Do Cocker Spaniels shed? Yes, they do, but you’ll be happy to know Cockers are not the heaviest of shedders. Still, for some people, dog allergies are a severe issue. They can be debilitating, so choosing a dog that sheds as little as possible is necessary; plus, it’s wise to ask these questions before you bring home a puppy or adult dog.
If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’re contemplating a Cocker Spaniel for your family companion, but you’re looking into just how much they shed. Cockers are beautiful dogs with stunning-looking coats, which might be one reason you’re attracted to the dog. You might also have read how Cockers make a wonderful family dog; they’re playful, loyal, and enjoy being around children.
If you’re determined to get a Cocker Spaniel, this article will give you some ideas on how you can minimize shedding and, at the same time, keep your Cocker’s coat looking well-groomed.
However, you may know there are two types of Cocker Spaniels, both recognized by the American Kennel Club, The American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. There are significant differences between the types, affecting how you deal with the shedding and grooming of the two dogs. We’re going to get to the significant differences between grooming the two types later in the article, but first, I think it’s crucial to address a question we get asked a lot.
One question that comes up frequently is this or that dog breed hypoallergenic? It’s a valid question because there’s a lot of publicity about the hypoallergenic dogs. Many people choose certain breeds because they believe a particular breed is hypoallergenic. The truth; no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. It’s impossible because all dogs produce allergens that can cause a reaction in some people. The allergens are not in the dog’s hair; they are in the proteins from the dog’s saliva and urine.
Of course, dogs continually lick themselves, and if they are heavier shedders, it might seem as though the hair fall is the problem. If you would like more information about why Cocker Spaniels aren’t hypoallergenic, read this article.
Cocker Spaniels are double-coated dogs meaning they have an outer coat and an undercoat. The outer coat is the beautiful coat everyone can see. It grows long with a silky feel and can be flat or wavy. The hairs are short around the head and face, but over the rest of the dog’s body, the hair grows long, especially under the midriff, chest, legs, and ears.
Cockers were sporting dogs and bred to work alongside hunters in all types of weather. So they needed a coat that can insulate them both from freezing and scorching temperatures. This insulation is where the undercoat comes in; this coat is very short and incredibly dense and capable of providing the insulation the dog needs. It’s worth pointing out something about the Cocker Spaniel at this time, and that’s seasonal shedding.
As I mentioned earlier, Cocker Spaniels are not particularly heavy shedders; however, twice each year, they go through what some people call “blowing their coats.” This means during spring, and autumn Cockers shed heavily.
Cocker Spaniels lose their winter coat in the spring, being replaced by a shorter, lighter coat that helps the dog cope with warmer weather. When autumn comes around, they shed the summer coat and replace that with a heavier, more protective coat for cold winter weather. Dog breeds with double-coats shed considerably more during these two periods than single-coated dogs because both coats shed.
How To Manage Cocker Spaniel Shedding?
There’s no escaping the amount of grooming necessary if you own a Cocker Spaniel, it’s one of the benefits of choosing this particular dog breed. I say benefits because grooming is beneficial to both dog and owner. It allows time to bond, and it will enable owners to inspect their dog for any minor injuries, such as sharp thorns that may have worked their way into the skin, and generally ensure all is well with the dog. When you’re grooming, it’s the ideal time to thoroughly search for any flea or tick infestation on your dog. Searching for ticks and fleas is especially crucial if you enjoy walking your dog through woodland areas.
Cocker Spaniel owners must continually groom a lot more during spring and autumn, but it’s also necessary throughout the year. Regular grooming helps minimize the amount of hair you’ll find on your furnishing, clothing, and carpets. A regular bath will also help, but don’t go overboard with the number of baths because you will dry out the dog’s natural body oils; make sure you choose a mild shampoo. Diet and nutrition are also hugely essential factors in minimizing hair loss.
Cocker Spaniels are bred to be working dogs, and many still perform that function. However, American breeders began diverging the two breeds almost one hundred years ago. Americans wanted to breed Cockers more along show lines than working dogs, which has created differences between the two dogs, not least in their coats.
English Cocker Spaniels have a shorter coat than the American and probably requires slightly less maintenance. However, they still have moderate shedding and blow their coats twice each year. You only need to brush the English dog’s coat twice every week because their coats will get into tangles and can matt if not brushed out.
To keep their coat neat and tidy, you’ll have to trim certain areas every four to six weeks. Especially around the ears, under the neck, the chest, legs, and under the tail. It’s not difficult to learn how to use trimmers, so that you can do this job yourself; however, if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, or prefer professional grooming, then a visit to a grooming salon will work best.
While grooming your Cocker, it’s always a good idea to regularly check their ears. Dogs with large floppy ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, can quickly get ear infections. Ears are a hotbed of bacterial and fungal infections. You’ll need to attend to their ears to prevent infections.
Let’s take a closer look at grooming your American Cocker Spaniels. While they are very similar, Americans have longer hair and more feathering than English Cockers. They are still moderate shedders, except for seasonal blowouts. Having longer hair will make maintenance a more regular occurrence because their hair is prone to tangling and matting more easily.
For an easier life, it’s best to brush an American Cocker every day. It might appear that’s more work, but if you leave them too long, you’ll find it takes a lot longer untangling and removing mats from their hair. Depending o how you feel, a puppy cut is less maintenance, and I think it looks adorable. But if you prefer to see your Cocker’s hair long, then as long as you don’t mind the maintenance, go for it.
The following tips will apply whether you have an English or American Cocker Spaniel.
Tips to control Cocker Spaniel shedding:
- Brushing your Cocker Spaniel is always going to be a personal choice. Many owners get great satisfaction from spending an hour every day brushing their Cocker Spaniel. Other owners can’t spare the time, which is why it’s a personal choice. As long as owners carry out the minimum amount of grooming to untangle any mats and ensure everything else is good, your Cocker will do fine.
- Don’t forget you’ll need to up your game during seasonal changes, though.
- You can bathe a Cocker Spaniel more frequently than other breeds because it will remove the proteins that cause allergies. Make sure you choose a mild shampoo; you don’t want to irritate their skin and cause them to lose the natural oils.
- After every bath, ensure you rinse thoroughly; it’s essential to remove all the shampoo vestiges from your Cocker Spaniels hair. Any left behind will dry on their skin and start to irritate; even the mildest shampoo can cause this to happen.
- Also, don’t leave your Cocker’s hair damp. For one thing, it will start to smell as it dries and won’t smell like you’ve just bathed him. Second, wet hair left to dry will also cause skin irritation. You can use a hairdryer; if your Cocker doesn’t mind the noise they make, use a regular hair dryer; however, if the dog is unhappy about the noise when it gets close to them, you can buy doggy hair dryers that run much quieter.
- As I mentioned earlier, grooming is the perfect time to check your Cocker Spaniel for any minor cuts and grazes, sharp thorns that might have penetrated the skin on their paw pads, fleas and ticks, and any lumps or bumps on their body. Dogs with long hair, such as Cocker Spaniels, can carry injuries, etc., without you noticing anything untoward; I realize that might sound strange, but it happens frequently.
There you have it; we’ve covered a lot in the article and answered the question do Cocker Spaniels shed. To reiterate, Cockers are moderate shedders throughout the year, but twice a year, they shed heavily when the seasons change, so prepare yourself for more coat maintenance.