Cocker Spaniel Hairstyles

by Valerie A. Modreski
The cocker spaniel's hair makes its coat cuts best left to the professionals.

The cocker spaniel's hair makes its coat cuts best left to the professionals.

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Recognized for their droopy ears and soulful eyes, cocker spaniels are versatile when it comes to hairstyles and coat cuts. Grooming options for your cocker spaniel is a personal choice and pet parents often look to ease of care and comfort before deciding on their cocker spaniel's coif.

High-Maintenence Breed

Considered a high-maintenance breed, cocker spaniels require regular grooming to maintain their unique cocker look and neatness. Trips to the groomer every six to eight weeks are the norm. When asked, professional dog groomers rate cocker hairstyles as one of the most difficult to master. In addition to routine trips to the salon, the fine cocker spaniel coat needs regular brushing. If their silky hair is worn long, daily brushing is required. Whether your cocker's hair is straight or curly, mats and tangles are a common problem.

The Show Must Go On

The traditional cocker spaniel show cut is in accordance with the breed standard and is used for showing dogs in the show ring. Bathing is essential prior to any cocker spaniel grooming. Because of the cocker's fine curly hair, groomers will use a hand held or stand dryer to straighten. Cage dryers make cocker grooming difficult because the dog's curly hair dries tight and flat. Show cuts for English and American cockers are the same, with a small difference for the head. For the English cocker, the head and face is kept neat with little clipper work. For the American cocker, the head is left with a small tuft that blends into the ears and back. The cocker's skirt, or fringe, begins below the top of the rib cage and conforms to the contours of the body. Skirt hair is sheared for uniformity using thinning shears. The legs for the cocker show cut are neatened and left roughly a half-inch all around. The feet are scissored short, but not so you see his individual toes.

Basic Cocker Cut

The traditional cocker cut is much like the puppy cut, only longer. With the cocker cut, the hair on the dog's head and body fringe is left about 2 inches in length. The face is cleaned and short around the eyes and muzzle, and the back hair remains short. Because of the length of the cocker cut, daily brushing and regular bathing is essential. The cocker trim is showy with flowing fur, neat full legs and beveled feet. The distinctive crown of the cocker cut is short and combed over the skull. The spaniel's long ears are clipped to the upper third of the leather, leaving the bottom of the curly ears to frame the face.

Not Just for Puppies

The term puppy cut is a bit of a misnomer, as this common cocker hairstyle can be administered on dogs of any age. A cocker spaniel puppy cut is a fan favorite because of how easy it is to care for. Professional dog groomers often prefer to use scissors for the puppy cut, as opposed to grooming clipper blades. Scissors are used to shape the body of this cut, leaving the fur about an inch long all over. The legs are the same length as the body; the hair on a cocker's ears are clipped to about an inch all over. The top notch is trimmed short for the puppy cut, at half the length of the body, and blending into the ears. The puppy cut minimizes the threat of mats and tangles.

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