How to Groom an English Springer Spaniel

by Katherine Barrington
The fur on the ears, chest and belly of English springer spaniels is often long and feathered.

The fur on the ears, chest and belly of English springer spaniels is often long and feathered.

English Springer Spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com

The English springer spaniel is a medium-sized dog originally bred as a hunting dog and trained to flush game. These dogs have a double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and healthy. The undercoat of an English springer spaniel is typically soft and dense, while the outer coat is medium length and flat or wavy. While show dogs should be groomed about once a week, English springer spaniels kept as companion dogs just need bathing and grooming every couple of months, with brushing several times per week.

Combing and Brushing

Step 1

Go over your English springer spaniel's body with a slicker brush to remove mats and tangles. Begin with the dog's head and neck, then work your way down its back and legs, brushing in the direction of hair growth.

Step 2

Strip the dead coat from your spaniel's head and body by gently pulling it out with your fingers. The dead coat is the wispy clumps of loose hair that form on the head and bodies of English springer spaniels. If not removed, the dead coat may turn reddish-brown in the sun.

Step 3

Comb your spaniel's coat with a wire-pin brush or medium bristle brush. These brushes are recommended for dogs that have medium, flowing coats like that of the English springer spaniel. Brush in the direction of hair growth, and pause when necessary to remove loose hair from the brush.

Bathing

Step 1

Fill your bathtub or dog washing tub with several inches of lukewarm water. Place your dog in the bath or encourage him to get in himself by using his favorite toy or treats as a reward.

Step 2

Dampen your spaniel's coat, using a pet sprayer or hand-held shower head to work the water into your dog's undercoat. If you do not have a sprayer, simply use a bucket to pour water over your dog, and use your hands to lift the overcoat so water can penetrate the undercoat.

Step 3

Squirt a small amount of dog shampoo into your hand, and work it into your dog's coat. If you do not have dog shampoo, you can dilute a mild, unscented shampoo with warm water. Diluted shampoo will be gentler than regular shampoo on an English springer spaniel's sensitive skin and coat.

Step 4

Use a bath mitt to work the shampoo into your dog's undercoat. A bath mitt is a mitten-like grooming tool that can be used to spread shampoo and brush away dead hair.

Step 5

Rinse your spaniel with fresh water to remove all soap residue. Use the sprayer carefully to thoroughly remove the shampoo from your dog's undercoat. Any leftover soap residue could irritate your dog's delicate skin.

Step 6

Drain the water from the tub, and dry your spaniel by hand, using a large bath towel.

Step 7

Finish drying your dog with a blow-dryer on the lowest heat setting. Don't let the heat of the dryer concentrate on any one place too long, or you may burn your dog. Because English springer spaniels have long coats, it may help to brush or comb your dog's fur as you dry it to prevent tangles.

Trimming and Clipping

Step 1

Use a pair of thinning shears to trim the fur on your dog's head and neck, holding the shears so the tips are angled slightly away from the body. Trim the fur to the desired length, moving in the direction of hair growth.

Step 2

Trim the feathered fur on your dog's ears, using grooming clippers with a 3 mm blade. Move the clippers in the direction of hair growth, working from the top of the ear to one-third of the way down on the outside. Use a small pair of sharp scissors to trim any long hair around the opening inside the ear to improve air circulation.

Step 3

Go over your dog's body with the grooming clippers, using a 5, 7 or 9 mm blade, depending on your coat length preference. Begin at your dog's neck and work your way along his back and sides, moving in the direction of hair growth. Stop when you reach the feathered hair on your dog's belly.

Step 4

Trim the feathered hair on your dog's belly, neck and hocks using a pair of straight shears. Cut the hair to the desired length, keeping the shape uniform.

Step 5

Use the straight shears to trim the fur on your dog's feet. Cut the fur between the toes so it is even with the pads, and trim the fur on the outside of the foot so it lies flat.

Other Tasks

Step 1

Check your dog's ears regularly for signs of inflammation or infection. If you do not regularly trim the fur on your English springer spaniel's ears, he could develop an ear infection. Common signs of infection include redness, discharge and foul odor.

Step 2

Clean your spaniel's ears once a week, using a dog ear-cleansing solution. Before you put any liquid in your dog's ears, make certain his eardrums are intact. Have your veterinarian check your dog's ears if you don't know whether the eardrums are healthy. Squirt the recommended amount of solution into your dog's ear canals, then massage his ears to spread it. Wipe the dog's ears clean, using dry cotton balls.

Step 3

Wipe any discharge from the corners of your spaniel's eyes with a dog eye-cleansing pad. Removing discharge from your dog's eyes will help to prevent discoloration of the surrounding fur. If your dog exhibits excessive eye discharge, consult your veterinarian.

Items You Will Need

  • Slicker brush
  • Wire-pin brush or medium bristle brush
  • Bathtub or dog washing tub
  • Water
  • Dog toys or treats
  • Pet sprayer or hand-held shower head
  • Bucket (optional)
  • Dog shampoo or mild, unscented shampoo
  • Bath mitt
  • Large bath towel
  • Blow-dryer
  • Thinning shears
  • Grooming clippers
  • Small, sharp scissors
  • Straight shears
  • Dog ear cleansing solution
  • Cotton balls
  • Dog eye cleansing pad

Tips

  • To make stripping the dead coat from your spaniel's fur easier, try putting on a pair of rubber thimbles. Place one thimble on your thumb and the other on your forefinger.
  • Brush your spaniel at least three times a week to keep his coat smooth and to control shedding. If shedding is still a problem, try using an undercoat rake to remove the dead and loose hairs from your dog's undercoat.
  • Always brush your dog to remove dead and loose hairs from the coat before bathing him. These hairs could tangle and form mats when they get wet.
  • Many dry dog foods contain ingredients that help to keep your dog's teeth clean, but if you feed your English springer spaniel wet foods, you may need to brush his teeth occasionally. Brush your dog's teeth once a week, using a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste.

Warnings

  • Never attempt to clip your dog's nails unless you are an experienced groomer or have been taught the proper procedure by a professional. Incorrectly clipping a dog's nails can cause pain and bleeding.
  • Do not neglect your dog's ears. Long-eared breeds like English springer spaniels often have poor air circulation around the ears, which can lead to a build-up of debris in the ears and an increased chance of infection.

Photo Credits

  • English Springer Spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.