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Cocker Spaniel (English)

Descended from the original spaniels of Spain, the English Cocker developed from the smaller dogs for hunting woodcock. This capable and energetic spaniel should cover the ground effortlessly in his pursuit to flush and retrieve. He is compactly built and without exaggeration - I did like the lines I read on this breed, “the whole worth more than the sum of his parts”.

So, the exuberant and sporting English Cocker with his ever wagging tail showing the typical bustling movement, particularly characteristic when following scent, requires a coat that allows him to work that heavy dense cover and uphill terrains.

He is a sporting dog and as such, the coat does allow trimming to remove overabundant hair that might prevent him in the course of his work. The over all look should always appear natural. You are able to trim around head, neck and feet to remove excess and to thin or shorten excess featherings to enhance overall functional appearance. As it takes skill to wield a pair of straight shears/scissors it is advisable to use thinning shears/scissors, otherwise you could end up with a chopped, or steps and stairs result. Far better and more natural, is to hand strip or strip excess undercoat with a stripping knife. The Terrier people are generally adept at this technique and may agree to show you how.

The standard also requires a flat, silky texture - never wiry or wavy, not too profuse & never curly.

To start Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo is a must for most spaniels. It’s deep cleaning ability is excellent for those oily ears and feet. Use a 1 part shampoo to 3 parts water for that amazing and clarifying clean to those extra dirty and greasy areas. A great beginning to your show prep.

When preparing blacks, blue roans and black/whites for a show, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo diluted 5 parts water to one part shampoo for a white finish and tone any unwanted warm/rusty tones of the darker colour of the coat. For extra whitening on those difficult areas use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok this product is one of our proudest achievements in helping to maintain a white stain free coat. It’s not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but with the use of modern technology and high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerin This product is designed to remove gently unwanted warm/red tones to the coat. Best used on a damp/wet coat. Gently rub into the areas requiring allow time (5-10 minutes ) and rinse. For maximum effects repeat or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.

For solid blacks you can also use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo which is specifically for black coats only. This helps restore the lost cool tones in the coat and enhance the original colour. Firstly shampoo with Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo to remove any residues on the coat and then follow with the Black Opal shampoo, lightly diluted 3:1 on those areas needing restoration. Leave for as long as the dog will stay still (preferably 10 minutes) and rinse. Use as often as needed.

If shine is the main consideration, and indeed the standard uses the word “glossy”, use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo again diluting 5:1. Dilution allows for easier workability, quicker rinsing and to be able to apply the attributes of the extracts in the shampoos evenly over the coat. All the shampoos are fairly concentrated allowing this dilution to best advantage. This particular shampoo is also excellent for solid golds or use just on the gold parts of a gold roan or a parti colour. This product is brilliant even if it’s just along to topline for that added sheen.

If more coat is needed, such as for sparse featherings or a recent coat drop, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 3:1 for extra oomph.

For this breed for that extra care and clean around the face and eyes use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It; it is what the dog showing world has needed for way too long. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products that with the latest of technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, sooth, adds moisture, aids healing and anti inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. It’s low foaming design allows easy of rinsing yet complete cleaning.

After shampooing with the correct choice of shampoo for your particular situation, apply a light squish through the longer parts of the coat with a well diluted mix of up to 10:1 of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner which will serve to keep featherings untangled and hydrated. It is not necessary to use a conditioner on the shorter body coat as you risk making the coat fluffy when the coat is needed to sit flat.

For show drying, use the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush and a well diluted application of Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to the featherings - 1 tspn to 2 cups water - applied liberally, leave in - do not rinse out. This assists to keep the featherings disentangled, minimizes static and reduce excess wave. Should the coat featherings appear boofy, excessive or wavy, then add 1 tspn of Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream to the above mix to really flatten and soften. Blow dry to ¾ dry and then finish for smoothest result with Plush Puppy anti static Brush - this 2 brush technique lessens the problems of over stretching the coat.

For maintenance between shows, use Plush Puppy Revivacoat diluted for quicker application (1 golfball amount to 1 cup water) and sprayed onto the coat as a grooming spray or as a disentangler during the week. Excellent for moisturizing and hydration and helps maintain elasticity in the hair. For damaged or brittle coats, use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue, again diluted for ease and speed at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 cup water and worked well through the damaged or dehydrated areas and left as long as the dog will allow you to before rinsing.

Another good in between show remedy, is Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil sourced from Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula oil etc, all organic and goes a long way to protect and nourish both skin and coat. Spray the topline and featherings or dilute and use as a final rinse at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt water and left in. A liberal spray around the pee feathers stops discolouration and breakage. A real outdoor dog’s best friend! For severe climates, apply a dash of Plush Puppy Sunshade to the topline and head especially for the dark or gold coats which sun bleach easily.

Show day for parti colored dogs - apply a quick dab of Plush Puppy Coverup Cream with a barely damp sponge to the white areas such as the face, elbows, hocks, etc to even out any discolouration and finish with an application of corn starch which not only helps make the coat appear whiter but assists in drying the Coverup Cream faster too. Both work for each other with the Coverup Cream holding the starch/chalk.

Show day brushing/grooming, use Plush Puppy OMG is a revolutionary grooming spray that lives up to it’s name. OMG is the perfect product for this coat type. A light spray of OMG and brushing in allows this product to refresh the coat leaving it feeling wonderful it separates the coat and leaves the most amazing finish. Using at an approximate mixture of 1 part OMG to 20-40 parts water using this break down from the OMG concentrate or OMG ready to use. The stronger the mix the stronger there effects. Different dogs at different coat stages means different mixtures. Higher the amount of OMG to greater effects. Using OMG can be a one off at shows or during the drying process after bathing. An amazing product for regular brushing also as it hydrates the coat and reduces stress and coat loss. OMG and as its active ingredients smooth the cuticle and protect the coat. For this coat type that you still wish to retain the texture at a higher breakdown will still allow you to brush the dog and refresh to coat without over softening. If you need more softening and hydration to a fuller or larger coat then a higher mixture is needed. Omg can also be used on top coats and brush/polished in for that wonderful smooth and flatness to the coat. OMG never builds up, never gos stringy. A product that took years to develop using the latest of technology for maximum effects. A true necessity for the tool kit. . Also available in OMG Ready To Use Spray at 20:1 which can also be further diluted if required.

Plush Puppy Wonder Wash is a great standby for a waterless/no rinse shampoo when dramas occur last minute. Spray, lightly foam up with hands and towel dry. Just brilliant. Add also a light mist of Plush PuppyShine & Comb just to the topline held at a distance of 12 inches/30 cms for a last minute sheen and a judicious dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust applied onto the last 2 rows of the Metro Brush and stroked through the bib, pants and lightly to the topline prior to the Shine & Comb. Don’t go overboard as this is for a light bit of glamour and not intended for a Xmas pageant!

You do own a breed that is distinguished and one of a class of dogs from that old school of esteemed dogs - the Gundogs. For those of us with “other” breeds, we admire the skill and usefulness of a dog who is not only man’s best friend but has the ability to put food on the table. Shown today in the conformation ring, he has flash, dash and class. Well presented, he is breathtaking.

CHERYL LECOURT