Do Cocker Spaniels Shed? How to Manage Shedding

Cocker Spaniels are a highly sought-after breed for families. They are small and adorable, with sweet, gentle dispositions, initially bred for fetching small game for hunters.  

That said, they have beautiful, luxurious coats that require constant, even daily, care. Can regular brushing help control shedding? What kinds of brushes work best on these beautiful coats? We will explore whether Cocker Spaniels shed, the reasons behind the shedding, and how to manage that shedding in your home.

Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?

Yes, Cocker Spaniels do shed. Thanks to their double-coat, they will shed more in spring and autumn. Cocker Spaniels will shed to some degree all year, but spring and autumn see the most shedding thanks to hormonal changes brought on through changes in daylight hours. 

Their undercoat is a dense layer of fur that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer and can leave large clumps of hair lying around your home.

On the other hand, the outer coat is longer and finer than the undercoat and will be especially fluffy at the chest and underbelly area.

Cocker Spaniels are moderate shedders, so you can expect to clean up a decent amount of hair, but you should not be too overwhelmed.

Plus, there is a difference in shedding between the American and English Cocker Spaniels.

American Cocker Spaniels do not shed quite as much as the English Cocker Spaniel, but it is still vital to maintain their coats.

Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels are not hypoallergenic. The main thing that causes allergic reactions in people is the dander, or dead skin cells, on the dog’s coat or allergens in their saliva.

Often, underlying health problems like dietary problems, bacteria, infections, or your own dog’s allergic reactions could cause dander. While there is no way to eliminate dander, you can limit your exposure to it by regularly grooming your dog. 

Keep in mind that Cocker Spaniels are an allergy-prone dog breed. However, each Cocker Spaniel has different body chemistry, so while one Cocker Spaniel may give you the sniffles, another one may not.

How to Groom a Cocker Spaniel

As mentioned before, grooming a Cocker Spaniel will be a daily effort. You will need a combination of a good metal comb and a slicker brush to achieve the best results.

A metal comb can help you determine where the worst mats are, which you can then work through with the slicker brush. Or vice versa, you can use the slicker brush first and then use the metal comb. Either way, make sure you can run your comb or brush through the coat without much strain.

A good brushing session may even be enjoyable for your dog since it massages their skin and increases blood circulation, promoting healthy hair growth. Plus, the loose hair will gather on the brush, leaving you less hair to vacuum up afterward. You might even make grooming a relaxing end-of-day activity for you and your dog to bond over.

A Cocker Spaniel’s coat is feathery in places, so you need to keep those areas particularly groomed. Those places can develop mats and tangles that can become painful for your dog without brushing. If left unchecked, tangles and mats can lead to skin diseases.

Make sure to comb out your dog’s ears because they are just as feathery as their outer coat.

You can also use special shampoos to keep your dog’s skin moisturized and their coat from matting. Check your dog’s skin for irritation, which can be painful and even increase shedding. A high-quality deshedding shampoo can help remove large amounts of undercoat in the bath before you brush them.

Make sure to brush your dog’s coat before and after bathing them.

The good news is that brushing can do wonders for your dog’s coat, preventing tangles and spreading natural oils around the coat. To assist with removing extra undercoat, you can use a deshedding tool, which will sweep away extra hair without tugging on your dog’s skin.

If you are ever uncertain about what shampoos or combs to use, you can contact your vet.

How Else Can You Manage Your Cocker Spaniels Shedding?

Good brushing and combing are not enough to manage shedding. You must also feed your dog an optimal diet, which your vet can help you with.

As a general rule, you must also blow-dry your dog’s coat after you bathe them. It is usually okay to let short-haired dogs air dry, but letting long-haired dogs air dry can cause fungi and hot spots on your dog’s coat.

On that note, do not use high heat to dry your dog’s coat, as that can dry out their skin. Make sure you dry out their ears thoroughly since Cocker Spaniels are also prone to ear infections.

It might also be good to rinse and re-rinse your dog after a bath since soap residue can also dry out the skin. A bath can take place every week or so. Do not bathe them too much since, once again, too much soap can dry out their skin and make them lose even more hair.

You can also take your dog to a professional groomer every couple of months. Most people take their dogs to a groomer every six to eight weeks.

Keep an eye on your Cocker Spaniel’s hair loss. If you think they are losing more hair than usual, it could be due to dietary problems, skin irritation, or even separation anxiety. Contact your vet to see what the problem could be.

Final Thoughts On Cocker Spaniels Shedding

While Cocker Spaniels shed, you can make a fun routine out of grooming and overall taking care of them. You can ask your vet for suggestions about shampoos and grooming tools, as well as taking your dog to a groomer regularly.

In the end, how you maintain your dog’s coat can have a huge impact on how much they shed. So focus on keeping your Cocker Spaniel’s coat clean and tidy, and shedding should be minimal.

Photo of author

Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM

Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM is a certified veterinarian who graduated from the University of California - Davis Veterinary School in 2012. He specializes in nutrition and veterinary medicine for companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and more. He has been featured in websites such as PetMD, Yahoo News, Hills Pet, Daily Paws, and more. Learn more about Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM.

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