The cocker spaniel is a spunky, fun-loving little dog with a high-maintenance coat. Cocker hair grows long quickly if left untrimmed, so no matter what look you choose for your pooch, a regular haircut is a necessity. Cocker hair is silky and can be wavy or straight.
Unless you plan to show your cocker spaniel, you probably will want a shorter hairstyle that is easier to maintain. The modified, or cocker cut, is a variation of the show cut a cocker would wear in the ring, where the coat is full with a long, swinging skirt. The cocker cut trims most of the body hair, leaving the skirt length up to the owner. This cut eliminates much of the work required to keep a longer coat tangle-free, although daily brushing is still required. The hair on the ears can be left long or trimmed up to the ear leather according to your preference. The dog's head is trimmed to keep the muzzle and face neat. The legs and feet are left fluffy to appear thick with the traditional cocker look.
The sport cut, also called a puppy cut, is adopted by many people for warm weather. The dog's entire body is clipped close, leaving just an inch or two of hair. Ear hair can also be cut short or left longer to keep the breed look. This cut is significantly easier to care for and requires less grooming than other cocker hairstyles. A cocker with the sport cut will only need brushing every few days.
The pet cut is a combination of the modified cut and the sport cut. Choose your dog's look by taking pieces of the typical cocker cuts to achieve the look and level of coat care you would like. The body may be clipped with no skirt, the ears short and the legs left fluffy. This cut also reduces maintenance. Cocker hair grows so quickly that it's easy to change styles seasonally or when you want Sparky to sport a different look.
Cocker spaniels come in a variety of colors: black, tan, red, brown or silver. White or tri-color dogs with colored markings are called parti-colored. American cocker spaniels have silky, wavy hair while English cockers have a rougher, curlier coat. Use a canine shampoo tailored to your dog's color for a monthly bath to keep dirt and irritants away from his skin. Your cocker's coat should be trimmed, clipped or stripped every six to eight weeks. Use a pin brush daily to keep his coat free of tangles and mats.