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Do Cocker Spaniels Shed? A Comprehensive Guide to Cocker Spaniel Shedding - PawSafe

Do Cocker Spaniels Shed? A Comprehensive Guide to Cocker Spaniel Shedding

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

do Cocker Spaniels shed

Cocker Spaniels are famous for their friendly temperament and stunning, long coats.  However, before deciding to bring one home, potential owners may wonder if these dogs shed excessively. 

While regular grooming and shedding management help keep a dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding, genetics also play a huge role. This is why breeds like Poodles and Bichon Frise are known for their allergy-friendly coats, while Huskies and Malamutes are shedding maniacs.

How much dog hair you deal with on a daily basis is a big part of dog ownership. When it comes to these Spaniels, opinions vary. Some find them to be significant shedders, while others find them to be alright. The following sections will help you discover which group you belong to.

Cocker Spaniels have a medium-length coat that requires regular grooming to keep them healthy and prevent matting. It’s important to note that some Cocker Spaniels shed more than others of the same breed. Additionally, dog shedding seasons/molting causes more shedding than usual, which you can get to in our linked article. 

Fun fact: American Cocker Spaniels appear to shed more than English Cocker Spaniels. This is because they have thinner, longer hair that may be challenging to trap by brushing before it sheds. Conversely, English Cocker Spaniels have shorter, denser hair with less noticeable shedding.

Factors Influencing Shedding in Cocker Spaniels

An owner brushing a shedding Cocker Spaniel

Shedding is an expected part of owning a dog. Just as different dogs have different drooling levels, so do they shed in varying amounts. An Embark health survey shows that even significant shedding is often perfectly normal when nearly 50% of participants reported moderate to heavy shedding. 

Here are a few factors that could explain different shedding levels in these dogs:

Age

A dog’s age can affect shedding. Puppies usually shed less, while adult dogs may have a more established and consistent shedding pattern. Senior dogs may experience changes in their coat as well.

Diet

 Proper nutrition is essential for coat health. A diet rich in essential fatty acids and protein can contribute to a shiny, healthy coat and potentially reduce shedding. Studies show that zinc deficiencies, though not common in smaller breeds like Cockers, can cause hair loss and lesions. 

Additionally, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to impact coat health around two months after supplementation. Other vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and Selenium are powerful antioxidants that maintain dog skin and coat health. 

Health

The overall health of a dog can impact shedding. A well-nourished and healthy dog is likely to have a healthier coat and shed less. Conversely, illness, stress, or nutritional deficiencies can increase shedding. We get into diseases causing hair loss in Cocker Spaniels in a later section.

Hormones

Hormonal changes, such as those related to the heat cycle and pregnancy in female dogs or spaying/neutering, can influence shedding. Some dogs may shed more during these periods.

Season

Many dogs experience seasonal shedding. They may shed more in the spring to shed their winter coat and again in the fall to prepare for colder weather. This is a natural process to adapt to changing temperatures.

Grooming

Regular grooming can help control shedding. Brushing removes loose and dead hair, preventing it from accumulating around the home. The frequency and type of grooming required can vary by breed.

Stress

 Stress and anxiety can lead to increased shedding in dogs. Creating a calm and comfortable environment can help reduce stress-related shedding.

Medications and Supplements

Some medications or supplements may affect a dog’s shedding. Consult with a veterinarian if you suspect medication is influencing your dog’s shedding.

Cocker Spaniel Hair & Coat Types

An owner deshedding a Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are known for their beautiful, silky coats that come in various colors and patterns. Their hair is long and can be either wavy or straight. Cocker Spaniels are also known for their moderate shedding, which can be an issue for some owners.

There are three main types of Cocker Spaniel coats:

  1. The American Cocker Spaniel Coat: This coat type is the most common and has a silky, wavy texture. The hair on the ears, chest, belly, and legs is longer than the hair on the back and sides. This type of coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.
  2. The English Cocker Spaniel Coat: This type of coat is thicker and has a more natural look than the American Cocker Coat. The hair is quite straight or slightly wavy and is shorter on the ears, chest, belly, and legs. This type of coat also requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

Fun fact: Though technically the same breed, American Cocker Spaniels can come in merle color variation, while the gene isn’t present in ECSs. This goes to show how different the two dogs are.

