Cocker Spaniels are quite a popular dog breed. They were originally bred as hunting dogs but have since gained popularity as all-around companions. Their beautiful look, small size, and friendly nature make them the perfect family pet. One of their distinctive physical features is their gorgeous coats. One look at it, and you’ll see luxurious, flowing locks of hair. As a future owner, you can’t help but wonder what it means to have such a hairy dog. What amount of maintenance do they require, and how much cleaning will you have to do in your house? Stay with me as I take you through this breed’s shedding, but first:
Do Cocker Spaniels shed? Yes, they do. It is usual for all dogs to shed, and the Cocker Spaniel does so moderately. You will find some amount of fur around your home but not as much as other breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dogs or Labrador Retrievers. The exact amount of shedding will depend on several factors, including the dog’s overall health, grooming, diet, type of coat, etc.
Most dog parents don’t think much about bringing a new furry friend into their home. But some might have concerns or doubts about the cleanliness of their home when the pet is around. What about if you or another family member suffers from pet allergies. You want to be sure that the newest member of the family will not make the house unlivable for others. Cocker Spaniels have several amazing characteristics, but it’s important to understand their shedding to know if they are truly a good fit for you and your family. Let’s see what you should expect from this breed’s shedding.
How Much Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
We’ve seen that Cocker Spaniels are generally moderate shedders, but there’s a lot of variation between dogs of these breeds. The amount of shedding will vary from one dog to the next, depending on several factors such as the type of Cocker Spaniel, their coat type, age, fur color, and overall health.
There are two types of Cocker Spaniels: the American and English Cocker Spaniel. Both share many characteristics but also have a few differences, starting with their fur type and shedding tendencies. The American breed has a longer, more abundant, and more delicate coat than the English breed. So, while they may have the same shedding frequency, the American Cocker Spaniel will have more fur to lose.
Secondly, working Cocker Spaniels tend to shed less than their show-bred counterparts. That’s probably because the former tend to have shorter coats and are more active, which helps remove loose, dead hairs from their bodies.
You might notice that Cocker Spaniel puppies shed more than their adult counterparts. This is completely normal as they change their coats to match their rapid development. You can expect to see a lot of fur during months four to six.
Some Cocker Spaniels owners believe darker coats shed more, but that is not the case. The darker colors are likely more noticeable than lighter colors.
Lastly, a pup living in harsh conditions, with hereditary flaws, around allergens, or poor health will likely shed a higher amount. So, it would help if you accounted for all these factors before answering how much do Cocker Spaniels shed. Often, it takes living with a particular dog to know how much it can actually shed.
Why Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?
Shedding is a natural process in which dogs replace old or damaged hair with new and healthy ones. And Cocker Spaniels are no exception. They will shed from time to time, and you shouldn’t do anything to try and stop that, like shaving your pup. His fur helps control body temperature and protects him from the elements such as sun and rain. When the hair stops growing, it will naturally shed.
As mentioned earlier, puppies tend to shed more than adult Cocker Spaniels. That is because they have fragile fur that falls off easily. But as they grow up, they will develop a more robust adult coat that sheds moderately throughout the year.
Aside from the natural causes of shedding, your Cocker Spaniel could also be shedding due to underlying issues. This is called unhealthy shedding, and I’ll touch on that later.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
When do Cocker Spaniels shed? These dogs shed moderately throughout the year. But you will notice more shedding during certain times of the year. This is usually in spring and fall. Typically, dogs have an internal clock that they follow, which informs their body when to shed and adjust their coats to the weather. When temperatures start to go down during fall and the beginning of winter, Cocker Spaniels will shed to grow a thick and dense coat to help keep them warm. But come to the end of spring, they no longer need that thick fur and will shed it off to avoid overheating in summer.
Dogs can sometimes experience abnormal or excessive shedding. If you notice bald spots, uneven shedding, thinning of fur, or patches on the dog’s coat, you may want to know the actual cause of this unusual shedding. Other symptoms usually related to unhealthy fur loss include excessive scratching and licking of the paws, lethargy, loss of appetite, increased thirst, and frequent urination.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to skin issues, which can lead to unhealthy shedding. They could also be losing more fur due to a poor diet or food allergies. These highly sociable dogs can get very attached to their owners and suffer separation anxiety when left alone for prolonged periods. One of the signs of separation anxiety is hair loss. Other common health issues associated with fur loss include bacterial or fungal infections, parasitic infections, thyroid disease, Cushing’s disease, and cancer. It is important to ensure your pup is screened for conditions common to this breed. Annual health checkups are also vital for catching diseases early on and managing them before they cause other issues like excessive shedding.
What Type of Coat Does A Cocker Spaniel Have?
