- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Regal and shiny, the cocker spaniel is one of the world’s most beloved breeds. They are often friendly, gentle, and love people and animals with reckless abandon. Originally bred as hunting dogs, cocker spaniels have instead become playmates for children, and are a delightful family pet. With their big ears and silky fur cascading down around them, they are truly adorable animals.
This show-stopping dog deserves a haircut with style. Here’s what you need to know about grooming a cocker spaniel.
Cocker Spaniel Grooming Basics
Due to their long hair, cocker spaniels require regular and relentless grooming. Combing is key with this breed. If you miss a session or two, the hair will either tangle or end up matting. Using a dog-friendly metal comb with medium spacing for teeth is ideal, as it should glide through your spaniel’s coat with ease. If you do find a knot, don’t power through, but instead pick it apart slowly.
One of the most becoming physical features of the cocker spaniel is their ears. Their hair tends to be thicker in this area. When you brush the ears, be gentle, as the skin is very thin at the edges.
Another key step to a cocker spaniels grooming schedule is regular baths. With their luxurious coat, the cocker needs high-quality shampoo to keep their coat silky. Rinse the soap thoroughly, however, as cocker spaniel skin can be quite sensitive to soap residue.
Funny enough, once the dog gets used to the white noise sound, many dogs love a nice warm blow dry after their bath. This is the most effective way to get them dry fastest and not worry about fungus buildup in their coat or ears. This is also the best way to check out your cocker spaniel’s luxurious locks thoroughly.
After the blow dryer, it’s pivotal to check their ear canals for any build-up or sign of infections. Their ears are particularly vulnerable, so owning a cocker spaniel means you’re always on ear duty!
Ready for your cocker spaniel to shine? Here are the top hairstyles for the breed.
Top Cocker Spaniel Hairstyles
As the name suggests, the best-in-show cut is specific to showing off the cocker spaniel in all their glory. Before this cut even begins, the cocker must take a bath as professional groomers will likely need a dog-friendly dryer to straighten out their silky locks.
For the most part, the show cut is the same for both the English and American cocker spaniels, but with one minor difference: with American cocker spaniels, the hair is blended with the ears in the back, while the English cocker spaniel’s face is kept neat.
The main feature of the show cut is the skirt that is around the bottom of their bodies. The skirt is the fringe of hair that starts just below the top of the rib cage and shapes around the body. What a true showstopper!
Unlike the show cut where precision, maintenance, and defined lines are key, the traditional cut takes a bit more of a practical approach. With a traditional cut, the fringe is left longer around the torso along with the face. The face cleared of any hair so the cocker can see easily, and there isn’t a necessity to straighten out the hair as much.
However, the flowing, wavy hair is essential in the traditional cut. Be prepared to groom and bathe your cocker spaniel regularly to keep up this luscious look.
Not just for the pups, the puppy cut is perfect for people who want all the benefits of a cocker spaniel without the high-maintenance upkeep. The hair is left approximately an inch long all over the body, including the legs and ears. It’s short enough to where you don’t have to brush out any tangles that longer hair tends to get, but long enough so your cocker spaniel doesn’t feel naked. You must keep on top of this cut, though, or you’ll be back to giving your cocker spaniel daily brushing sessions.
More importantly, grooming means going beyond the initial hairdo. Whether you have your dog professionally groomed or do it yourself, this is the perfect opportunity to make sure your cocker spaniel’s nails are trimmed. Having too long of nails can damage a dog’s paws.
Having a cocker spaniel definitely does mean keeping on top of their grooming. Once you have it as part of your routine, your friendly pup will be the talk of the town.