The Cocker spaniel is well known for its beautiful, long coat which can make quite an impression in the competition ring. But those that are interested in adopting a Cocker spaniel should be forewarned - the Cocker spaniel's coat takes quite a lot of care, time and commitment, whether you're going to show your Cocker spaniel in the ring or not. They need frequent, even daily grooming, regular baths and regular trims. In this article, we'll take a look at what grooming is required for maintaining the beautiful coat of the Cocker spaniel.
Brushing the hair of the Cocker spaniel needs to be done quite frequently. Not only will this help prevent the long hair becoming tangled, but will help keep the coat clean. Even if your Cocker spaniel doesn't spend a lot of time outdoors, they have a tendency to pick up a lot of dirt and debris. Their long and feathered ears are difficult to keep out of the food bowl, and even going outside to relieve themselves can bring in debris on the long hairs on their legs and abdomen. If your Cocker spaniel has very long hair, or a "show cut," he should be brushed every day. Even those with shorter cuts for hunting or just "pet cuts" should be brushed several times a week.
Bathing should also become a regular routine, not only to keep the coat looking its best but to help minimize the odors that are associated with dogs with longer hair. If you are bathing your dog in preparation for a competition, it is important to remember that the texture of the hair is very important. It should be silky, whether it is flat or wavy, and should not be cottony or frizzy. There are dozens of different kinds of shampoos and conditioners available to help keep the hair in the best possible condition, whether it needs essential oils in order to keep from drying out, help create a healthy shine or even add volume. Even those that are not showing their Cockers should use a good shampoo and conditioner formulated for dogs with long hair that will help take care of the hair and the skin as well. Because the coat is so thick, be prepared to take a long while washing and rinsing the dog, not to mention drying!
Trimming will also be an integral part of the grooming process because the hair does grow rather fast. Show dogs will require very precise and intensive trimming sessions, including the muzzle, top of the head and neck, the back, tail and trimming around the feet. For those that wish to do this trimming on their own, they may want to learn from experienced breeders or Cocker handlers to learn the best way to perform the trimming. Those that are not showing their Cockers can trim their dogs with shorter cuts, and they can bring their dogs to professional groomers if they don't feel up to doing it themselves, but they should be warned that this could become quite expensive.
A poorly groomed Cocker spaniel not only looks neglected, he is probably very uncomfortable and may even have health problems. If you do not feel that you are up to the task of properly caring for the Cocker spaniel coat, perhaps this is not the right breed for you. However, if you're willing to learn the best way to care for the coat and take the time to do it right, you will be rewarded with a beautiful and devoted pet!