By Kathy Rose
The English Springer Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel, although originating together, gained distinction in the early 1900’s with the Kennel Club of England. The American Kennel Club went on to recognize the English Springer Spaniel into the sporting group about eight years later.
The English Springer Spaniel sports a short, soft undercoat and a longer, firmer and darker outer coat of medium length. The proper coat is naturally laid-back and is best treated with hand stripping and carding techniques. The dense under coat is carded and raked and some of the outer coat is stripped to form a functional, natural appearance.
I find it easier to do the bulk of carding and stripping techniques prior to bathing and complete the finishing and detail work after the bath. If the dog is very dirty, however, a pre-bath should not affect the efficiency or outcome as greatly as it would with the wire coated breeds.
For the preparation procedures, bath with a quality shampoo and condition the furnishings. Dry the body coat flat, following the coat growth direction or optimally, secure a towel over the coat to coax it into laying as flat as possible. Shave the pads with a 15 blade. Shaving the underwear (sanitary) is optional, but I do usually clip around the rectum. Trim the nails and clean the ears.
Fig.1) Skim excess coat from the stop, muzzle and chiseling around the eyes using a 10 blade. Skim the lips to remove the whiskers and then shave the flews.
Fig.2) Skim the cheeks. The best method for skimming the face is to turn the clipper over and use a scraping technique.
Fig.3) Shave down the front of the throat to about two inches above the breastbone. On a correct dog this will be about at the level of the topline at the croup.
Fig.4) Shave the coat in front of and on the inside of the ears (ventilation strip).
Fig.5) Shave the upper ⅓ of the ear against coat growth direction. This is usually at about the level of the upper lip.
Fig.6) Blend with the top skull and the ear fringe, skimming with coat growth direction.
Fig.7) Lift the ear and shave under the ear and blend the throat.
Fig.8) Use a fine Coat King or rake to remove excess under coat, following coat growth direction on the shoulders and jacket.
Fig.9) Continue with the Coat King or rake down over the croup, hips and upper thighs.
Fig.10) Card and strip the top skull to blend into the shaved areas and to appear flat on top and slightly rounded at the sides and back.
Fig.11) Secure loose skin and card and strip the jacket.
Fig.12) Continue with carding and stripping techniques to blend the shaved areas on the sides of the neck to the stripped areas.
Fig.13) Card and strip over the point of shoulder, defining the point of shoulder and angulation. Continue with this technique down the front of the forelegs.
Fig.14) Strip the excess coat from the hip to the point of rump, leaving a slight fill at the tail set if needed to create an unbroken topline that slopes slightly upward toward the withers.
Fig.15) Use thinning shears to trim the sides and underside of the tail. Leave the topside of the tail a bit longer.
Fig.16) Use thinning shears to trim the tail and hips to the point of rump.
Fig.17) Once you have stripped and carded the body, comb the coat up at the color lines and blend the lines between the colors using thinning shears.
Fig.18) You may use thinning shears to help with blending the upper thighs and hips.
Fig.19) Use thinning shears to finely blend the top skull & ears.
Fig.20) Use thinning shears to finely blend the shoulders and neck to the shaved area of the throat. Lift coat and blend all color lines.
Fig.21) Use thinning shears to finely blend the shorter coat on the front of the fore legs to the furnishings.
Fig.22) Use thinning shears to finely blend and define the shoulders.
Fig.23) Lift the excess coat between the toes and use thinning shears to trim a compact round or slightly oval, well knuckled foot.
Fig.24) Trim the back of the front feet to blend into the leg furnishings and remove excess coat. The furnishings should not rest on the table.
Fig.25) The hocks are trimmed to appear parallel and perpendicular to the table when viewed from the rear. The longer coat from the outer thighs can drape over the outside of the lower rear legs. The long furnishings from the inner thighs will drape on the inside of the legs. Lift this draping coat while trimming and blending.
Fig.26) Tidy the rear furnishings following the natural curve of the leg, falling neatly at the top of the feet. A subtle tuck up is placed at approximately ⅓ from the rear on the body. (Tip: Lift the rear leg naturally and where the knee naturally bends will indicate the tuck-up placement.)
Fig.27) Tidy the bottom of the ear furnishings to form a rounded bevel, ideally just above the breastbone.
Complete the trim with a conditioning spray applied to a bristle brush. Brush in the coat growth direction to smooth and perfect the outline and limit static and fly away hair.
The English Springer Spaniel now ranks 26th of the most popular dog breeds, adding him to our Bread & Butter list. For more information about the English Springer Spaniel contact the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association. www.essfta.org ✂