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Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?

do cocker spaniels shed

If you are thinking about getting a small dog for the home, a cocker spaniel could be a great option for you and the family. The big question for many thinking about such a dog is “do cocker spaniels shed”? The answer is yes, these are shedding dogs and that is something that you will have to factor into your decision. A cocker spaniel molts more than other small dogs, and here is some more important information about this breed’s shedding behaviors.

Do Cocker Spaniels Shed A Lot?

Now that we have established that cocker spaniels do shed, let’s take a look at how much fur you can expect to see fall off if you bring this small dog into the home. There are three main levels of shedding that experts use to describe different breeds. These are low, moderate, and high. It is worth noting that there are almost no dog breeds that can be considered ‘non-shedding’. The exception here would be hairless dogs, as you may have guessed. On this spectrum, a cocker spaniel sheds a moderate amount. For cocker spaniel owners, this means that you will see loose hair around the home, but you won’t be drowning in it. A cocker spaniel sheds all year round, as well as during the fall and spring months. Much like so many other dog breeds, spring, and fall means an increase in shedding, to prepare for winter and summer coats. Shedding season will see a slight increase in cocker spaniel shedding, but this will never be excessive.

Are Cocker Spaniels Double-Coated?

You may have heard the terms single coat and double coat in relation to dogs, especially when it comes to shedding. A dog breed with a single coat is far less likely to shed very much, whereas a breed with a double coat will ‘blow its coat’ twice a year. A cocker spaniel’s coat is a double coat, and this is why we see increased hair loss during the shedding seasons in fall and spring. If you are serious about getting a cocker spaniel puppy or even an adult, you’ll need to know how these two coats work. The dog’s coat is made up of an inner layer and an outer layer. The inner layer is closest to the dog’s body, and its primary function is regulating the dog’s temperature. This inner layer is dense, thick, and coarse. During the winter this coat will be at its thickest, to keep the cocker spaniel warm. In the summer the coat is thinner to keep the dog cool but thick enough to block the sun’s rays. The outer coat of the cocker spaniel is much longer than the inner coat, specifically around most of the body. You will find some shorter hairs around the head and ears. These dogs were originally bred for hunting, and the name ‘cocker’ came about because the dogs were used to hunt the Eurasian woodcock. The cocker spaniel may not be a hunter anymore, but it still keeps that thick double coat. This coat would have been critical in keeping it warm during all of that time spent outdoors.

Difference Between American And English Cocker Spaniel

english cock spaniel
English cocker spaniel
While the American and English cocker spaniels share a lot of the same characteristics, it is important to note the differences between the two. Oddly enough, for many years people did consider these two breeds to be the same. The American cocker spaniel is shorter than its English counterpart, although it is longer. On average, the American cocker spaniel measures around 12-13 inches and weighs in at 25-28 pounds. The English cocker spaniel measures an average of 15 to 17 inches and weighs about 26 to 24 pounds. Regarding their coats, the American cocker spaniel has a much longer coat than its English cousin, with more thin, feathery hairs. In terms of colors, English cocker spaniels and American cocker spaniels come in a range of colors. You wouldn’t be able to spot the difference based on color alone. Another difference you’ll see between the American and an English cocker spaniel is the shape of the head. The American cocker spaniel has a rounder head with larger eyes, and the English cocker spaniel has long, flappy ears, whereas the American has shorter lugs.
american cocker spaniel
American Cocker Spaniel

How To Reduce Cocker Spaniel Shedding

When cocker spaniels shed they can cause owners a lot of frustration, as they have to continuously clean around the home, picking up loose hair. There is no way of stopping a cocker spaniel from shedding, and in truth, you shouldn’t even if you could. Remember that shedding is an important bodily function that helps cocker spaniels to maintain a healthy and protective coat. We know that it is frustrating when dogs shed, but you can take steps to reduce the amount that they shed. Let’s take a look at some tips that can put an end to excessive shedding and non-stop cleaning.

Localize The Hair

The first tip we’ll discuss may not reduce shedding per se, but it will make your life easier. When your cocker spaniel’s shedding season begins, try to keep them in one or two rooms of the home. This will not reduce shedding but it will mean that you can localize the hair that is shed, and clean it up easier.

Grooming Your Cocker Spaniel

Regularly grooming your cocker spaniel will help to remove a lot of the loose hair that sits on top of your dog’s coat. Additionally, this will help to ensure a healthy coat, and that too will reduce future shedding. Aim to groom your dog once every two or three days, and more during shedding season. American cocker spaniels have much longer coats than English cocker spaniels, so they’ll need more time and attention.

Bathing Your Dog

Given that this dog breed can be quite energetic, bathtime may be quite the ordeal. With this said, bathing your cocker spaniel is something that can help you to reduce shedding. For any cocker spaniel, shedding may be natural but a dirty or unkempt coat can increase the amount of hair shed. If you bathe your cocker spaniel once a month, you can help it to stay clean and healthy. Remember not to wash your dog’s coat too often, as they don’t require much interference from us. Your dog’s coat has natural oils that strengthen it and keep it healthy, while overwashing could upset this balance.

