Reading time: 8 minutes.
Going back to at least the 14th century, Spaniels have a long and noble heritage. They were originally bred to be compact, agile, and enthusiastic hunting dogs. But Spaniels are also loyal, intelligent, obedient, and affectionate, making them lovely family companions. Shedding is an essential consideration for most people when choosing a new pooch.
Are you looking to adopt one of these gorgeous pups but worried about how much hair they drop? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will cover Spaniels’ shedding issues, including how much they shed, managing and reducing your Spaniel’s shedding, and whether or not they spot a hypoallergenic coat.
So, do Spaniels shed? Yes, like all dogs, Spaniels shed all year round. The good news is that Spaniels are typically low to moderate shedders, meaning they’ll lose less hair than many other breeds. However, shedding levels depend on the Spaniel type and the individual pup. Since they are double-coated, Spaniels will also ‘blow their coats twice a year in spring and fall.
As stated in the previous section, there are several different types of Spaniels out there. The AKC recognizes 15 different kinds of Spaniel breeds. The King Charles Cavalier spaniel, the Cocker spaniel, and the English springer spaniel are some of the most common spaniel-type breeds. Most spaniels have drooping ears, a broad muzzle, and sleek, wavy hair on their legs, tails, and ears.
Depending on their history line, some spaniels have been known to shed more than others. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your Spaniel’s shedding under control, and we’ll be talking all about that — and so much more — in the following sections. Keep reading.
How Much Do Spaniels Shed?
By now, you already know that Spaniels do shed but are unsure how much hair you should expect from them. So, how much do Spaniels shed? Well, this is not a heavy shedding breed. However, not all Spaniels shed the same. In other words, the severity of the shedding may come down to the individual dog.
Some Spaniel pups, depending on their history line, will shed more. For instance, Spaniels were mainly bred as show dogs and working dogs. The former comes with thicker fur that’s more inclined to year-round shedding, while the latter has a lighter coat that doesn’t do much shedding outside of the biannual ‘coat blow’ season.
Why Do Spaniels Shed?
Though it’s sometimes frustrating for their owners, it’s entirely natural for all dogs to shed. There are two primary reasons for all the fur your Spaniel is dropping. First of all, regular year-round shedding allows your dog to rid itself of old, damaged, or unneeded fur that makes up its undercoat. Like human hair, dog fur goes through phases of growth and shedding within the follicles.
Then there is the seasonal shedding, also known as ‘blowing coat,’ which occurs due to temperature changes. As it gets warmer, your Spaniel will shed his old winter fur to make room for a lighter summer undercoat. Then, as the temperatures cool again, your Spaniel will shed its lighter undercoat for a thicker, warmer one.
Aside from the natural shedding, your Spaniel could also be shedding due to an underlying issue. This is referred to as unhealthy shedding (more of this later).
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
Fur helps your pup control its body temperature and shields its skin against the sun and other elements. So, when do Spaniels shed? Most Spaniels generally shed lightly throughout the year as the loose, dead fur falls off in the natural fur growth cycle. Some Spaniel pups shed a lot, while others don’t seem to shed at all. It all depends on their history line.
If you own one of these pups, you might have noticed that the shedding intensifies around spring and fall. That’s because Spaniels go through seasonal ‘coat blow’ as they need lighter summer fur and a thicker undercoat for the winter months.
Unhealthy shedding is a common phenomenon among Spaniels and other canine breeds. Your pup’s health can affect their shedding levels, so you must take note of seemingly inexplicable heavy shedding and take appropriate action. But then again, what may seem excessive shedding may be completely normal shedding for your Spaniel.
So, how do you differentiate between unhealthy shedding and normal shedding? Study your Spaniel’s shedding patterns from a young age, and you’ll always be able to tell when something’s amiss.
Many health conditions can lead to fur loss or significantly affect the rate of fur growth. Some of the health issues that may lead to excessive hair loss include:
- Allergies: Allergic reactions to food, grooming supplies, household cleaners, medication, and environmental or seasonal factors are among the most common causes of unhealthy shedding in dogs. Your vet can help you identify the culprit and find an effective treatment.
- Parasites: Parasitic infestations are another common cause of unhealthy shedding. Parasites are tiny critters that live on your pup’s skin, often leading to itching and skin irritation. It’s this itching and irritation that leads to fur loss. Bites from fleas, ticks, mange, and other parasites may eventually lead to skin infections.
