Cocker Spaniel Glossary: Curly (Coat Characteristics)

In the context of Cocker Spaniels, “Curly” refers to a specific texture of the coat where the hairs form tight or loose curls rather than lying flat or just being wavy. While the standard for the breed leans towards a silky and straight or slightly wavy coat, some Cocker Spaniels do exhibit curly coats, especially if there’s mixed ancestry or specific genetic factors at play.


  • Curly describes a coat texture with distinct curls in Cocker Spaniels.
  • It’s not the standard coat type for the breed, which is typically silky and slightly wavy.
  • Can be a result of mixed ancestry or specific genetic variations.
  • Requires particular grooming techniques to maintain the curls and prevent matting.

A Deeper Look at the Curly Coats

Curly coats in Cocker Spaniels are less common than the traditional straight or slightly wavy coats. This curly texture can be the outcome of diverse genetic factors or indicative of a mixed lineage where the genes from another curly-coated breed influence the Cocker Spaniel’s coat.

The degree of curl can vary. Some Cocker Spaniels might have loose, large curls, while others might display tighter curls. Despite not being the breed standard, curly-coated Cockers can be equally charming, with their unique appearance setting them apart.

Distinguishing Curly from Other Coat Characteristics

While feathering, as previously discussed, pertains to the long hairs on specific parts of a Cocker Spaniel, a curly texture can be present throughout the coat or in particular areas. The main distinguishing factor is the formation of distinct curls rather than long, straight, or merely wavy hairs. It’s also essential to differentiate between a curly coat and a coat that has become matted or tangled, as the latter requires immediate grooming attention.

Examples of Curly Coats in Cocker Spaniels

  • Tight Curls: Resembling ringlets, these curls are compact and give the coat a very textured appearance.
  • Loose Curls: These are more relaxed and might resemble waves but have a distinct curled form, adding volume to the coat.
  • Mixed Texture: Some Cocker Spaniels might display areas of curly hair mixed with straight or wavy sections, especially if the curly texture isn’t uniformly distributed.
  • Feathered Curly: The feathering on the ears, legs, and tail might itself be curly, contrasting with the rest of the body’s coat.

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