Cocker Spaniels: A Living Legend
Cocker Spaniels are a dog breed with an illustrious history. Believed to have originated in Spain during the 1300s, the name of the breed derives from their being utilized as gun dogs while hunting woodcock.
Cutting a stunningly royal visage, the Cocker Spaniel has appeared throughout classic literature, has hunted on multiple continents, and has been invited into the homes of dog lovers the world over. Perhaps you’ve considered adopting a pup from this breed yourself, only to find that you have some questions, first. With such a beautiful coat, the Cocker Spaniel is bound to do some heavy shedding, right?
Read on as we go cover issues such as Cocker Spaniel shedding, the difference between American and English Cocker Spaniels, whether or not the breed has a hypoallergenic coat, and all the details you’ll need to confidently combat Cocker Spaniel shedding from the comfort of your home.
Are cocker spaniels hypoallergenic?
Something You Need to Know…
Before we go any further, let’s get something out of the way–there is no such thing as an entirely hypoallergenic dog breed.
While there are breeds whose coats and skin are less bothersome to folks plagued by allergies, all dogs have the potential to leave you reaching for the antihistamines if your allergy is serious enough.
On that note, it isn’t your Cocker’s coat itself you need to be wary of. It’s the dander, or dead skin cells, they produce.
Dander, also known as seborrhea, is typically a result of underlying health problems. Primary causes can include parasites, bacterial or yeast infections, dietary issues, or can even be your pup’s response to their own allergic reaction.
It’s this dander which clings to a dog’s hair, which is the most likely means of contact we have to that pesky allergen. That same allergen can even show up in a dog’s urine or saliva. It goes without saying, the more a dog sheds, the bigger the amount of allergy-laden dander spreads around.
Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Considering the Cocker Spaniel has a long and lustrous coat, you might imagine them to shed quite a bit.
On the contrary, these dogs tend to shed less hair than other breeds. Unfortunately, it’s the Cocker’s lack of shedding that creates an ideal environment for dander and its ensuing problems to stick around. As a breed, Cockers are allergy-prone in and of themselves, including food and environmental allergies.
In part due to having double coats and longer hair, Cockers often end up with some skin conditions that other breeds don’t typically have to deal with. This can include different forms of dermatitis, autoimmune diseases, and aforementioned seborrhea.
You might imagine that for anyone who suffers from bad allergies, the Cocker Spaniel might not be the best choice of dog breed.
But that needn’t be the case! With their bright and loving personalities, it’d be a shame to allow something as manageable as allergies to stand between a person and the dog who will undoubtedly shower them in unending devotion and love.
When it comes to Cocker Spaniels, grooming is key to ensuring not only that your own allergies stay in check, but that your dog’s own health is well managed, too. It’s true that if left unchecked, allergies have the potential to make those living with them miserable. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Especially when dogs are involved, there’s more incentive than ever to take proper care of ourselves, our homes, and of course our pets. In doing so, we create a healthy environment in which both humans and dogs can thrive.
Cocker Spaniel Shedding
Not all Cockers Shed the Same
When it comes to a Cocker Spaniel’s shedding habits, there are several aspects to consider. The personal grooming habits of your Cocker is one factor, as well as how much time you personally invest in brushing and bathing your dog.
We can also draw conclusions by taking a look at different types of Spaniels. There are a few distinctions between the American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel, though those differences tend to be discreet. Both of these dog’s coats come in an array of colors.
Two of the best known variations on a Cocker’s coat include the darker Blue Roan, and the traditional parti-color. With a black under coat interspersed with white and grey hair on top, the Blue Roan lends a gorgeous marbled aesthetic to any dog born with this type of hair. Parti-color Cockers are lighter in color, with creamy white coats that are broken up with patterns ranging from black or brown, to oranges and reds.
Ultimately, compared to other dog breeds, the amount of shedding an American or English Cocker Spaniels does is minimal-to-average.
With regular grooming, a Cocker’s coat will ensure that your dog is the loveliest canine in the neighborhood. Read below for some grooming tips on managing shedding and how take care of your Cocker’s hair.
How Much Do Cocker Spaniels Need Grooming?
Grooming your Cocker Spaniel is more than just a task to keep your dog from shedding around the house. Grooming sessions are a fantastic way for you to bond with your dog, while also building trust.
Regular brushing can be a relaxing and repetitive activity for you and your Cocker Spaniel to look forward to at the end of a long day. The best way to groom your Cocker Spaniel’s coat is with a slicker brush. Comprised of a lot of short, rounded wires sitting together on a flat surface, a slicker brush is the perfect tool for getting rid of loose hair, managing shedding, and preventing any snares from developing in your Cocker Spaniel’s curls.
It’s recommended to brush your pet several times a week, and more so if your dog leads an active, outdoor lifestyle. You’ll need to make sure to take special care to get rid of any grass, twigs, or burrs they may catch along the way. Regular brushing not only cuts down on any loose hair and shedding your dog does, but will also ensure your pet avoids matting and tangles in their hair.
