Cocker Spaniels are some of the cutest pups with long, curly ears and silky coats. If you’re looking to adopt one, you might ask how much they shed and if you can keep up with picking up after them!
Cocker Spaniels shed moderately, meaning they shed an average amount for a dog. However, their fur is long and requires constant maintenance to prevent tangles and mats. Unlike some long-haired pups, Cocker Spaniels aren’t hypoallergenic.
Keep reading to learn more about these wonderful dogs and their sleek, luxurious fur!
Cocker Spaniel Fur Characteristics
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How Badly do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Cocker Spaniels have long, silky double coats that shed moderately. You might notice their fur more because it’s longer than many other dog breeds. You’re also more likely to see shed fur if your spaniel has black or white fur since these colors tend to stand out against furniture and clothing.
Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic?
Cocker Spaniels aren’t hypoallergenic because they have fur that sheds consistently rather than human-like hair that sheds very infrequently.
It’s important to note that if you’re allergic to dogs, you can react to any dog breed—including those labeled hypoallergenic. However, dogs that shed less will cause fewer allergy symptoms.
Do Cocker Spaniels Need Haircuts?
Cocker Spaniels have long, high-maintenance fur. If you’re not into combing your pup, or if they aren’t, then trimming them is an option. However, it’s not necessary.
Never shave a Cocker Spaniel unless it’s medically or otherwise necessary, such as before surgery or when the dog is severely matted. Even when trimmed, their fur should be kept over an inch long to prevent damage to the coat.
Double coats help protect against sunburn, bug bites, and cold and hot weather. According to the American Kennel Club, some people want their dogs shaved to help them stay cool, but it actually increases their risk of heat stroke.
Instead, a great way to keep your Cocker Spaniel cool is to continue combing them regularly, and this will remove shed fur and allow for more airflow through the coat.
Do Cocker Spaniels Smell?
All dogs have an odor, especially if it’s been a while since their last bath. However, Cocker Spaniels don’t smell more than any other dog.
If your Cocker Spaniel smells, the first thing to do is to bathe them. If they continue to smell after that, a trip to the veterinarian might be necessary to determine if they have any infections or other health problems causing the odor.
How to Groom a Cocker Spaniel
There are a few steps when it comes to grooming any dog. These include:
- Brushing or combing the fur
- Bathing your dog
- Trimming the nails
- Cleaning the ears
- Brushing the teeth
Comb their Fur Once Every Few Days
Once every few days, your Cocker Spaniel must be combed thoroughly down to the skin.
Cocker Spaniels have long coats, and their undercoat can get caught up in all that fur as it sheds. Just a few missed grooming sessions can leave your dog with painful mats in its fur.
Brush your Cocker Spaniel with a metal dog comb. The American Kennel Club recommends using either two combs or double-sided ones with fine and medium spacing.
Part the fur into sections so that you can see and comb it down to the skin. Then, run the comb through your pup’s coat slowly, so you don’t pull their fur.
If you encounter tangles, gently pick them apart with your fingers rather than trying to brush through, as this can hurt your dog and likely cause them to fear the comb.
If your Cocker Spaniel is matted, work the brush beneath the mat so that it blocks the skin. Then, carefully cut the mat away with scissors, stopping you from accidentally cutting your dog’s skin.
Cocker Spaniels’ ears must be combed as well, but they’re quite fragile and can tear if you aren’t careful. It’s especially important to follow the above instructions for your dog’s ears rather than trying to tug the brush through a tangle or mat.
Bathe Your Cocker Spaniel As Needed
You’ll usually know when it’s time to bathe your Cocker Spaniel. Maybe they’ve just run through muddy puddles in the rain, their fur is feeling greasy, or they smell worse than usual.
Just like when brushing your Cocker Spaniel, cleaning them down to the skin is important. Lather them thoroughly with dog shampoo and rinse just as thoroughly, checking beneath that long coat for hidden suds.
Try waterless dog shampoo to make your Cocker Spaniel smell better in between baths. It will keep your dog’s coat looking shiny and sleek and reduce any odor.
Trim their Nails Once Monthly
Your Cocker Spaniel’s nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid them painfully curling into the paws, getting caught on various items, or breaking.
Depending on how well your dog behaves, you can either trim the nails all at once or take a week to clip one to two claws at a time. Especially while your dog is still learning, trimming just a couple of nails at once can help them get used to it and not overwhelm them or you with trying to get a whole paw done!
Clean Your Pup’s Ears Regularly
A Cocker Spaniel’s long, curly ears can hold onto debris easily. It’s important to clean them regularly with an ear cleaner you can get from your veterinarian. Your vet can also teach you how to clean the ears properly.
I recommend using a cotton pad soaked in the ear cleaner to wipe the entire outer ear. Your dog will likely love this process—what pooch doesn’t love an ear rub?
While you’re cleaning the ears, take the opportunity to look inside for any redness, swelling, or discoloration. These can be symptoms of an ear infection.
You can also use q-tips, cotton balls, or paper towels. However, it would be best never to clean the inside of your dog’s ears as you can push the wax further inside or even injure your dog’s ear drum.
If you notice an excess of wax inside the ear, bring your dog to the veterinarian to have them cleaned professionally. Your vet can also check to ensure it isn’t an ear infection causing the build-up.
Brush their Teeth Regularly
Ideally, your Cocker Spaniel’s teeth should be brushed daily. Like us, dogs develop plaque on their teeth from eating, leading to cavities and tooth decay over time.
If you can’t do that, brushing your dog’s teeth once a week will still help tackle that build-up.
I recommend bringing your dog to the veterinarian yearly to have its teeth looked at and professionally cleaned if your veterinarian suggests it.
- English Cocker Spaniel vs American Cocker Spaniel: What are the Differences?
- American Cocker Spaniel
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Cocker Spaniel Lifespan: How Long do Cocker Spaniels Live?
The photo featured at the top of this post is © SincereFox/Shutterstock.com
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- Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital, Available here: https://www.guilfordjamestownvet.com/site/blog-greensboro-vet/2020/11/30/bacterial-fungal-skin-infections-dogs
- VCA ANIMAL HOSPITAL, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/ear-infections-in-dogs-otitis-externa