The English springer spaniel is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the UK, a medium-sized dog they were originally bred to be hunting dogs, trained to flush game from the undergrowth and they got their name from the way they spring forward. They are a happy, friendly breed that makes them great family pets.
Although they haven’t got long coats, Springers are a dog with a double coat that needs regular grooming to keep it clean, tangle-free and looking its best. The undercoat is soft and dense, while the topcoat is of medium length and lies in soft waves.
If you are showing your pooch, it should be groomed every week; Springer Spaniels kept as pets just need brushing a few times a week with a bath and haircut every few months.
In this article, we will look at some Springer Spaniel Haircuts and how to groom them at home easily with our step by step grooming guide.
Do Springer Spaniels Need a Haircut?
You may think a Springer Spaniel’s coat requires little maintenance compared to some dogs, but you’d be wrong; the feathering around the torso, ears, legs and tail requires regular attention to remove mats and stop it from becoming tangled and trimmed every 6 months or so to retain the natural shape and lines.
They are a breed of dog that loves to swim and they also shed quite a bit, so they will need more baths than some breeds to keep their coats in tip-top condition.
How Often Should a Springer Spaniel be Groomed?
Haircuts for Springer Spaniels should be 2-3 times a year but they still require regular grooming with a good dog slicker brush to remove loose hair from the dense undercoat and prevent knots from forming; the Kennel Club recommends grooming 2-3 times a week.
If you have a working dog, they may need to be trimmed more often to prevent burrs and debris from getting caught in the coat whilst they are out in the field and they won’t need grooming so much and if they are a show dog, they obviously need special attention.
Can an English Springer Spaniel be Groomed at Home?
If you are not going to be showing your dog, it’s perfectly feasible for you to groom your Springer Spaniel at home. However, they are a breed of dog that benefits from hand-stripping, which some owners are not comfortable doing, so this may require a trip to a professional who has experience grooming the breed.
There are 4 common looks for English Springer Spaniels; below, we’ll examine each one.
Neat and Natural
Pet Springers can be left with a natural coat that just needs to be kept short on the body and the dog’s head with the long hair on the legs, torso, ears and tail neatly styled; you will need to brush daily or comb out tangles on the longer fur and also keep the fur which grows in between the paws cut short.
This low maintenance look can often be seen on English Springer Spaniels, especially during the summer months. The hair is clipped at around one to 2 inches all over the dogs body, leaving the hair on the dog’s ears a little longer for aesthetics. This is a great option if you have a dog that loves a good romp in the mud as the dog’s coat doesn’t get matted and you won’t need to brush so often.
Dogs working out in the field need to be clipped short all over to prevent debris from getting caught in their fur; similar to a puppy cut, it’s important to pay close attention to the ears as Spaniels can be prone to ear infections, so these need to be trimmed carefully and also the paw pads as the hair here grows densely and is a haven for bacteria.
Of course, removing the thick fur can result in your pup being cold and wet during the winter months, so a coat may be required to protect your dog’s coat from the elements.
Springer Spaniels are a dog that looks majestic in the show ring; they are usually hand stripped with the fur shortish on the body and head blending into long feathering on the legs, torso, chest and ears, which need trimming into neat lines. Unless you are an expert, this is probably best done by a professional with experience in the breed.
How to Groom an English Springer Spaniel – Step by Step Guide
Trimming Springer Spaniels isn’t difficult; below, you will find a list of essential dog grooming tools and a step by step guide to having your Springer Spaniel looking their best.
Tools you will need include:
- Thinning shears
- A Spaniel comb (teeth close together)
- A Slicker brush
- Straight scissors
- A grooming table
- 2 rubber thumbs (like the ones for counting banknotes)
- Ear cleaning solution and cotton balls
- Blow dryer (optional)
Step one – Brush
You will need to brush your pup thoroughly before grooming to tease out any mats that may have formed. You can use a dog de-shedding comb to remove excess hair and debris from the coat.
Step Two – Bath Time
Before you start the clip and pet trim, you should bathe your dog using the right shampoo. Springers can be prone to infections, they shed a lot and love getting dirty, but the good news is; there are shampoos to tackle all these problems, from ones that remove odours, anti-bacterial shampoos and some even help with shedding.
Wet your furry friend with warm water, then massage the shampoo into the coat, remembering to rinse the dog thoroughly as any residue left behind will result in the outer coat losing its shine.
