocker Spaniel coats are slightly easier to maintain. This is due to the American Cocker Spaniels being selectively bred to have thicker coats and longer hair on the sides of their bodies as well as their legs.
Cocker Spaniel Breed Overview
Pedigree: Cocker Spaniel or American Cocker Spaniel
Breed Group: Sporting
Breed size: Medium
- 14.5 to 15.5 inches (male)
- 13.5 to 14.5 inches (female)
- 25 to 30 pounds (male)
- 20 to 25 pounds (female)
Grooming needs: High
Shedding level: Moderate
Energy level: Active
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
The Cocker Spaniel’s History
The Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of gun dog that was originally developed in the United Kingdom. Their ancestors were bred to hunt small game and birds.
The Cocker Spaniel was named after the woodcock – a bird that they were specifically bred to hunt and are still used for this purpose in some parts of the world.
In the US, the dog breed is known simply as the Cocker Spaniel, while the English variety is known as the English Cocker Spaniel (ECS). However, outside the US, the breed is known as the American Cocker Spaniel.
In 1940, the English and Canadian kennel clubs officially registered the two separate Cocker Spaniel breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Cocker Spaniel (American) and the English Cocker Spaniel as two separate breeds in 1946.
The Cocker Spaniel’s Coat
The Cocker Spaniel is known for its long, luscious locks and long ears. They have a silky, flat, or slightly wavy coat. According to the AKC’s official breed standard, “the ears, chest, abdomen, and legs are well feathered, but not so excessively as to hide the Cocker Spaniels’ true lines and movement or affect his appearance and function as a moderately coated sporting dog.”
The Cocker Spaniel is a breed with a double coat. While they do not have a thick undercoat, the breed standard states that they should have enough undercoat to keep them protected. American Cocker Spaniels have thicker and slightly longer coats compared to the English Cocker Spaniels.
Cocker Spaniel Coat Colors and Markings
The American Cocker Spaniel comes in multiple coat colors and markings or patterns. Here are the colors and markings recognized by the AKC:
- Black & Tan
- Black & White
- Black White & Tan
- Blue Roan
- Blue Roan & Tan
- Brown & White
- Brown White & Tan
- Red & White
- Sable & White
- Brown & Tan
- Buff & White
- Red Roan
- Brown Roan
- Brown Roan & Tan
- White Markings
- Merle Markings
Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic?
You may have heard of dog breeds that are said to be hypoallergenic dogs. The fact is that no dog is truly hypoallergenic. However, some breeds produce fewer allergens than others. Such dog breeds are often called “hypoallergenic”.
Unfortunately, the Cocker Spaniel is not one of them as Cockers shed moderately and go through a shedding season twice every year.
While many may think that it is the dog’s fur that triggers allergies in people, it is the dander that causes most allergic reactions to dogs or other pets. Dander are tiny skin particles that are shed by humans and animals that have hair, fur, or feathers.
Breeds that shed less produce less dander. Shedding more hair also spreads dander more around the home, thus there is a higher chance of exposure to allergy-triggering dander with a shedding dog breed.
Examples of a “hypoallergenic” dog breed are the Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, Bichon Frise, American Hairless Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dog, Afghan Hound, etc. These dogs tend to produce much less dander and do not shed like other dog breeds. As such they are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in most people.
How Much Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
In general, these dogs shed moderately and go through two Cocker Spaniel shedding seasons per year. However, the amount of shedding that Cocker Spaniels go through can vary in each individual dog. Some Cocker Spaniels may shed more hair than others.
Giving them a brush every three days can help keep their long coats clean and in good condition. This will also help you gauge how often your Cocker Spaniel needs to be groomed. Regular brushing also reduces the amount of shedding.
If the brush picks up a lot of loose dog hair, you may need to increase the frequency of your grooming sessions. If you find that less hair is picked up, then brushing can be reduced to once or twice a week.
During Cocker Spaniel shedding season in the springtime and fall, these gun dogs will need to be brushed daily to keep the shedding under control.
Grooming Your Cocker Spaniel
Because of the long, fine hair on their sides and legs, Cocker Spaniels need regular brushing to keep their coats free from tangles, mats, and debris. Regular grooming and bathing can also give Cocker Spaniel owners the opportunity to check for fleas, ticks, skin issues, lumps, and other health concerns that are otherwise hard to notice with all their long hair.
Excessive shedding can be an indicator of an underlying condition. If you notice that the amount of shedding has increased more than normal, book a consultation with your vet.
Bringing Cocker Spaniels to a professional groomer at a young age can help get them used to being groomed by other people. This makes the grooming experience much easier for both the Cocker Spaniel puppy and the groomers. So feel free to take your dog to the groomer for a puppy cut.
9 Best Grooming Tools for Your Cocker Spaniel’s Coat
This brush is a handy tool that can help you get rid of loose hair that is still stuck on your English or American Cockers. This brush has thin metal wires that help untangle long hairs and reduce shedding.
Pet parents can also get self-cleaning slicker brushes that make removing dog hair from the brush a breeze.
Metal or Rubber Pin Brush
A pin brush is a great tool to use for daily or weekly dog brushings. Its bristles penetrate deeper into the long coat and help remove Cocker Spaniels’ shed hair or undercoat.
Soft Bristle Brush
The soft bristle brush is ideal for getting young Cocker Spaniel puppies used to regular grooming. It has much softer bristles that are perfect for puppy coat and skin. Grooming from an early age is highly recommended as it promotes a relaxing experience for the dog.
A puppy groomed regularly at an early age is likely to enjoy or at least tolerate baths, brushing sessions, and professional grooming sessions as an adult dog.
The soft bristle brush can also be used to lift any loose hair from the top of a Cocker’s coat after brushing with a slicker brush.
