Do Cocker Spaniels Shed? Everything you Need to Know

May 22, 2022

If you are considering adding a cocker spaniel to your family or already have one you might be wondering how much they shed.

Cocker spaniels do shed. They have been given a rating of 3/5 for shedding by AKC. This puts cockers in the middle of the road for shedding compared to other dog breeds.

This rating puts the cocker on par with other spaniel breeds such as the springer spaniel and king charles spaniel.

Well, most dogs shed to some level. This is perfectly natural and actually occurs in most animals. It's a way of getting rid of dead hair when new hair grows in and get their coats right for changing seasons.

If you don't take steps to manage your dog's shedding it will end up all over the place. On your clothes, sofa, or carpet for example. It gets everywhere.

Luckily, even though your cocker spaniel will shed it can be easily managed by taking a few steps. While you can't stop it completely by taking an active approach to managing it you will be able to seriously cut down the amount that ends up around you home.

Keep reading to learn all about cocker spaniel shedding and what you can do about it.

How Much Do Cocker Spaniels Shed?

Cocker spaniels are classed as moderate shedders. As mentioned above they do get a 3/5 rating from AKC for shedding.

This can vary quite a bit dog to dog though. Some cockers don't shed that much while some will lose hair year round. How much will depend on the actual dog.

What Makes a Cocker Spaniel Shed?

A cocker spaniel sheds for a few reasons. The main cause is naturally controlling temperature during changing seasons. Other causes of shedding include bad diet, stress, health issues, fleas and ticks, or allergies.

I'll get into each of these below to provide a bit more detail on how makes your cocker spaniel shed.

Seasonal Shedding

This is the main type of shedding your cocker spaniel will do. It involves controlling their temperature during different seasons.

Cocker spaniels have a double coat. This coat is made up from an undercoat which is thick, woolly and keeps water away from your dogs body. On top there is the topcoat which is fine, silky and long.

Having the two coats allow your dog to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. You'll see this type of shedding appear more in spring and autumn.

Poor Diet

If your dog has a poor diet it can lead to a less healthier coat and potentially to increased shedding.

A diet that isn't packed with the nutrition your dog needs will very likely manifest in their health. Signals that your dog's diet might be contributing to shedding include a dry nose, duller coat, or unsurprisingly hair loss.

Check your dogs food for omega oils. This strengthens your dogs coat keeping coat keeping it healthy and looking good. It can also reduce shedding by strengthening hair follicles and give that coat a brilliant shine.


Dogs can be stressed out and anxiety can contribute to shedding.

If you are noticing patches in their coat or missing parts of it this could be the culprit.

What Can Stress a Dog?

There are a few situations which can cause a dog to be stressed out. A cocker spaniel can be particularly open to it given their soft natures.

But what should you look out for?

The first one we will cover is active children. Kids can be high energy, excitable, and constantly on. Now, while these are traits often associated with a cocker spaniel, sometimes your dog just wants to rest.

Strangers can also stress your dog out. Particularly if they are around your home or entering it and your dog are looking to protect the home. This can also extend to new pets or a new baby. It will take time for your dog to get used anything which is not normally in their day to day lives.

Essentially the last two points are specific examples our last one. Changes in your dogs routine. Much like people, dogs are creatures of habit.

Ticks & Fleas

Next up is fleas and ticks or any other parasites. If your dog has any of these it can cause irritation which makes your dog scratch. If done over time this continued scratching can lead to hair loss.


Dogs can be allergic to things too. This could be pollen, food, fleas, or a wide range of other factors, just like people.

Allergies can actually trigger hair loss. If your dog has bumps on their skin or start scratching or biting their skin it could be a sign of an allergy that you'll need checked out by a vet.

Health Issues

Dog shedding can also be a sign of a health problem in your little friend.

There are a broad range of conditions that could cause your dog to shed for health reasons. These include:

  • Infections (bacterial or fungal)
  • Parasites (fleas, lice, or mites)
  • Skin conditions
  • Kidney, liver, or thyroid disease
  • Cancer

If you feel your cocker spaniel is shedding excessively speak to your vet to rule out any health problems. It is always far easier to deal with these problems early.

When Does a Cocker Spaniel Shed?

With their double coat cocker spaniels will mainly shed twice a year. This happens spring and autumn. The spring shed sees the thicker winter coat go in preparation of the warm summer ahead while the opposite happens in autumn as your dog needs to stay warm as winter arrives.

All that said, many cocker spaniels shed all year round or less than other. It really can just come down to your dog.

