What if it's a silky spaniel? There are definitely advantages

Ten years ago I’d never have considered it, but I have become a great believer in getting spaniels clipped out for the summer. OK, it’s not standard practice, and I’ve yet to find a book that recommends it, but every summer I see an increasing number of spaniels, including both cockers and springers, that have had their coats shorn.

A trim

Spaniel coats vary, and if you’ve got one with silky fur there’s probably little reason for a full clip – a trim of leg and ear feathers is probably all that is needed. However, many spaniels have more woolly coats and I’m convinced that dogs like these benefit from a full trim. You can do it yourself if you are confident with the clippers, but it’s probably better to get a professional to do it for you. It should take less than an hour, and is likely to cost between £20 and £30.

More comfortable

My springer Rowan looks like a spotty pointer puppy when she comes back from the groomer and the clip always seems to put a spring in her step. In the summer dogs are certainly more comfortable with less fur and though dogs have an amazing ability to adapt to the conditions they find themselves in, a thick fur coat when the temperature is pushing 30° is hardly an asset.

Tick remover

It’s much easier to see ticks on a dog with short hair

Remove burrs and ticks

There’s another compelling reason for getting your spaniel clipped, as it makes it so much easier to remove burrs and ticks. Of all native plants, my least favourite is what is generally known as goose grass, though it also goes by a number of other names such as sticky willy, catchgrass and cleavers. It is its seeds that create all the problems. They grow in small clusters and are covered in tiny hooked hairs that help the seeds to disperse so successfully. It is all too easy for a spaniel to fill its ears and feathers with scores of these burrs, and combing them out is a tedious and at times painful business. It is, however, much easier if your spaniel is not too furry.

Just brief the dog groomer on exactly what your requirements are.