When it comes to coat, the breed standard for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Canada reads the following:
Long, silky and free from curl, though a slight wave is permissible. Feathering on ears, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed. It is common and permissible for bitches to carry less coat than dogs. No trimming, scissoring, clipping or artificial colouring is allowed and this should be severely penalized.
We know this, and yet we also know that some Cavaliers just tend to grow a ton of coat! I’ve often been asked how I maintain the coats on my dogs, and my common response is always; do what works for your home and situation.
I’d never recommend clipping a Cavalier as short as possible, however I do feel strongly about neatening, thinning, light clipping, and scissoring on Cavaliers who are not in the show ring. It just makes day to day living and grooming so much easier.
Spayed and neutered Cavaliers especially tend to grow more coat of a different texture than their intact counterparts. For us around here I try and keep them as neat as possible, but still have them looking like a cavalier.
Zoey is my heavier coated girl. She can grow her skirt to the floor, and has earned her nick name of “furball” honestly. Since being spayed several years ago this has only gotten worse. She now receives at least two thinning out sessions starting when the weather becomes nice. I usually let her be during the winter as I figure she can actually use it then. 😉
I took this series of photos for a friend who was struggling with the decision on if she should trim her cavalier or leave him au naturel. She was concerned that she would ruin his coat or do a terrible job. The good thing about learning how to do it yourself is that it costs way less money and if you make a mistake it always grows back for you to try again!
Definitely time for her first post winter hair cleanup on the deck.
We cut her skirt at least two inches, took over half of the feathering off her back end, and thinned out a ton of her leg feathering. I always leave her ears and tail, but you can shorten them if you wish.
It doesn’t look like I did much, but that is the point. My not doing much actually consisted of a shopping bag full of fur. With less hair overall, she takes less than half the time to bath, and doesn’t have to be brushed out nearly as much.
Mostly don’t be afraid to try. Your cavalier may look a bit funny for a few days, but it quickly grows out and becomes less noticeable over time. I know Zoey feels better with less grooming, and she seems to cool down faster with a bare tummy. What I love the most is that she still looks like she has a natural coat with that cavalier look that we all love.
Happy summer trimming and neatening!