Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

8 useful tips for grooming your cocker spaniel

When it comes to cocker spaniel care, grooming is one of the most complex pieces. With their long coats and predisposition to skin issues, this breed requires more bathing, brushing, and trimming than others. It’s no wonder dog-show spaniels always look so neat and elegant!

Grooming your cocker spaniel at home might sound daunting, but it can be done. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started, but with the right tools and a positive outlook, you and your pup will figure it out. Having a few treats on hand doesn’t hurt, either!

a white and brown cocker spaniel stands, tongue out, in the grass in the sunshine

Comb your spaniel’s fur daily (yes, daily)

The key to keeping your cocker spaniel’s fur soft and tangle-free is consistent combing and brushing. Although every three days is the minimum frequency for effective brushing, daily care is the only guaranteed way to keep your pup’s long coat nice and neat. If your cocker spaniel has a “traditional” or “best in show” haircut, their extra-lengthy “skirt” will pick up dust, dirt, and anything else they walk over throughout the day.

Invest in both a comb and a brush

While a slicker brush feels lovely on the skin and coat, it won’t really help untangle mats and knots. Consequently, you should invest in a high-quality metal-pin dog comb with fine or medium-spaced teeth. Some dog grooming tools have bristles on one side and pins on the other, so you’ll need only one brush for every step of grooming.

Don’t comb through mats and tangles

While brushing, you’re bound to run into a few knots that need to be coaxed out of your pup’s coat, and although you may be tempted to, it’s best not to brush right through tangles. Instead, use your metal-pin comb to gently pick through mats beginning at the ends of the fur and working your way up toward the skin.


A high-quality shampoo will help

Because cocker spaniels are at high risk for skin sensitivity (thanks to their thick coats), a shampoo with gentle ingredients might help avoid any itching or discomfort. Shampoos with colloidal oatmeal are known for their skin-protecting properties, though a moisturizing conditioner will make a world of difference in your cocker spaniel’s coat health.

Don’t be afraid to try a few different formulas to see what works best for your dog. Since you’ll be bathing him so frequently, your soap options really do make a difference.

When you think you’re done rinsing, rinse again

If you have thick hair, you’ll be familiar with this struggle. For the same reason you should carefully select your cocker spaniel’s shampoo and conditioner, you should also be sure to rinse off the soap as thoroughly as you can. Any residue, even from gentle ingredients, can irritate the skin as it sits beneath a thick coat of fur, probably gathering dirt along with it.

While combs can also help remove dirt, dry skin, and shampoo residue, your dog will be much comfier if you nip the problem in the bud by rinsing thoroughly in the first place. Not only does it help wash out all soapy particles, but it also removes any excess oil that your cocker spaniel’s skin may be carrying (via Rau Animal Hospital).

Wash and groom your cocker’s ears with extra care

Because of their predisposition toward skin sensitivities, cockers are also prone to ear infections. Your best chance to keep this in line is to learn how to properly wash your dog’s ears, both inside and outside, though you should check the status of each ear during bathing at a minimum. You can always leave this step to a professional cocker spaniel groomer if you prefer.

The skin of your pup’s ears is delicate and thin, so even combing can cause injury if done carelessly. Use your metal-pin comb to gently pick apart any knots, tangles, and mats, though you shouldn’t do anything to an ear that looks like it may be infected.

a blonde cocker spaniel with curly ears and red plaid pajamas looks up and past the camera
RODNAE Productions/Pexels

Find a professional for your cocker’s haircuts

Since cocker spaniels require such frequent, high-quality grooming (including bathing, brushing, and haircuts), it will be worth your time to find a professional groomer who meets your needs. Look for someone with experience grooming cocker spaniels, since this breed has so many specific needs, especially if you want a more traditional haircut for your pup. Not just anyone can do it!

Have a consistent grooming schedule

Most importantly, whatever you do for your cocker spaniel’s grooming, make sure to do it regularly. Skipping a day of brushing can result in multiple mats and tangles, so you can imagine what might happen if your pup misses his coveted grooming appointment. Plus, bathing and brushing your dog is a great way to bond, so why not make a routine of it?

Whether you choose to DIY your cocker spaniel’s coat care, or you have a groomer you know and love, keeping these few things in mind will ensure your dog stays healthy, cool, and luxuriously soft. It takes a bit of time and patience, but your pup will surely thank you.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
Can dogs eat oranges? Read this before feeding your pet
How to prepare oranges for dogs
Small white dog eating an orange

When you have a little furry friend by your side, it's only natural to want to share just about everything with them. Even when it's a simple gesture like letting them on your bed for a nap or sharing a bite of a snack, bonding over these little things can be some of the best moments you'll ever share together. But when it comes to dog-friendly snacks; what exactly can you share?
Many fresh fruits and veggies are great to share with your dog, but can dogs eat oranges? This acidic fruit might be a great morning pick-me-up, but it's great to double-check before handing a slice to your lip-licking furry friend. Here's what to know about dogs and oranges.

Can dogs eat oranges?

Read more
Can dogs see in the dark? Your guide to your dog’s vision
The answer to this question matters and here's why
Golden retriever on the patio at sunset

Dogs and humans are best friends. Part of the reason? Dogs have superior senses. For instance, pups' noses are 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than people's, making them worthy hunting companions and search-and-rescue team members.

Eyesight is one area where people generally have the upper hand (or paw) — or so we've thought throughout the years. To some extent, that's true. Dogs see fewer colors, and their vision isn't as sharp as ours. Can dogs see in the dark? What is "normal" vision for a dog?

Read more
The best medium-sized dog breeds for your family
These dogs are the perfect size — and temperament — for families with kids
An English springer spaniel's side profile standing next to tall grass

Whether you're a veteran dog owner or are new to the canine world, it can be immensely helpful to do your research before adopting the dog of your dreams. After all, step one is to figure out what your ideal four-legged friend might be like.
Will they cuddle up with you at the end of the day, or will they sleep in a dog bed all their own? Would you like a high-energy friend or a canine buddy that can binge-watch your favorite Netflix show at all hours of the day with you? Perhaps even more importantly, what size dog can you handle in your home?
Medium-sized dogs are a perfect fit for those who may want the activity of a larger dog without the massive size. Many families prefer mid-sized canines because they're large enough to play with children without getting hurt, but they're not too large to spook or knock over a child (most of the time, anyway). There can be many reasons why a medium-sized dog breed is your perfect fit, but how do you know what breed to look into? Let us help you decide.

Medium-sized dogs for families with children

Read more