Grooming should be part of everyday maintenance for the English Cocker, with daily brushing and combing part of the regular routine. Keeping the ears and teeth clean is also very important. Due to the pendulous nature of the ear it is very important to keep the ear canal free of hair. With the hair removed around the ear canal it is more easily kept free of dirt, moisture and secretions which can cause bacterial or fungal infections. The use of a cleaning solution available from your veterinarian can also be used as directed. The teeth should also be checked regularly for excessive tartar build up. This can be prevented with regular brushing using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste specifically sold for animal use.
To properly learn the technique of trimming your English Cocker it is recommended that you observe your breeder groom your puppy the first few times or find a mentor in the breed that is willing to teach you. For the best results it is important the dog is thoroughly combed through, free from mats, bathed, rinsed in conditioner and blown dry prior to any attempt at trimming. For the bath any mild shampoo and conditioner may be used, DO NOT use dish detergent as this can be very harsh to the skin. For basic trimming the areas that need attention are the head, feet, tail and back. The top 1/3 of the ears (inside and out), top of the head and throat should be kept quite short. The feet should have all the excess hair trimmed off the bottom and then after trimming the nails the feet should be rounded off. The tail and anal area should be kept free of long hair and the back/neck and shoulders should be stripped of fuzzy, long hair until it lies smoothly.
If you do decide to learn to trim yourself you will need to the following tools:
- A table with a non-slip surface and an excellent light source
- Electric A5 clipper with #10 and #7F blades
- Slicker brush, metal comb and nail trimmer
- Thinning shears (42-44 teeth) and straight shears
- Mars Coat King stripper, stripping knives (coarse and fine) and grooming stone
Unless very familiar with the trimming of an English Cocker the services of a professional groomer at the frequency of every 6 to 12 weeks is suggested.