The cocker spaniel is a multipurpose dog that is as comfortable as a lap dog as it is working in the field as a hunting dog. The cocker spaniel was originally bred as a working dog, but its distinctive floppy ears, long coat and happy disposition have made it a popular family and show dog. The dog's coat of long and silky hair makes an impression in the show ring, but the hair can be hard to maintain.
Cocker Spaniel Coat
The cocker spaniel has a silky coat of fine or slightly wavy hair that grows fast. Cockers need daily brushing and monthly cuts. Because the hair grows quickly it can easily mat if not properly cared for. Cocker spaniels come in a variety of colors, including shades of tan, cream, red and black.
Cocker Spaniel Show Cut
The cocker spaniel show cut puts the long, silky hair of the dog on display. A substantial "skirt," or the hair growing from the shoulder down, should sway in the show ring as the dog walks. The skirt is trimmed around the front and hind feet in a half circle that resembles a dinging bell when the dog walks. The hair on the head is trimmed to lay flat on the dog's skull, and the ears are trimmed to an even length, which usually extends to the beginning of the skirt. The body blends into the skirt with medium-length hair that is stripped of much of the undercoat so it lays flat.
The cocker cut is a variation of the show cut but without most of the work. The cut shaves the hair on the back and leaves the skirt from the shoulders down intact. A longer skirt requires more grooming, so groomers cut the skirt to varying lengths depending on the owner's preference. The hair on the ears can be cut all the way up to the end of the ear or left long. The cut reduces grooming time, but the dog still has the familiar look of a cocker spaniel.
The puppy or sport cut is an overall shaving of the whole body. The hair can be 1 to 2 inches long, with ear hair lengths varying. Some owners choose to leave the ear hair long to maintain the appearance of a cocker spaniel in the face. The puppy cut significantly reduces grooming time and requires brushing only every other day.