- Skin infections: Skin infections are relatively common in dogs and can lead to heavy shedding. These infections are caused by fungi or bacteria that infect the skin, leading to excessive fur loss. Parasites such as fleas and mites can also lead to infection.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A poor diet can have huge effects on your pup’s skin and fur. Protein and healthy fats are needed for skin and fur development. For instance, if your pup’s diet does not contain enough protein and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, they may shed more, and their fur may have a washed-out appearance.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress or anxiety-induced fur loss is pretty common in Spaniels, who happen to be very affectionate dogs. Long periods of separation from their owners may lead to stress and anxiety. And, pretty much any significant change in your pup’s environment can lead to stress or anxiety-induced shedding.
- Underlying health conditions: While it’s not quite as common, some underlying health conditions, including immune diseases, endocrine diseases, and cancers, can cause fur loss.
Other physical symptoms often accompany unhealthy shedding. Schedule an appointment with your vet if you notice a rash, scabs, bumps, lack of energy, discolored fur, and other physical symptoms in addition to excess hair loss.
As you can see, many variables can alter and affect your Spaniel’s shedding. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a vet who will perform a health check and help you rule out some potential health reasons for excessive shedding and recommend appropriate remedies.
What Type of Coat Does A Spaniel Have?
As stated previously, there are several Spaniel-type breeds. Most Spaniels are double-coated, meaning they have two layers of fur. They have an outercoat (guard hairs) that makes their skin waterproof and an undercoat to keep them at a comfortable temperature outdoors. The outer coat is made up of long, tough hairs, and it’s what you see and feel when you touch your pup.
The undercoat comprises shorter and softer secondary hairs that grow around the guard hairs. Most of the Spaniel’s shedding comes from the undercoat. In terms of color, Spaniel coats tend to come in black and white, red and white, and liver and white.
How to Manage and Reduce Spaniel Shedding
Shedding is a healthy and natural process, and there’s no way to stop it. But no one likes it when their dog leaves a trail of hairs all over the floor and furniture. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to manage and reduce your Spaniel’s shedding.
The key to keeping your pup’s shedding under control is keeping up with your grooming habits. Regularly brushing or combing your Spaniel is one of the most effective ways to combat excessive shedding. Regular brushing helps remove dead, loose hairs before they can fall on your floor, upholstery, and beddings.
Combing your Spaniel will also help distribute the natural, healthy oils produced by the skin all over your Spaniel’s coat. Brushing helps prevent matting, which will harm your dog’s skin and lead to more shedding down the line. De-shedding tools such as the FURminator can work wonders for your Spaniel.
As we saw earlier in the article, nutrient deficiency is one of the potential causes of excessive fur loss. Some nutrients must be present in your Spaniel’s diet to lay the foundation for good skin and smooth, flowing fur. A great way to improve your pup’s fur and skin health, for instance, is to incorporate more protein and Omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) in their diet.
Data shows a close relationship between diet and healthy skin and fur. You must take steps to prevent malnutrition. Consult your vet for information and guidance in choosing the best nutrition profile for your pup.
Bathing is another critical step you can take to moderate the amount of shedding. Like brushing, baths help rid old, loose fur before it falls off. Be sure to bathe your pup at least once a month. Another great way to reduce shedding and improve coat health is supplementation.
As I’ve maintained throughout the article, diet plays a critical role in developing healthy skin and fur. Certain nutrients are crucial, such as protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. Deficiency can lead to skin becoming scaly and loss of fur.
Are Spaniels Hypoallergenic?
After understanding when and how do Spaniels shed, you’re probably wondering if they are hypoallergenic. The quick answer is no. As a matter of fact, no dog is truly hypoallergenic, including the hairless breeds that don’t shed at all.
All dogs produce allergens in their saliva, urine, and dander. Fur (and shedding) only increases these allergens’ chances of infusing into the air. Shedding releases fur, along with the tiny particles of dead skin (dander) that tend to attach to it. Coming into contact with these fine particles may trigger allergic reactions in people who suffer from canine allergies.
While Spaniels don’t shed much, there’s still a good chance they will trigger your allergies if you suffer from this affliction. That being said, everybody’s different, and each dog has a unique chemistry. Just because the Spaniel is not hypoallergenic doesn’t mean that their shedding will trigger your allergies. It’s would be best to spend some time with this breed before fully adopting them into your home.
If your heart is still set on the Spaniel, you can reduce the allergens it produces by regularly grooming them and providing a proper diet. Investing in a vacuum and HEPA air filter will also help remove the existing allergens in your home.