What About a Cocker Spaniels Puppy Coat?

A cocker spaniel puppy coat is a bit different from their adult coats. They shed their puppy coats between size and eight months. You might notice a bit more coming out of their coats if you are brushing it around this time.

Try to make brushing a fun activity from your dog being young. This will make it a much easier activity in later life.

A puppy has a single soft coat which is soft and fluffy. This gives way for their double coat which will remain throughout adulthood.

How Do I Cut Down How Much My Cocker Spaniels Sheds?

While its not possible to fully stop a cocker spaniels shedding, there is a lot you can do to cut down how much of it happens.

Lets run through what you can do to help reduce shedding.

Maintain a Good Diet

Feeding a dog high quality food doesn't only keep your dog full. It also helps your dog stay in good health.

This also contributes to a healthier coat and can reduce the level of shedding with stronger hair follicles.

Check what is in your dogs food. You are looking for as many natural, premium ingredients as possible. Fish oils are great for your dogs coat. If you don't see it in the food you can buy fish oil dog supplements which are also food for a dogs coat.

If your looking at your dogs food just remember that if they are a puppy they need puppy specific food.


Grooming your cocker spaniel on a regular basis will cut down on dead hair that can fall off and keep your furry friend looking good. You can expect to need your dog professionally groomed every 2-3 months.

How you have your dog groomed will also determine how much shedding you have to deal with. If you choose to go short all over this will result in the lowest level of shedding. Some cocker spaniel owners have their dogs in shows or just prefer a longer coat. This will of course result on more hair.

Brush their Coat at Home

I've talked a few times about the importance of brushing dead hair out of your dogs coat for managing shedding and keeping a coat healthy by stimulating oils in the coat. So, no big surprise that its included on this list.

Taking time to brush your dogs coat will remove all dead hair trapped in their coats keeping it from finding its way on your clothes and furniture.

It's especially important to do this during shedding seasons where the rate of hair loss will increase.

Try to brush your dogs coat on a daily basis. Make it part of a daily schedule. After a long walk or when your dog is tired can be a good time. More likely just to be happy to accept it without protest. It will take around 15-30min to brush your dog depending on how they are groomed.

A quick brush can also be useful if they are running around in the park picking up leaves, grass, or other debris on they adventures. All of this can get stuck in a dogs coat.

Bathe your Cocker Spaniels

While it might not be a popular activity from your dogs point of view a bath can be great way of giving your dog a good clean between proper grooms.

You will want to give you dog a good wash every 2-3 months. You don't want to be doing this too often as you will strip essential oils from your dogs coat resulting in dry skin.

Sometimes you might have no choice if you've had a messy trip to the park. Try to plan the routes you take with your dog accordingly to avoid particularly messy areas.

Buy a quality dog shampoo for bathing your dog. These are not very expensive and will last for a long time. You can even buy a deshedding shampoo if you would like to take care of dead hair at the same time.

Another helpful tip for washing your dog in the bath is to get a strainer over your plughole. This can catch the hair before it can start clogging your drain.

Does the Colour of Cocker Spaniel Impact How Much it Sheds?

Solid coloured cocker spaniels shed more than parti-coloured or blue roan cocker spaniels. There is no way of understanding why this happens but it has been widely reported amongst cocker spaniel owners.

Do American Cocker Spaniels Shed More than English?

Both English cocker spaniels and their American counterparts shed. Interestingly the English one does shed less hair than the American. This will be down to the more delicate coat that an American cocker spaniel has which could be more likely to shedding and prone to matting.

Do Cocker Spaniels Have Hair or Fur

Cocker spaniels have hair. Dogs who have hair will shed more generally and require more brushing.

A dogs coat can be make up from hair or fur. Fur is shorter and denser while hair is much finer with a smoother feeling when your hand brushes through it.

Usually people label a dogs coat fur when its shorter and hair when it is longer. This is not the case entirely though as even if you have your cocker spaniels coat short they will still have hair.


Most dogs shed in some form. This varies a lot between breeds. As dog breed cocker spaniels have a rating of 3/5 with AKC for shedding making them moderate shedders. Its a natural process that enables their coats to be suited a season.

You might be lucky and find your cocker doesn't shed very much or incredibly unfortunate and find they are prolific shedders. Each dog can be different.

If you think your dog is losing more hair than usual you should speak with a vet. This could be a sign of other things such as dietary problems, health issues, or stress.

And most importantly remember excessive shedding is very manageable with a proactive brushing schedule, regular grooming, good diet, and the protested odd bath.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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