These dogs are double-coated, meaning they have two layers of fur: the undercoat and the outercoat. The former is short and dense and protects the dog from water, wind, and cold. The outer coat can be rough or smooth and is usually longer than the undercoat. It provides additional protection from the elements. The texture can also be described as feathery or silky.
Remember I said there are two types of Cocker Spaniels. Both the American and English Cocker Spaniel are double-coated with hairs that can be flat or wavy. However, American Cocker Spaniels tend to have longer, more delicate coats with more fur than their English counterparts. This means they’ll need more grooming, and you’ll have to be extra careful.
Over the years, Cocker Spaniels have seemed to carry heavier coats, and for those hoping to show their pup, the breed’s standards call for sufficient but not excessive coats. Traditionally, this breed featured black coats, but you can now find them in an array of colors thanks to breeding.
How to Manage and Reduce Cocker Spaniels Shedding?
We’ve answered the big question, “Do Cocker Spaniels shed?” It’s now time to discuss managing the issue. Although they are not heavy shedders, you can further reduce the shedding on the Cocker Spaniel. This is important for keeping your house clean and also reducing allergens, making your pooch more allergy-friendly. Managing shedding comes down to a few basic steps: grooming, proper diet, and bathing.
Cocker Spaniels Grooming
These dogs are relatively high maintenance. Their long coats will require daily brushing to prevent mats and catching loose, dead hairs before they have a chance to spread all around the house during shedding. Matted fur leads to dander and skin infection, which increases shedding.
Brushing also massages your pet’s skin. This gives blood circulation a boost and spreads the skin’s natural oils, promoting healthy hair growth. And, healthy coats will only be shed when necessary.
As mentioned earlier, Cocker Spaniels are generally moderate shedders but will do so at different rates, depending on the Cocker Spaniel, hair type, etc. Therefore, these dogs have different grooming needs. If you own an American Cocker Spaniel, their long, delicate hair will require more care than their English counterparts with shorter coats.
Cocker Spaniels Diet
Proper nutrition is vital because it helps maintain your dog’s optimal health. And a healthy Cocker Spaniel has stronger hair follicles that don’t fall off easily; hence, less shedding. Provide your pooch with a balanced diet, including proteins, carbs, vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals.
One nutrient that is vital for healthy fur is omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes shinier coats, less dry skin, and allergy control, among other things.
Cocker Spaniels are notorious for food sensitivities and allergies, leading to itching and unnecessary shedding. So, watch what your pup eats and introduce new food independently to see if they react to it.
You also want to check their water intake. Skin dehydration is common in Cocker Spaniels and can lead to significant fur loss.
In addition to the above two points, several other things can be done to minimize shedding and the amount of time you spend vacuuming. Another maintenance requirement of this breed is bathing. Their long and luxurious coats require regular bathing to remove dirt, debris, and loose, dead hairs before they fall out and spread on your floors, furniture, clothes, and beddings.
Remember not to over-bathe your doggy as that will strip its coat and skin of natural oils, leaving it dry and irritated. As mentioned earlier, these are some of the causes of excessive shedding. Use a dog-friendly shampoo and not regular human shampoo or soap, as these can be harsh on your pup’s sensitive skin.
Proper nutrition was one of the ways to manage and reduce shedding in this breed. But sometimes, your dog may not get the necessary nutrients from the food you’re giving them. Perhaps the food is low quality, or they have increased nutrient needs like in the case of a pregnant bitch. You can incorporate supplements like omega-3 fatty acids to encourage healthy fur growth. Always consult with your vet about what diet and food supplement will benefit your Cocker Spaniel the most.
Are Cocker Spaniels Hypoallergenic?
A common misconception about pet allergies is that fur triggers allergies. But the main culprit is a protein in the animal’s dander, urine, and saliva. But then, all three elements usually attach themselves to the fur and are released into the environment during shedding. By this logic, low shedders are often considered allergy-friendly, though not all. That’s because they are likely to carry fewer allergens, thus reducing the chances of affecting allergy sufferers.
If you suffer from watery eyes, coughs, a stuffy nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, or other pet allergy symptoms, a hypoallergenic breed will seem like a dream come true. These dogs carry fewer allergens and are less likely to trigger allergies, especially if you groom and feed them properly.
After knowing how much do Cocker Spaniels shed, you should also understand that they are not hypoallergenic because they shed a significant amount of fur.
For those with mild allergies, you don’t have to give up your dream of owning this dog. There are a couple of ways to minimize the allergens they release into your environment. This includes regular grooming and bathing, keeping your house clean, regularly washing the dog’s beddings, and using a HEPA air filter.
I know they have big, dreamy eyes and long, plush ears, but the Cocker Spaniel is not for you if you have severe allergies. Your health matters more than how adorable this pup is. The good news is there are so many hypoallergenic dogs that you can consider, including the Maltese, Poodle, etc.