The affectionate, loving Cocker Spaniel makes a wonderful family pet. However, if you’re thinking of adding a Cocker to your home, you might be wondering just how much time you’re going to have to spend grooming this breed’s beautiful, flowing coat. Though grooming can mostly be handled by a professional pet groomer, you will still need to ensure your Cocker’s coat does not become matted which means daily brushing. But what about when it comes to shedding—do Cocker Spaniels shed, and if so, how much?
What is the Cocker Spaniel’s Coat Like?
The Cocker Spaniel comes in two different varieties that today are considered to be separate breeds: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. Both breeds should possess a coat that ranges from medium to long. Its texture can be straight or with a mild amount of wave, but both coat types should be silky to the touch.
The Cocker Spaniel comes in many different colors. These include:
- Liver (Brown)
- Red (Golden)
- Parti (Two or More Solid Colors)
- White with Red, Black, or Liver
When it comes to shedding, yes, the Cocker Spaniel is a breed that sheds. Though not a dog that is considered to be a voluminous shedder, the Cocker is also not a low shedding dog. Experts agree that this dog breed sheds moderately.
The Cocker Spaniel has very high grooming requirements. The breed should visit a professional groomer several times per year and must be brushed daily to prevent matting from occurring in the coat.
What is the Difference Between an American Cocker Spaniel and and English Cocker Spaniel?
Though there are many similarities between the American Cocker Spaniel and his English counterpart, there are some distinct differences as well. These two dog breeds are quite alike in personality; however, there are some unique differences when it comes to their coats and body type.
Here is a comparison:
The English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is a little shorter in body and also possesses a shorter neck. The breed’s head and muzzle more closely resembles that of the classic English Springer Spaniel, being longer through the snout than the American Cocker. The English Cocker Spaniel is also renowned for its shorter length of coat than its American cousin.
The American Cocker Spaniel
The American Cocker Spaniel stands a little bit taller than the English Cocker and has a longer neck blending into the shoulder. The American Cocker has the traditional shorter snout that most people associate with a Cocker. They also typically have much longer coats.
Can the Cocker Spaniel Be Considered a Hypoallergenic Dog?
Unfortunately, the Cocker Spaniel, whether American or English, is not considered to be a hypoallergenic dog. However, the truth is no dog, even exceptionally low shedding dogs, can truly be called hypoallergenic. This is because people who experience symptoms of allergies when in the presence of a dog are not actually reacting to the dog’s fur or even its skin. Those with allergies to dogs are exhibiting a response to the proteins contained within the dog’s skin and salivary glands that are excreted through the dry skin and hair. Dogs that shed more heavily are not the best option for families with allergies because the more a dog sheds, the more proteins are released into the environment, eliciting a histamine response from the allergy sufferer.
For best results, keep your dog clean, brushed, and properly groomed. This will keep the amount of shed hair and dander to a minimum and will help reduce symptoms of allergies.
What Makes a Cocker Spaniel’s Coat Unique?
The Cocker Spaniel should have a double coat that helps to provide weatherproofing for the dog when out on a hunt. This double coat should consist of a thick undercoat that keeps the dog insulated when out in cold or wet weather. The top coat can be smooth or rough and is a far greater length than the undercoat. Regardless of whether the dog’s coat is short or long, smooth or rough, the amount of shedding remains the same.
As with many breeds, the Cocker Spaniel will blow its coat twice yearly. This typically happens once in spring and once in the fall. During these times of year, the Cocker will experience a dramatic increase in shedding which makes way for new coat to grow in.
In the spring, the Cocker blows its coat to help keep the dog cool in the summer months. The Cocker loses its coat in the fall to allow for regrowth that will keep the dog toasty and warm during the cold days of winter. Dogs that spend more time outside tend to shed more than Cockers that are indoors most often.
How Can I Keep My Cocker’s Shedding to a Minimum?
The best way to keep shedding to a minimum is to commit to brushing your Cocker Spaniel every day. Regular grooming will also be a great help to you in preventing excess shedding. Pets should ideally be clipped by a professional groomer every six to eight weeks. For best results, it is critically important that your Cocker visit a groomer at the beginning of spring and fall when the dog is ready to blow their coat. Though these things will not eliminate shedding entirely, they will help to greatly reduce it.
Experts also recommend bathing your Cocker Spaniel on as needed basis. There are many anti-shedding shampoos on the market that can be a help in keeping shedding to a minimum. Be careful not to bath your dog too often as this can lead to drying out of the skin.
Another thing you can do that may help with shedding in your Cocker Spaniel is to ensure your dog receives a diet that contains a healthy amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins, zinc, and linoleic acid. These nutrients help to keep the Cocker’s coat and skin well-hydrated and healthy.
What is the Recommended Grooming for Cocker Spaniels?
The type of grooming recommended for the Cocker Spaniel depends on which type you own. The English Cocker Spaniel’s short coat is lower maintenance than his American cousin’s.
It is recommended that owners of English Cocker Spaniels brush their dogs at least twice weekly with three being the ideal number of times. This will help to prevent the coat from becoming knotted or matted. Wavier coats should be brushed more frequently as they tend to mat more easily.
Once monthly trimming of the feet, face, neck, and the undersides of the tail and ears are important to help keep the hair tidy and free from mats. This can be done by a professional groomer or is something you can do at home with the right tools.
Since the American Cocker Spaniel has a much longer coat, you will need to brush your dog every day. Failure to fulfill this commitment can lead to matting occurring. Even missing one day can lead to a coat that is full of mats and knots that you will struggle to work through without hurting the dog or ruining the coat.
A metal comb with close teeth is the best tool to work through any mats you find in the coat. Shorter hair is easier to manage than long hair, and for this reason, many owners of American Cocker Spaniels opt to have their dogs clipped at a groomer’s every six to eight weeks. The American Cocker Spaniel should also have a once monthly trimming similar to what is recommended for the English Cocker.
Do Cocker Spaniels shed? Yes, they do. However, they are not the heaviest shedders in the dog world nor the lightest. Keep any shedding at bay with regular brushing and grooming.