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Hi all, the last 15 years I have had short-haired dogs who did not need haircuts (because they shed like maniacs), but as of January I have a Cocker Spaniel (9 yrs) with long gorgeous ginger fur. I live in the southern US so it gets HOT in the summer. I was wondering what the ideal coat length is for enduring the heat (I mean I know better than to take him out in the hot part of the day, but still, summer is summer.) I have heard conflicting things about whether a certain amount of fur (how much?) insulates the dog from heat or whether it is best to shave down. Any ideas as to the the best hair length to keep him comfortable and safe?
 

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Go to YouTube and see 'Cocker Spaniel Grooming' parts 1, 2, & 3!!!!!!

Shows how to do a proper Cocker groom including the shaving
 

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Thanks Luvmyfluff--I am definitely not going to try to do this myself, just wondering how short to ask the groomers to do it. Does anyone have a general suggestion for how much the best fur length for a summer cut? (I'm only interested in the dog's comfort and health, I'm not concerned about aesthetics or breed standards). thanks!
 

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Hiya!

We have a cockerpoo (baby to be fair at 6 months!) and having done some research myself, put together this blog post about dogs in summer: Get Your Dog Summer Ready: 7 Things You Must Do - My Two Black Dogs

The sum total is that shaving them right down, as you probably know is actually more harmful. A good groomer's will obviously be able to give you plenty of advice and carry out a trim by themselves. The best I could find is that at least an inch of hair helps keep the sun off and will still maintain air circulation.
Personally, I'd aim for 1-2inch length because long before we came along, dogs survived summers! And maintain optimum temp regulation otherwise :)

Becca x
 

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I would find a reputable groomer in my area and ask them to discuss the different cut options. Find out the benefits and risks of each.
 

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Cockers don't really have a double coat, so clipping them is not detrimental to the coat's health, and their coat isn't as well insulated as a more natural double coat- it's standard for cockers to be at least partially clipped (they leave a skirt with a "cocker clip", but not everyone wants that to maintain- they can get messy fast- so some people get everything off).

I used to use a 7f on my Dad's cocker, and just let her grow out longer between clips in winter vs summer. You could use a longer blade like a 5 or 4, but it may not be as smooth, and if he has "rug hair" which is thicker and clumps together vs more thin hair, it may be harder to get the longer blades through it. Some people use a #10 on their cockers if they just want them as short as possible and the dog has super thick hair, but if the dog has thinner hair, it may not leave much- which would limit sun protection. Casey (my Dad's dog) always got everything off except her ears, and I think I usually even used a #10 on her belly.

I would find a reputable groomer, and let them know you want whatever is best for summer, but are concerned about going too short.
 

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We have Samantha professionally groomed every month. Summers tend to be very hot in this area, so we have her cut shorter during the warm months. Yesterday, she got her summer puppy cut, very short, but her hair grows so fast in two weeks it will be noticeably grown out. She does not tolerate heat well at all, she prefers to doze in our air conditioned house. She and I walk early in the morning, before it gets hot, the rest of the day she is a house dog, with very short excursions outside to do her business, then right back into the air conditioning. She leads a very hard life!!!!
 
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