Step Three – Drying
After a good rub using a soft microfibre towel (use gentle circular motions or dab dry), you can leave your Spaniel’s coat to air dry to retain the waves or use a special doggy dryer on a low heat setting, although this will result in a flatter coat.
Step Four – Clean your Dog’s Ears
A Springer Spaniel’s ears are prone to all sorts of complications; debris and dirt can get caught in the fur inside the ears and if excess moisture occurs, this can lead to infections, a common problem with this breed as they love to swim.
Use a cleaning solution and cotton pads to clean the ears and thinning scissors to trim the fur short at the entrance to the ear canal.
Step 5 – Trimming the Ears
With the thinning scissors, trim the hair from the top of the ear to about one third down, then use a comb to remove any loose hair from the ear area. Remember to be gentle so as not to hurt your canine companion; the skin around this area is delicate. Behind the ears can become matted, so tease any knots out with the comb or slicker brush.
Step 6 – The Head
Excess dead hair on your dog’s head will likely stick up and you will lose the elegant shape, use the rubber thumbs to gently remove the dead fur, grasp it between your thumb and forefinger and it should easily come away; you can also do this on the body to remove dead hair from your dog’s undercoat.
Step 7 – The Chest and Throat
This area will need thinning, too; use a comb or slicker brush against the grain to tease out any knots that may have formed, then use the thinning shears to produce a neat V shape from your dog’s neck downwards.
Step 8 – Clip your Dog’s Body
Use a 5, 7 or 9 mm blade for trimming the back and body; this is totally down to personal preference start at the neck and work along the back and sides of your pup following the direction of the hair, making sure to stop when you reach the feathered areas along the torso. Here is a good guide on clipping a dog correctly.
Step 9 – The Feet
The feet should be nicely rounded and the hair trimmed between the toes to prevent infections; this can be done with either the clippers or a pair of straight scissors.
Step 10 – Tackle the Flyaway Feathering
Take the spaniel comb and straight shears and begin trimming the feathered areas on the belly, hocks tail to a uniform length; if you have a show dog check the breed standard page on the Kennel Club website.
While you are grooming your dog, it’s a good idea to perform other pet care essentials after bath, like brushing their teeth and maybe trim your dog’s nails.
Hand Stripping a Springer Spaniel to Remove Dead Hair
Hand-stripping is simply pulling the dead hair from the soft undercoat and it is often the preferred grooming method for dogs that shed a lot, terriers and wire-coated dogs. Clippers remove the tips from hairs, which can dull a dog’s coat, whereas hand-stripping removes the whole hair, resulting in a shiny coat.
It can seem like a daunting task and many pet parents are wary about doing this as it can hurt your dog’s skin if not done properly. However, it’s quite easy to do this to your own dog at home with some practice and patience.
Ths video shows how to handstrip
How do you trim a spaniel’s ears?
You should use thinning shears to trim the hair on the inside of your Spaniels ears so that air can circulate and prevent ear infections; make sure the loose hair is removed to prevent it from falling into the ear canal.
Do I need to take my Spaniel to a professional groomer?
Of course, you can take a Spaniel to a groomer, and this may be the best bet if you want them hand-stripped or if you have a show dog, but it is relatively simple to trim them at home with a little patience. Even if you do take them to a groomer, you will still need to brush them daily to prevent them from becoming a matted mess.
Whats the best shampoo for a Springer Spaniel?
Spaniels love to swim and have a tendency to roll in anything yucky they can find, so the best doggy shampoo for this breed is often one that removes odours, they can also suffer from allergies and they do moult a lot, so a hypoallergenic or anti-bacterial option can help as can a de-shedding shampoo.
Springer Spaniels are a joy to own; they are friendly, loyal and eager to please, making them a fantastic choice for active families; they love being outdoors and need plenty of exercises, meaning they can get quite grubby, so their coats need quite a bit of care to keep them looking their best with daily brushing at the very least.
However, with a few tools such as a Spaniel comb, thinning shears and clippers, grooming your Springer Spaniel’s coat at home is easy; you just need to remove loose hair from the dog’s undercoat, make sure their toes are hair free and trim the silky tendrils to keep them under control.
Remember to clean your dog’s teeth and ears regularly too and with regular brushing of your dog’s fur, their coat will be sleek and in prime condition.