It wasn’t until I started working with breeders and competing in the grooming contest ring that I really understood how much detail work there is in perfecting the American Cocker Spaniel head piece. I groom my pets with the same blades and techniques that I would a show dog. The American Cocker Spaniel should have a soft expression with roundness to their head and a well-defined brow. These are the two key features in executing the proper head. Most clients prefer to have the heads of their pets shaved due to the fact that the crown hair is always falling in their face. I will show you how I execute this head where that will never be a problem. Whether it is a show trim or a pet trim I trim them the same. Use a 10 blade and clip the outside and inside of the ear leather against the grain of the coat.
Your clipper work should line up with the jaw line or at the bottom of the ear leather fold. With a 7F clip against the grain from the top of the ear (where you left off with your 10 blade work) to about two finger widths into the top skull.
Clip the cheek against the grain with a 10 blade to the corner of the eye.
Clip an inverted “V” between the eyes with a 10 blade. Clip under the eyes with a 15 blade to create chiseling. Skim the muzzle with a 7F or a 10 blade lightly. Neaten the muzzle with thinning shears. You never want to clip the muzzle really tight otherwise the muzzle with look narrow.
The lips of the muzzle should look full and plush. Outline the lip edge with a 15 or a 30 blade to accentuate the fullness of the lips. Either clip the crown area with a 4F or 5F or use thinning shears to create your roundness. Neaten crown and side skull with thinning shears.
Some dogs may need more coat in the crown area than others depending on the structure of the head. Clip the throat from two fingers above the breast bone up to and including the entire chin either with the grain or against the grain with a 10 blade. This will depend on the sensitivity of the skin.
Be sure to clip the bottom edge of the lip and flew area tightly using a 10 or 15 blade. Remove the coat over the eyebrow ridge with either a 10 blade (lightly) or thinning shears.
This is the coat that falls in the eyes if not removed. Remember the breed standard states that the brows should be clearly defined. Trim the bottom of the ears in a semi-circle with curved shears and/or thinning shears.
The finished head should show a soft expression with a rounded dome and plump lips that are approximately the same width as the side skull. (Photo 9). On the next page, the traditional Teddy Bear head piece.