The Cocker Spaniel has a long and silky coat. The Cocker coat, if not clipped will require regular and thorough grooming in order to prevent matting & to keep the dog comfortable. Heavily coated Cockers can get very woolly quite quickly and this is uncomfortable for the dog, may lead to skin/ear infections and adds to the time taken to keep the dog mat and tangle free.
A well-trimmed Cocker is a pleasure to behold, however it does take time (lots of time!) and practice to keep a Cocker in full coat without the dog looking like a sheep in need of shearing!
There are two “styles” of trimming a Cocker, the first (used by show breeders) is to “hand strip.” Hand stripping is the removal of surplus hair coat by gentle plucking until the dog is neat and tidy. Only the old and dead hair is removed & when done correctly this method of trimming does not hurt the dog. Delicate areas, the feet and the ends of the feathering are finished using scissors.
Hand stripping leaves the coat soft and natural looking. It is however, a technique that needs to be learned and it is also time consuming and can be quite arduous! The aim of trimming a Cocker is to trim the coat so the natural shape (construction) of the dog is visible but in such a way as to appear as if the coat grew naturally!
The other method of trimming a Cocker is to use electric clippers. Skilful use of the clippers can produce a dog that looks to be in “show trim” but without the hours of work hand stripping involves. It is important to note that if a dog is to be shown its coat must be hand trimmed, the use of clippers is not acceptable.