Cocker Spaniel Glossary: Nape

What is the Nape?

The nape refers to the back of the neck, specifically the area where the skull meets the cervical vertebrae. In Cocker Spaniels, it’s a region that typically features a dense and often feathered coat, serving as a transitional area between the head and the back. The nape plays a crucial role in the overall structure and appearance of the Cocker Spaniel, especially when considering breed standards and grooming.


  • The back of the neck, where the skull connects with the cervical vertebrae.
  • In Cocker Spaniels, often characterized by a dense, feathered coat.
  • Transitional area between the head and back.
  • Important for breed standards and grooming considerations.

A Deeper Look: Nape

The nape is an essential part of a Cocker Spaniel’s anatomy. From a structural perspective, it supports the head and offers flexibility, allowing the dog to move its head freely in various directions. Given the breed’s history as a gun dog, this mobility was essential for tracking game.

Aesthetically, the nape of a Cocker Spaniel is accentuated by its coat. The dense and often feathered hair gives the breed a regal appearance, and when groomed well, can highlight the dog’s elegance and form. However, due to its thickness and length, this area is prone to matting, especially if exposed to water or mud. Thus, regular grooming and brushing are vital to maintain the coat’s health and appearance.

For those involved in dog shows or adhering strictly to breed standards, the nape’s grooming can be of particular importance. It can influence the dog’s overall appearance, affecting how the head and back flow together in a seamless manner.

Spotlight on the Nape in Cocker Spaniels

  • Offers structural support and flexibility for the head.
  • The feathered coat at the nape adds to the breed’s regal appearance.
  • Prone to matting, necessitating regular grooming and maintenance.
  • Crucial for those adhering to breed standards or participating in dog shows.

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