Cocker Spaniel Shedding and Allergies

While Cocker Spaniels are not considered to be hypoallergenic, they are known to produce less dander than some other breeds. Dander is the dead skin cells shed by both humans and animals and can cause allergic reactions in some people. 

However, it’s important to note that allergies are not always caused by dander alone and can also be triggered by other allergens, such as pollen or dust. Additionally, the English Cocker Spaniel’s shorter shed hair is less noticeable and easier to disperse, increasing allergy risk.

Regular grooming can help to reduce shedding and dander in Cocker Spaniels. Brushing their coat at least once a week can help to remove loose fur and prevent matting, which can lead to increased shedding. Additionally, bathing your Cocker Spaniel every 4-6 weeks can help to reduce dander and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

It’s important to note that If you or someone in your household has allergies, it’s important to spend time with a Cocker Spaniel before bringing one home to ensure that you won’t have an adverse reaction.

Strategies to Manage Cocker Spaniel Shedding in Home

Shedding can be a nuisance for pet owners. Fortunately, several strategies can help reduce shedding in Cocker Spaniels in the home.

  • Lint roller: One of the simplest strategies is to use a lint roller regularly. This can help remove any loose hair that has already fallen off your dog’s coat and prevent it from spreading throughout your home. 
  • Designated bed: Another effective strategy is to make sure your dog sleeps on their own bed or in their crate rather than on your furniture. This can help reduce the amount of hair that accumulates on your furniture and make it easier to clean.
  • Air purifiers: Using air purifiers can also help manage Cocker Spaniel shedding. These devices can help remove pet hair and dander from the air, making breathing easier and reducing the amount of hair that settles on surfaces around your home.
  • Brushing:  Additionally, regularly brushing your dog can help remove dead hair and prevent it from falling off in your home.
  • Supplements and homemade shampoos: Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish oil), biotin, Vitamin E, Selenium, and zinc can be beneficial in reducing shedding in dogs. However, don’t supplement zinc without your vet’s permission.
  • Check for parasites and allergies: Allergies, whether food-related or environmental, can lead to skin irritation and increased shedding. Conduct allergy tests if necessary and consult a veterinarian to address allergenic triggers. Additionally, ensure your dog is on a preventive parasite control regimen.
  • Health: Keeping your Cocker Spaniel healthy and paying attention to their nutrition can also support healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss. Providing a balanced diet with the right nutrients can help keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding. 
  • Stay off furniture: Finally, it may be helpful to avoid allowing your dog on furniture if possible, as this can help reduce the amount of hair that accumulates on your furniture. However, this is ineffective to most since dogs are part of our families and should be treated as such by not being excluded.

By implementing these strategies, pet owners can effectively manage Cocker Spaniel shedding in the home and enjoy their furry friend’s company without worrying about excessive shedding.

How To Groom A Cocker Spaniel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cocker Spaniels require regular grooming to keep them looking their best. In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide for grooming your Cocker Spaniel at home.

Regular Brushing

Regular brushing is essential for maintaining a healthy and shiny coat for your Cocker Spaniel. Here are the steps for brushing your Cocker Spaniel:

  1. Start by brushing the coat with a slicker brush. This will help to remove any tangles or mats in the coat.
  2. Next, use a comb to remove any remaining tangles or mats.
  3. Use a bristle brush to smooth the coat and remove any loose hair.
  4. Finish by using a finishing spray to add shine and condition the coat.

It’s recommended to brush your Cocker Spaniel at least once a week, but more frequent brushing may be necessary if your dog has a longer coat or is shedding heavily.

Professional Grooming

While regular brushing is essential, professional grooming is also necessary to keep your Cocker Spaniel’s coat in top condition. Here are some tips for finding a professional groomer:

  1. Look for a groomer with experience working with Cocker Spaniels.
  2. Ask for references and check online reviews.
  3. Visit the grooming salon before making an appointment to ensure that it is clean and well-maintained.

During a professional grooming appointment, your Cocker will typically receive a haircut, a bath, and a blow-dry. The groomer may also trim the dog’s nails and clean the ears.

Following these grooming tips can help keep your Spaniel looking and feeling his best.

