One of the most important things to consider when getting a new pup is their grooming needs and whether they shed (as well as health history, exercise requirements, temperament… the list goes on). And that's no different for Cocker Spaniels.
These gorgeous dogs have an iconic coat that's long and wavy, so most of us would presume that they do shed.
But is it true? Do Cocker Spaniels shed? And what's special about their grooming requirements?
The two different types of Cocker Spaniel
Many people can tell the difference between a Cocker Spaniel and a Springer, but did you know that there are actually two types of Cocker Spaniel too?
When it comes to personality and temperament, both the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel are loyal, funny, and loving pups that are inquisitive and love to join in games and adventures.
There are, however, a few differences in their appearance.
English Cocker Spaniel
- These pups tend to be a little shorter than American Cocker Spaniels.
- They have a shorter neck but a longer snout.
- They have a shorter coat.
American Cocker Spaniel
- American Cocker Spaniels have longer necks and are taller than the English kind. Some say they also look a little more ‘elegant'.
- Their coat is slightly longer and more feathered than English Cocker Spaniels.
With regards to Cocker Spaniel shedding, both the English and the American are fairly similar, even though their coats are different.
Do Cocker Spaniels shed a lot?
The simple answer is yes, Cocker Spaniels do shed. But not as much as you might think.
Cocker Spaniel's coat type
Cocker Spaniels have a double coat, meaning they have a soft and fluffy undercoat and a longer, outer coat that helps to repel dirt and water. The combination of these two different types of coat helps to keep your pup warm in winter and cool in summer – making it even more important that your dog is groomed correctly and their coat isn't cut too short.
The outer coat can either be smooth or rough and some pups may have quite a straight coat and others a more wavy one. The type of coat your dog has shouldn't make any difference to how much they shed.
When do Cocker Spaniels shed?
It's normal for most dogs to shed to some extent all year round. It's the natural way of them getting rid of any loose hair. As with other double-coated dog breeds (such as Huskies, German Shepherds, and Corgis) most Cocker Spaniel owners will notice more dog hair on the sofa in spring and fall.
As the temperature and amount of daylight change, double-coated dogs blow the previous coat in order to grow a cooler or warmer one for the upcoming season.
Are Cocker Spaniels hypoallergenic?
No! Cocker Spaniels are not a hypoallergenic dog breed – in fact, no pups are truly hypoallergenic as they all shed to some extent. Those who suffer from allergies can be allergic to dander (the dry skin attached to the loose hair) but also to proteins found in saliva and urine.
Cocker Spaniels don't shed as much as other dogs but they do shed, so aren't suitable for those who have pet allergies!
Grooming your Cocker Spaniel – what to do
It's important to groom all dogs so that they have a healthy coat and skin. Regularly brushing your Cocker Spaniel puppy or adult dog will help to get rid of any tatts or dirt, as well as evenly spread out important oils that help to keep their fur shiny and healthy-looking.
Removing dirt can also help to prevent any skin irritation. You should brush them every day during shedding season and every other day the rest of the year to keep vacuuming to a minimum and reduce excessive shedding.
Pay particular attention to their adorably floppy ears, legs, and underbelly where the hair is a little longer.
Cocker Spaniels were originally bred to be gun dogs (meaning they would search through the undergrowth to retrieve birds that had been hunted by their owners), in fact, many Cocker Spaniels are still working dogs today.
They're naturally really inquisitive and will constantly be playing in long grass, under bushes, in puddles, and getting themselves into all sorts of trouble – including rolling in animal mess and dirty water.
It's really important to regularly bathe your Cocker Spaniel to get rid of any unwanted odors or dirt. Dry them with a hairdryer (on a cool setting) so that their fur thoroughly dries and they don't get cold!
Cocker Spaniels are typically groomed to have shorter hair on their back and longer hair underneath their bodies and on their ears.
Cockers shouldn't be fully clipped (even in hot weather) as their double coat actually helps to keep them cool. They will require regular trimming on their face, feet, between their toes, under their neck and tail, and on the underside of their ears.
You can either do this yourself with a trimmer or thinning shears or take them to a professional. It's important you check their ears for debris as infections can be a problem for this little pooch.
Last thoughts – how much do Cocker Spaniels shed?
Cocker Spaniel shedding is best described as moderate. They shed year-round but particularly more as the seasons change. Regularly grooming and bathing your Cocker with anti-shed shampoo can help to keep excess shedding to a minimum.
Do you have a Cocker Spaniel? Do you notice that they shed more at different times of the year?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!