Cockers are a breed famous for their long coat, and without grooming that coat is sure to cause an unruly mess of dead hair that is not only uncomfortable for your dog, but may result in some of the health issues discussed earlier. Cocker Spaniel puppies need less grooming than an adult dog will, but should still be consistently groomed to provide a means of establishing routine.
Do Cocker Spaniels Like Baths?
Just like any other dog breed, it will be up to your pet whether or not they enjoy taking a bath, but know that bathing is important in controlling the amount of shedding your Cocker Spaniel does.
Brushing your Cocker Spaniel isn’t the only at-home care your dog will need to make sure their fur stays clean and healthy. Bathing is another important factor in preventing your Cocker Spaniel from excessively shedding, and should be implemented once every two to four months.
Bathing and Aftercare
Make sure to brush your dog before and after their bath, as this will take care of loose hair and help ensure all of your pet’s double coat gets a thorough wash.
While it’s true that a lot of dogs aren’t fans of bathing, by paying attention to your Cocker Spaniel’s temperament you can make sure their tub time is as pleasant and stress-free as possible. If your Cocker Spaniel will let you, try to acclimate them to having their fur blow dried when bath time is over.
Not only is a blow dryer the most efficient way to dry your dog’s fur, but by getting the job done faster you eliminate those damp areas where bacteria love to grow. By combining baths with brushing, you’re doing your part to assure your pet is not only looking their best, but stays as healthy as they can be.
How a Professional Groomer Can Help
In addition to regular brushing at home, it’s important to schedule your pet for professional grooming.
Cocker Spaniels should take a trip to the groomer about once every six weeks. According to the American Kennel Club, having your dog visit the groomer is especially beneficial because they have the training and tools to address the specific needs of each breed.
Cocker Spaniels might not do the most shedding, but they do require a lot of time and a steady hand to keep that classic image their breed is known for. A professional groomer will have the confidence and skill to tackle whatever grooming necessities that some Cocker Spaniel owners may feel nervous about doing themselves.
A professional groomer can be especially helpful if you have a particular haircut in mind. If you plan on showing your dog competitively, there’s the best-in-show cut, which tapers your Cocker Spaniel’s hair around their face and ears, while leaving a long coat, or skirting, around their belly.
Non-competitive pet owners may opt for a traditional cut, which leaves your Cocker with that luxurious long fur and sweet curls their breed is appreciated for. If you’re looking to keep a low maintenance routine for you and your dog, a professional groomer can give your Cocker Spaniel the puppy cut.
Whether your Cocker Spaniel is an actual puppy or an adult dog, this cut is designed to leave about an inch-length of fur across your pet’s body. This cut lets your Cocker Spaniel enjoy a low key grooming regime, keeps shedding to a minimum, all while ensuring your dog stays warm.
Do English Cocker Spaniels Shed a Lot?
When it comes to grooming, the English Cocker Spaniel requires a little less upkeep than the American Cocker Spaniel. The primary difference is in breed build and aesthetic expectation. The American Cocker Spaniel tends to be somewhat shorter than the English Cocker, and its body slightly longer.
A double coat tends also to be more important to American Cocker Spaniel enthusiasts, who also prefer more definition to the length of fur. While attentive grooming is also important for the English Cocker Spaniel, the focus with this type of Spaniel is on keeping your dog gracefully trimmed.
Considered to have medium length fur that sheds only occasionally, the American Kennel Club recommends your English Cocker Spaniel should be groomed two to three times a week. Using a pair of clippers or shears once a month can help you to keep your English Cocker’s appearance neat and tidy, and brushing will ensure your dog remains well-groomed.
Are Cocker Spaniels Good Family Dogs?
Absolutely! With that sweet face and resounding energy, Cocker Spaniels make for an excellent addition to the family.
Loyal and attentive, bright and intelligent, Cocker Spaniels are not only patient with children and other pets, but make great therapy dogs. With their medium build, both American Cocker Spaniels and English Cocker Spaniels range between 26 to 35 pounds, and on average tend to live about 12 to 15 years.
In Sickness and In Health
It’s important to note that Cocker Spaniels are prone to health problems during their golden years, including retinal atrophy (cataracts), hip dysplasia, and adult-onset neuropathy–all the more reason to stay on top of your dog’s grooming throughout their life.
Maintaining the condition of a Cocker Spaniel’s coat is about more than showing off that glorious coat of hair. There is more to it than curbing the amount of shedding your dog’s coat may do. It’s about establishing a bond with an animal who will surely reciprocate the love you give them, and one of the most important ways we can show that love is to provide our pets all available opportunities to remain in good health.
In the Defense of Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniels shed on occasion, yes. But so does almost every other breed of dog, some far more than a Cocker ever will.
The amount of dog hair Cocker Spaniels shed is easily managed if you keep on top of their care, which, as one of the primary responsibilities of pet ownership, is something you should be doing, anyway.
At the end of the day, the coat your pet is born with won’t matter nearly as much as the temperament they have, or all of the affection they will adorn you, their human, with. Be it puppies or grown adults, Cocker Spaniels are one of those dogs that are born to love.