Health Issues Related to Shedding

Excessive shedding can indicate an underlying health problem. Here are some health issues that can cause excessive shedding in Cocker Spaniels:

Skin Problems

Skin problems are a common cause of excessive shedding in Spaniels. Allergies, parasites, or bacterial or fungal infections can cause skin problems. Allergies can be caused by food, pollen, dust, or other environmental factors.

On top of causing skin issues, research shows that allergies worsen ear infections (otitis externa) in Cocker Spaniels. Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites can cause itching and hair loss. Bacterial or fungal infections can cause hair loss and skin irritation.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can cause hair loss, weight gain, lethargy, and other symptoms. Hypothyroidism is more common in older dogs, but it can affect dogs of any age. Cocker Spaniels composed of a whopping 5.80% of hypothyroidism cases in a survey.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is when the body produces too much cortisol, a hormone that regulates the body’s response to stress. This can cause hair loss, weight gain, and other symptoms. Cushing’s disease is more common in older dogs, but it can affect dogs of any age.

Old Age

As dogs age, they may experience hair loss and thinning. This is a natural part of aging and is not usually a cause for concern. However, if the hair loss is excessive or accompanied by other symptoms, it may indicate an underlying health problem.

Signs Your Cocker Spaniel Is Shedding Excessively

Here are some signs that your Spaniel is shedding excessively:

1. Clumps of Hair

If you notice clumps of hair around your house or on your Spaniel’s bed, it may be a sign that your dog is shedding excessively. Cocker Spaniels shed more during certain times of the year, such as spring and fall, but excessive shedding can also be a sign of stress or a nutritional deficiency.

2. Bald Spots

If you notice bald spots on your Spaniel’s coat, it may signify excessive shedding. Bald spots can be caused by various factors, including allergies, parasites, or hormonal imbalances. If you notice bald spots on your dog, you must take them to the vet for a check-up.

3. Scratching and Licking

Excessive scratching and licking can indicate that your Cocker Spaniel is shedding excessively. When dogs shed, their old hair can become itchy and uncomfortable, causing them to scratch and lick themselves. 

However, excessive scratching and licking can also be a sign of allergies or skin infections, so it’s crucial to take your dog to the vet if you notice these symptoms.

4. Dull Coat

If your Cocker Spaniel’s coat looks dull and lifeless, it may indicate excessive shedding. A healthy coat should be shiny and full, but excessive shedding can cause your dog’s coat to look dull and patchy. Proper grooming, such as regular brushing and bathing, can help to reduce shedding and improve your dog’s coat health.

If you notice any of these signs in your Cocker Spaniel, it’s essential to take them to the vet for a check-up. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do cocker spaniels shed?

Cocker Spaniels shed their coat twice a year, in the spring and fall. During these times, they will shed more heavily than usual. Depending on the individual dog, shedding can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Do cocker spaniels shed a lot?

Cocker Spaniels are moderate shedders, meaning they shed an average amount of hair throughout the year. However, during the shedding season, they will shed more heavily than usual. Regular grooming and brushing can help minimize shedding.

Do Cocker Spaniels smell?

Cocker Spaniels can have a distinct odor if not properly groomed and bathed regularly. However, with proper care and grooming, they should not have a strong or unpleasant smell.

Do Cocker Spaniels bark a lot?

Cocker Spaniels are known to bark, but it varies from dog to dog. Some may bark more than others, but proper training and socialization can help minimize excessive barking.

Do Cocker Spaniels have hair or fur?

Cocker Spaniels have a double coat of hair consisting of a soft undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. Their coat is not considered fur because the hair is longer, finer, and smoother to touch than fur and takes on shapes like waves. 

Are Cocker spaniels hypoallergenic dogs?

No, Cocker Spaniels are not hypoallergenic dogs. They do shed and produce dander, which can trigger allergies in some people. However, some individuals with allergies may be able to tolerate Cocker Spaniels better than other breeds.

Conclusion

Cocker spaniels shed moderately. However, the amount of shedding can vary depending on various factors, such as the dog’s age, health, and the season. It is important to note that no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, and Spaniels are no exception.

While some cocker spaniels may shed more than others, regular grooming can help manage shedding and keep the dog’s coat healthy. Brushing the coat at least once a week and bathing the dog every few months can help remove loose hair and prevent matting.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.