A Healthy Diet

Although shedding is entirely natural, healthy cocker spaniels shed far less than unhealthy cockers, and this begins with their diet. Both American cocker spaniels and English cocker spaniels need the same diet, so this advice goes for both. The key is to ensure that your dog’s diet is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids, the latter will boost the health of your dog’s coat. Your cocker spaniel should be getting its protein from good-quality fish and meat. Protein helps with general health as well as helping its coat to shine and its skin to feel soft, strong, and supple. Fat should be kept to a minimum in adult dogs, although cocker spaniel puppies will need higher levels of fat in their food. Slow-release carbs will ensure that your cocker has plenty of energy all day and fiber from cereals, grains, and vegetables are essential for good gut health and so much more. American and English cocker spaniels shed so much less when they consume a high-quality diet that improves the health of the dog’s skin, coat, and internal organs.

Regular Exercise

The consensus among experts is that many cocker spaniels will be in tip-top condition with one hour of exercise per day. It is important to remember that these were hunting and gun dogs, used to walking and running many miles a day. This may of course change, depending on the age of your cocker spaniel. Naturally, cocker puppies will need far less than a fully grown adult dog, and cockers in their twilight years will need even less. Dogs tend to give you a strong indication of when they are tired, so use them as a guide. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it can easily suffer from stress and anxiety and may struggle with weight issues. Another benefit for dog owners is that a cocker’s hair is more likely to come off when it is running around a field than if it is running around the house. If you don’t have time to take your dog out each day, look for a professional dog-walking service to help you out.

Cutting The Hair

american cocker spaniel groomed You mustn’t shave or heavily cut your dog’s hair, to curb excessive shedding. The American Kennel Club is understandably very strong on this, because of the risk that doing so creates. A cocker’s coat grows in such a way that protects the dog, and humans shouldn’t interfere. Double-coated dogs need both layers intact for them to do their job of protecting the animal. This is why you should never shave or drastically cut your dog’s fur. Removing loose and dead hair is fine, but you don’t want to take any more off.

Managing Cocker Spaniel Shedding

Now that you know how to reduce cocker spaniel shedding, it is time to look at what you can do about all of that dog hair in the house. There are several tools you can use here, but the key is to include dog hair cleaning as part of your daily chores. Do it daily and you can pick it all up very quickly. Miss just one day, and there’ll be more and more overwhelming hair for you to clean up.

Protecting Your Furniture

When cocker spaniels shed excessively it makes a lot of sense to protect your furniture. Even if you have managed to contain your pooch in one or two rooms, you can take measures to protect any chairs and sofas. Some fabrics such as linen work well here, as the hair doesn’t stick too much and it is easy to clean. Simply cover your furniture with linen and wipe it down or throw it in the washing machine once a week. This will help to ensure that your furniture doesn’t get covered in dog hair.

Using a Lint Roller

A pet hair lint roller works so well in combatting your dog hair found around the home. You can use these rollers on furniture, flooring, or even on your clothes. The adhesive on the lint roller is incredibly sticky and will pull your cocker spaniel’s hair right off. Lint rollers are small and portable and it would be a good idea to purchase a couple for different rooms of the house.


Dealing With Flooring

If you have a dog that is shedding excessively then you will be picking up the large majority of that mess from the floor. If you have hardwood floors then a quick daily sweep will be enough to pick up the damage. Incidentally, if you are going to confine cocker spaniels to just one or two rooms in the home, it makes sense to do so in rooms with hardwood or stone floors. If you have a carpet, the last thing you want is for your cocker’s coat to make up half of the pile, so vacuuming is necessary. You will have to run the vacuum over the carpet at least once or twice a day to avoid the hair getting trodden into the weave of the carpet.

Pet Hair Remover Tool

Regular brushing may not be enough to get all of the hair off furniture and clothing, so a hair remover tool is worth buying. These small, handy tools use a scraper edge to pull away at even the tiniest of hairs. Much like the lint roller, this is an effective weapon in removing a dog’s hair from around the home.


Cocker Spaniel Grooming

We have already touched on why regular brushing and grooming sessions are necessary for cocker spaniels to minimize shedding. Now let’s have a look at what tools to use and what your grooming routine should look like. Regular brushing with a slicker brush or a metal comb is a great way to pull off any loose hair and leave your pooch looking great. Make sure that you always review the hair that comes from your dog, checking for fleas, ticks, or other parasites. If your cocker spaniel has a long coat, these checks are one of the best ways to spot issues. For dogs like cocker spaniels, with double coats, you must groom both coats and the skin. First focus on the top layer with a slicker brush, then use a metal comb on the dog’s inner coat. Now, lift the bottom layer of fur to check for dry skin or any skin irritation, especially if your dog is shedding heavily. If you are in any doubt as to what proper grooming looks like or if your cocker still has its puppy coat, it may be better to use the pros. Professional grooming services are dog lovers just like so many of us, so your pooch will be in safe hands.



Cocker spaniels shed more hair than many owners may wish to deal with. This is an important consideration to make if you are thinking about bringing a cocker spaniel into your home. Although, these are beautiful and loyal dogs who are full of love, energy, and personality. With the right tools and a proper cleaning and grooming schedule, you can avoid the majority of the headache that comes with caring for this breed.


Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic Dogs?

This is not a hypoallergenic dog breed, because of the amount of hair that cockers shed. Those with issues like skin allergies may sadly end up with an allergic reaction to a cocker spaniel.

Are Cocker Spaniels High Maintenance?

English and American cockers are both considered high-maintenance as their coats require more frequent grooming and are prone to a number of health concerns.  

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