Hi! I’m Caitlin and I have always been a massive dog fan. I live with dogs (one short and one long hair breed) which both shed a lot.
It’s a wonder they have any hair left!
So how much dog hair bothers you and your family, is a hugely important factor when considering the right breed for you.
A little bit About the Breed
Just in case you haven’t had a look further into the breed yet. Cockers’ are classified as gun dogs.
Along with the other spaniels, before rifles were around, this Spanish breed used to run around with nets to help catch the birds.
According to the American Kennel Club, before 1893 all spaniels were considered one breed; loosely categorised into the land spaniels and water spaniels but later they were bred according to their precise role and adaptations to the local terrain.
Cocker spaniels name literally comes from them chasing woodcock. A bulky, nocturnal wading bird.
Now, they are one of the smaller spaniels with a sturdy build and of course that happy wagging tail.
Yet even cockers can be categorised into two further breeds with some Kennel club now counting English (the taller of the two) and American cocker spaniels separately.
This breed was made popular when ‘Brucie‘ won best in show in the Westminster show in 1940 and 1941 and the exposure of the breed through Disney’s Lady and the tramp.
Cocker Spaniels Coat
Traditionally these dogs were black in colour, but now through breeding you can have more or less any colour under the sun (if they fall into the usual array of dog coat colours of course).
They have a long, silky coat which does require a fair bit of love. Brushing, bathing and grooming are all regular requirements for a happy cocker with a coat to make every dog on the block jealous.
So, Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Yes, Cocker Spaniels do shed, however, to varying degrees which appears to depend on the individual dog (or their owners tolerance of hair!).
I know that’s not exactly helpful but based upon owners personal experience there seems to be no pattern to whether you can get a shedder or one which doesn’t shed at all.
English, or American don’t seem to have any effect on whether the breed sheds more or less.
The American Kennel Club ranks the rate of shedding, comparatively as a little below average so they aren’t the worst culprit for hair around the house.
The following theories are based entirely upon owners experience not tried and tested facts but there appears to be some suggestion that certain colour hairs fall out over others on parti-coloured breeds.
Black seems to be named and shamed as a culprit for shedding but blue roan may not shed as much which matches the other suggestion that full colour dogs shed more than parti-coloured.
It could also be that owners just seem to notice the dark coloured hair more than the lighter ones.
Another idea may be to ask the breeders if the parents shed a lot or not. A good breeder should know the parents and let you meet them.
The family history may be of a tendency to shed less, however, genes can act in mysterious ways and just because mummy and daddy don’t shed it doesn’t necessarily mean the puppies will be the same.
The dogs age may also impact the amount they shed. There puppy coat may shed and their adult coat may not but owners have shared experiences about the reverse happening too.
Like all dog breeds, allergies and skin conditions as well as hormone levels can affect the rate of shedding across the spaniels lifetime.
Seeing a vet and gaining expert advice on these conditions may help your dog feel more comfortable and you might not have to bring round the vacuum quite as frequently. Win-win.
Changes for these may be as simple as a hypoallergenic shampoo or supplements but it is always best to see veterinary advice if you are concerned with itching or sudden changes in shedding.
I would conclude that healthy cocker spaniels shed on a little bit less than average rate compared to other dogs.
They are certainly not hypoallergenic. There is no ‘guarantee’ that your dog will not shed, therefore, if shedding rate is a main driver in your decision on a dog breed this breed may not be for you.
How to Combat Cocker Spaniel Shedding?
Brushing and bathing seem to be the best way to combat shedding. Get the hair off where you want it instead of on your clothing, rug, sofa… you get the picture.
Brushing a few times a week seems to keep most of the hair shedding at bay. A Cocker’s long coat needs regular grooming to prevent matting but it also collects any stray hairs.
Regular bathing, after a good brush every few weeks with a good quality shampoo to prevent irritation can also help alleviate the shedding.
There are many cuts available to cocker spaniels that look simply adorable from the lamb cut to puppy cut.
These cuts require upkeep but they keep the hair short and manageable and can help with the shedding.
A good pet groomer will also be able to advise you one tips and tricks to keep hair at bay other than the best cut.
They can also help you check for any signs of irritation on the skin, as you should be able to follow the hair right back to its roots in a cocker spaniel.
The Suggested Equipment for a Glamorous Cocker Spaniel (as well as keeping hair at bay!).
Your secret weapon to combat shedding and having a nice silky coat which is a pleasure to stroke is a good quality metal comb.
The American kennel club suggest a fine to medium spacing comb to combat the tangles and remove most of the loose hair.
After the comb you can use a gentle slicker brush. This approach is to detangle first.
Make sure all the attached hairs remain attached then you can continue to remove the more troublesome loose hairs to help prevent hair scattering around your home.
Remember that with any grooming not to hurt your dog. Don’t yank through tangles, use your hands gently, and don’t press too hard. Especially on the ears as you can tear the skin due to its fragile nature.
Cocker Spaniel Shedding: Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Cocker spaniels breed specification is to be merry. How adorable is that?! They are affectionate dogs with a tail always glad to see you.
If you are not so fussed on finding fur around the house then they may be the perfect breed for you.
You may even get lucky and they might give you a wonderful companion and keep their hair to themselves, but you may not.
It is best to prepare for the worst hair case scenario as any good owner can expect to live with their doggy and hence their fur for up to 15 years.
Hopefully we have helped show that this is a dog breed that does shed but like with everything, individual dogs are different.
At least there is no concern if your cocker spaniel is or isn’t shedding if it’s not a sudden change or associated with skin conditions.
This variation is all completely natural and individuality is the joy of having a doggy companion.