Use a metal l comb to remove knots and tangles after using a slicker brush or a pin brush.
Dematting Rake or Mat Breaker
A de-matting rake or other mat-breaking tools are used to slice up mats into thinner strips so that they are easier to brush.
Thinning scissors, also known as blending scissors, are a type of haircutting tool that can be used to thin and blend hair on a Cockerl’s neck, under the ears, chest, shoulders, head, and back leg feathering.
These scissors have a comb-like appearance, with one serrated blade and one smooth blade. When used correctly, thinning scissors can help to remove bulk from the hair and create a softer, more natural look.
It's important to use thinning scissors with caution and to follow the natural line of the dog's coat to avoid creating an uneven or patchy appearance. It may also be a good idea to seek the guidance of a professional groomer or veterinarian if you are unsure how to use thinning scissors properly.
Grooming scissors or cutting scissors can be used to trim the hairs on the dog’s body as well as the leg feathers of a Cocker Spaniel. Unlike thinning scissors, these scissors cut cleaner lines just like regular haircutting scissors.
You can also get round-end grooming scissors to trim the hairs around the face of your dog.
If you prefer to use clippers instead of scissors or hand-stripping, a #10 or #15 blade can be used to groom Cocker Spaniels’ heads, ears, and throats. For grooming around the opening of the ears, use scissors instead.
To avoid clipper burn and irritation, always go with the direction of the Cocker Spaniels’ growth of hair and not against it.
The long hair of a Cocker Spaniel may take forever to dry. Wet dog hair can be a good breeding ground for odor-causing or harmful bacteria.
Use a blow-dryer on low heat to carefully dry your dog after baths.
Other Essential Grooming Tools
Cocker Spaniels have long, floppy ears that are further weighed down by their long coat. The hair can make it harder for air to get into the ear canal. This makes many Cocker Spaniels prone to ear infections due to their shape and the fact that their long hair is likely to collect dirt, debris, and moisture.
It's important to keep your Cocker Spaniel's ears clean and free of excess wax and debris to prevent ear infections and other ear problems. Ear cleaning solutions made for dogs are a great way to keep their ears free from harmful bacteria.
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Other Dental Care Products
Good dental health is vital in keeping any dog happy and healthy for years to come. Vets recommend brushing your dogs’ teeth twice a day or at least 3 times a week.
Make sure to use only toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Never use toothpaste for humans on dogs as they contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. You can use no-brush tooth gels made for dogs in between brushings to help reduce plaque, tartar, and bad breath.
Nail Clippers/ Dremel
Cocker Spaniels’ nails should be trimmed regularly, especially for older less active dogs. Excessively long nails can cause pain and discomfort when standing up or walking.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Bathing regularly is important in keeping a Cocker Spaniel’s luscious locks in great shape. Because their long hairs can easily trap seeds, burs, dirt, and debris, they need to be given regular baths to keep them clean and healthy.
Bathing can also help loosen shed dog hair. Make sure to brush out any tangles from your dog’s coat before washing her.
Use a gentle, high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner to keep the Cocker’s coat soft and silky, as well as to maintain its healthy skin. Rinse and re-rinse your dog to make sure that no product residue is trapped in your Cocker Spaniel’s hair or skin. Product residue can cause skin irritation, dryness, and even odor.
How To Groom a Cocker Spaniel
As long as you regularly brush and bathe your Cocker Spaniels, grooming them won’t be too hard. However, skipping 1 or 2 brushing sessions could make grooming a lot more challenging as their long hair could get easily tangled.
To groom your English or American Cockers’ coat, start by taking small sections of the coat and brushing with a pin brush in the direction of the hair growth.
If there are any tangles, start from the ends of the hair and gently comb out the tangles with a steel comb or a pin brush. Make sure to hold the base of the Cocker’s hair so that you are not pulling on the dog’s hair when working on tangles or mats.
Make sure to brush armpits and back legs as they are prone to tangles and matting. Be extra gentle when brushing the ears of your dog. Both sides need to be brushed to ensure that air circulates well.
Once all sections of hair have been brushed or combed out, use a slicker brush all over your dog to get rid of dead hair. You can use a soft bristle brush to finish the grooming session as it will remove any remaining loose hairs that are sitting on top of the Cocker Spaniel’s coat.
Getting Rid of Mats
Mats are a lot harder to remove than tangles. Matting happens when dead hairs that have been shed are not brushed away. The loose hairs get trapped on the coat and begin to form thick lumps that are very hard to brush away.
To remove mats, start by teasing out the matting with your fingers. Once the mats are broken into smaller sections, use a mat breaker or de-matting rake to split the mats into thinner strips.
Use a slicker brush on each strip. Put your hand under the strip of matted hair and push the brush pins into the mats. Gently move the brush in a side-to-side rocking motion. You may need to do this several times before the matted strip starts to loosen. Once loose, you can brush or comb the mats out.
Sometimes, mats are just so bad that they may need to be cut out with scissors. If you are not confident in cutting your Cocker Spaniels’ matted hair, a trip to the professionals may be in order to get your dog’s double coat back in good shape.
No matter what type of dog breed you get, grooming is an important part of maintaining a dog’s health, well-being, as well as its appearance. Certain breeds require a bit more effort from their owners in the grooming department, while some are very low maintenance.
The Cocker Spaniel is a shedding breed that has a double coat. It requires a moderate amount of grooming regularly due to the length of its coat. Cocker Spaniel shedding season is twice every year and will require more frequent grooming.
As long as you are able to stick to a regular brushing and bathing schedule, your American Cocker Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel will have beautiful luscious locks that are sure to the turn heads of dog lovers everywhere you go.
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