Looking after your Cockers coat is very important. Its not only important for the dogs health and welfare but it enables you to have close contact with your dog to ensure there are no lumps/bumps you need to be aware of, it gets your dog very used to being handled and it will mean a little less hair/debris in your home. Please dont think that if you take your dog to a groomers that you need do nothing in between grooms – you should be grooming your cocker everyday or at least every other and I would suggest after every walk to remove anything that may have got stuck in the coat.
The breed standard for cocker spaniels says the coat should be:-
Flat, silky in texture, never wiry or wavy, not too profuse and never curly. Well feathered forelegs, body and hindlegs above hocks.
There is nothing nicer than a cocker spaniel in full show coat but of course the reality of keeping it looking like that means a lot of hard work! The majority of homes do not have the time or inclination to keep a dog in full show coat, unless you are showing of course! Having said that it does not mean that your dog has to be clipped or shaved to within an inch of its life either. So many cockers have everything clipped off – if you want that look then get a short coated breed!
The reason most people have a cocker is the beauty of its coat, amongst other things. Many dogs I groom have a ‘show style trim’ – which is basically shorter feathering. Neutering your dog or bitch will affect the texture and look of the coat. The silky flat texture will become thicker, coarse and in some cases it goes curly . The only option then is to have the dog clipped as hand stripping a coat like that is impossible. You can still have your dog looking like a cocker and have it clipped ‘show style’. Below is as picture of ‘show style’ clip that I do:-
Brushing your dog daily shouldn’t be a chore – use it as quality time to spend with your dog and make it enjoyable for both you and the dog. Always brush your dog on a table or some other surface where your dog will not slip and will be safe and secure. Never groom your dog on the floor as they will see this as a game and you never get the job done!
Lastly the ears! The long ears lie close to the head and have a tendancy to trap dirt (& other foreign bodies as mentioned above!) and moisture. Its important that your grooming regime includes a daily inspection of the ears. You can use a wet wipe to clean around the ear to remove any dirt or wax build up. Any signs of redness, infection or a pungent smell should result in you seeking a vets opinion.