The Field Clip

Cockers were originally sporting dogs and some people still use them in the field. While I've never used my dogs in hunting, I enjoy taking them along for walks. If you get out on the trails, you'll find your Cocker will love to go along. This joy can be diminshed if a Saturday in the woods is followed by a Sunday of grooming.

Reduced care is the idea behind the field clip. As a guideline, take a look at the picture of the English Cocker. While he has some feathering and skirt, this is minimized. This gives him a greater freedom of movement and makes grooming easier.

To start, follow the guidelines in the modified clip. Clip the belly, ear flaps and foot fur short (1/8 to 1/4 inch).

Feathering on the front legs is cut to a length tapering from 1/2" at the ankle, up to 4" at the body. On heavy coated dogs, use thinning shears to remove some of the excess bulk. The front and sides of the front legs are shaved. Combined with the clipped feet, this is an attractive look.

The skirt, down the sides of the body, is clipped even with bottom of the chest, tappered to blend into the rear legs.

The rear feet and lower legs are clipped short to the elbow. Fur on the sides of the body are clipped to a length of 1/2 to 1 1/2", depending on how it lays best. The inner thigh is clipped at 1/4", but some feathering is left at the back of the leg and around the buttocks.

The chest is clipped to a length of 2 inches and the underside of the face is clipped 1/4" to 1/2" in length. The back and neck is clipped short. Ears are clipped to 1 to 2" in length, although these can be left longer, if desired.

As a modification to this scheme, I have begun to clip Lucky and Breezy short over most of the body. I clip his ears to 2 inches, and leave 1" of feathering on the front and rear legs. I have adopted this method of clip because I clip them myself. This is not only much less work, but they seem to enjoy this clip. Breezy used to carry a modified clip, with long feathering, chest, ears and skirt. When I finally gave her a field cut, I notice she was much more active and panted less. Without all that hair to carry about, she was able to frolic freely.