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Shaving a Cocker Spaniel? (4 Things You Must Know First)

Whether or not cocker spaniels can be shaved is constantly discussed among owners in the spaniel community.

We highlight why cocker spaniels should not be shaved, unless for very specific reasons. We also run through some great tips to keep your spaniel’s coat in tip-top condition!

Is It Okay To Shave Cocker Spaniels?

can you shave cocker spaniels

Cocker spaniels should NOT be shaved unless for medical reasons. Shaving back the coat of a cocker spaniel can disrupt how they regulate body temperature and cause various other issues.

The only time a cocker spaniel should have their coat shaved back is in preparation for surgery, or when a veterinarian needs to address a skin infection or wound.

As I will explain further below, it is perfectly okay to give cockers a light trimming with scissors in certain places.

4 Reasons Why Cocker Spaniels Shouldn’t Be Shaved

Shaving a cocker spaniel never helps them, and in most cases it makes matters worse.

Even though owners, of course, have good intentions, it doesn’t help!

1. Shaving does NOT help in hot weather

One of the most common reasons behind shaving cocker spaniels is trying to keep them cool in summer.

Although this might make sense, it doesn’t actually work like this.

  • Shaving back a cocker spaniel increases their skin’s exposure to harsh UV rays, and can even lead to sunburn.

Additionally, a cocker spaniel’s longer hair provides some protection again direct heat (sunshine). The more the skin is exposed, the hotter a spaniel will get.

2. Shaving increases bug bites and skin issues

The long hairs that your spaniel’s original coat boast do a great job in preventing bug bites (mosquitos) and provide a barrier from the outside to the skin.

Their coat, while intact, does a great job at keeping their skin healthy and clean.

A shaved coat allows bugs and dirt much easier access to the skin.

This can ultimately lead to excessive scratching, skin infections, and vet visits soon thereafter.

3. Shaving does NOT help with shedding

Cocker spaniels shed moderately (certainly not as much as other breeds). But still, many owners want to find ways to reduce the shedding.

Shaving the coat back does not stop the shedding! As strange as that seems, a cocker spaniel will still shed the same amount. The hair may just be shorter…

There are plenty of other ways to help manage cocker spaniel shedding that owners can try.

4. Shaving negatively affects body temperature regulation

Cocker spaniels have had their long coat since their existence. Simply put, their body is used to having it, and works perfectly with it intact.

Shaving the coat will come as a shock to any cocker spaniel and will subsequently make it harder to stay cool in hot weather, and warm in cold weather.

Will a Cocker Spaniels Coat Regrow After Shaving?

In most cases, yes, a cocker spaniel’s coat should regrow just fine after having been shaved. Fortunately!

The reason many ask this question is that shaving dogs with double-coats can lead to serious issues once it tries to grow back. This is because the undercoat grows through the topcoat, creating a matted mess.

Cocker spaniels do not have a double-coats.

A cocker spaniel has a single-layered coat, which makes it easier for the coat to regrow without problems.

Still, just because they coat regrows easily and relatively quickly, it doesn’t make it okay to shave them.

Related: Cocker spaniel bathing (Essential advice to know)

Is It Okay For Cocker Spaniels To Be Trimmed?

Yes, cocker spaniels can receive a light trim/haircut with scissors to remove extra long hair around troublesome areas.

Where it’s okay to trim a cocker spaniel:

  • Paws
  • Tail
  • Underbelly
  • Ears
  • Neck area

If your cocker spaniel has exceptionally long hair around these areas then it’s fine to give them a light trimming with scissors.

This is even recommended by most veterinarians.

Long hair around the ears sometimes prevents dirt and water from properly exiting, resulting in more ear infections.

Additionally, long hair around the paws or underbelly can collect a lot of excess dirt and muck when out on walks.

So if your cocker does have long hair in these areas, it’s definitely okay (and even advised) to trim it.

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.