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7 Cocker Spaniel Haircuts & Grooming Styles (with Pictures)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

american cocker spaniel dog standing outdoor

Once upon a time, you didn’t have many cuts available for Cocker Spaniels. Either you gave them the long, flowing (and high-maintenance) show cut, or you shaved them.

However, today, many people own companion animals without the intent of showing them at all. Not everyone wants to spend hours grooming their canine, but you may not want to shave your dog completely, either.

Luckily, many other cuts have come onto the scene over the past few decades. From the playful puppy cut to the regal princess cut, you can now style your dog in a myriad of ways.


The 7 Cocker Spaniel Haircuts & Grooming Styles

1. Puppy Cut

Golden Cocker Spaniel puppy lays on looking up (Puppy Cut Haircut)
Image Credit: Life In Pixels, Shutterstock

The puppy cut is a very popular choice for Cocker Spaniels, especially when they are younger (hence the name). This style involves trimming the dog fairly short and uniform all along its body. This makes them look neat and adorable.

Usually, the length is around 1 to 2 inches, which allows you to maintain their coat much easier. Because this coat requires so much less grooming, it is very popular for those that are not showing their dog. If you want a Cocker Spaniel with as short of a coat as possible, then this cut is a great option.

2. Sport Trim

Cocker spaniel sitting (Sport Trim Haircut)
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock.jpg

The sport trim is similar to how Cocker Spaniels originally looked when hunting. This style primarily focuses on maintaining the coat’s natural look while shaping it for practicality. Hunting dogs would get dirty and tangled easily, so it was important for them to get properly trimmed.

This shorter cut also helps maintain ease of movement. Their fur won’t get in the way of them moving around. The body is usually trimmed shorter to allow for a complete range of motion, while the legs, ears, and tail are left a bit longer. Therefore, you can keep their coat tidy while still keeping them looking somewhat “natural.”

3. Show Cut

light cream and white American Cocker Spaniel dog sitting on the grass (Show Cut Haitcut)
Image Credit: f8grapher, Shutterstock

As the name suggests, the show cut is a more elaborate style that’s utilized in dog shows. It is the most commonly recognizable cut, as that’s often what Cocker Spaniels are advertised as looking like. However, Cocker Spaniels that are not being shown rarely look like this, as this cut requires meticulous trimming and brushing.

The coat is kept long and flowing, with lots of feathering on the legs, ears, and tail. Regular brushing is necessary for this coat, as it can easily tangle.

4. Long-Haired Cut

English Cocker Spaniel dog sitting (Long-Haired Cut)
Image Credit: GPPets, Shutterstock

Some Cocker Spaniel owners want their dogs to have as long hair as possible. This cut makes that happen. It leaves the fur very long while still providing some shape to it. While these dogs are very fluffy, there is a reason that this isn’t a traditional cut.

Long-haired Cocker Spaniels are much harder to groom and keep clean. You’ll have to dedicate plenty of time to keeping their coat clean and tangle-free. Many people just don’t have this time. Plus, this isn’t popular in the show ring, either.

5. Fluffy-Ear Cut

Brown Cocker Spaniel dog breed lying (Fluffy-Ear Haircut)
Image Credit: SikorskiFotografie, Shutterstock

This haircut is fairly similar to the puppy cut. The whole coat is trimmed down as much as possible while still leaving some fluffiness. However, the ears are kept long instead of being cut short, too. This coat works well for those that like the easy maintenance of the puppy cut but want the fluffy ears show Cocker Spaniels often have.

This cut does require a bit more grooming, especially around the ears. However, the overall coat doesn’t require any more grooming than a puppy cut, which is considered very low maintenance.

6. Princess Haircut

American cocker spaniel on green grass (Princess Haircut)
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

The princess haircut is as dramatic as it gets. This cut requires continuous care and is extremely long around the bottom. This fur requires plenty of grooming and cleaning, as the fur tends to pick up dirt and mud. If you’re looking for an eye-stopping haircut (or have more time than you know what to do with), then this cut may be a solid option.

As you might imagine, this isn’t a very common cut!

7. Half-a-Show Cut

English Cocker spaniel dog in outdoors (Half-a-Show Haircut)
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

Do you like the look for a show cut but don’t want to go all in? Then you may want to consider this cut. It’s very similar to a show cut, but it isn’t quite as long. Therefore, you can get away with less grooming and trimming.

It’s perfect for those that like the traditional show cut but don’t actually enter their dogs in any shows. It’s a middle-ground haircut.

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What is the Best Cut for a Cocker Spaniel?

The best cut for your canine depends on several factors. However, for the most part, it depends on the amount of time you have on your hands and your preferences. If you want a low-maintenance cut, you’ll probably need to go for something shorter. If you want a traditional haircut, you’ll need to invest more time in grooming.

The puppy cut is a shorter, manageable cut that is recommended for most companion dogs. You can also use the shorter sporting cut if you want their fur a bit longer (while still performing little grooming). While all Cocker Spaniels do need grooming, these cuts are much easier to care for.

If you’re showing your dog, the show cut is your only option. Luckily, most people don’t fall into this category. Show cuts require lots of care, as do several other cuts we listed above (like the princess cut).

Should You Cut a Cocker Spaniel’s Hair?

Cocker Spaniels are a breed that simply requires regular trimming. Their hair will just keep growing and growing until it becomes absolutely unmanageable. While a luxurious coat is a fair goal, just letting your Cocker Spaniel’s hair grow isn’t how you achieve that.

Cocker Spaniels have a dense coat that can easily become tangled and matted if not properly maintained. Mats can be uncomfortable for the dog and can even lead to skin irritation or infections. You can prevent mats by grooming your dog and choosing an easy-to-maintain coat. A dog that’s not trimmed will very likely get tangles and mats.

There is also the question of ear health. These dogs are prone to ear infections due to their long, floppy ears. These trap oil and debris, which lead to ear infections. But not trimming your dog’s ears will cause them to accumulate even more debris, leading to a higher instance of ear infections.

Therefore, cutting your Cocker Spaniel’s fur is absolutely essential for their health.

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You need to get your Cocker Spaniel trimmed regularly to keep them happy, as we’ve discussed. However, what haircut you choose is completely up to you. You can select the very easy-to-take-care-of puppy cut or something a bit more traditional, like the show cut. All of these haircuts have their pros and cons, but it mostly comes down to how much time you have available for grooming and your preferences.

Just because your dog is a Cocker Spaniel doesn’t mean you need to give them a traditional Cocker Spaniel cut. Over the past few decades, many other cuts have become popular and widely available.

Featured Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock

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