Hi there! I’m Tom, a lifelong dog lover.
I have two dogs that shed their coats like crazy. One is a short-haired breed and the other is a long-hair. It’s a miracle they have hair left at all! Shedding is an important consideration when choosing a dog. So ask yourself: How much does dog hair annoy you?
Cocker spaniels are one of the dog breeds that shed quite often. Wondering whether this will be an issue for you as a pet owner? Read on to find out my thoughts on this.
Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
YES, they do – but probably less than many other breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, Cocker Spaniels shed less than average, so they are not the worst offenders.
About Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniels were traditionally bred as gun dogs. Originally a Spanish breed, spaniels were used to help catch birds. They would chase down woodcocks, large, nocturnal birds that love to wade in water. By design, Cockers were smaller but sturdily-built dogs, their hallmark being happily wagging tails.
Before 1893, spaniels were lumped together as one breed, according to the American Kennel Club. Until then, spaniels were loosely classified as either water spaniels or land spaniels. The classification was dependent on their work and their particular characteristics.They are further organized into two distinct breeds. Some kennel clubs consider there to be English Cocker Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels, the former being taller than its counterpart.
Primarily a working dog, the breed shot to fame after Brucie won the 1940 and 1941 ‘best in show’ at the Westminster Dog Show. The breed got further worldwide exposure thanks to Disney’s 1955 animation, Lady and the Tramp.
Cocker Spaniel Colors
Like Fords, spaniels were traditionally only available in black. Today, there is an entire palette of approved color combinations. With silky coats, they require constant TLC to keep them looking their best. Regular brushing, bathing, and grooming will maintain their coat at peak condition.
Cocker Spaniel Shedding – How Much Hair Can They Shed?
Coat shedding will vary from dog to dog. Some spaniels seem to shed non-stop, others hardly at all. There doesn’t seem to be differences in coat shedding between the English and American breeds. Anecdotal evidence from owners suggests that particular colors shed more than others.
Black spaniels are big coat shedders, but blue roans not so much. Owners also believe that full-color dogs shed more hair than ‘parti-coloured’ ones. Of course, it could merely be that dark hair shows up more than lighter hues.
Want to purchase from a breeder? Ask about the parents’ rate of shedding. The breeders should let you meet the parents before you make a decision. Please note that this isn’t an exact science. Just because fur mom and fur dad are not shedders, doesn’t necessarily follow that their offspring will be the same.
Age is another factor in coat shedding. There are reports that puppies frequently shed their coat, but fully grown ones do not. But there are just as many owners reporting the opposite. Like other breeds, skin conditions, allergies, and hormones play a part in determining how much coat shedding will occur during a spaniel’s lifetime.
Getting expert veterinary advice for these conditions will help keep your dog comfortable – and leave the vacuum in the closet a bit longer. When you notice your dog scratching or there are sudden variations in coat shedding, seek help from your vet. The remedy may be as simple as switching to a non-allergy shampoo, or adding supplements to your dog’s diet.
A healthy Cocker Spaniel will shed slightly less than other breeds. However, they are by no means hypoallergenic. There are no guarantees. So if shedding is going to be an issue, maybe a spaniel is not the best choice for your home.
How to Stop Cocker Spaniel Shedding?
Regular brushing and bathing are the best bets to slow down shedding. Prevent constant coat shedding by brushing your dog a few times every week. You will need to do this in any case to avoid hair matting. A quality shampoo will also help avoid irritation and mitigate shedding.
Keeping your dog’s hair short will make it more manageable and alleviate shedding, too. There are many ‘hairstyles’ to make your Cocker adorable. You could opt for the puppy cut or the lamb cut. All require a certain amount of upkeep. Your dog groomer should be able to advise you on how to keep your spaniel’s coat in tip-top condition. They will also show you how to properly check for skin conditions.
The secret weapon is a top grade metal comb. A fine-to-medium toothed comb is suggested by the American Kennel Club to remove loose hair and tangles. Once you have de-tangled and removed the worst bits, switch to a softer brush to finish off.
Be gentle so your dog will grow to enjoy its grooming sessions. Don’t pull on matted hair as it will hurt your pup. Instead, use your hands to remove mats. Be particularly careful on the area around their ears as these parts are delicate and can tear.
[Do check out our comb and brush suggestions on this website!]
Should You Still Get Cocker Spaniels?
If you are not bothered by finding dog fur around your house, then the Cocker Spaniel may be the perfect breed for you.
Hopefully, we’ve persuaded you that Cocker Spaniels shed, but maybe not as much as you feared.
Bear in mind that the actual breed specification for a Cocker Spaniel is…to be merry! They are affectionate dogs and are always delighted to see you return home. If you are fortunate, you will get a lifelong companion that keeps their hair to themselves (maybe not!).
Remember, too, that the usual lifespan of a spaniel is 15 years. So that’s a lot of dog hair. Every dog is different. Some shed, others don’t. Just watch out for sudden changes. The variation in shedding rate is natural and is a part of living with man’s best friend.