English Cocker Spaniel Trim
This is Ernie, a three-year-old English cocker spaniel. He is a finished champion who is now living in a pet home. When shown, the English cocker spaniel is never clipped; instead, the coat is mucked out and stripped. Now that Ernie’s show days are finished, he is kept in a clippered pet trim, which still keeps the style of the breed. A shorter version of the groom is easier for both owner and groomer.
The English cocker spaniel has a unique hairstyle and is a breed that rarely comes into our grooming shops. Skills that will set a pet stylist apart from competitors include recognizing these rare breeds and being able to execute their styles of haircuts. This particular cut can range in lengths, depending on frequency of visits and the lifestyle of the pet and owner. The body can be clipped with blades ranging from #4 to #7. The furnishings are trimmed to the desired length. The clipper work on the head and the overall pattern is the same, regardless of length.
Unfortunately, Ernie ate an acorn a few weeks prior to this grooming and had some extensive shaving done to his front leg and belly. This is just part of the everyday challenge for dog groomers–making dogs look as good as possible, no matter what the circumstances.
STEP 1: BRUSHING
Brush out the coat, removing any under coat and tangles.
STEP 2: NAILS
Cut and file the nails.
STEP 3: EARS
Clean the ears with a cotton swab. English cockers are prone to ear infections, so take note if there is any discharge.
STEP 4: BATHE
Bathe and condition; towel dry.
STEP 5: FORCE DRY
Use a force dryer to remove excess water. I generally force dry until the coat is 90-percent dry.
STEP 6: FLUFF DRY
Use a stand dryer, on warm, to dry the coat completely while using a slicker brush to straighten the furnishings. You should methodically move through the longer parts of the coat, removing any tangles that might be left. It is important to brush where the warm air is drying to keep the coat from drying curly.
STEP 7: FEET
Clip the pads with a #40 blade, making sure not to clip any hair from the outer sides of the foot.
STEP 8: SANITARY AREA
Clip the sanitary area with a #10 blade. Clip around the anus, as well as the underside of the tail.
STEP 9: CLIPPING THE EAR
With a #10 blade, clip the top third of the ear against the grain. Clip the inside of the top third of the ear as well, taking care around the folds found there. If a dog has reoccurring ear infections, the inner side can be clipped more liberally.
STEP 10: CLIPPING THE FACE
With a #10 blade, clip the sides of the muzzle, against the grain, from the inner corner of the eyes to the nose. Clip a “U” in the neck, starting approximately two fingers above the breastbone, following up under the chin to the bottom lip. Clip the entire cheek from the inner part of the ear. Stretching the mouth with your thumb, clip the flews. This allows for a clean clip around the lips and helps avoid bacteria or fungus infections. Clip the top of the head with a #7f, against the grain. English cockers are clean-shaven on top, with no crown.
STEP 11: CLIPPING THE BODY
Using a #7f, clip from the back of the skull, down the back, to the tip of the tail. Clip both sides of the tail. Thinners can be used to finish off the tip of the tail. Clip the neck down over the shoulders to the elbow.
Hair on the front of the front leg can be skimmed off with the clippers. Be careful and use a light touch on this area. Leave a skirt on the undercarriage. Expose the thigh muscle. Furnishings are left on the rear leg, which will be blended later. If you’re comfortable using a clipper, the top of the feet can be skimmed as well, so less work will have to be done with thinners.
STEP 12: EDGING THE BODY
With straight shears, edge the ear where it has been clipped. Use your fingers as a guide to ensure the ear itself is not snipped. Use thinning shears to blend any clipper lines on the face and head. Thin the cowlicks on the neck to blend. Comb the ears and trim a slight bell shape into the bottoms.
STEP 13: TRIMMING FEET & LEGS
I prefer to work from the rear forward. The feet are compact cat-like feet. Do not overexpose the toes. Edge the foot from the bottom. Use a brush to pull up hair from the top of the foot, then use thinning shears to trim cat feet. The hair between the ankle and knee is left. Trim the hair horizontally over the rear foot to expose the top of the foot. The hawk is trimmed into a half-moon shape. The sides of this area are trimmed from both in and outside of the leg, so when viewed from the rear, this area should look cylindrical.
STEP 14: BLENDING
Use thinning shears to trim cowlicks on the buttocks and blend furnishings on back of leg. Some clients prefer to keep this area short, for sanitary reasons.
STEP 15: REAR LEGS
Comb the furnishings on the front of the rear leg forward and trim from the tuck up to the top of the foot, creating the bend of the knee. Use thinners to blend the clipped thigh area into the furnishings.
STEP 16: SKIRT
Blend the clipper line into the skirt and trim the skirt to desired length.
STEP 17: FRONT FEET
The front feet are cat feet as well, edging from the bottom and thinning excess hair from top toe area.
STEP 18: FRONT LEGS
Thin the front of the front legs, blending into the furnishings left of the back area. When viewed from the front, there should not be an excess amount of furnishing popping out from the sides of the legs. Trim the hair left on the back of the front leg, angling in from the ground to the tuck up.
STEP 19: FINISHING
Bulk-thin the chest hair and trim the length level with the skirt.
Professional groomer Anne Francis is a grooming competitor and speaker. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass. Is there a breed or cut that you’d like to see featured in the Grooming Table? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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